Simple Cruise Tips for Seniors

Cruise travel is a popular form of vacation travel among seniors. Each year, over 70% of cruises are enjoyed by people who are over age 55. Here are some practical suggestions that can help seniors make the most of their cruise travel.

Start with a short cruise

If you are new to cruise travel, “test the waters” by choosing a short 3-4 day cruise to see if you like the experience or not. Be flexible with your travel dates to receive a good discount.

Research in advance

Look over various shore excursions to see which ones are interesting and book them ahead of time so you will not miss out.

Seek senior discounts

Almost all cruises offer various types of discounts to cruise travelers. For example, there are often special drink packages. It may be a good idea to buy a soft drink package if you are traveling with grandchildren.

Pick a smaller ship

Though small ships offer fewer dining and entertainment options, they are less crowded and many offer excursions that focus on the history and culture of a region. A small ship often visits more remote ports that big ships normally cannot.

Purchase insurance

Most cruise lines will not allow you to cancel close to your departure date. If you are booking a long cruise that costs thousands of dollars, it is a good idea to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Use a packing checklist

A packing checklist will ensure you bring everything you need. You can simply Google online to find many cruise packing checklists.

Arrive at the departure port a day ahead of time

Plan your trip well to avoid booking a flight to arrive on the same date that your ship departs. You will be in trouble if the flight gets delayed for some reason. So plan to arrive a day earlier to avoid rushes and unexpected delays.

Watch for your phone usage

Put your phone in airplane mode to avoid being charged unnecessary roaming fees. Using the ship marine satellite service can be very expensive and you will receive some surprise bills, so limit yourself unless you can use land cellular signals.

Avoid overscheduling

Limit your onboard activities and excursions. Do not exhaust yourself by planning too many activities and shore excursions, premium dining experiences, and so forth. Cruises are supposed to be relaxing and fun so be selective in scheduling your days.

Source by Richard Hsu

Business Gift Baskets

Business gift baskets are an ideal way to recognize an employee’s talent or to make a good impression on your clients. A company can also customize these gift baskets according to the occasion and budget. Business gift baskets can be filled with chocolates, coffee hampers, cookies, wines, champagne, caviar and so forth. Most gift suppliers also design theme-based gift baskets, like exotic fruit baskets, wine baskets, cabernet and cheese baskets, gourmet baskets, chocolate baskets, sweets and snacks baskets, and so forth.

A business house may award business gift baskets to its employees on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, or as a token of appreciation after a promotion or at the time of retirement. Some businesses occasionally send gifts baskets to their associates and clients, either to promote their products or merely as a goodwill gesture.

However, one should always follow certain conventions while sending gift baskets to clients, and take into consideration the etiquette and corporate policies followed by the client company to avoid unnecessary hassles. Some companies follow strict policies regarding gifts, wherein a company might be forbidden to accept any gifts at all, or some clients might have restrictions regarding the valuation of gifts.

Therefore, before sending a gift to the client, one should ask the client directly or contact the personnel department to find out about the limitations and guidelines followed by the company. An appropriate business gift or gift basket can truly boost an employee’s morale and can also help cultivate positive business relationships.

Source by Kent Pinkerton

Type of Maintenance Activities Required for Church Software

The use of computers for religious activity has become common with time; today different types of church management software are used for administration in churches. This usually involves software that would maintain a database of the members, donors, financial transactions, events to be conducted and a lot more. They are not only an efficient way to store and perform sophisticated functions on the data but also a quick way to get reports in form of graphs.

Once you purchase software, you may find difficulties handling it, especially if you are not a computer literate. So the question is – What you need to do for handling the software you purchased in an efficient manner and how will you receive the support you need?

Here is something that will answer the above question.

Free Support

  • Free support and maintenance are provided by most of the charity management software.
  • The customer support services are provided by the technical expert through email, calls, chats, and letters.
  • The website from where you have purchased software for your church may also have webinars, video tutorials, etc. to give a practical demo of how to utilize the church software. The free support is limited for a period of usually three months. The software providers deliver introduction guide which contains start-up instructions. In small software where minimum operations are performed, it is enough for understanding the working of the software.
  • Some of the software providers also offer manuals having in-depth details of every aspect that may be in pdf or physical form.
  • The treasurers, secretaries, and administrators are assisted through an online forum where they can hold one to one conversations with the experts regarding the financial, accounting, gift aid, etc. functionalities of charity management software.

Paid Support

Once your free support trail is expired you will have to pay for the support and maintenance which can either be a monthly or yearly contract or a pay per service.

  1. Contract Basis – It is a cheaper way of dealing as you have to pay a fixed amount monthly or yearly. This is the best option if you are dealing with huge database and your church has multitasking software used by a number of users. This type of service is based on volumes of operations that you may not be able to perform simultaneously. When you need an assistant for a long span of time, let’s say for hours, signing a contract is appropriate.
  2. Pay Per Service- The software vendor will charge you for every call or email assistance offered. It is usually the case when you need some technical support for an issue that is rare to occur. Such services cost according to the response time i.e. if you need immediate assistance, you have to pay more whereas when you wait for your turn which can be anytime in the whole day, the service is cheap.

Training

The vendors also give training for using their church software and charity management system that may be available remotely or through physical interaction. Training sessions are conducted for one to four hours depending on the need of the trainee. The training typically is given in areas such as finance, donation and gift aid, membership, etc. according to the software. The classes are performed using laptop or desktop. The courses undertaken make the trainee perfect for handling software they are performing the duty of financial coordinator, donation coordinator, membership coordinator, treasurer etc.

The church management software package has revolutionized the process of administration in the church. They reduce the error made during the manual handling and also the database is not just in one hand, it is accessible to everyone in the community.

Source by Stephen Hendy

Digital Versus Traditional Photography

There is an ongoing explanation about digital photography and traditional photography and which of the two is better. Actually, both have strong and weak points. They are also interconnected, since new media (digital photography) starts out as traditional media. In reality, there never really should be an argument because digital photography is really just another photographic form.

To better understand each photography form, it is best what makes each one different from the other.

The Strong Points of Traditional or Film Photography

  • In general context, traditional photography is easier and more convenient, especially money-wise. Equipment for film photography is less expensive. You do not need to buy a lot of paraphernalia. The basic ones that you need are affordable and easy to find. Also, you do not need power or electricity to get your film camera working.
  • You do not need to keep changing or "upgrading" your cameras every six months or so. Some traditional photographers have had their cameras with them for more than five years.
  • Majority of film photographers like the rich colors that show up in their photos naturally. The photos have a more distinct appearance; A good grainy look that's favored by a lot of photographers. Of course this can be done with digital photos, but only with the help of an editing program like Photoshop.
  • Traditional photography works with an expansive dynamic range. Although there are now digital cameras with 35mm resolution, film cameras are still way ahead in this sector. This allows you to come up with photos that show every color and detail, not ones that turns bright images into toned down versions.
  • Black and white images come out immaculately better when filmed with a traditional SLR camera. They're more detailed and striking.
  • It is still better to shoot with cameras that come with a reasonably sized viewfinder. There are digital SLRs that only have LCD screens and no viewfinders. It takes the fun out of photography!
  • Most digital point and shoot cameras (not the high-end digital SLRs) have a delay, which you call a "shutter lag". With film cameras, this is not an issue, so it is easy to take photos of subjects in action.
  • Finally, the darkroom. Many traditional photographers swear that there is nothing quite like watching your own photos develop. The fact that you use your hands for developing your images makes the photos more personal.
  • Darkroom film development provides a certain kind of thumbprint on your work; Therefore making every photo you take a unique creation. A mark of a true artist.

The Advantages of Digital Photography

  • The largest advantage of using a digital camera is instant feedback. You do not need to go into the darkroom and wait for the photos to develop. Seconds after taking a shot, you'll see your photo. And if you do not like what you see, you can delete the photo and then take another shot of the same subject.
  • You do not need to keep buying films. You can take photos whenever and where you want to. You also do not have to worry about ruined shots that you get to see only after the photos have been developed. As stated in the previous paragraph, you can see your photos and choose to edit or delete it right after taking the shot.
  • The films used in traditional cameras allow you to take a limited number of shots, depending on what type of film you have. With digital cameras, you can take as many pictures as you want. You do not need to put in a new roll of film every time you see something that captures your photographic eye.
  • Finally, because digital cameras are actually electronic images, it is easier to share your photos with friends and loved ones. All you need to do is post and / or share them to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr pages. You can also attach it in your email messages. No need for you to have them scanned before sharing.
  • Your digital photos are also easy to edit and enhance. Once you save them into your computer, you can crop your photos, add captions or frame them. You can also minimize blur or get rid of red eyes.

Now that each photographic form has been laid out in detail, it is easier to choose which one is best for your needs. However, it should be considered that digital photography still requires photographers to develop some skills and theories that can only be learned through traditional photography. So, in essence, you also need to know basic traditional photography in order to take really good digital camera photos.

Source by Michael Gabriel L. Sumastre

How a Private Investigator Could Help Improve Your Retail Business

If you're the manager or owner of a retail company, you'll know how important the customer-facing role of a shop assistant can be. When it comes to your customers, interaction with your staff could make or break their first impression of your business – and a good first impression could secure future visits.

In any business, building meaningful relationships with clients is what will set you apart from your competitors and enable you to deliver a memorable service. But when that service is memorable for all the wrong reasons, that impact on your customer could have been detrimental to the success of your business as a whole.

The saying goes: a customer who has had a good experience will tell one person, whereas a customer who's had a bad one will tell ten. This may be a generalization, but there is truth behind the statement. The power of reputation is undeniable, and with complaint platforms more accessible than ever, yours could make or break your business.

If you have multiple staff in your employ, it may be difficult for you to keep track of how they are all performing – especially if you own multiple retail outlets. Even with a manager in house, you can not always trust someone else to share your personal vision of how your company should deliver customer service.

This is why many business owners and managers enlist the help of so-called 'mystery shoppers' to allow them to see how their employees perform when they are not around. A mystery shopper can provide you with a full report of their experience as a 'customer' in your retail outlet, as well as the performance of individual employees.

Mystery shopping services are also delivered by private investigators that will go above and beyond to provide you with proof of their experience in store. This may come in the form of photographic or DVD evidence, or both, along with a comprehensive written report of their findings.

The reason many professional business owners opt for private investigators to keep an eye on their staff is that they are highly experienced in covert surveillance, so are discreet and will appear natural. They are also able to offer high-tech equipment, which will provide you with watertight evidence of your employees' behavior.

The service can prove especially useful if you suspect an employee of breaking the terms of their contract or of stealing from the business. A personal investigator could provide you with enough evidence to follow through with clinical action.

Mystery shopping can also be incredibly valuable for staff training, showing your retail environment in action. You will be able to help employees to see where they are excelling in their performance, and where they may need to improve.

Some private investigators can also conduct test purchases on behalf of business owners to establish evidence of brand infringement or the sale of counterfeit goods. Many PIs perform these services at trade shows, markets and retail outlets in order to obtain evidence of wrongdoing.

If you're interested in enlisting the help of a private investigator, start by searching online to find a private detective agency in your area. You will need to make sure that the company offers some sort of mystery shopping service, so call to speak to an advisor if you can not see this service listed on their website.

Before committing to anything, be sure to read through the company's privacy policy and terms and conditions. You will want to make sure that your information is handled in the strictest confidence. It's best to discuss your concerns with an adviser to gain insight into how private investigators operate.

Source by Mark Parfitt

MBA Online – How To Choose The Right School

Fortunately, you can get your MBA online.

There are many reasons to get your degree through the Internet. For example, you can study at your own home and you will not have to move somewhere else. You may also have more freedom to continue working at your job and spend more time with your family and friends. For many people, studying through an Internet program is a great option.

When you study for your Masters in Business Administration, you will learn many different valuable skills. For example, you can learn about finance, accounting, management, human resources, and marketing. Some programs will allow you to specialize in a single area, while others may have a more broad approach.

When selecting a school through the Internet, there are several things that you will need to look for. One of the most important features to look out for is accreditation. You should not attend any school unless it has been fully accredited and you should ensure that your chosen program is also accredited.

To ensure that you select the best school for your needs, you should look at the types of classes that are on offer. Try to select a school that teachers classes which interest you. You should also research what the learning experience will be like. Find out what kind of technology is used to deliver your lectures and if the schedules are flexible.

You can learn a lot by getting your MBA online and get an edge over your competition in the job market. Be sure to consider all of your choices before choosing a school.

Source by John G White

The Actor As A Product

An actor is a product as much as anything that is marked on the Internet. If an Internet marketer does not move a certain product, or attract buyers he or she will change strategies. There is tons of advice on the Internet for sale or for free about marketing your product, but not a lot about marketing actors. If the public does not buy a product on the Internet no matter what you do to sell it, then it is a money-loser. If an actor can not generate dollars for the producer he is a money-loser.

If you take a stroll down the list of A Hollywood actors, you will find varying degrees of acting school ability, but soonless these actors are all on Hollywood's A list because they command top dollars and they command top dollars because there is a reasonable expectation that They will put bums in the seats, which is the only thing that matters in Show Business. Acting ability as judged by a drama teacher is far different than the acting ability as judged by the market place. Confusion for the actor happens when he or she buys the whole acting as an interpretative art form. While it absolutely is an interpretative art form, I would suggest that the audience is the true judge about what is good or what is not.

There is a lot of disdain from those in the acting profession for those actors who are making a lot of money and what that really means is that there is a lot of disdain for the audience that pays to see these players. In Canada, there is a whole industry dedicated to supporting non-commercial theater and film. This increases the superior complexity of players who would not draw flies on the open market. Real actors who make fans of the public, are looked down upon because they are popular, which is exactly what happened in Shakespeare's day, when the intellectuals looked down on him for his popular plays.

An actor as product is what humanity demands. It does not demand secret cults of acting that does not meet the demands of the marketplace. An actor should learn to find his lessons in the audience. In a live theater or a movie theater, there are seats reserved for the most important participant in the performance, the most important judge. These seats are reserved for those that will make or break your career; The audience.

Source by Charles G. Robertson

The Effects Of Balance Of Trade Surplus And Deficit On A Country’s Economy

INTRODUCTION

It is in no doubt that balance of trade which is sometimes symbolized as (NX) is described as the Difference between the monetary value of export and import of output in an economy over a certain period. It could also been seen as the relationship between the nation’s import and exports. When the balance has a positive indication, it is termed a trade surplus, i.e. if it consists of exporting more than is imported and a trade deficit or a trade gap if the reverse is the case. The Balance of trade is sometimes divided into a goods and a service balance. It encompasses the activity of exports and imports. It is expected that a country who does more of exports than imports stands a big chance of enjoying a balance of trade surplus in its economy more than its counterpart who does the opposite.

Economists and Government bureaus attempt to track trade deficits and surpluses by recording as many transactions with foreign entities as possible. Economists and Statisticians collect receipts from custom offices and routinely total imports, exports and financial transactions. The full accounting is called the ‘Balance of Payments’- this is used to calculate the balance of trade which almost always result in a trade surplus or deficit.

Pre-Contemporary understanding of the functioning of the balance of trade informed the economic policies of early modern Europe that are grouped under the heading ‘mercantilism’.

Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and military security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Its main purpose was to increase a nation’s wealth by imposing government regulation concerning all of the nation’s commercial interest. It was believed that national strength could be maximized by limiting imports via tariffs and maximizing export. It encouraged more exports and discouraged imports so as to gain trade balance advantage that would eventually culminate into trade surplus for the nation. In fact, this has been the common practice of the western world in which they were able to gain trade superiority over their colonies and third world countries such as Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and other countries in Africa and some parts of the world. This is still the main reason why they still enjoy a lot of trade surplus benefit with these countries up till date. This has been made constantly predominant due to the lack of technical-know how and capacity to produce sufficient and durable up to standard goods by these countries, a situation where they solely rely on foreign goods to run their economy and most times, their moribund industries are seen relying on foreign import to survive.

What is Trade Surplus?

Trade Surplus can be defined as an Economic measure of a positive balance of trade where a country’s export exceeds its imports. A trade surplus represents a net inflow of domestic currency from foreign markets and is the opposite of a trade deficit, which would represent a net outflow.

Investopedia further explained the concept of trade surplus as when a nation has a trade surplus; it has control over the majority of its currency. This causes a reduction of risk for another nation selling this currency, which causes a drop in its value, when the currency loses value, it makes it more expensive to purchase imports, causing an even a greater imbalance.

A Trade surplus usually creates a situation where the surplus only grows (due to the rise in the value of the nation’s currency making imports cheaper). There are many arguments against Milton Freidman’s belief that trade imbalance will correct themselves naturally.

What is Trade Deficit?

Trade Deficit can be seen as an economic measure of negative balance of trade in which a country’s imports exceeds its export. It is simply the excess of imports over exports. As usual in Economics, there are several different views of trade deficit, depending on who you talk to. They could be perceived as either good or bad or both immaterial depending on the situation. However, few economists argue that trade deficits are always good.

Economists who consider trade deficit to be bad believes that a nation that consistently runs a current account deficit is borrowing from abroad or selling off capital assets -long term assets-to finance current purchases of goods and services. They believe that continual borrowing is not a viable long term strategy, and that selling long term assets to finance current consumption undermines future production.

Economists who consider trade deficit good associates them with positive economic development, specifically, higher levels of income, consumer confidence, and investment. They argue that trade deficit enables the United States to import capital to finance investment in productive capacity. Far from hurting employment as may be earlier perceived. They also hold the view that trade deficit financed by foreign investment in the United States help to boost U.S employment.

Some Economists view the concept of trade deficit as a mere expression of consumer preferences and as immaterial. These economists typically equate economic well being with rising consumption. If consumers want imported food, clothing and cars, why shouldn’t they buy them? That ranging of Choices is seen as them as symptoms of a successful and dynamic economy.

Perhaps the best and most suitable view about Trade deficit is the balanced view. If a trade deficit represents borrowing to finance current consumption rather than long term investment, or results from inflationary pressure, or erodes U.S employment, then it’s bad. If a trade deficit fosters borrowing to finance long term investment or reflects rising incomes, confidence and investment-and doesn’t hurt employment-then it’s good. If trade deficit merely expresses consumer preference rather than these phenomena, then it should be treated as immaterial.

How does a Trade surplus and Deficit Arise?

A trade surplus arises when countries sell more goods than they import. Conversely, trade deficits arise when countries import more than they export. The value of goods and services imported more exported is recorded on the country’s version of a ledger known as the ‘current account’. A positive account balance means the nation carries a surplus. According to the Central Intelligence Agency Work fact book, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, And Iran are net Creditors Nations. Examples of countries with a deficit or ‘net debtor’ nations are United States, Spain, the United Kingdom and India.

Difference between Trade Surplus and Trade Deficit

A country is said to have trade surplus when it exports more than it imports. Conversely, a country has a trade deficit when it imports more than it exports. A country can have an overall trade deficit or surplus. Or simply have with a specific country. Either Situation presents problems at high levels over long periods of time, but a surplus is generally a positive development, while a deficit is seen as negative. Economists recognize that trade imbalances of either sort are common and necessary in international trade.

Competitive Advantage of Trade Surplus and Trade Deficit

From the 16th and 18th Century, Western European Countries believed that the only way to engage in trade were through the exporting of as many goods and services as possible. Using this method, Countries always carried a surplus and maintained large pile of gold. Under this system called the ‘Mercantilism’, the concise encyclopedia of Economics explains that nations had a competitive advantage by having enough money in the event a war broke out so as to be able to Self-sustain its citizenry. The interconnected Economies of the 21st century due to the rise of Globalization means Countries have new priorities and trade concerns than war. Both Surpluses and deficits have their advantages.

Trade Surplus Advantage

Nations with trade surplus have several competitive advantage s by having excess reserves in its Current Account; the nation has the money to buy the assets of other countries. For Instance, China and Japan use their Surpluses to buy U.S bonds. Purchasing the debt of other nations allows the buyer a degree of political influence. An October 2010 New York Times article explains how President Obama must consistently engage in discussions with China about its $28 Billion deficit with the country. Similarly, the United States hinges its ability to consume on China’s continuing purchase of U.S assets and cheap goods. Carrying a surplus also provides a cash flow with which to reinvest in its machinery, labour force and economy. In this regard, carrying a surplus is akin to a business making a profit-the excess reserves create opportunities and choices that nations with debts necessarily have by virtue of debts and obligations to repay considerations.

Trade Deficits Advantage

George Alessandria, Senior Economist for the Philadelphia Federal Reserve explains trade deficits also indicate an efficient allocation of Resources: Shifting the production of goods and services to China allows U.S businesses to allocate more money towards its core competences, such as research and development. Debt also allows countries to take on more ambitious undertakings and take greater risks. Though the U.S no longer produces and export as many goods and services, the nations remains one of the most innovative. For Example, Apple can pay its workers more money to develop the Best Selling, Cutting Edge Products because it outsources the production of goods to countries overseas.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In this chapter, efforts were made to explain some of the issues concerning balance of trade and trying to X-ray some of the arguments in favour of trade balances and imbalances with a view to finding answers to some salient questions and making for proper understanding of the concept of trade balances surplus and deficit which is fast becoming a major problem in the world’s economy today which scholars like John Maynard Keynes earlier predicted.

In a bid to finding a solution to this, we shall be discussing from the following sub-headings;

(a). Conditions where trade imbalances may be problematic.

(b). Conditions where trade imbalances may not be problematic.

2.1. Conditions where trade imbalances may be problematic

Those who ignore the effects of long run trade deficits may be confusing David Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage with Adam Smith’s principle of absolute advantage, specifically ignoring the latter. The economist Paul Craig Roberts notes that the comparative advantage principles developed by David Ricardo do not hold where the factors of production are internationally mobile. Global labor arbitrage, a phenomenon described by economist Stephen S. Roach, where one country exploits the cheap labor of another, would be a case of absolute advantage that is not mutually beneficial. Since the stagflation of the 1970s, the U.S. economy has been characterized by slower GDP growth. In 1985, the U.S. began its growing trade deficit with China. Over the long run, nations with trade surpluses tend also to have a savings surplus. The U.S. generally has lower savings rates than its trading partners, which tend to have trade surpluses. Germany, France, Japan, and Canada have maintained higher savings rates than the U.S. over the long run.

Few economists believe that GDP and employment can be dragged down by an over-large deficit over the long run. Others believe that trade deficits are good for the economy. The opportunity cost of a forgone tax base may outweigh perceived gains, especially where artificial currency pegs and manipulations are present to distort trade.

Wealth-producing primary sector jobs in the U.S. such as those in manufacturing and computer software have often been replaced by much lower paying wealth-consuming jobs such as those in retail and government in the service sector when the economy recovered from recessions. Some economists contend that the U.S. is borrowing to fund consumption of imports while accumulating unsustainable amounts of debt.

In 2006, the primary economic concerns focused on: high national debt ($9 trillion), high non-bank corporate debt ($9 trillion), high mortgage debt ($9 trillion), high financial institution debt ($12 trillion), high unfunded Medicare liability ($30 trillion), high unfunded Social Security liability ($12 trillion), high external debt (amount owed to foreign lenders) and a serious deterioration in the United States net international investment position (NIIP) (-24% of GDP), high trade deficits, and a rise in illegal immigration.

These issues have raised concerns among economists and unfunded liabilities were mentioned as a serious problem facing the United States in the President’s 2006 State of the Union address. On June 26, 2009, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, called for the U.S. to increase its manufacturing base employment to 20% of the workforce, commenting that the U.S. has outsourced too much in some areas and can no longer rely on the financial sector and consumer spending to drive demand.

2.2. Conditions where trade imbalances may not be problematic

Small trade deficits are generally not considered to be harmful to either the importing or exporting economy. However, when a national trade imbalance expands beyond prudence (generally thought to be several [clarification needed] percent of GDP, for several years), adjustments tend to occur. While unsustainable imbalances may persist for long periods (cf, Singapore and New Zealand’s surpluses and deficits, respectively), the distortions likely to be caused by large flows of wealth out of one economy and into another tend to become intolerable.

In simple terms, trade deficits are paid for out of foreign exchange reserves, and may continue until such reserves are depleted. At such a point, the importer can no longer continue to purchase more than is sold abroad. This is likely to have exchange rate implications: a sharp loss of value in the deficit economy’s exchange rate with the surplus economy’s currency will change the relative price of tradable goods, and facilitate a return to balance or (more likely) an over-shooting into surplus the other direction.

More complexly, an economy may be unable to export enough goods to pay for its imports, but is able to find funds elsewhere. Service exports, for example, are more than sufficient to pay for Hong Kong’s domestic goods export shortfall. In poorer countries, foreign aid may fill the gap while in rapidly developing economies a capital account surplus often off-sets a current-account deficit. There are some economies where transfers from nationals working abroad contribute significantly to paying for imports. The Philippines, Bangladesh and Mexico are examples of transfer-rich economies. Finally, a country may partially rebalance by use of quantitative easing at home. This involves a central bank buying back long term government bonds from other domestic financial institutions without reference to the interest rate (which is typically low when QE is called for), seriously increasing the money supply. This debases the local currency but also reduces the debt owed to foreign creditors – effectively “exporting inflation”

FACTORS AFFECTING BALANCE OF TRADE

Factors that can affect the balance of trade include;

1. The cost of Production, (land, labour, capital, taxes, incentives, etc) in the exporting as well as the importing economy.

2. The cost and availability of raw materials, intermediate goods and inputs.

3. Exchange rate movement.

4. Multi lateral, bi-lateral, and unilateral taxes or restrictions on trade.

5. Non-Tariff barriers such as environmental, Health and safety standards.

6. The availability of adequate foreign exchange with which to pay for imports and prices of goods manufactured at home.

In addition, the trade balance is likely to differ across the business cycle in export led-growth (such as oil and early industrial goods). The balance of trade will improve during an economic expansion.

However, with domestic demand led growth (as in the United States and Australia), the trade balance will worsen at the same stage of the business cycle.

Since the Mid 1980s, the United States has had a growth deficit in tradable goods, especially with Asian nations such as China and Japan which now hold large sums of U.S debts. Interestingly, the U.S has a trade surplus with Australia due to a favourable trade advantage which it has over the latter.

ECONOMIC POLICY WHICH COULD HELP REALISE TRADE SURPLUSES.

(a) Savings

Economies such as Canada, Japan, and Germany which have savings Surplus Typically runs trade surpluses. China, a High Growth economy has tended to run trade surpluses. A higher savings rate generally corresponds to a trade surplus. Correspondingly, the United States with a lower Savings rate has tended to run high trade deficits, especially with Asian Nations.

(b) Reducing import and increasing Export.

Countries such as the U.S and England are the major proponent of this theory. It is also known as the mercantile theory. A Practice where the government regulates strictly the inflow and outflow from the economy in terms of import and export. One major advantage of this theory is that it makes a nation self sufficient and has a multiplier effect on the overall development of the nation’s entire sector.

CRITICISMS AGAINST THE ECONOMIC POLICY OF SAVING AS A MEANS OF REALISING TRADE SURPLUS

Saving as a means of realizing trade surplus is not advisable. For example, If a country who is not saving is trading and multiplying its monetary status, it will in a long run be more beneficial to them and a disadvantage to a country who is solely adopting and relying on the savings policy as the it can appear to be cosmetic in a short term and the effect would be exposed when the activities of the trading nation is yielding profit on investment. This could lead to an Economic Tsunami.

CRITICISMS AGAINST THE ECONOMIC POLICY OF REDUCING IMPORTS AND INCREASING EXPORTS

A situation where the export is having more value on the economy of the receiving country just as Frederic Bastiat posited in its example, the principle of reducing imports and increasing export would be an exercise in futility. He cited an example of where a Frenchman, exported French wine and imported British coal, turning a profit. He supposed he was in France, and sent a cask of wine which was worth 50 francs to England. The customhouse would record an export of 50 francs. If, in England, the wine sold for 70 francs (or the pound equivalent), which he then used to buy coal, which he imported into France, and was found to be worth 90 francs in France, he would have made a profit of 40 francs. But the customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of France.

A proper understanding of a topic as this can not be achieved if views from Notable Scholars who have dwelt on it in the past are not examined.

In the light of the foregoing, it will be proper to analyze the views of various scholars who have posited on this topic in a bid to draw a deductive conclusion from their argument to serve a template for drawing a conclusion. This would be explained sequentially as follow;

(a) Frédéric Bastiat on the fallacy of trade deficits.

(b) Adam Smith on trade deficits.

(c) John Maynard Keynes on balance of trade.

(d) Milton Freidman on trade deficit.

(e) Warren Buffet on trade deficit.

3.1. Frédéric Bastiat on the fallacy of trade deficits

The 19th century economist and philosopher Frédéric Bastiat expressed the idea that trade deficits actually were a manifestation of profit, rather than a loss. He proposed as an example to suppose that he, a Frenchman, exported French wine and imported British coal, turning a profit. He supposed he was in France, and sent a cask of wine which was worth 50 francs to England. The customhouse would record an export of 50 francs. If, in England, the wine sold for 70 francs (or the pound equivalent), which he then used to buy coal, which he imported into France, and was found to be worth 90 francs in France, he would have made a profit of 40 francs. But the customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of France. looking at his arguments properly, one would say that it is most adequate to have a trade deficit over a trade surplus. In this Vain, it is glaringly obvious that domestic trade or internal trade could turn a supposed trade surplus into a trade deficit if the cited example of Fredric Bastiat is applied. This was later, in the 20th century, affirmed by economist Milton Friedman.

Internal trade could render an Export value of a nation valueless if not properly handled. A situation where a goods that was initially imported from country 1 into a country 2 has more value in country 2 than its initial export value from country 1, could lead to a situation where the purchasing power would be used to buy more goods in quantity from country 2 who ordinarily would have had a trade surplus by virtue of exporting more in the value of the sum of the initially imported goods from country 1 thereby making the latter to suffer more in export by adding more value to the economy of country 1 that exported ab-initio. The customhouse would say that the value of imports exceeded that of exports and was trade deficit against the ledger of Country 1. But in the real sense of it, Country 1 has benefited trade-wise which is a profit to the economy. In the light of this, a fundamental question arises, ‘would the concept of Profit now be smeared or undermined on the Alter of the concept of Trade surplus or loss? This brings to Mind why Milton Friedman stated ‘that some of the concerns of trade deficit are unfair criticisms in an attempt to push macro- economic policies favourable to exporting industries’. i.e. to give an undue favour or Advantage to the exporting nations to make it seem that it is more viable than the less exporting country in the international Business books of accounts. This could be seen as a cosmetic disclosure as it does not actually state the proper position of things and this could be misleading in nature.

By reduction and absurdum, Bastiat argued that the national trade deficit was an indicator of a successful economy, rather than a failing one. Bastiat predicted that a successful, growing economy would result in greater trade deficits, and an unsuccessful, shrinking economy would result in lower trade deficits. This was later, in the 20th century, affirmed by economist Milton Friedman.

3.2. Adam Smith on trade deficits

Adam Smith who was the sole propounder of the theory of absolute advantage was of the opinion that trade deficit was nothing to worry about and that nothing is more absurd than the Doctrine of ‘Balance of Trade’ and this has been demonstrated by several Economists today. It was argued that If for Example, Japan happens to become the 51st state of the U.S, we would not hear about any trade deficit or imbalance between America and Japan. They further argued that trade imbalance was necessitated by Geographical boundaries amongst nations which make them see themselves as competitors amongst each other in other to gain trade superiority among each other which was not necessary. They further posited that if the boundaries between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, made any difference to the residents of those cities except for those obstacles created by the Government. They posited that if it was necessary to worry about the trade deficit between the United States and Japan, then maybe it was necessary to worry about the deficits that exist among states. It further that stated that if the balance of trade doesn’t matter at the personal, Neighbourhood, or city level, then it does matter at the National level. Then Adams Smith was Right!.

They observed that it was as a result of the economic viability of the U.S that made their purchasing power higher than that its Asian counterpart who was Exporting more and importing less than the U.S and that it wouldn’t be better if the U.S got poorer and less ability to buy products from abroad, further stating that it was the economic problem in Asia that made people buy fewer imports.

“In the foregoing, even upon the principles of the commercial system, it was very unnecessary to lay extraordinary restraints upon the importation of goods from those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous. It obvious depicts a picture that nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this [absurd] doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium.” (Smith, 1776, book IV, ch. iii, part ii).

3.3. John Maynard Keynes on balance of trade

John Maynard Keynes was the principal author of the ‘KEYNES PLAN’. His view, supported by many Economists and Commentators at the time was that Creditor Nations should be treated as responsible as debtor Nations for Disequilibrium in Exchanges and that both should be under an obligation to bring trade back into a state of balance. Failure for them to do so could have serious economic consequences. In the words of Geoffrey Crowther, ‘if the Economic relationship that exist between two nations are not harmonized fairly close to balance, then there is no set of financial arrangement that Can rescue the world from the impoverishing result of chaos. This view could be seen by some Economists and scholars as very unfair to Creditors as it does not have respect for their status as Creditors based on the fact that there is no clear cut difference between them and the debtors. This idea was perceived by many as an attempt to unclassify Creditors from debtors.

3.4. Milton Freidman on trade deficit

In the 1980s, Milton Friedman who was a Nobel Prize winning Economist, a Professor and the Father of Monetarism contended that some of the concerns of trade deficit are unfair criticisms in an attempt to push macro- economic policies favourable to exporting industries.

He further argued that trade deficit are not necessarily as important as high exports raise the value of currency, reducing aforementioned exports, and vice versa in imports, thus naturally removing trade deficits not due to investment.

This position is a more refined version of the theorem first discovered by David Hume, where he argued that England could not permanently gain from exports, because hoarding gold would make gold more plentiful in England; therefore the price of English goods will soar, making them less attractive exports and making foreign goods more attractive imports. In this way, countries trade balance would balance out.

Friedman believed that deficits would be corrected by free markets as floating currency rates rise or fall with time to discourage imports in favour of the exports. Revising again in the favour of imports as the currency gains strength.

But again there were short comings on the view of Friedman as many economists argued that his arguments were feasible in a short run and not in a long run. The theory says that the trade deficit, as good as debt, is not a problem at all as the debt has to be paid back. They further argued that In the long run as per this theory, the consistent accumulation of a major debt could pose a problem as it may be quite difficult to pay offset the debt easily.

Economists in support for Friedman suggested that when the money drawn out returns to the trade deficit country

3.5. Warren Buffet on trade deficit

The Successful American Business Mogul and Investor Warren Buffet was quoted in the Associated Press (January 20th 2006) as saying that ‘The U.S trade deficit is a bigger threat to the domestic economy than either the federal budget deficit or consumer debt and could lead to political turmoil… Right now, the rest of the world owns $3 trillion more of us than we own of them’. He was further quoted as saying that ‘in effect, our economy has been behaving like an extraordinary rich family that possesses an immense farm. In order to consume 4% more than we produce-that is the trade deficit- we have day by day been both selling pieces of the farm and increasing the mortgage on what we still own.

Buffet proposed a tool called ‘IMPORT CERTIFICATES’ as a solution to the United States problem and ensure balanced trade. He was further quoted as saying; ‘The Rest of the world owns a staggering $2.5 trillion more of the U.S than we own of the other countries. Some of this $2.5 trillion is invested in claim checks- U.S bonds, both governmental and private- and some in such assets as property and equity securities.

Import Certificate is a proposed mechanism to implement ‘balanced Trade’, and eliminate a country’s trade deficit. The idea was to create a market for transferable import certificate (ICs) that would represent the right to import a certain dollar amount of goods into the United States. The plan was that the Transferable ICs would be issued to US exporters in an amount equal to the dollar amount of the goods they export and they could only be utilized once. They could be sold or traded to importers who must purchase them in order to legally import goods to the U.S. The price of ICs are set by free market forces, and therefore dependent on the balance between entrepreneurs’ willingness to pay the ICs market price for importing goods into the USA and the global volume of goods exported from the US (Supply and Demand).

Source by Newton Obanore

Weight Loss – Obesity, Diets and Holistic Health

Diets are defined in the traditional sense of following a specific eating plan for weight loss / obesity.

Sure, following any of the hundreds of plans that have been promoted in the last few decades may result in some weight loss, but the benefits typically do not last.

Sadly, there is no magic bullet. No, not even those prescription medications that are common these days. Sure, they may result in shedding some pounds, but I've been observing nasty side effects in people that use them, and without lifestyle changes are made, the pounds will come back.

The average American keeps getting heavier, especially children, and the new miracle diets keep coming, and the average American keeps getting heavier, especially children, and …

I suspect you get my point.

But wait, I have this diet that works and I offer a guarantee and … Gotcha! Sorry, there are no simple, miracle solutions / plans. There was never any and there never will be.

I am happy to report that what does work for weight management, always has and always will work, is this: careful food selections, self control, occasional splurging (yahoo!), Acceptance of how God made you, and eating slower, smaller more Numerous meals.

This is the holistic approach and it's what I advocate.

Why do not you see this type eating advice advertised on TV or in magazines anywhere? It's because nobody makes any money when you do it. Surprise! In fact, many people will make less money when you follow a healthy holistic eating lifestyle, sometimes doctors because you will likely be ill less often.

Please become aware that the media and it's advertisers are becoming increasingly talented at getting and keeping our attention, particularly when it comes to our physical appearance. They place pictures of beautiful people with gleaming muscles (they are oiled), rippling six pack abdomens (they are airbrushed or do dozens of sit-ups immediately before the picture is taken), or even yet the people are taking steroid type drugs to enhance Their physiques. These "models" are not representative of we typical humans. You and I need to be wise to this, even though we enjoy looking.

Also, be wary of some of the food products, their claims, and what's in them.

The top 10 deceiving "healthy" foods that lead to weight gain and other health problems:

– margarine, because it lacks the essential oils necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system.

– artificial sweeteners, because they contribute to inflammation

– soy, because it can mimics the hormone estrogen

– most granola bars, because they contain excess sugar

– most dehydrated fruits, because they have added sugar

– most juices, because they lack pulp and contain excess added sugars

– whole grain products, because many people have hidden gluten allergies

– commercially grown apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, and imported grapes because they are the top 5 most chemically treated produce and contain toxins.

– all orange juice, because it is well known to increase inflammation

– commercially raised chicken because it's likely raised indoors, given antibiotics and probably hormones for faster growth

So scrap the diet plans and get the mind set that weight management benefits lifelong "good" eating habits. Simplistic is not it? Better yet it's either difficult or expensive.

So what's a person to do? The answer is this: small changes done consistently. Step one takes getting your thinking right first. Your brain has to change before your body will. Without that, all diets fail long term.

Here are a few tips:

– Eat smaller quantities and more often
– Eat fresher foods
– Eat organic grown varieties
– Eat slower
– Do not drink more than a few sips while eating
– Start a garden
– Eat more variety
– Add more fresh herbs and spices

Get to know the list of the 10 most chemically treated produce (avoid them), some detox / cleansing routines, recipes, and even some tips on simplistic gardening. These realistic weight management tools will produce results that last. Do not hesitate to seek professional guidance if needed.

I also recommend eating a big salad every day, possibly making a meal out of it by adding some quality protein like walnuts, fish, chicken, or beans.

And yes, do not worry, we can still enjoy goodies like ice cream on occasion, but with self control please.

Follow the above guidelines for the best management of weight loss / obesity.

Source by Dr Tom Potisk

Management Skills Vs Leadership Skills

Leadership style sets the tone of a recreational agency. Some lead by example, others lead with an iron fist. Let's examine the two leadership styles to determine what is best for your leadership role.

Transformational leadership creates a learning environment for staff members. It fosters trust, and inspires employees to work towards a collective vision through intrinsic process motivation. Transformational leaders are effective communicators, share information, and have a strong vision. The style heightens employee aspirations and focus employees on the goal. The leader serves more as a coach than a supervisor. Less absenteeism occurs, as people want to be at work, because they feel valued.

Transformational leadership has four key components:

Idealized influence – serves as a role model, encouraging staff to do as he / she does;

Inspirational motivation – motivates the staff through shared vision and enthusiasm;

Individualized consideration – expresses a genuine concern for employee's well being and is attentive to personal needs;

Intellectual stimulation – challenges followers to be innovative and pioneering, always questioning the status quo.

There is a misconception that transformational leaders are weak, yet these managers are constantly challenging employees to achieve more and push the envelope creatively.

On the other end of the spectrum, transactional leadership focusses on a punishment and reward system. The chain of command within the organization is clear. Obeying the instructions of the leader is primary goal, and subordinates need to be carefully monitored.

This form of leadership is common business, notably for hourly employees who are replaceable and have little personal investment in their work. Leaders use punishment and reward systems and attempt to correct undesirable performance while it is happening. Unsatisfied employees do not come to work, as they feel undervalued and replaceable.

Transactional managers serve an administrative role by utilizing a short-term perspective, accepting the status-quo, and copying processes year after year. The manager does not inspire a vision, does not effectively communicate goals, nor foster collaboration. Typically, they remain in middle management roles and can not ascend to senior executive, as they fail to see the big picture.

Case Study:

A director of a youth dance studio hires instructors as independent contractors to teach dance basics and create routines for a holiday recital. The leader has set many rules for the teaching staff, mostly as a result of accidents that have occurred in past years.

For instance, instructors must submit their substitution requests in August for the September to December class session. Last minute teacher substitutes are not permitted, except with a doctor's note, and are cause for immediate dismissal of the teacher. All instructors must contribute time, outside of class hours, to prepare for the holiday dance recital. Typically this means additional practices, answering parent questions, sending e-mail blasts, and day-of-show duties. This time is unpaid; However, if an instructor desires to maintain a job, one must donate the extra time.

The program director has a clear vision of how the end product of the recital should look. The director chooses music, costumes, run order, and writes the final script. Although the recital is a creative endeavor, the instructors' creative role is through choreography only. Because the instructors are not invited to participate in the creative process, the environment is not developmental, and staff feels replaceable. For this reason, there is a high turn-over rate, which is what leads to the large number of rules and restrictions in the contract. Talented instructors do not want to stay for the long term, as the instructors feel undervalued and unappreciated. The recreational agency has a transactional leader at the helm.

A progressive approach that melds both transformational and transactional leadership styles would reach a more positive exit in the recreational forum. For instance, although the director may have an idea of ​​the recital's format, a brainstorming meeting should take place in the summer to involve staff in the creative process. Ideas and suggestions need to be voiced, discussed, and vetted. Even if not all the ideas are put into action, instructors need to feel valued and included in the process. Along the way, the director should keep instructors informed of why choices were made to proceed in a particular direction. The communicated will take more effort on the part of the leader, but it will absolutely lead to more participation and a learning organization. Many recreational managers are worn out from lack of resources and an increasing demand from customers and budget requirements, and do not have the energy to be a transformational leader. However, for the purposes of fostering a positive, learning environment, the inspiration and stimulation must come from the leader as a role model.

Some leaders may be frustrated by the give-and-take process of brainstorming and creativity, as one believes they have all the answers. However, a leader can not see oneself as the authority on a subject. Instead, one should be a coach in the process, guiding the team toward their own decisions and outcomes. When ownership of the end product, such as the dance recital, rests with the team, not solely the leader, a learning organization is achieved.

With regard to hourly staff, the manager can combine the two leadership styles, as hourly staff needs a more concrete structure to follow for break / lunch times, list of duties, and extrinsic rewards. The manager can still lead by positive example with hourly staff, and provide team building sessions when appropriate. The hourly staff should feel part of the overall team, even if staff is not all part of the creative process. Effective leaders make all staff members feel valued.

Source by Heather Rappaport