The Change Throughout Society

Society continues to experience change over every decade. This remains true for both state and national levels.California has experienced massive change stemming from the events of the Great Depression and later the Dust Bowl. Personally, we as a state were not hit as hard as those in the middle of the country, at least physically. Socially we evolved. California adopted the attitudes of the migrant farmers who suffered in the chaos of the Dust Bowl. Their immigrant ideals shaped our society of both 1985, when Gregory outlined social changes and today where we still see norms that formed from the Oklahoma migrants of the Dust Bowl. Their values changed us for the better.

The Dust Bowl was an extreme natural disaster back in the 1930’s. It eradicated farmland in the middle of America, namely in Oklahoma. This caused many to leave their family farms and move out west to California, whose fields were not seared by the blistering sand. These migrants brought more than just a desire to farm and survive, they also brought with them a stricter, yet more carefree social system. The “Okies” preached for the importance of family values. Along with familial bonds, they expressed a deep passion for the Christian church. California at that time was in the midst of a mass radical reformation, but the arrival of the conservative Okies calmed tensions.

This relative calm period lasted for another 40 years. Gregory writes of this restful time and notes how beneficial it was for the state of California. The economy flourished, and not only the natives reaped the winnings. Few migrants were still embroiled in the agricultural field. Others found more lucrative ventures, such as those who struck oil or large natural gas deposits. The migrants were able to rise above the depression set forth by the loss of home and field. The Okies then could invest their new wealth back into the state. Even today this shows, as California has one of the highest cost of livings in the United States. Prices are higher here than elsewhere in the nation and its due in part to the massive resource quantities found by the Okies. Sadly not all of the values the Okies brought with them have transferred to the modern era. Today’s society has grown increasingly bitter and outspoken. No longer is it simply about having a simple life with family and the lord. Today it is all about race, violence, and corruption. I wish we could return to the values imparted on us by the Okies. Our society was once influenced by them, and as time passes that influence dwindles, though I wish it would continue to stay. That way we could all live on in the peaceful views set by them. -Zach

Advertisements

How Effective is Our Current Economy?

The theory of economics is based upon multiple waves, the largest being the Kondratiev wave. It is the proposed idea that the economy fluctuates based upon technological advances. Kondratiev waves typically last between forty to sixty years, during which there are four stages our economy goes through. First, there is prosperity, followed by recession, depression, and eventual improvement. According to the cycle, we are currently on the tail end of a recession and about to move into a depression. Why do these constant patterns keep appearing? As a country we should be able to maintain a stable economy, one that will not suffer extreme depressions as in the past. The United States current, capitalistic economy creates unnecessary hardships and needless anger.

Our economy is about to hit another depression, one that could pass the Great Depression as the hardest hitting event in modern times. We as a country can change this fate. The government needs to step in and radically alter our current state. A complete overhaul is needed. I propose for a plan similar to the successful economy post World War Two Britain obtained. Their economy completely changed for the better. Even though taxes were increased, Britain saw rapid economic growth over the next fifteen years. Their industries were nationalized and their welfare state was created, along with national healthcare, pensions, and social security. This socially economic reform could be what saves America from another large and destructive depression. The larger taxes are needed, especially on the rich. Many economists have stated just that, in which the rich need to be taxed more than the poor. Adam Smith, famously stated in The Wealth of Nations that, “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” Even those in the time of America’s founding realized this important method of gaining revenue. Warren Buffett has around fifty billion dollars, so much that he cannot possibly spend it all well in his lifetime. That money is better used to spread the welfare of the nation. A redistribution of wealth will conducively fix our nation’s economy.

Luckily for us and the survival of our country, a candidate in the upcoming election is advocating for an economic revival. One candidate will implement the economic policies needed to overhaul our country and make America great again. I am talking of course of Bernie Sanders. He plans to follow the path Britain took after the disaster of World War Two and steadily increase our GDP. A more nationalized economic system is vital to improving America’s standing in the world. Reducing the budget, especially the overly large defense fund, will get us the required resources to jumpstart the program. Sanders is the perfect man for the job, having experienced all the cycles of the Kondratiev wave. He has first-hand knowledge of all four stages. Sanders knows of the uncertainty the nation faces during the trying recession and depression stages of the cycle. With him as our nation’s leader, our gross income will remain a steady increase over multiple decades, rather than the constant spikes of depression and economic wellness.

Our current capitalistic economy may seem excellent on paper, and compared to authoritative administrations, is actually good, but compared to the other “top” economies, ours is statistically weaker. America’s free market capitalism promotes competition but weakens the foundation of the nation. Without a nationalized central economy, America will constantly be behind other first-world nation. Canada and Britain both have universal health care and advanced benefits for citizens while the “Greatest Country in the World” does not. All that would occur to achieve this welfare state is an initial tax increase. While tax brackets across the board will increase, most of the taxes will focus on the rich, those people who can afford to give up more of their income for the greater good. Britain achieved post World War Two success using this economic approach. They experienced a steady GDP increase with no major fluctuations, like the ones we currently face. As Britain’s economy reached a stable high, taxes were cut to their original state. The economy stayed afloat during this tax cut, as it was successfully self-supported. America’s current economy is in bad shape. We can fix this through following Britain’s postwar strategy by making a welfare state. The man who can get this done is Bernie Sanders. He will be able to fix our economy to the point of constant success. -Zach

 

The Journey Continues…

If you are returning back to read my blog post again you may remember the review I did a while back about the book The Alchemyst. If you have not already, I suggest checking out my previous review so you can better understand this current one. Well I am here today to bring you yet another great book from the great series of novels The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. The name of this amazing novel is The Magician by Michael Scott. The sorceress is the second book in a six book series called, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. This book picks up right where the last book left at an exhilarating rate. Josh and Sophie Newman are now in Paris, and now must face Niccoló Machiavelli, and his accomplice Dr. John Dee. In this short amount of time Sophie must start to understand the element she has recently gained control off. The element of wind. It may not seem all that strong but in the hands of the right user, it can be the most powerful of all the elements. As the race for the codex commences throughout all of Paris Josh Newman is captured by the evil but, cunning master Dr. John Dee. Dee convinces Josh to follow him with the hope of finding an elder to awaken Josh’s powers. I will the leave the rest of this amazing novel for you to read. I would rate this book a solid 7 out of ten. I do not think this book is as good as the previous novel in the series because it seems as though Michael Scott was trying to cram so much into as little pages as possible. The main reason why I think this novel was not as great as any of the others in the series is because the plot is not as well put together as some of the others. In some parts of the book you are just sitting there waiting for nothing to happen. All in all this is still a good book and I highly recommend reading it. -Zach

The Adventure of a Lifetime

As a kid you could never get me to read a book even if you forced me to. I was like this until the age of ten. I had to read a book for my fourth grade class. It could be any book we wanted at all. I decided to pick up the book A Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This was the first time I ever experienced the love of books and the world of imagination it brings you to. The story starts off with a ship named “Vivacia” and we learn that it is a liveship. A liveship is a boat that is made out of wizardwood but, the special thing about these ships are when three owners, from separate generations of the same family, die upon the deck of the ship, the ships will come alive. They retain all memories and experiences of those who lived and died aboard them. The Vestrits area  family who gained wealth through trading and developing monopolies on goods. This family owns the liveship “Vivacia” and we learn that so far two of the three required deaths have already been fulfilled. When Kefferia’s father dies and makes the necessary third death to quicken the Vivacia into a liveship with all the memories of the previous captains. As he is dying he turns over the ownership of the ship to Kefferia and her new husband Kyle. Kyle being the power hungry character he is banishes Keffaria from her beloved liveship. I will leave the rest of the book for you to read. I would rate this book an easy 9/10. Robin Hobb has such a creative mind and it is incredible to read about all the fantasy worlds and different places she makes using her imagination. She comes up with these crazy ideas that you would never even think of. I cannot even begin to comprehend how one person can have all these great ideas. -Zach

An Unexpected Journey

Today the book I will be reviewing is a book that tells us the story of one of the world’s greatest myths of all time. This book is The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. The alchemist is the first book in a six book series called, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Magic is one of the biggest subjects of intrigue in the world of fantasy fiction. I can say with utmost conviction that the magic in The Alchemyst does not disappoint in any way. This novel starts off with a man named Nicholas Flamel. We learn that this man is nearly seven-hundred years old because he is in possession of the most powerful book that has ever existed. The book of Abraham the Mage. This book not only holds the secret to eternal life, but many other secrets best left untold. In the hands of certain people it even contains the power to destroy the world. Dr. John Dee plans to steal the book and do just that. We now learn of the two main protagonists Josh and Sophie Newman. Josh and Sophie are about to partake in one of the most elaborate and unexpected journey we have ever seen. These siblings are said to be the fated siblings of prophecy. The siblings of silver and gold. The prophecies say that the siblings have the power to both save and destroy the world. This book has so many great aspects integrated into the extraordinary plot. But personally I believe the finest attribute is all the characters that the book features are based upon real-life historical characters such as Shakespeare. The descriptions and though that the author puts into these characters still seems to amaze me. There is not a single aspect he seems to leave out. He features characters from all different aspects of culture, from Egyptian gods all the way to the legend of the great sword Excalibur.  Michael Scott uses the knowledge of common myths and stories to make up a novel like no other. I recommend this book to anyone looking to read a well written and intriguing fantasy novel. On this final thought, I will now leave you. -Zach

An Unfortunate Journey

Recently I made the decision to re-read a series I have always loved ever since I was a little kid. The book is the first in a thirteen book long series. The series is known as A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This series is focused more towards the younger audiences and may seem childish at times but, if you begin to start looking closer into the books you will find them not as childish as you once thought.  The first book in this wonderful series is The Bad Beginning. It starts out with three siblings that are just about to hear the most devastating news. They learn that their parents died in a fire that destroyed all that they owned. This is the beginning of their journey of unfortunate events. A banker takes custody of them until he can find a relative to give them to. A mysterious man posing as their uncle comes to pick them up from the Banker. This fake uncle of theirs goes by the name of Count Olaf. The only reason why Olaf wants to take in these sad orphaned children is because he is after their family’s vast inheritance. Once the children move in with Olaf he begins to treat them terribly, making them cook, clean the house. The house Olaf is currently living in is completely trashed. He seeks to accomplish his evil plan by marrying himself to one of the orphans. I will stop right here and leave the rest for you to read on your own. Lemony Snicket has one of the most unique writing styles I have ever read. Not only is his writing style incredibly unique, he also finds way to incorporate foreshadowing and unsolvable mysteries into his writing. The book itself is not the best out of the series but, it is necessary if you want to read one of the greatest series to ever have been written. Not to mention Netflix is coming out with a t.v series based of these books, so make sure you go out and read this series. -Zach

A Path of Fire

Lately I have been told of this great fantasy book with magic, dragons, and the beautiful elves. It is the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini. This story begins as most do, with an unimpressive protagonist. The protagonist in this case is a farm boy named Eragon. As Eragon is hunting in the woods nearby his family’s farm he finds a strange blue stone, which he has never seen anything like it before. As the story progresses we learn that this rock is not actually a rock, but an egg of the most fearsome creatures known to man. Dragons. When the dragon finally hatches it makes a sort of bond with Eragon by touching his hand. Eragon trains and nurtures this dragon of his, until it is strong enough to get by on its own. Later we learn that mysterious people want to do harm to Eragon because he has this dragon. These men do just that. These mysterious people kill his uncle and burn down his entire farm because Eragon fled to protect his dragon. I must stop myself here because I fear that I may reveal too much of this novel to you. Books of dragons and magic have always been an interesting topic to read about, because they are usually unique and different. This is not the case here. Paolini follows the same footsteps in his story as many other fantasy authors do. It just seems too repetitive. Most of the book is following the basic fantasy plot, where you have a hero who goes on a long perilous quest for revenge. I would rate this book a measly 6/10. The only reason why I rated it this highly is, while it may be so much alike other fantasy novels, it still has a good plot and is packed with intense action packed moments. While this book may not be for me, I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a good fantasy novel. On this final note, I will be leaving you.-Zach

A magical Adventure

Today I want to bring to you one of the greatest experiences known to modern day literature. You may ask yourself, “What might that be?” It is one of the greatest books written, read by both children and adults, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling. Originally I was very lenient on reading this book since it was labeled as a child’s book, but I can firmly say that this is not the case. Personally I would rate this book a solid 8/10. It all begins with an Englishman Mr. Dursley. This particular Englishman begins to notice a few strange things happening on his way to work that day. The book shifts to later that night where a wizard named Dumbledore explains that a particular child’s parents where killed by an evil wizard. When he returns to his house later that night, Mr. Dursley finds a small child in a basket, with a note explaining the events that led up to him needing to take care of the child. Ten years pass by and we learn of the horrors this adopted child goes through. This child we learn is named Harry Potter. Harry lives a terrible and sad life, but little does he know, that is all going to change— that very night.  Because he was no ordinary boy. Harry was a wizard. Mr. Dursley starts to panic after seeing both the magical things Harry has unknowingly been doing and the invitations from the magical school Hogwarts.  In his state of panic Mr. Dursley leads Harry and the rest of his family off to a secluded island away from their house. As they are sleeping they hear a loud bang on the door. The door opens slowly. They see a dark bulky giant walk into the room, which promptly walks up and hands Harry his invitation to Hogwarts. I will now leave you with a sense of mystery so that you are intrigued enough to go out and buy this book. This is not the only book in the series. It is actually the first in a seven book series. So without further ado goodbye. – Zach

Why you should read the Lord of the Rings

Recently I have decided to read a classic that has stood in the halls of literature since the beginning of time. I am talking of course about the novel The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. Stories of ancient lands and mythical creatures have always captivated me. This story is no different. This novel is true to the hype that has been attached to it. After reading this masterpiece I can guarantee that this novel is a solid 9/10. This story begins in the age of the rings of power. Nineteen of the rings were reserved for the races and one was forged for the dark lord Sauron. Not only was this ring was the evilest of them all, but it was also the most powerful of them all. The time now flashes to a present age where a certain hobbit named Bilbo Baggins is remembering his adventure filled past. He has decided to move on and give the ring, which has found its way into his possession, to his adopted child Frodo Baggins. Through the help of a friendly wizard named Gandalf the Grey, Frodo is able to learn the dangers of a treasure too powerful for mortal species. Frodo decides to embark on a life changing trip to destroy the ring in the fiery depths of Mount Doom, once and for all. But he is destined to find trials and tribulations along his way. Luckily for him he is joined by his trusty friend Samwise Gamgee. Later on Frodo is joined by the rest of the Fellowship in the beautiful elvish town of Rivendale, which includes the stout dwarf Gimli, heir to the throne Aragorn, arrow-ridden Boromir, and the handsome but, fearsome elf Legolas. Now Frodo is not alone on his quest to destroy the ring by himself, but with a great group of friends. I shall not say the rest because I want you to enjoy as I did. This is the first in the adventure of Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship of the rings. I hope that my blog will be able to keep on bringing great novels… ones that you will enjoy for time to come.

Are Women Really Equal To Men?

An age-old question that has plagued the world for centuries is equality. Fights of equality between races and religion have been fought for hundreds of years. One fight of equality, the most prevalent in today’s society, still rages on. Are the sexes really equal? Are women, who have been in complacent, servile positions throughout history, somehow now equal to men? Certain fields still are primarily dominated by men. Politics and sports have numerous notable men, but very few women exist in powerful positions.

Politics

Women have recently gained a few notable political positions. Taiwan recently elected a female president and Elizabeth has been a figurehead queen for many years. However, they still represent a vast minority in politics. Only about twenty females hold a world leader position. This shows the citizens of male-dominated countries to be apprehensive about allowing a female to lead them. Of course, some countries completely ban women from having jobs. Why would they then have a female leader? Men have qualities that are desirable for a leader. They are sturdy and firm in their beliefs and actions. Women are stereotyped to be rash and indecisive. Even though this may be false, citizens may still view it as truth and block a woman’s attempt to lead. Those successful female leaders have adopted the sturdy, male traits, allowing them to compete amongst the rest of the world. Margaret Thatcher is a prime example of this. The “Iron Lady” adopted a fierce mindset that was completely set in its ways. Women can be successful in politics, but due to the lack of equality given by false ideas of female traits, are not given the chance to rule.

 

Social

The Middle East is a prime candidate for control over women. With deep religious beliefs surrounding women, multiple regulations are effectively law. Notably, Saudi Arabia has numerous actions, not illegal, but severely frowned upon for women. Females are not allowed to go out in public alone. They are required to take a male guardian everywhere. Women in Saudi Arabia are also strongly discouraged from driving as numerous Saudi clerics say it undermines social values. This shows how even countries today view women as the weaker sex, needing to be protected from various tasks. Other nations have more lax rules for women but some still have social stigma attached to various tasks. In many places, a man is seen as the primary breadwinner for the family. Women face accusations of stealing a man’s duty if they decide to work. The man is seen as the hard worker and the wife stays at home to watch the kids. This social concept was more more popular in the 1950’s but still largely remains. This concept was also largely noticeable in The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan would frequently command Daisy around, and even ordering her out when the “men had work to do.” Tom made the family’s money, Daisy was there to simply take care of the house while he worked. Social conventions leave in place activities that cause a woman to be looked down upon for trying said pursuits. A complete upheaval in social norms are required for men and women to be socially equal.

 

Sports

For many athletic activities, a man usually performs better than a female. This comes down to nature, men are larger and more musclebound than women. This follows the ancient arrangement of men being animal hunters while the women gathered berries. Hunting animals was far more strenuous than gathering berries so a male grew to be larger. This affects modern sports, as more vigorous sports are dominated by males. Football and baseball are male-dominated sports. In football, testosterone-filled players bash each other repeatedly. A woman entering into this sport would be broken and bloodied by the larger and more powerful men. Women on football fields are cheerleaders, they stand to the side where it is safe. This shows a direct inequality between the sexes, men can play but women can only watch. Another sport where there is notable skill gaps between the genders is tennis. Most men ranked 200 or under can beat any of the top female players. This was seen when the Williams sisters stated they could beat any man outside of the top 200. Karsten Braasch accepted the challenge and easily beat both of them. This shows the direct contrast between males and females in sports, even in a more equally competed sport like tennis.

 

Women have gained respect and generally state they are equal to men. How equal are they really? In political situations, they represent less than a tenth of world leaders. Socially, many nations still impose strict regulations of a female’s daily life. Sports show a stark contrast between skill of a man and a woman. Full-contact sports are solely participated by men. Other sports with fierce women competitors, like tennis, show men as much better than their women counterparts.

Women have gained equality for many different situations over the years, but they are not truly equal to men.