GameStop was heading towards bankruptcy, with hedge funds taking short positions in companies like GameStop, in which they borrow shares of the stock at a certain price under the expectation that its market value will be worth less when it’s time to actually pay for those borrowed shares. In other words, they are betting on the stock price dropping, however something unexpected happened, the Gamestop stocks surged being driven by retail investors — individuals who buy and sell stocks for their own gains, as opposed to professional investors working on Wall Street — on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets (WSB), a community 2.9 million-strong decided to buy up as much shares of stocks as a joke. That ended up reviving GameStop, incurring massive losses on the hedge funds, and shaking the stock market. This short squeeze – as it’s referred to – is not uncommon but it doesn’t tend to play out in this public or dramatic a manner leading this case to be the talk of every news outlet at the time.
This case perfectly encapsulated the volatility and unpredictability of the stock market, as well as how it can be influenced heavily by the everyday person. Such cases also emerged with Eli Lilly and their Twitter fiasco more recently.
As such we recommend the deployment of a brand followup division for social media from companies, as well as more rigorous bylaws implemented within social media platforms in order to control, contain, and possibly prevent such situations.
Omar El Khatib
Karim El Hajj
Bassel Abou Zahr
Team: Ibrahim Al Jaifi, Zahraa Jassar, Rami Haidar, Ali Hachem, Rim Zeaiter, Fatima Ayoub
“ We don’t go to school; we work in the daytime to support our families and spend the rest of our day playing in the streets.”
Said Omar and Yazan, two inspiring kids in Burj Al Barajneh, a refugee camp in the suburbs of Beirut. Under 10 years old, both already carrying the responsibility of working to provide for their families instead of being enrolled in education.
According to ILO, it is estimated that 160million children are involved in child labor, 79 million of which are in Hazardous Work that is likely to harm children’s health, safety or morals. All these children, including young Omar and Yazan, are at an age when they are supposed to be provided for, educated and protected. Having to spend most of their time working in jobs that are unsafe and exhausting, their chances of leading healthy and thriving lives diminish with each dollar they earn.
Child Labor in Lebanon
The emergence of the Lebanese economic crisis in 2019 brought with it an increase in percentage of families with children engaged in child labor from 29% to 38% between 2019 and 2021 according to IRC.
GDP, as an indicator of the economic performance of a country, noticed a 65% decrease from $52B to $18B during the period of 2019 to 2021. With this drastic drop in GDP, the unemployment rate rose from 11% to 15% while the CPI more than doubled, leaving thousands of families under the poverty line with no sources of income.
With these dramatic and sudden changes in the economic situation, 3 out of 5 children in Lebanon dropped-out of school and most of the rest switched to public education. Education has become less of a priority for both the government and families.
From a social perspective, 44% of parents who have taken part in a study by the World Vision Organization believed that involving their children in paid labor enhances their life skills and assures a source of income for their households. Meanwhile, the responsible government agencies have no clear and applicable laws in place to prohibit children’s exploitation or ensure they are enrolled in education.
Child labor has destructive impacts on the health of the child, exposing millions of children to physical, mental and emotional abuse. As a result, their mental and intellectual development face significant disruptions. Considering the increasing crime rates in the country and the exposure of children to illegal work activities, the forecasted 30% increase in crime rate in 2025 would involve criminal acts by juveniles.
Mr. Aws Al Kadasi, senior research analyst at Merci Corps, commented on the topic during an interview for this project:
“According to the UNICEF, one in 5 children in the least developed countries are engaged in child labor. A problem that was aggravated by COVID-19 and global economic decline that it takes a walk in Beirut to believe these numbers. Children require different systems of protection that starts with parents and extends to every office, business, institution, organization and agency, local and international, governmental or otherwise. Everyone, who is not a child, is responsible”
Both 8 and 16 Sustainable Development Goals highlights the need for international efforts to tackle the issue of child labor:
Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.
Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
Inspired by these goals as well as social responsibility towards the community, our project team designed an initiative to capitalize on the work of international aid organizations and local organizations and projects working to fight child labor and illiteracy.
Future4Kids (F4K) initiative aims to establish a cooperative relationship between NGOs that provides cash assistance to families and campaigns against child labor. F4K initiative will work on partnering with cash aid organizations and NGOs working in child education. Receiving cash assistance would be conditionally linked to the enrollment of beneficiaries’ children in education with families being required to show evidence of child enrollment in education periodically.
The initiative platform will allow these two parties to join efforts to encourage families to enroll their children in education. F4K platform will also allow for receiving public donations for child education campaigns carried out by our partners.
Our world today is much safer than it was 40 years ago. One powerful indicator to reflect societal living conditions is child mortality rates, given the many sensitive factors required for a newborn or a child to grow in health. Generalizing the matter to include the world as a whole would show us the constant decline in child mortality of 60% since 1960. This is due to improved healthcare services, nutrition, housing conditions, and education. Unfortunately, this improvement mostly reflects the rich more developed side of the world. Diving into the poorer side shows a different painful reality, a massive-scale tragedy that barely makes it to the headlines.
According to the World Health Organization, 2020 has recorded 5 million child deaths under the age of 5 with 2.4 million being of newborns, all due to preventable and treatable diseases and causes. This is unacceptable as a significant portion of these deaths are preventable.
A staggering reality to face is that children of underdeveloped poorest of countries have 10% risk of not surviving past the age of 5, while this rate drops to 1.2% in richer countries. (World economic forum). Moreover, for every 1000 live births, child mortality in low-income countries is nearly 6 times more than in upper-middle-income countries.
Analyzing the reasons behind child mortality shows 4 major factors:
Poor living conditions
Lack of healthcare services
Poor healthcare consciousness
Preventing this tragedy requires access to simple and affordable interventions like adequate nutrition, safe supply of water, immunization and quality healthcare when needed. Hence, we need a sustainable solution that ensures the long-term resolution of the problem from its core.
Analyzing historical data of female literacy rate and its impact over time on decreasing birth rate and mortality rate of children under 5, we can conclude that enhancing female literacy might constituting an effective solution on the long term. It would contribute in:
Improving reproductive and healthcare decision making
Enhancing healthcare consciousness of parents to provide better quality care for their children
Increasing number of trained health experts
Reducing poverty, enhancing productivity, and contributing to economic growth
Better management of family size
Increasing chances of parents prioritizing child education for their children
On the long term, female education leading to smarter maternal decision-making can reduce up to 61% of infant and child deaths. Enhancing female education will help us achieve the United nation’s sustainable development goals:
SDG3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”
SDG3.2: “By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.”
“Hiring and promoting talented women is the right thing to do for society, and its economic imperatives.” Carlos Ghosn
Despite the economic and technological development, gender equality remains a topic of debate and the patriarchy still poses obstacles against women development and leadership. What if we can prove that promoting and sustaining an equality between genders results in high return on investment and creates an opportunity of economic expansion especially in developed as well as emergent nations?
The united nations created the Women Business and Law Index that assesses the performance of each country in tightening the gender gap through businesses, laws, and female integration.
Canada ranks first globally with an overall score of 97.8% indicating the successful effort the country is making towards gender parity and the high degree of female contribution to the business world. On the other hand, 4 Arab countries rank last, with United Arab Emirates interestingly being one of them with an overall score of 33.8%.
To understand the implications of the difference of gender gap on the country’s development, we will compare Canada to the UAE on different levels.
Canada, with the higher WBL index, has a higher economic growth compared to UAE. However, UAE, which ranks last, has much more developed infrastructure and better investment performance than Canada. Thus, there must be some other factors affecting the GDP Growth.
Between 2003 and 2016, UAE’s GDP had a noticeable increase of 170% parallel to an increase in female employment percentage of 14%.
Similarly, between 2010 and 2019, Canada’s GDP also had increased remarkably, parallel to a 10% increase in the proportion of female leaders in the parliament.
On the level of the population, Canada has a higher and healthier population growth compared to UAE, as well as Human Capital Index.
Thus, gender parity is more than giving rights to women; it is a critical factor to a healthy and sustainable economic growth. It is crucial to focus the efforts towards equality in order reach a holistic success especially for the underdeveloped countries.
To achieve gender parity, nations should:
Relax the restrictions on women’s time and schedule
Eliminate the legal and organizational barriers (Glass Ceiling) to women’s economic and political leadership
Promote the entrepreneurship and self-employment among young females
Women all over the world are abused on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, or at least for one.
Men abuse women every day for inconvenient reasons. Following a survey of a few women from various backgrounds, the average number of violated women for the following reasons was determined:
A husband is beating his wife if she burns the food 9.20 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she argues with him 19 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she goes out without telling him 20.5 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she neglects the children 23.46 on average
A husband is beating his wife if she refuses to have sex with him 13.21 on average
A husband is beating his wife for at least one specific reason 33.22 on average
Domestic violence legislation exists in at least 155 countries (World Bank 2020). Nevertheless, challenges in upholding these laws persist, restricting the safety and justice of women and girls. Despite the fact that violence is adequately prevented, it happens and goes unnoticed.
As a result of violence, women’s overall well-being suffers, and they are unable to fully participate in society. It has an impact on their families, their communities, and the entire country. So, how can we assist?
Believe it or not, climate change may prevent us from enjoying many of our favorite meals in the next years. Some crops may go extinct, while others may become scarce and expensive. Who does not enjoy chocolate? The cocoa plant may be completely wiped out by 2050. Who doesn’t drink coffee in the morning? By 2100, 50% of the land will be unsuitable to grow coffee. Human activities have been the primary cause of climate change due to burning fossil fuels.
When fossil fuels are burnt, significant amount of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere and these gases trap heat in our atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Methane is greenhouse gas that is responsible for around 30% of the rise in global temperatures and as you can see, methane emission has increased rapidly over the years all around the globe.
Nitrous oxide is the third most major greenhouse gas, accounting for around 7% of global warming. Coffee production has declined mostly as a result of rising yearly temperatures in coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Colombia. This map visualizes the precent of Nitrous Oxide, the darker the color, the higher the percentage.
There is no planet B, so we shouldn’t need another reason to act and try to prevent climate change from getting worse or risk the extinction of our favorite food. The question is, what can we do? We start from ourselves. There are a lot of things that we can do as individuals to help in reducing climate change effect. We should work on generating electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources, as opposed to fossil fuels, which emits little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants into the air. We can also help by following the rule of reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle in our everyday activities. We can also pay attention to throwaway less food, save more energy, and speak up about the issue to raise awareness.
What else can be done? Some coffee beans generally grown in hotter climates, and we should investigate more about and encourage farmers it to plant more of it in the future. We can also develop technologies to enable the adaptation of coffee production to future climatic change conditions. One of the initiatives being pursued by scientists at the University of California is to utilize new technology to help the plant survive. The team at Berkeley is working with the Mars company on gene-editing technology, to help the plant to survive in the uncertain years to come.
In 2020, emissions fell by 5.8 percent due to COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. Therefore, our individual efforts count, and we can make a difference!
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