J.E. Rischard, the World-Bank's Vice President Capstone Project

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¶ … J.E. Rischard, the World-Bank's vice president for Europe, the next twenty years will be the most important for the world's survival. Two major issues concern everyone -- the precipitous population growth and the new economy. The world will be going from 6 billion people today to about 8 billion by 2020-2025 in less than one generation. Second, a world-wide economic revolution focused on markets and very inexpensive technologies has changed societies and led to greater dislocations than ever before. Earlier industrialized nations had to learn how to deal with transforming energy and materials. Now the emphasis is on time and distance. This new economy rewards efficiency and speed, global networking, continuous learning, and total reliability. Any organization that cannot compete will have a difficult time surviving.

Coming in tandem with these two major changes are specific issues that cannot be solved by any one nation state by itself. Environmental issues include greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, biodiversity losses, fisheries depletion, water shortages and poverty.

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In early human development, when there was little interaction between countries, civic responsibility meant assisting a person's separate community or nation. Those days are now completely over. The world is becoming smaller and flatter with free markets and rapid technological developments. No longer does any society have the option of turning its back on these issues and expecting them to be solved by others. These concerns are world wide and highly complex and must be responded to in a collaborative, integrated fashion. This means that countries must drop their ethnocentrism and imperialistic viewpoints and work together. This does not necessitate that countries lose their identity or dissolve their strong working unit. There can be diversity at the same time as a world community.

Capstone Project on J.E. Rischard, the World-Bank's Vice President for Assignment

Specifically, this necessitates that the United States can not see itself as more advanced, more powerful or knowledgeable. Like any other nation, it will have both its strengths and weaknesses. It must offer others its strengths, and let them help the U.S. with their advantages. Singer notes that "we should be developing the ethical foundations of the coming era of a single world community...There is one great obstacle to further progress in this direction. It has to be said, in cool but plain language, that in recent years the international effort to build a global community has been hampered by the repeated failure of the United States to play its part."

Similarly, in the past, nation states used such words as "society" and "culture" to define their own entities. To confront these coming challenges, the world must once again broaden these words as human society and human culture. It is necessary to find the underlying similarities and interconnections and use these going forward.

In Singer's view, global connectivity is an imperative that even the strongest and richest countries cannot ignore. For instance, some countries' actions have led to global warming more than others. However, the future of the world cannot be an "us" versus "them" scenario. What is impacting one country is impacting them all. Equitable fairness must be the approach.

Ethics:

In his book Banker to the Poor, Mohammed Yunus stresses that capitalism need not be based on greed. Rather, it can be structured on social consciousness. Companies do not lose out in this scenario -- they just improve the situation for others as they grow their success and become larger organizations.

From the earliest of times, there always have been instances of business abuse. In the United States, the billionaires, often called "robber barons," profited by exploitation. Leland Stanford, a California governor and American senator, leveraged his political associations to pass state pass laws that banned competition for his Central Pacific railroad (Burton 22).

More recently, the United States has experienced continued examples of company actions for personal gain. The fraud at WorldCom was the largest securities fraud in history. It involved accounting for operating costs as capital expenditures and inflating profits and cash flow statements. The transfers reached $3.8 billion for in 2001 and the first quarter of 2002. In addition, the country experienced the rise and fall of inside-traders like Ivan Boesky and the additional corporate ethics incidents at Enron and Arthur Andersen.

After the Enron case, numerous companies "promised" to look at their own inside ethics. Some reviewed their ethical codes already written and distributed to employees and made sure they were understood and followed. Some wrote new codes, but only paid lip service to their distribution and understanding and acceptance by the employees. Others kept status quo and did not add anything to their policies regarding ethical concerns. Some wrote their new ethics standards and ensured that they were being incorporated into everyday work environments.

In general, the ethical makeup of an organization will mirror the upper management inclinations if that leader is integrated into the life of the company. However, this does not mean that the "buck stops here." The company has a responsibility to its board and stockowners, as well as its employees. However, this is not a laissez faire responsibility. nor, is this a one-way situation. The board of directors and the employees, themselves, are responsible for following ethical behavior regardless of what the company puts or does not put in its HR manual. They are also responsible for reporting any unethical behavior they see. They are just as culpable when keeping quiet as the individual who commits the fraud.

As Kenneth Andrews once said:

We are dependent for ethically adequate business decisions, it is clear, on judgments made by individuals. Men and women in positions of responsibility are ordinarily well educated and of considerable intelligence. They are unguided...by universally accepted criteria for distinguishing right for wrong in situations clouded by ambiguity, incomplete information and multiplicity of point-of-view.

These are difficult times for the consumer to try and keep companies "straight." At any one time, a person could be boycotting half of his or her usual products, if not more, for the way that employees or vendors are treated or how a company produces its products. When going into a department store or supermarket, many consumers wonder how it purchases the products, or treats the animals in the process of food production, or hires the people to manufacture the clothes or sell the items. Yet the proliferation of global chains and increasing reliance on overseas workers has led to a situation where Americans cannot keep up with all the boycotting and negative information about the brands on their normal shopping list. It is easy to see how this can lead to a defeatist attitude by the consumer.

The mindset needs to be reversed. Consumers should be looking toward companies who are placing ethics first and providing clear evidence, not lip service of doing so. The higher the expectations of the consumer, it is hoped the higher the reach of the companies. For example, these days, any company sourcing supplies from countries known for worker exploitation raises consumer concern due to the possibility of human rights violations. Most clothing, footwear and technology companies rely on factories throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa where workers have worked for low pay and were not allowed to organize unions. However, over the past several years, companies have begun to collaborate on this tough issue with international and national institutions, non-governmental organizations, and labor groups. Nike, which was once one of the worst offenders in this area, is now encouraging improvements. For instance, it is creating strong human resources management at the factory level to tackle excessive overtime. Nike wants factory owners to see the benefits of lowering turnover and investing in workers, in order to the point where the worker is not seen as a commodity but as a valuable asset to the manufacturing process. Nike is one of five consumer companies considered one of the top 100 best corporate citizens for 2007.

Interdisciplinary

Interdisciplinary education was defined by Shoemaker as."..education that is organized in such a way that it cuts across subject-matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association to focus upon broad areas of study. It views learning and teaching in a holistic way and reflects the real world, which is interactive" (5). Similarly, Humphreys Post, and Ellis (11) stated that "an integrated study is one in which students broadly explore knowledge in various subjects related to certain aspects of their environment."

These educators recognize the strong linkages among the arts and humanities, math and sciences, and social sciences and history. The acquisition of new skills and learning are developed and applied in several areas of study. Under this structure, there are a number of varied levels of integration, as illustrated by Palmer (59), who describes developing the following: 1) cross-curriculum sub-objectives within a given curriculum guide; 2) model lessons to consist of cross-curricular activities and assessments;

3) enrichment activities that have cross-curricular emphasis including recommendations for cross-curricular contacts with each objective; 4) assessment activities that are cross-curricular in nature; and 5) representative planning wheels in all curriculum guides.

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