April 22, 2005

Euthanasia - update of previous article on mercy killing and assisted suicide

Euthanasia: "As a care of the dying specialist in the past I have often been asked to kill people - which is euthanasia, mercy killing or assisted suicide.
Sometimes relatives have taken me on one side and told me they cannot bear it any more: 'Isn't there something you can do to end it all?' More often requests for euthanasia have come from those who are ill. I remember visiting a man with lung cancer. He asked his wife to leave the room. As she closed the door he leaned over and grabbed my arm. 'I want to die', he said. 'Please can you give me something.' He felt a burden on his wife and wanted euthanasia for himself. People are often more afraid of the process of dying than of death itself.
The Voluntary Euthanasia Society wants to allow people 'with a severe illness from which no relief is known' to be lawfully killed if they wish. One US euthanasia campaigner has suggested people could be killed on the basis of their previous instructions, even if they now want to live. This is in the case of someone with Alzheimer disease where the person is no longer distressed about memory loss while others are.
Where do you start or stop euthanasia? How advanced must cancer be for euthanasia to be appropriate? How can you be sure? Doctors are often wrong about diagnosis or prognosis. What about other illnesses, dementia, or handicap? Who decides about euthanasia? On what basis do we judge? Are those in pain receiving proper medication? Has every appropriate treatment option been explored?
What is euthanasia? Mercy killing is the literal definition of the word euthanasia.
The hospice movement started in this country because people were dying badly, often in pain. In thirty years over 200 hospices have opened and 240 hospitals now have specialist nurses. Almost 100,000 people each year are visited by home care teams, over half of all those dyin"

April 15, 2005

Outsourcing impact on business, jobs and the economy

Outsourcing impact on business, jobs and the economy

The truth about the speed, scale and unstoppable momentum of outsourcing. What will be the net impact on the American and European economies? How should company executives and union leaders respond? Can or should the process be reversed? Advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing?

Outsourcing is very controversial and affects every part of business from manufacturing through to design, software development, financial control, logistics management, customer support and sales. Outsourcing has been praised as cost-effective, efficient, productive and strategic - but also condemned as evil, money-grabbing, destructive, ruthless, exploiting the poor.

Outsourcing can generate weeks of hostile media coverage, widespread protests and industrial action. The issue is so sensitive that decisions are usually taken behind closed doors at the most senior levels in the organisation, and only announced after much careful research into how the proposals are likely to be received.

If handled badly, outsourcing can damage corporate image, weaken a brand, unsettle customers, and result in lower quality of products and services. But when handled well, the results can be good enough to save a failing corporation.

You have to show why outsourcing is right

(extract from Building a Better Business - book - take the online $20,000 Challenge - relevant to outsourcing, change management, leadership, marketing and motivation)

If you want to save money fast and take everyone with you, you have to convince those involved that the world will be a better place as a result. Take the high moral ground.

A good example of this has been tensions over relocating call-centres and software support from countries like the UK and the US to India . More than 230,000 jobs are bring lost each year in America as a result of outsourcing - but many economists believe that a similar number of new jobs are being created at the same time (see below).

Union members have protested that jobs are being destroyed in an immoral way, not only because communities are hit back home, but also because they argue the new jobs created in other countries pay very little and exploit the poor. They have often driven vigorous campaigns at work and in the media, designed to block the process.

This has happened because many of the corporations concerned have failed to tell a good news story in a convincing way, to explain why outsourcing will result in a better future in a broad sense � not just for shareholders.

So what is the good news story? First you have to tell the bad news, and prepare the ground for how you are going to save the day. Corporations may differ, but when it comes to outsourcing to a developing country, the �better world� promise is nearly always identical.

We need to take urgent action to reduce costs

If we don't run our business efficiently, everyone could lose their jobs

People who have entrusted their life-savings to us (mainly pensioners), will also lose their money

Customers will feel exploited by our high prices, and will go elsewhere

We can easily save costs, save the company, save most people's jobs, keep prices down and offer great service � by relocating some jobs to other, less expensive parts of the world

Highly skilled people are available in some of the poorest nations

Their daily costs of living are lower, and we can pay them less while still enabling them to enjoy a good standard of living � see table

People in these countries really do need our support and investment

Every job we create in these countries can create many others as new money flows into the national economy, and is spent on local goods and services

By investing in these countries, we are also helping them develop into new markets for our own business, which is good for everyone

We are also doing our part to help tackle the greatest moral challenge of our time, which is the growing gap between richest and poorest nations, helping build international peace, prosperity and security for a better future

And so the message continues: In summary, if we continue as we are, the result will be disaster for everyone � customers, workers and the community. If we outsource, the future will be better for all, apart from a few who we deeply regret will lose their jobs for the sake of those who remain. We are deeply indebted to them for the contribution they have made and are committed to their future. We will do all we can to help them find employment elsewhere.

It matters how outsourcing is done

It is harder to argue for outsourcing if the corporation is making record profits, is not facing significant competitor pressures, and is making people redundant against their will.

On the other hand, few labor organisations consistently oppose outsourcing if the corporation is vulnerable, competitor pressures are severe, other companies have already led the way, and if existing workers are being offered voluntary redundancy on reasonably generous terms as well as retraining. And of course, people also want to see assurances that new workers in emerging countries will get an appropriate, fair wage and safe working conditions.

Facts about Outsourcing

Some say that it is wrogn to pay people in India less than the same job would justify in somewhere like the US. However we need to compare not just salaries, but what those salary levels will actually buy in different countries. An IT professional in India may be far better off in terms of lifestyle, even though paid only a third of the US salary. It all depends on exchange rates. The pressures will continue to grow, not just for cost saving, but also for quality, service and speed.

* India produces more than 870,000 new IT graduates a year and produces more than a million engineering graduates a year, plus 16 million others with engineering diplomas. India is leading the way in new areas of pharmaceuticals, biotech, electrical and mechanical engineering. China also.

* One in 5 UK workers at risk from outsourcing have difficulties reading and writing. The UK struggles to turn out just 8,000 IT graduates a year.

* Most outsourcing is by large companies, yet small comopanies provide most jobs in America and Europe, and most of the economic growth. Big companies create headlines but the greatest impact is elsewhere and almost invisible. The UK has 3.3 million companies. If each one takes on just one more person on average, the result would be more than 3 million new jobs, and that is what has happened in the last few years, with unemployment at very low levels despite several million people added to the labour force. Yet 6,000 redundancies at a factory is mistakenly seen as a national crisis.

* Each outsourced job in India can generate work for more than 20 other people as the money flows around the national economy, usually at a far faster rate than in countries like the US.

* When a product is manufactured in China instead of the US or Europe, only a small part of the total retail price lands up in that country. Most is taken as before by the retailer, wholesaler, distribution system, research, design and development teams and company owners as profit. So the impact is less than you might expect.

* Research shows that some of the new economic activity generated in developing countries by oursourcing will generate new demand for goods and services in the country where the jobs have moved from (eg America).

* Outsourcing saves money for corporations which means lower costs for consumers, and higher dividends for pensioners who own 75% of US and UK wealth - that means more money to spend on other things such as local services (meals out, beauty treatments, gardening, decorating etc) and that produces new jobs.

* Outsourcing has meant for example that you can buy a DVD player for less than $100. It is one reason why retail costs of products has halved in many sectors over the last 20 years, allowing for inflation.

* Future economic growth depends on new generations of creative, dynamic entrepreneurs, with good access to venture capital, who will drive national economies through transition.

April 13, 2005

Recent Tsunami could happen again. Tsunami pictures, videos, facts, maps, tables

Risk that recent Tsunami could happen again
Tsunamis in the past, Tsunami facts, history, pictures, charts and photos, Tsunami sattellite images, Tsunami videos, what is a Tsunami and how are Tsunamis caused? How lives can be saved in future.

No one will ever know how many died in the 2004 Tsunami because so many of the towns and villages affected were in remote areas with few records of population. It is possible that more than 200,000 were drowned or buried in mud in just a few minutes. The worst affected areas were close to the earthquake epicentre, but the wave caused destruction as far away as India and Africa (East Coast).

Could Tsunami deaths have been prevented?

Many scientists had been warning of the risks of a severe Tsunami in the region, and continue to warn of future Tsunami risks. The 2004 Tsunami was caused by a major shift in part of a well-known fault line. The result was an increased pressure on other parts of the fault, making further earthquakes more likely.

We never know when a major earthqake will happen. Tsunami waves travel very fast, and it is impossible to provide warnings for those very close to the earthquake zone which generates the wave. However, it is certainly possible to provide other coastal areas further away with adequate time for many people to get out of danger by moving to higher ground.

Tsunami warning systems are now in place across the region most affected in December 2004 and were used during a recent tremor (April 2005). If they had been working earlier, it is possible that many tens of thousands of lives would have been saved.

What is a tsunami?

How are Tsunamis formed? Tsunamis are caused by sudden movement of the sea bed, during an earthquake or volcano. The result is a ripple of waves, just as if you dropped a large stone into a pool. Tsunami waves can travel at over 400 miles an hour through deep ocean, but don't usually cause any trouble at that stage to ships or boats. That's because the water is deep and the waves are long. Ships and boats just rise and fall gently - and may have no idea that a Tsunami wave has just passed beneath them.

However as the wave approaches land, the water becomes more shallow and all the wave energy is concentrated into a very small area. The Tsunami wave slows down and increases in height. It is unusual for the wave to break: more commonly it just looks like a massive tide of water sweeping into the shore. Tsunamis are often called tidal waves, and pictures often show tsunami waves over 30 metres high breaking over the coastline, although the reality is more that the water level rises rapidly, and later falls just as fast.

In the 2004 Tsunami, much of the damage was done by seawater returning to the ocean, and also by a second wave a few minutes after the first.

April 11, 2005

The Future of the Coffee Industry - A new vision by Victor Zwald, President Swiss Coffee Trade Association and Dr Patrick Dixon: "The following is adapted from story written in the Financial Times 27 January 2005 by Elizabeth Rigby:
'Big coffee producers such as Nestle and Kraft have been pressed to introduce a voluntary levy on raw coffee beans as part of a wider move to promote sustainable development. The Worldwide Sustainable Coffee Fund, set up by leading members of the coffee industry, yesterday put forward at an International Coffee Organisation meeting in London a proposal to levy Dollars 1 on every 60kg bag of beans.
Walter Zwald, former president of the Swiss Coffee Trade Association, spearheading the proposal, said the move would raise Dollars 70m a year. 'The money would be split between projects based in producing countries and the promotion of coffee consumption,' he said. The ICO had agreed to explore the proposal and would meet the Coffee Fund team to present a more detailed plan.
The plan has informal backing from 70 per cent of coffee-producing countries. The Coffee Fund first discussed the scheme in 2001 but it was rejected by ICO at that time.
However, the continued fall in coffee prices has prompted a rethink. The ICO estimates that earnings of 50-plus producer countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have dropped from Dollars 10bn a year to Dollars 5.5bn a year since 1998. The scheme will focus on the mainstream market rather than just the fair-trade segment of the industry, which makes up only 2 per cent of coffee production.
'This is all part of a conversation about sustainable coffee production and human justice,' said Patrick Dixon, chairman of Global Change Limited and a speaker at the ICO conference. 'We know these issues are complex but they have to be solved. The oil i"
Venture Capital - Digital technology, biotech and other growth sectors - event for Vaekstfonden by Dr Patrick Dixon

Venture Capital Investment - in high tech / biotech companies. Risks and opportunities. Event for 500 bankers, analysts, private equity investors, business angels, start-ups, entrepreneurs, venture capital fund managers, scientists, government leaders and media - for Vaekstfonden, Denmark
Building a Better Business $20,000 challenge

Enter the Building a Better Business $20,000 challenge
Building a Better Business - by Building a Better World

Building a Better Business - new book by Dr Patrick Dixon published 11 April 2005 by Profile Books

“One of the most stimulating and challenging reads in this field for a very long time” Sir Digby Jones, Director General, Confederation of British Industry

“A really helpful guide to success.” Brent Hoberman , co-founder and CEO lastminute.com

Order Building a Better Business NOW - get big discount off normal price of $19 / £9-99

Enter the $20,000 Building a Better Business Challenge - no purchase necessary - anyone can try.

Read press reviews

Building a Better Business back cover text:

An intensely practical and inspirational guide on how to make great things happen in your business and personal life, by Dr Patrick Dixon , ranked as one of the 50 most influential business thinkers alive today. How to create greater passion for your business, by building a better world for you, your customers, workers and their families, shareholders, communities and those beyond. Building a Better Business is about how you can get:

Better leadership
Better people and teams
Better brands and marketing
Better customer relations
Better corporate image
Better innovation and strategy
Better change management
Better work-life balance
Better corporate governance

“A perfect summary of all important factors that contribute to success in business and private life” Robert Salzl, CEO Arabella Hotel Holding International

“Resonates instantly with one’s own personal and business experience” Paul O’Toole, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland

“Excellent management books should spur you into action. This one does! Thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing” Lord Leitch, Chairman of the Employment Panel and former Chairman of the Association of British Insurers

“A message that every business leader needs to listen to and turn into action. A must-read for those who care about our common future” Professor Derek Abell, Dean, European School of Management and Techology

“A cracking good read, full of practical insights that will change your business life and understanding fundamentally” Paul Williams , CEO MLS Business Centres

* 50% of the author's receipts from sale of this book will be used to support AIDS care and prevention programmes in Africa and Asia

April 09, 2005

Building a Better Business - reviews of book by Dr Patrick Dixon

Press reviews of Building a Better Business - guide to marketing, management and motivation

"THE bookshelves are heaving with texts about how to improve your business and it"s not always that much fun for us having to wade through them on your behalf. However, Building a Better Business by Patrick Dixon, comes with a glowing testimonial from none other than Sir Digby Jones, director general of the CBI. According to the author many companies could increase their productivity by more than 10% by "re-discovering their real purpose". He says there is a "motivational crisis" in business in the UK and Ireland .

Mr Dixon puts forward a five-point plan to bring about a radical change in business thinking: 1. Reconnect with your true purpose; 2. Focus far more on the good the company does; 3. Take a wider view - what else can the company do?; 4. Connect with the passions of you staff and customers; 5. Put your money with your mouth is. He backs up his philosophies with case studies and research although statistics can, of course, be interpreted in different ways.

Mr Dixon has a heavyweight reputation in the business world with the Wall Street Journal hailing him as a "global change guru Sir Digby described it as "one of the most stimulating and challenging reads in this field for a very long time."

Daily Post 6 April 2005

April 02, 2005

Media coverage - Dr Patrick Dixon's Futurewise, The Truth about Drugs and other books / issues relating to the future: "Recent coverage: Daily Telegraph - increasing profits by 10% by connecting with passion - and the $20,000 challenge, Financial Times - Push for Coffee Bean Levy - following speech at the World Coffee Organization: Daily Post (Liverpool) - 5 steps to a better business, TImes of India - the Spirit of Success, Borsen (Denmark equivalent of Financial Times) - how to create a better business, Lisbon press - the need for innovation in marketing, Vida Economica - Portugal, Times of Malta - marketing trends, Borsen - the need for innovation in industrial design, The Herald - handwriting demise in a techno-age, press in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Portugal on a range of issues, El Cronista Commercial (Spain) - the top 50 most influential business thinkers, Diario Economico, Portugal - innovation in marketing, ABA Banking Journal - Working for nothing - lessons for corporates from non-profits, Talk Radio on stem cell research, Daily Telegraph, Moral Maze (BBC Radio 4) - should politicians have to resign over personal indiscretions? Channel 4 News - next generation mobile phones. Daily Mail - human / animal hybrids. Daily Mail - salmon that spawn trout. Guardian - future of CDs and music downloading, MP3 and file-sharing. On cloning: Sunday Times (Perth), Irish Times, Daily Mail, Courier-Mail, The Sun, Western Daily Press, The Herald, The Scotsman, The Times, Scottish Daily Record, The Mirror, Times of Zambia. "