Topic Review
“Food Village”: An Innovative Alternative Food Network
Although the different alternative food networks (AFNs) have experienced increases worldwide for the last thirty years, they are still unable to provide an alternative capable of spreading on a large scale. They in fact remain niche experiments due to some limitations on their structure and governance. Max-Neef’s Needs Matrix and Design Thinking (DT) tools were used to develop the design model. Applying the design method to the food chain is helpful to develop the concept of the “Food Village”, an innovative food supply network far from the current economic mechanisms and based on the community and eco-sustainability.
  • 288
  • 26 May 2022
Topic Review
Democracy and the Common Wealth
Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests is a 2010 book by urban designer, policy analyst and artist Michael E. Arth. Arth attempts to expose what he calls the "dirty secrets" of America's electoral system, and provides a list of solutions that he believes will result in a "truly representative democracy." This democracy would be led by effective, trustworthy leaders, who would be elected by a majority, and who would not have to spend their time raising campaign funds, or catering to paid lobbyists. It also tells the story of the first year of Florida's 2010 gubernatorial race, from his point of view as an outsider, lacking in personal wealth or party backing. In the main text, and in the postscript, Arth writes about how he became an independent candidate for governor after being "frozen out" of the "undemocratic" Florida Democratic Party for not having millions of dollars, and for suggesting that campaigns be about issues instead of money. The first edition of the book has 480 pages including 72 illustrations and charts and was first published in both e-book and print in May 2010. The e-book version also includes a postscript about the BP Oil Spill and energy policy, and a section on Arth’s switch to No Party Affiliation.
  • 32
  • 22 Nov 2022
Topic Review
130–30 Fund
A 130–30 fund or a ratio up to 150/50 is a type of collective investment vehicle, often a type of specialty mutual fund, but which allows the fund manager simultaneously to hold both long and short positions on different equities in the fund. Traditionally, mutual funds were long-only investments. 130–30 funds are a fast-growing segment of the financial industry; they should be available both as traditional mutual funds, and as exchange-traded funds (ETFs). While this type of investment has existed for a while in the hedge fund industry, its availability for retail investors is relatively new. A 130–30 fund is considered a long-short equity fund, meaning it goes both long and short at the same time. The "130" portion stands for 130% exposure to its long portfolio and the "30" portion stands for 30% exposure to its short portfolio. The structure usually ranges from 120–20 up to 150–50 with 130–30 being the most popular and is limited to 150/50 because of Reg T limiting the short side to 50%.
  • 89
  • 04 Nov 2022
Topic Review
1998–99 Ecuador Economic Crisis
The 1998–99 Ecuador economic crisis was a period of economic instability that resulted from a combined inflationary-currency crisis, financial crisis, fiscal crisis, and sovereign debt crisis. Severe inflation and devaluation of the Ecuadorian sucre lead to President Jamil Mahuad announcing on January 9, 2000 that the US dollar would be adopted as the national currency. Poor economic conditions and subsequent protests against the government resulted in the 2000 Ecuadoran coup d’état in which Jamil Mahuad was forced to resign and was replaced by his Vice President, Gustavo Noboa.
  • 67
  • 08 Oct 2022
Topic Review
20% Project
The 20% Project is an initiative where company employees are allocated twenty-percent of their paid work time to pursue personal projects. The objective of the program is to inspire innovation in participating employees and ultimately increase company potential. The 20% Project was influenced by a comparable program, launched in 1948, by manufacturing multinational 3M which required employees to have 15% time: to dedicate up to 15 percent of their paid hours to a personal interest. Technology company Google is credited for popularising the 20% concept, with many of their current services being products of employee pet projects. Some schools have also utilized the principles of the 20% Project to foster creativity and boost productivity.
  • 59
  • 25 Nov 2022
Topic Review
2008–09 Belgian Financial Crisis
The 2008–09 Belgian financial crisis is a major financial crisis that hit Belgium from mid-2008 onwards. Two of the country's largest banks – Fortis and Dexia – started to face severe problems, exacerbated by the financial problems hitting other banks around the world. The value of their stocks plunged. The government managed the situation by bailouts, selling off or nationalizing banks, providing bank guarantees and extending the deposit insurance. Eventually Fortis was split into two parts. The Dutch part was nationalized, while the Belgian part was sold to the French bank BNP Paribas. Dexia group was dismantled, Dexia Bank Belgium was nationalized.
  • 96
  • 01 Dec 2022
Topic Review
2008–2009 Kenya Drought
Template:Infobox famine Between 2008 and early 2010, Kenya, one of the countries of Eastern Africa, was affected by a severe drought, which put ten million people at risk of hunger and caused a large number of deaths to livestock in Kenyan Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), constituting around 88% of the country. The areas which experienced the worst effects were Northern Kenya, Somalia and Southern Ethiopia, most severely in Kajiado and Laikipia. These predominantly pastoral regions reported deaths of up to half of the livestock. Droughts in Kenya have become more frequent causing crop failures and devastation as three-quarters of the population are sustained by agriculture.
  • 66
  • 17 Oct 2022
Topic Review
2010 Flash Crash
The May 6, 2010, Flash Crash, also known as the Crash of 2:45, the 2010 Flash Crash or simply the Flash Crash, was a United States trillion-dollar stock market crash, which started at 2:32 p.m. EDT and lasted for approximately 36 minutes.:1 Stock indexes, such as the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite, collapsed and rebounded very rapidly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its second biggest intraday point drop (from the opening) up to that point, plunging 998.5 points (about 9%), most within minutes, only to recover a large part of the loss. It was also the second-largest intraday point swing (difference between intraday high and intraday low) up to that point, at 1,010.14 points. The prices of stocks, stock index futures, options and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were volatile, thus trading volume spiked.:3 A CFTC 2014 report described it as one of the most turbulent periods in the history of financial markets.:1 When new regulations put in place following the 2010 Flash Crash proved to be inadequate to protect investors in the August 24, 2015 flash crash—"when the price of many ETFs appeared to come unhinged from their underlying value"—ETFs were put under greater scrutiny by regulators and investors. On April 21, 2015, nearly five years after the incident, the U.S. Department of Justice laid "22 criminal counts, including fraud and market manipulation" against Navinder Singh Sarao, a trader. Among the charges included was the use of spoofing algorithms; just prior to the Flash Crash, he placed thousands of E-mini S&P 500 stock index futures contracts which he planned on canceling later. These orders amounting to about "$200 million worth of bets that the market would fall" were "replaced or modified 19,000 times" before they were canceled. Spoofing, layering, and front running are now banned. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigation concluded that Sarao "was at least significantly responsible for the order imbalances" in the derivatives market which affected stock markets and exacerbated the flash crash. Sarao began his alleged market manipulation in 2009 with commercially available trading software whose code he modified "so he could rapidly place and cancel orders automatically." Traders Magazine journalist, John Bates, argued that blaming a 36-year-old small-time trader who worked from his parents' modest stucco house in suburban west London for sparking a trillion-dollar stock market crash is a little bit like blaming lightning for starting a fire" and that the investigation was lengthened because regulators used "bicycles to try and catch Ferraris." Furthermore, he concluded that by April 2015, traders can still manipulate and impact markets in spite of regulators and banks' new, improved monitoring of automated trade systems. As recently as May 2014, a CFTC report concluded that high-frequency traders "did not cause the Flash Crash, but contributed to it by demanding immediacy ahead of other market participants.":1 Some recent peer-reviewed research shows that flash crashes are not isolated occurrences, but have occurred quite often. Gao and Mizrach studied US equities over the period of 1993–2011. They show that breakdowns in market quality (such as flash crashes) have occurred in every year they examined and that, apart from the financial crisis, such problems have declined since the introduction of Reg NMS. They also show that 2010, while infamous for the Flash Crash, was not a year with an inordinate number of breakdowns in market quality.
  • 147
  • 30 Nov 2022
Topic Review
2010–14 Portuguese Financial Crisis
2010–14 Portuguese financial crisis was part of the more wider downturn of the Portuguese economy that started in 2001 and possibly ended in 2016–17. The period from 2010 to 2014 was probably the hardest and more challenging part of the entire economic crisis; this period includes the 2011–14 international bailout to Portugal and was marked by an intense austerity policy, intenser than in any other period of the wider 2001–17 crisis. Economic growth stalled in Portugal in 2001–02; following years of internal economic crisis, the (international) Great Recession started to hit Portugal in 2008 and eventually led to the country being unable to repay or refinance its government debt without the assistance of third parties. To prevent an insolvency situation in the debt crisis, Portugal applied in April 2011 for bail-out programs and drew a cumulated €78.0 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Portugal leaved bailout in May 2014, the same year that positive economic growth re-appeared following three years of recession. The government achieved a 2.1% budget deficit in 2016 (the lowest since the restoration of democracy in 1974) and in 2017 the economy grew 2.7% (the highest growth rate since 2000). Greece and Ireland also went into a debt crisis in 2010. Together these debt crisis of these three countries marked the start of the European sovereign debt crisis.
  • 214
  • 06 Oct 2022
Topic Review
2015–16 Chinese Stock Market Turbulence
The Chinese stock market turbulence began with the popping of the stock market bubble on 12 June 2015 and ended in early February 2016. A third of the value of A-shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange was lost within one month of the event. Major aftershocks occurred around 27 July and 24 August's "Black Monday". By 8–9 July 2015, the Shanghai stock market had fallen 30 percent over three weeks as 1,400 companies, or more than half listed, filed for a trading halt in an attempt to prevent further losses. Values of Chinese stock markets continued to drop despite efforts by the government to reduce the fall. After three stable weeks the Shanghai index fell again on 24 August by 8.48 percent, marking the largest fall since 2007. At the October 2015 International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting of "finance ministers and central bankers from the Washington-based lender’s 188 member-countries" held in Peru, China's slump dominated discussions with participants asking if "China’s economic downturn [would] trigger a new financial crisis". By the end of December 2015 China's stock market had recovered from the shocks and had outperformed S&P for 2015, though still well below the 12 June highs. By the end of 2015 the Shanghai Composite Index was up 12.6 percent. In January 2016 the Chinese stock market experienced a steep sell-off and trading was halted on 4 and 7 January 2016 after the market fell 7%, the latter within 30 minutes of open. The market meltdown set off a global rout in early 2016. According to 19 January 2016 articles in the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the China , China reported a 6.9 percent GDP growth rate for 2015 and an "economic volume of over ten trillion U.S. dollars". Forbes journalist argues that the "stock market crash does not indicate a blowout of the Chinese physical economy." China is shifting from a focus on manufacturing to service industries and while it has slowed down, it is still growing by 5%. After this last turbulence, as of January 2017 the Shanghai Composite Index has been stable around 3,000 points, 50% less than before the bubble popped.
  • 230
  • 28 Nov 2022
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