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Business and society

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Business and society


American business is in dire straits and the blame is being heaped on its leadership or, more aptly, the lack thereof. There are probably no fewer business leaders today than there were 50 years ago. There is not a shortage of good people, but maybe a lack of the right kind of people. People with the skills necessary to drive companies forward in a thoroughly different and rapidly changing world. I feel a leader should have several essential attributes:

' Trust. Leaders must be trustworthy, and they must trust their people, also.

' Vision. The nuts and bolts of running a business. Leaders must know where they want the company to be in the future. Also, get the whole company to share that vision. Leaders have to set the direction and get the company headed that way.

' Commitment. There will always be disloyalty among employees, but leaders need to seen as caring and nurturing.

' Integrity. A leader can't lack integrity and still have people follow. Leaders must have values. They must have dedication to do what is right. The values of an organization are manifested on what a leader does.

' Creative Ability. Leaders must be positive. Always looking for possibilities, not perfection. This means that they must be open to different ways of doing things.

' Communication. A good leader is in constant communication with his or her people. He or she makes the rounds and knows what's going on. Telling his people everything he can about what he knows and doesn't know.

' Risk Taking. It is essential to be open to possibilities, and to question assumptions. Always allow people to be innovative without the fear of failure.


AIDS is one of the most pervasive and difficult workplace issues. The community, not only for their life-style, rejects people with AIDS but also because the disease is incurable. AIDS is an acronym for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, a disease caused by a virus that attacks the body's ability to fight off infection. It now comes to be called HIV, human immunodeficiency virus. If a person is tested positive with the antibodies they are designated HIV+. It is presumable they have been exposed or have acquired the AIDS virus.

The increase presence of AIDS in the workplace has crystallized a number of concerns for both employers and employees. However, Title I of the American with Disabilities Act covers those infected. The Act prohibits discriminating against individual with AIDS.

States have different employment laws that apply to those infected. An employer can terminate someone from a job only if they cannot perform the essential tasks required for with that job. The employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the individual's needs and requirements. Accommodation cannot be made if it will cause hardship to the business.


Affirmative action was created 30 years age as a remedy for the under use of minority and female human resources in the workplace and classroom. The term refers to active measures and passive nondiscrimination, as means of increasing the recruitment of minorities and ensuring equal opportunity. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most comprehensive statute on civil rights ever enacted in the United States, banning discrimination in employment, voting, public accommodation, public education and all federal assisted programs.

Executive Order 11246 requires that employers with federal contracts worth more than $50,000 and 50 or more employees have written affirmative action plans. Affirmative action was once a bright synonym for equality of opportunity. In recent years, it has been entered the political lexicon, as a sinister euphemism for reverse discrimination, a bitterly divisive issue.

In recent years, affirmative action has appeared in politics. Most politicians' support either eliminating or revising it, including President Clinton, who supports a reform version of affirmative action. Changes have already begun in some states and will spread across the nation. Some critics view affirmative action as a departure from the principles of meritocracy and individual striving. Also they feel as a policy it primarily hurts white men.

With all the demographic changes occurring in our nation, it may be time to change affirmative action. The achievements of it have been great, but the premises that underlie it have changed and may require revising. The focus on affirmative action may provide with an opportunity to shift to affirming diversity.


Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) a victim of age discrimination in entitled to be ' made whole', being placed in the position that he or she would have been in but for the discrimination. The act protects workers between the ages 40 and 70 from arbitrary age discrimination in employment. The ADEA encompasses issues of hiring, firing, pay, promotion and fringe benefits. In recent years, more and more employees have been filing grievances under ADEA. Faced with expensive pensions and health costs, companies are trying to find ways to minimize their burden.

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) is an act that prohibits discrimination based on age in connection with all employee benefits programs. Older workers get the same benefits as the younger workers. Companies can ask outgoing workers to sign a waiver, not to sue for age discrimination. A company faces an indefinite future of court-mandated payments and damages if they are found guilty of violating age discrimination regulations.


The American ideology is base on capitalism. A capitalistic system is a system in which the means of production are privately owned. The market operates to guide production and distribute income. The terms free or private enterprise are used interchangeably with capitalism.

The theory of capitalism is founded on two fundamental assumptions. One, people are capable of understanding the natural order of the universe. Two, the role of government in economy can and should be limited. These two barriers led economist to believe that all artificial barriers affect our economic behavior. If government or monopolists who enjoyed unnatural powers in the marketplace did not interfere, the market would benefit everyone in society.

All activities in a free enterprise must return a profit. However, free enterprise is never totally pure. Every nation has values and goals that place it on a continuum between free enterprise and a planned economy. Each determines where it lays on the continuum by the priority it gives to specific values and goals.


It is never too early or too late to start planning for retirement. Definitely, early is better. Starting any time is better than not starting at all. A large number of people are not saving and investing, as they should. The more a person saves now, the more options they will have later. Maybe a person won't be able to stop working completely, but they will not have to work as hard later. The dream of having a financially secure future is attainable, but there are a lot of sacrifices. To begin building a realistic financial plan that will allow you to retire with enough money, start with five basic dynamics:

1. Where do I stand now? That includes your personal savings and investments, your pension plans and your income prospects until retirement, as well as your debts and spending patterns.

2. How much money you'll need to retire? Figure that you'll need about eighty percent of your income to maintain your lifestyle after your regular paychecks stop.

3. Where will that money come from? Your regular paychecks.

4. How much time remains until retirement? Your strategy to achieve ...

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