Showing posts from October, 2012

(12b) Good versus bad leaders: South Africa

Example: South Africa and its mines. The world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum or Amplats, fired 12,000 South African miners when they were on strike for higher wages. A few weeks before, 34 people died during strikes at Lonmin, another mine. How would one describe these managers? Are they good? I don't think so:
Their employees are unhappy and strike because they say they earn too little for the dangerous work they do. And as I understand it, life in South Africa is becoming more expensive and thus people need more money.  Most of the managers live far away and earn enormous amounts of money, therefore they do not know (or bother to know) prices are increasing in South Africa and thus life becomes more difficult for everyone, including miners who have a dangers job (to understand the bad working conditions of gold miners, search the web for pictures).Three weeks of strikes cost the company about 700m rand ($82m; £51m) in revenue. Indeed, no pla…

(12a) Good versus bad leaders

What is a good leader? For me, a good leader is someone who employs people, treats them correctly and with respect and pays them well for their work. Someone who, during an economical crisis, fights to save the jobs of his/her people. However, he/she is not afraid to fire those who are not willing to work because he/she has to think about the wellbeing of the company (it is not a charity) (although firing bad employees has become difficult nowadays because unions now even defend bad employees to gain members and thus loose support of good employees who are also often victims of the bad ones as they often have to correct the work of the bad ones). But when the manager notices someone does his/her best but is not up for the job then a good leader will try to find something more fitting for the person. He/she will also stop employees behaving badly towards weaker members of his/her group because that will result in a bad work environment and thus less productivity (thus he/she can be to…

(05f) The Nobel Peace Price for the European Union.

The European Union (EU) deserves the Nobel Peace Price, ... and maybe certainly at this moment (or maybe not). Why? To reflect on its past achievements and its will to help member states who need help. Although the people from countries in need will disagree as so many suffer and therefore maybe it was better to wait until after the crisis to judge Europe's solution on how she solved it. Past achievements. The EU arose after WWII to improve trade between European countries in the hope it would increase the chances of peace between them. Countries could join voluntarily but only after certain criteria were met, such as good records on the environment, human rights and equal opportunities. Because people in other countries experienced the EU brought peace and prosperity, those countries wanted to join and thus were forced to increase democracy in their own countries before being allowed in the EU. To improve trade, EU countries opened their borders so people can travel and trade f…

(10d) Thalidomide - And the apology that angered its victims

Thalidomide (tradename Softenon), a drug known all over the world for the terrible birth defects it caused including shortened arms and legs (the best known side effect as this is very visible, see figure, taken, then slightly edited, from Langman's medische embryologie, 10de herziene druk by T.W. Sadler), blindness, deafness, heart problems and brain damage while many children died because of the drug. I write this article in response to an article published on the BBC-website. Thalidomide was invented in 1953 by the German pharmaceutical company GrĂ¼nenthal. The drug was launched by the company in 1957. By 1961, the Australian doctor William McBride reported that an increased number of deformed babies were born at his hospital to mothers who had taken thalidomide; the same year, Softenon was taken from the market.
Now, almost 50 years later the company GrĂ¼nenthal finally apologised for the problems the drug they invented caused to children who still suffer as adults. The CEO, Mr…