Archive for May, 2009


May 28 2009

Global Value Chains and Catvocacy: Making progress toward solid slumber and international prosperity, one Smoochums at a time.

by at 5:18 pm

Globalized economies impose on many industries a variety of opportunities and obstacles.  Efficiencies created by the global resource market, both resources from which to create products as well as the global demand for such products, have challenged acceptable business models throughout the world.  However, the development of an industry that uniquely leverages the strengths of both a globalized economy and stimulates the development of strong, multi-faceted local economies might inspire world-wide economic development with fewer negative externalities than an effort to adapt an existing industry to global competition.  With that goal in mind, I strongly advocate the adoption of domestic cats as night-time head support systems and intend in the following paragraphs to demonstrate the viability of the product model and describe some ways in which an industry oriented toward the development and implementation of cat pillows might participate in local and global economies.

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May 28 2009

Public Health for Eastern European Roma

by at 4:46 pm

The Romani Flag,

My interest in the Roma first blossomed when I studied abroad in Poland for a semester during in 2003. More widely known as “gypsies” (a derogatory term), the Roma population constitutes an estimated 8-10% of the population in both Romania and Bulgaria.[1] When these two nations joined the European Union in January 2007, the Roma became a controversial addition to EU citizenry.  Often excluded from the broader global network and identified by some as victims of systematic discrimination, many Roma live in poverty and without access to social/civil society programs.  Advancing the Romani quality of life is important because allowing such a large population of citizens to live in poverty (and without resources for self-improvement) can ignite impacts throughout the global network – from an uneducated citizenry to cross-population health issues.  The specific issue I want to promote in this blog is the need to increase Roma access to health car, specifically in Romania and Bulgaria.  In improving their access to health care, I would like to work toward a developing a healthier life not only for the Roma, but among the general population.  In this way, I present an unhealthy and ill-fated Roma as a “weak link” of the international network and suggest that helping them can help the health of the broader global citizenry.

The key players in determining the outcome of increasing Romani access to public health include: general Romani population; Romani leaders; NGOs; the general public; leaders of Romania and Bulgaria at both local and national levels; EU leaders; and public health officials.  Through a series of educational programs and program deployments, these nodes can work together to provide better access to health care for the Roma.  First and foremost, it is necessary to educate the Romani citizens on the importance of public heath and provide them the resources to necessary to engage in health initiates.  To do so, NGOs such as the Open Society Institute (OSI) can play a critical role in the structure through raising awareness regarding the “how” and “why” of public health initiatives.[2] Outreach targeting the Romani population as developed by NGOs must incorporate trusted Romani leaders who can be educated on the topic in order to best explain the importance of public health to others within the community.  As Dr. Garcia suggested in class and in “The Architecture of Global Networking Technologies,” the issue of trust is critical in networks.[3] I believe this becomes particularly important when addressing underprivileged populations that may be skeptical of outsiders.

Continuing across the network, the non-Romani public must also grow to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy population throughout the entire nation.  In engaging the general public, NGOs and Romanian/Bulgarian leaders can help spread an understanding of how an at-risk population within a nation can directly impact the health of everyone else.  Doing so would require a structural shift within the Eastern European network regarding how the general public views the Roma – instead of as an outcast sect, a “we are one” mentality would be necessary to help view the Romani health as everyone’s health.  As Dr. Garcia discusses in “The Architecture,” networks place themselves on “path dependent trajectories”[4] and breaking out of the current societal structure will be a difficult but necessary shift.

Further, public health campaigns targeting the Roma must work at both the local levels (as discussed above with local education campaigns) and the global.  Initiatives such as the Decade of Roma Inclusion bring together leaders from individual nations as well as NGOs in an effort to display a globally-focused, united effort to address Roma issues.[5] Incorporating a regional (or even global) focus on promoting public health for at-risk populations such as the Roma can help uncover the links between individuals across the world.  The hope that international attention will bring change to individual nation-state’s dealing with Roma pubic health reflects John Agnew’s discussion of how globalization helped foster “the internationalization of a range of hitherto domestic policies to conform to global norms of performance.”[6] Finally, the critical step of putting that awareness into action would translate into bringing heath professionals to work with the Romani population, as well as encouraging the Roma to become more engaged in medical professions themselves.

Key in engaging each of these nodes would be to elicit an internalization of the issue by each.  While I would like to think that each part of the global network would work together for altruistic reasons, I do believe that there must be an identified incentive for each node to work for the common goal.  In order for each node to exert the optimal level of interest in enhancing Romani access to health, they must recognize the benefits of a healthier minority community.  As each player comes together to address this issue, it is critical to be weary of the fallacies Stliglitz discusses – from too many groups with overlapping goals to an inflated presence of special interest.  Yet, despite those precautions, I think that it is necessary to work with the existential motivation that seems to be the driving force behind making the world a better place.

[1] Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  “Jobs Boom in Bulgaria Leaves Roma Behind.” 15 November 2007.      

[2] Soros Foundation.  Roma Programs: Public Health.  Accessed 28 May 2009.

[3] Garcia p 55

[4] Garcia, Linda D. “The Architecture of Global Networking Technologies.” Global Networks, Linked Cities. Rougledge   (2002). p 42.

[5] Decade of Roma Inclusion:

[6] Agnew, John.  The New Global Economy: Time-Space Compression, Geopolitics, and Global Uneven            Development.”  Working Paper No 3.  p 10.

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May 28 2009

A closed society in the open world

by at 4:34 pm

I would like to raise international attention to the possible upheaval of Korean peninsula in the near future.

It is well known that Korean peninsula suffered from Korean War, the proxy war of Cold War, in 1950s and the land divided into two parts; North Korea and South Korea as the result. Although ‘Cold War’ ended in 1989 and the experiment of world communism party turned to be failed after all, North Korea is still maintaining communism as its ruling ideology. However, since Kim Il-sung, the long term communist leader of North Korea, passed away in 1994, North Korean society has been confronting various problems. While development has been long stagnated, the country gradually lost strong connection with old alliances such as Soviet Union and China. There are chronic food deficiency, lack of electricity, abject poverty, widespread famine and disease. North Korean government also gave up the central food distribution system several years ago and people suddenly forced to find a way to feed themselves in the devastated land.

Experts say North Korean society will face upheaval in the near future. There are several scenarios; a sudden collapse, coup-d’état, gradual open, and so forth. Whatever it would be, it will cost huge amount of money to rebuild the North Korea. It would sound like far away land story to developed countries. However, North Korea has very important meaning to the USA in a geopolitical sense. The country bordered by China and Russia, and when North Korea collapse all of a sudden, it is very likely to be absorbed into China to give greater power to the fast emerging country.

There are six-party talks (South and North Korea, Japan, USA, China, and Russia) to deal with the peace matter in Korean Peninsula, and their role is pivotal for the admirable change of North Korea. At the same time, general global citizens need to pay constant attention to the North Korean problem, not just when the country shows its military potential like recent one. I believe that North Korea will continue nuclear development unless they find other cards to negotiate with the powerful partners in the six-party talk as well as in international society.

Building substantial trust is important to lead soft landing of impending change of North Korea. The country is approaching to the cliff. If they became nothing to lose, we cannot predict what will happen. Then how to create substantial mutual understanding to prevent the extreme action of North Korea? Unfortunately it is extremely hard to find a way to persuade North Korean people to accept the change and to come out to international society since the country is tightly closed.

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May 28 2009

small is beautiful

by at 4:01 pm

I am thinking about communication networks across the continent of Africa. In order to conceptualize the actors, and therefore the structure of their relationships, I looked for a visual representation of the existing structure of these networks. I found that representation in an image that might be familiar to many of us, by now: the lights of the world, as seen by satellite, at night. I cropped out the continent from its global context, and then circled the clusters of lights that appear across its surface. Continue Reading »

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May 28 2009

Bikes for Rwanda

by at 2:23 pm

Economic stability in post-genocide Rwanda can be spurred through something as simple as the establishment of a local bicycle industry. Continue Reading »

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May 28 2009

CONFIDENTIAL: Live and Let Eat

by at 2:06 pm

Your mission (should you choose to accept): Engage food markets of underdeveloped countries enmeshed in global food crisis into regional market economies at nationally (or perhaps globally-sponsored) subsidized rates, potentially outsourcing goods to international firms at higher transactional costs.

James Bond Lego by Dunechaser

James Bond Lego by Dunechaser

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May 28 2009

E-Waste: A Scourge on the Third World

by at 2:05 pm

I would like to promote the tragic consequences of e-waste on developing countries. E-waste (defined as materials left over from our consumer electronic devices such as televisions, computers, cell phones, etc) has developed into a worldwide business, a sort of “reverse value added chain” where each component that has value must first be extracted through “recycling” processes that cause disease, contamination, environmental destruction to those who perform them. The problem is that properly recycling e-waste is an expensive alternative and promoting “re-use” of older computers in schools is often more of a loophole to get rid of truly broken and antiquated technology than a charitable act helping students.

There are four principal actors involved in this issue. First, the consumers, who want to dispose of their decaying technology in the cheapest way possible and are willing to contribute little in order to do this humanely and in an environmentally-friendly manner. Second, the electronics manufacturers, who have primarily joined the fight to protect the third-world from e-waste as a marketing tool. Third, the networks of business that outsource e-waste recycling in order to profit from the individual components of value hidden inside consumer devices (things like gold and copper). And finally, fourth, the individuals, often children, who process e-waste in the Third World as a source of meager income and at the expense of their health and environment.

The structure of their relationship is very tangental. As Stiglitz discusses in “Development and Its Discontent,” time plays a very detrimental role in the promise of corroboration. Many years can pass between the sale of a consumer electronic device (transacting between the consumer and the manufacturer) and the time of “recycling” of the devices. Often, the company that produced the product may be out of business by the time of recycling. For example, Packard Bell, a very popular computer manufacturer in the early nineties, was nearly out of business in the late nineties when many of its devices began to enter the e-waste market. How can a company in a completely different economic stage deal with products made a decade before? The consumers are separated from the poor in the third world who process their waste by a corporation setup to find loopholes in environmental laws in order to profit. Consumers never see the face at the end of their laziness.

A strategy to start a reversal of this e-waste market is two-pronged. First, education of consumers is paramount for success. The government could mandate electronic companies to include the dangers of e-waste in their marketing material, much as the government mandates public service announcements from broadcast media companies. Second, we can incorporate the cost of proper recycling into the cost of the computers at time of purchase, to eliminate the time-delay that leads to e-waste. Companies could be forced to pickup all e-waste generated by them in exchange for this mandated fee during the purchase of the product. This is similar to the way airlines added a fee for the increase in security costs after 9/11.

The problems of e-waste cannot be solved without a thorough understanding of network that allows it to flourish. Just as Sturgeons acknowledged the complexity of the value chains in the global automotive industry, we must discover the incentives that drive our e-waste into the developing world. Without a strong understanding of this nexus, we cannot break apart current incentives while added alternative routes for profit. Until then, the third world will continue to be exposed to toxins all because of the first world’s laziness.

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May 28 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness and Education, making an impact locally and globally

by at 1:52 pm

Choosing a cause to back for this assignment was rather difficult, because I feel like I’m involved in a number of causes as a result of my networks with family, friends and acquaintances. I made a list of causes which include:

  2. Stop Global Warming
  3. The House of the Dying in India
  4. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Breast Cancer Foundation

The best example I can think of is my work with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation-not that the other causes are less significant. I just have more experience with this one at several levels. This organization is linked to me in several ways, and therefore sharing with people on a local level and even intimate level has been a lot simpler.

Volunteers working at the Survivor Tent at the 2008 Palm Beach Race for the Cure
Volunteers working at the Survivor Tent at the 2008 Palm Beach Race for the Cure Continue Reading »

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May 28 2009

The Relationship between North Korea and China

by at 12:25 pm

What’s the Impact of the Relationship

Between North Korea and China on the World Networks?

Network and International Development

Reflection Paper #4

Yoon Joung Lee

Answering this question might be the part of my final paper which attempts to find the impact of North Korea in a global level and how the networks function in a relationship between North Korea and the rest of the world.  However, in today’s project, I would focus specifically on the special relationship between North Korea and China and how their relationships impact on the world networks.

There is no relationship in the world history as complicated as the relationship between China and North Korea.  During the Cold War when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were confronted each other as two huge oppositions, socialism countries tended to accept every official opinions other socialism countries made and did not publicly open or study others’ histories or regimes to protect others as they treated each other as family countries.  The relationship between China and the North Korea was not the exception.  Before  the post-Cold war, studying others between these two countries was absolutely prohibited in terms of keeping their blood alliances in the regime of socialism.  Even though there were several relationships being peeled the veils after the post-Cold war, there are still many questions left in the relationship between China and North Korea.

The relationship started when the North Korea government established the People’s Republic of Korea in 1948.  However, collapsing the beginning stage of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in 1990 significantly influenced the entire structure of international communism and caused fatal results in their future movements.  Such impact reached out to the Northeast Asia as well.  Under given situations, North Korea had a chance to have a turning point while they kept an amity with China who placed in one of the powerful socialism countries during the post-Cold War in 1992.

Korea’s friendly-relationships with the Soviet Union and China also contributed to break the balance of the structure formed based on two big oppositions; the United States and the Old Soviet Union.  The Northeast Asia moved toward the time of a new structural change as the U.S. – North Korea Negotiations and Japan-North Korea summit conferences kept holding upon the issue of nuclear.  China now tries to find out the answer about how to embrace North Korea and its current condition as it is.  It’s an attentional issue of the world how China and North Korea correlate to each other, because China is the existing socialism country who can give the most powerful impact on North Korea, and their relationship has a important key to forecast the future path of the international structure of Northeast Asia including North Korea itself who is facing a risk nowadays.

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May 28 2009

Educating Girls in Afghanistan with a Network Approach

by at 10:47 am

Education inarguably is key for human development, yet in many countries this opportunity is specifically denied to girls – sometimes for religious reasons, sometimes for want of laborers. When girls are cut off from education, they are kept in a cycle with fewer opportunities, less access to the legal system, worse health and other deficiencies. Yet providing girls access to education is not as easy as simply opening a school, especially where religious leaders or fundamentalists are determined not to educate women.

Afghan girls in school, courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor

Afghan girls in school, courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor

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