Maandelijks archief: mei 2017

Is our welfare state Outdated?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor verzorgingsstaat fokke en sukkeThe Netherlands Is a welfare state, that means that the government plays an active role in securing welfare. How well is the Netherlands at securing welfare at the moment? The Netherlands are currently using the ‘Rhineland model’, this model has been applied since 1960. It’s fundamental goals are to achieve great social security and a good collaboration between the government and the citizens. Unfortunately the Rhineland model didn’t turn out to be as fair as was hoped for in the first place. Women’s participation is lower, education is lagging behind and the costs are increasing, not an ideal situation you would say. Might there be another possibility to ensure that the welfare will increase in the Netherlands?

Firstly let’s take a closer look at the Rhineland model. The Rhineland model is a combination between the Anglo-Saxton model and the Scandinavian model. If we take a look at the USA which uses the Anglo-Saxton model you will instantly see that taxes are very low. This might sound great, but the downside is that when now paying a high amount of taxes, you are dependent on yourself, benefits are low and the working hours are long. The USA is all about having a good entrepreneurial environment, everyone has the opportunity to be rich and make something of your life, as long as you work hard. In reality this might not be true, if you have got a handicap, or you are unable to work, America is not the country you want to live in. The Scandinavian model is the complete opposite. Citizens pay very high taxes, but benefits are high. Education is almost free just like public transport, women’s participation is high and the unemployment rates are low.

When adding up the above information about the different models you can state that the Scandinavian model has got the most benefits, but does have the most taxes. If you are thinking logically you could say ‘if benefits are high, wouldn’t people stop working so they can receive benefits’. The answer is actually no, if we take a look at an article of Henrik Pryser from the NY Times you can see that people tend to be finding work sooner by the high flexibility. People want to work because of the high salaries and high minimum wages, and public transport is very good, which encourages people to go to a minimum paid job. The exact opposite of what you would expect happens, which is beneficial for the state.

If we take another look at the Scandinavian model, people might still be arguing over the high tax prices. But if education is almost free, unemployment rates are high and public transport is cheaper, aren’t people then actually profiting from the high taxes? Even if all of a sudden a lot of people would become unemployed, they can be trained and benefit from the free education to improve their knowledge, and have another job. In this way the level of education remains high, and the level of knowledge of the employers will stay at a high level. Scandinavian countries have got the best education rate, due to this accessibility of education.

Concluding all of this, you can state that the Scandinavian model will be the best beneficial, even though in theory you wouldn’t expect that. High taxes might not sound appealing but in long term it will increase education and employment rate for man and women unlike the Rhineland or Anglo-Saxton model. If we would adjust our system to the Scandinavian model, a lot of problems the Netherlands is dealing with would be solves such as unemployment and low benefits. The Rhineland model isn’t working anymore, so let’s change directions by completely changing our system.

Sources:

Getting to know Dutch society book

https://lifestyle9.net/worlds-best-country-to-live-in-2017/

Author: Amber Aerts

Three models, which one do you prefer?

There are three different forms of a welfare state, which each have their own characteristics of which some are positive and others negative. These different forms are the Scandinavian model, the Anglo-Saxon model and the Corporatist model.

The first one which I will discuss is the Scandinavian model. This model is used in the Scandinavian countries and has social security and a flexible labour market. A flexible labour market makes it easier to find another job without any trouble for employees. If finding another job does not go well and the person is unemployed for a longer time, they have the opportunity to get an individual training course. This makes sure that they receive good benefits. The social security makes sure that the people have high benefits and makes sure that extensive parental leave for parents with small children is possible. A negative characteristic is that there is a heavy collective tax burden. This means that the people have to pay a lot of taxes. The costs are high, because the money is used for the field of education and child care.

The second form is the Anglo-Saxon model. This model is used in America and has no extensive social security. This is because liberal values such as self-sufficiency, freedom and private initiative are very important. Therefore people pay lower taxes, premiums and the government spending is lower. This also means that the collective sector is smaller compared to the collective sector of the Scandinavian model. The wages are determined by market forces and a flexible labour. Therefore people have to work very hard and there occur a lot of problems to those who drop out or lose their job. The liberal values are the reason that the people have to pay for healthcare and education by themselves. For the people that do have benefits, these are short term and these people have to meet many conditions.

The last one is the Rhineland model, also known as the corporatist model and is used in the Netherlands. It has social security and a free market which is contained by a well-developed collective sector. The free market makes a harmonious collaboration possible between government, employers’ organisations and the trade unions. This model is also not fixed and therefore is able to amend and adjust itself to bring itself in line with international and political developments. This also gives shape to discussions between politicians, experts and citizens. Social security is also very important and makes sure that employees are well-protected against the risk of dismissal or illness. The workers also pay pension premiums, to make sure that they have a good income after they retire. One of the downsides is that the amount of benefits is based on how long you have worked. There is a lack of solidarity. The second one is that even though that education and childcare is regulated, it is not as well-regulated compared to the Scandinavian model. The last downside is that collective goods, energy, public transport and healthcare are left to the free market and private companies. This means that the free market and private companies can influence the prices.

In the article (of which you will find the link below) they talk about two different models, which are the Scandinavian model and the Anglo-Saxon model. In this article I believe that the researchers prefer one of the models, which is the Scandinavian model. There are multiple reasons why I think they prefer this model. The first reason is that in the article the researchers compare the Scandinavian model with the Anglo-Saxon model and are more positive about the Scandinavian model.

One of the researchers mentioned in this article is Hendrik Jacobsen Kleven. One of his arguments to explain the exceptional rates of participation in the workforce in the Scandinavian countries is: “If the goal is to get more people working, what’s important about a social welfare plan may be more about what the money is spent on than how much is spent.” As mentioned above, one of the pros of the Scandinavian model is that the government uses a lot of the tax money to improve and invest in child care and education. This quote indirectly criticizes the Anglo-Saxon model, because within this model the government does not invest in education and childcare, because within this model the liberal value, such as self-sufficiency, is very important. Therefore the people have to pay for healthcare and education themselves.

Hendrik Jacobsen Kleven also made a graph to show that the employment rates are higher in countries that subsidize child care compared with countries that do not.

blog soc

As you can see in this graph, the Scandinavian countries have higher employment subsidies and have a higher employment rate. This graph shows that subsidising child care is important and has a positive effect on the employment rate. The countries which have the highest employment rates that also have more than 4% employment subsidies are all Scandinavian. You can see that the employment rate is lower in the U.S. compared with the Scandinavian countries. Therefore the Scandinavian model has a more positive effect on the employment rate.

In the article there is also a part where a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute says “… and I think everybody agrees that we could do better with education, I think the Scandinavian countries do those things well, and there are certain things we can learn.” In other words, the scholar speaks highly about how the Scandinavian model has better education compared to the Anglo-Saxon model.

 

If I had to pick one of the three models, I would choose the Scandinavian model. One of the reasons why I would prefer this model is that the employment rate is higher. This is because education is better (compared to the other models) and therefore the chance of getting a job is bigger. Even though I would have to pay a lot of taxes, I do not get a lot of problems with healthcare and education as I would when I lose my job in a Anglo-Saxon model. This is because with an Anglo-Saxon model you have to pay education and healthcare yourself. This can cause problems because if I would lose my job and I get ill, I am not able to pay for healthcare or the right care I would need. With the Scandinavian model the amount of problems would be less. This is because the government pays a large part of healthcare with the tax money.
Another reason is that if I would lose my job and it takes a long time to find another one, I have the opportunity to get an individual training and might be able to find a job easier. The minimum wage is also higher in Scandinavia compared to the United States. Not only for normal jobs, but also for the entry-jobs. This is possible because there are stronger labour unions and the cultural norms of the Scandinavian countries according to the article.

In conclusion, I would prefer the Scandinavian model, because the employment rate is higher, I would not get a lot of problems if I would lose my job and education and child care is better.

 

The article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/upshot/nordic-nations-show-that-big-safety-net-can-allow-for-leap-in-employment-rate-.html?_r=1

 

Sources:

I informed a book named “Getting to know Dutch Society” for the definitions and characteristics of the different models.

 

Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders

Illegal drugs, something of the past?

There are an immense amount of discussions about legalizing drugs. A lot of people and parties seems to be in favour of the idea. But why? Aren’t drugs a bad thing? They weren’t illegal for nothing, right? In this blog, I’ll take you through the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing drugs.

Why should we legalize drugs?

Most of the violence associated with illegal drug dealing is caused by its illegality. Legalisation would enable us to regulate the market, determine a much lower price and remove users need to raise funds through crime. Our legal system would be freed up and our prison population dramatically reduced, saving billions. Because of the low price, cigarette smokers do not have to steal to support their habits. There is also no violence associated with the legal tobacco market.

Legalizing drugs makes the quality of them controllable. In this way, drug use will get much safer. This will prevent people from getting sick, infected or dying from the drugs.

Prohibition doesn’t work. There is no evidence to show that prohibition is succeeding. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What are the benefits of criminalising any drug?” If, after examining all the available evidence, we find that the costs outweigh the benefits, then we must seek an alternative policy. Legalisation is not a cure-all but it does allow us to address many of the problems associated with drug use, and those created by prohibition. The time has come for an effective and pragmatic drug policy.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.

Marijuana is already allowed in some American states for medicinal purposes and for some groups, the use of this drug will help thousands of people and even children who suffer from medical conditions. Cancer patients undergoing therapy and those who suffer from depression can benefit from the use of drugs such as marijuana for medical purposes.

On the opposite side, there are very good disadvantages to drugs as well.

Drugs contain chemicals and substances that can cause depression, allergic reactions and other effects. If any individual will be able to buy just any drug over the counter, addiction can result and worse, overdose.

If drugs will be readily available, businesses can commercialize on this and encourage people to buy and eventually be addicted. Even with drug prohibition, addiction is already an existing problem where relationships are ruined, careers dumped and some people become depressed pushing them to the point of ending their lives. These unfortunate events are often drug-related and legalizing drugs will make matters worse.

Drugs create a certain level of dependency. If one earns from a scam, he is likely to come back to it despite its known negative effects. Drugs work in much the same way. An acquired dependency can lead to a vicious cycle of drug use that may become unregulated over time.

In short, legalizing drugs has many advantages against a few, but very strong disadvantages. The discussion will always be going on and changes will be made all the time, but we seem to be moving in the direction of legalizing drugs. When we have a look at the opinion of fifteen of the Dutch political parties, we see that ten of them are for the legalisation of the goods. What do you think? Should drugs be legalized or should they be banned?

Sources:

http://www.urban75.com/Drugs/drugten.html

http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation

https://www.voc-nederland.org/2017/02/statements-15-politieke-partijen-legalisering-cannabis-voor-de-stemwijzer/

https://nyln.org/6-profound-pros-and-cons-of-legalizing-drugs

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

The Welfare Systems under the loop

Something you probably already knew: Education in the Netherlands is free and accessible for every citizen. Needless to say, right? But it hasn’t always been like that. The Netherlands and many other countries started building up a welfare system after The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday (October 29). This welfare system is one where the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits. However, not all countries have the exact same form of welfare state. There are three main models: The Scandinavian, The Anglo-Saxon and The Rhineland/corporatist model. In an article from the New York Times, these models are examined in depth. (A link can be found in the source list) We will take a look at both the different models and what the article has to say about them.

Firstly, let’s find out what those three names mean.

The Scandinavian model is used in countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It is a combination of a strong social security system and a flexible labour market. The keyword of this model is ‘Flexicurity’. This labour market makes it very easy to find a job and if you are unemployed for a longer time, you are given an individual training course. If you show that you are being retrained, you will also get good benefits. A few disadvantages of this labour market are that losing a job is just as easy as getting one and it is very attractive for people to stay unemployed. They get great benefits and training after all, also avoiding taxes (which usually are very high). However, this doesn’t seem to happen often, as unemployment rates in countries with this model are very low.

“If welfare benefits are generous and taxes high, fewer people will work. Why bother being industrious, after all, if you can get a check from the government for sitting around…” (Source: New York Times)

The social system is very well thought of. Benefits are generous and parents with children get a lot of advantages. “Maternity leave is 96 weeks compared to 16 weeks in the Netherlands.” (Source: Getting to know Dutch Society) Another disadvantage of this system is that the taxes are very high. The model is a very expensive one, especially in the field of child care and education. A welcome advantage is that women’s participation is relatively high.

The Anglo-Saxon model is very built up in a very liberal way. The government doesn’t play an enormous role. A Good entrepreneurial climate is a very important part of the system. Market forces determine the wages there is a flexible labour market. However, those who drop out do have a hard time. Healthcare and education are seen as facilities that people should pay for themselves. This causes many private schools. Benefits are also small and hard to get. On the opposite side, the taxes are very low and people have more choice where they spend money on.

The Rhineland/corporatist model is a combination of the two models mentioned above. A greatly developed collective sector contains the free market. Social security is fairly important but there also is a lot of liberty, just like in the Anglo-Saxon model. Healthcare and education are subsidised by the government. The tax burden is neither high or low but just in between. This is the model that is used in the Netherlands.

The writers of the New York Times article seem to prefer the Scandinavian model above the others. Sentences like “In short, more people may work when countries offer public services that directly make working easier.” and “But even conservatives can see some useful lessons in the Scandinavian system.” Both of these sentences show a preference to the Scandinavian way of providing welfare.

The writers of the article are not the only ones that prefer the Scandinavian system, I agree with them as well, just like many others. Why? Well, there are multiple reasons that I think are worth the high tax burden. The unemployment is low and there is great solidarity. Also, women’s participation is high, so this is more equal. One thing I think is necessary for a well-developed society is a great healthcare. How can you be happy when you are not healthy? In the Scandinavian model, this is taken care of very well. Another effect that subsidising health care has is that the quality of the healthcare is good. There are great hospitals with the newest technological advancements and breakthroughs. Quack doctors will be very uncommon and there won’t be (a lot of) greedy people which value money higher than the well-being of their patients. Another Indispensable factor is education. Education is the basis for a good future. The children that are in school now, will be leading, supporting or working for the world we live in. They should be educated a well as possible, so that we will develop as quick as possible, curing diseases, making life more efficient and easy and solving big problems. This is another reason as to why I think the Scandinavian model is the best one.

Sources:

Getting to know Dutch Society (book)

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/upshot/nordic-nations-show-that-big-safety-net-can-allow-for-leap-in-employment-rate-.html?_r=1

 

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

The man is a dog’s best friend?

A dog, a lot of people have or want to have one, but do not always check the background of the animals. The dog is domesticated over 100.000 years ago and during those years, the amount of different dog breeds has increased. Some of these breeds however, have a history of being aggressive.
It still happens that a lot of pets, including dogs, are bought while the owners have done little to no research. This is especially dangerous when they buy a high-risk dog. High-risk dogs are more aggressive than other dogs and without the right training, they can become dangerous for their owners and other people. When they bite, they can do a lot of harm to the victim and are able to damage muscle and/or organ tissue. It also happens that people bring their dog to a shelter, because their expectations are not met, due to the lack of information beforehand.

After several bite incidents last year (2016), the State Secretary Van Dam announced that a policy should be made for high-risk dogs. There are no exact numbers of how many incidents take place each year, but the estimated amount is 150.000 bite incidents.

The problem with these high-risk dogs is that an attack could even be fatal. For example, when an owner leaves his dog alone to buy something at a store, a small kid might want to pet the dog and this dog might attack the kid if it feels threatened.

Han Swinkels, from the Raad voor Dierenaangelegenheden (RDA), states that the amount of bite incidents increases and as well as the concerns. This is one of the reasons why the RDA wants a policy to decrease the amount of bite incidents. To make sure that this will become reality, the RDA gave advice for a new policy to the cabinet. There were several ideas to decrease the amount of bite incidents.

The first idea is to make a list with all the dogs that meet the characteristics of a high-risk dog. I think this is a quite good idea, because then people are able to find more information about the breed and they know that these dogs have a higher risk of becoming dangerous.

Another idea is to oblige the new owner of a high-risk dog to participate in a course or a training. I think this should not only apply to owners with high-risk dogs, but to all the owners of pets. An owner should be informed about the needs and requirements for their pets. Therefore the amount of bite incidents will decrease, as well as the amount of animals in shelters.

The last idea is to put down a high-risk dog after a bite incident. In my opinion this is very extreme, because the owner is also responsible for the behaviour of their dog and the situation of the bite incident should be taken in consideration. For example if the dog was defending himself. This could be a mitigating circumstance.

One of my solutions which could help to prevent these incidents, is to inform people through commercials or conferences about the high-risk dogs and that a soon-to-be-owner has to make a test to see if he is able to take care of the animal.

The amount of bite accidents has to drop and this can only be achieved when people are informed correctly and are sure they have realistic expectations.

 

Sources:

http://nos.nl/artikel/2173713-welke-hond-is-een-risicohond-zelfs-poedels-zijn-agressief-te-maken.html

https://www.rda.nl/nieuws/nieuws/2017/02/23/hondenbeten-aan-de-kaak-gesteld

https://www.houdenvanhonden.nl/contentassets/0e1372b71c2e492fb06fb3e119affb09/bijlage3-lijst-hr-honden-17052017.pdf

author: Daphne Mathijsen

 

Cyber police in action

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor cyber police

11.1 % of the Dutch population has been a victim of cybercrime. During the last century cyber criminality has developed itself to a certain extent, and the Netherlands lags behind. People are being hacked without being aware of it, you receive strange mails which ask for private information or even crimes that are way more horrifying than you can imagine. The dark web has developed itself during the ‘internet century’. People make videos in which they kill people, videos in which child pornography is viewed and even hitman can be hired. It has never been so easy to commit a crime without the government being aware of this, that is why the Netherlands should invest more money in cyber police.

Firstly, the problem seems small at the moment because the amount of people that are victim of a crime is decreasing. In reality the amount of people that are victim of a crime might be decreasing, the amount of online crime committed is increasing. This is due to the privacy an online criminal has, the crimes that are committed online do not necessarily have to do with killing people, or hacking data. It has also to do with the ease in which you can order drugs, and products which are not allowed to be sold. People can pay in bitcoins, which is a currency that allows people to pay with (online) money without being traceable.  There might be less victims, but there are more crimes being committed and it is the governments job to do something about this.

Secondly, there are major hackers out there, they can easily hack classified data of the government and of other important institutions. That’s why I think it is important that the government invests more in the education of people to protect the web. If these people can protect the web our country would be a much safer place, online and in real life. The awareness of the problem is still very small, so by putting these issues in the limelight and attracting youth to become a computer expert for the government, the state will be protected in another way than physical police.

Thirdly, more cyber based jobs (such as a cyber police) will increase the rate in which the Netherlands is involved in technology. Technology is the future, and the Netherlands isn’t really a pioneer. That’s why the government has to invest in cyber police, so the Netherlands will have more knowledge about the technological world. Technological talent may develop and technological jobs will become more mainstream. The Netherlands has to integrate in this technological evolution by participating actively in such developments.

You might argue that investing in this cyber police might be expensive, but you have to look on the other hand. Less physical police is necessary since a lot of these crimes can be solved on the internet (such as terrorism, and drug dealers.) It is also an investment for the future knowledge of the Netherlands, which will result in better technological development in the country.

Concluding all of this, it is of major importance that the awareness of cybercrimes will be greater. The government can prevent further escalation by educating more officers to be online officers. The Netherlands is lagging behind on the technological side, and this might have major consequences in the future of criminality and education. That is why the Netherlands should be investing in cyber cops.

Sources:

https://www.fraudehelpdesk.nl/nieuws/cbs-veiligheidsmonitor-2015-1-op-de-9-slachtoffer-van-cybercrime/

https://www.mediawijsheid.nl/veelgestelde-vraag/waar-vind-ik-statistieken-over-cybercriminaliteit-in-nederland/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_web

Author: Amber Aerts – Freaders

The worry of tabloid newspapers

When reading different newspapers, one might come across two similar articles. These articles bring the same news, but they are all written in another way. The same news. This is often the case with social media platforms such as Facebook. The problem is hard to change. Especially because of this: there is another great source of misleading information: Tabloid newspapers. The papers try to make their story as sensational as possible in every way they can. The effect of this is that people’s images get shifted. They can get wrong or exaggerated views on topics, which causes a lot of trouble. To show how Tabloid papers effect the news, we will take one subject on both a tabloid and a broadsheet paper. We took the article about Khalid Masood, the London attacker, on both The Telegraph and The Daily Sun.

Something remarkable can already be seen in the headline: The Sun’s headline tries to grab attention and worry the reader. The paper achieves this by using worrying terms and sentences, combined with a layout that screams for attention. The Sun makes use of a title, a subtitle and blue text in front of the title, which you could see as a third title. This blue heading says: “THE FACE OF A KILLER”. The use of colour and capitals is intended to make the text stand out. Meanwhile, the Telegraph has a standard looking and formal title and doesn’t exaggerate its seriousness. The Sun has also used their text to attract and worry the reader: “London terror attacker Khalid Masood is pictured in first police handout after photos emerge of him as football-mad schoolboy Adrian Ajao.” and for the subtitle: “The killer claimed the lives of four people in the horrific attack on Westminster Bridge.” All these terms are purposely used to worry the reader and make him/her feel like he/she should read the rest of the article. The telegraphs title: “First picture of Khalid Masood reveals how he went from football-loving teenager to London attacker” is very different. It does include the worrying term ‘London attacker’, but this is only necessary to know what the article is about. Furthermore, it doesn’t have extra titles nor other attention-grabbing details.

Another thing that the sun does to worry the reader is the underlining of certain sentences: 48 hours after he unleashed horror attack on Westminster.”, …stabbing a man in the face…, Killed a police officer and numerous more. All of these sentences are underlined to draw attention. They all contain heavy details and facts to attract the reader. In contrast, the Telegraph keeps it’s layout more plain. It does, however, underline some pieces of text, like: Khalid Masood”, “Police finally admitted on Thursday night that Masood was not his birth name, adding to mystery about why his real name Adrian Elms was being withheld.”, “raided by anti-terror police following the attack.and some others. The difference is that the Telegraph doesn’t underline text for attention, but rather for extra information. All of these pieces of text in the article are links to other articles that dig deeper into the described subject.

The exaggeration is clearly visible in the text. When you start reading the Sun at any point, it will only take you a maximum of three sentences to find an example of exaggeration or added sensation. “But the young man, who was born on Christmas Day, later changed his name to Khalid Masood – even becoming known as “the vampire” for wearing black as he stalked the streets at night.” This sentence portrays Khalid Masood as a legend, with a peculiar and interesting back-story like every legend has. Having a nickname ‘The Vampire’ is a perfect example to show the exaggeration and added sensation. The Telegraph doesn’t do this. It just states facts, like: “Masood was born Adrian Elms and used the name Adrian Ajao, his stepfather Philip’s surname during his school years.” This is purely objective and factual.

Also, The Sun and The Telegraph seem to have differing opinions on some of their facts. And this while facts are one of the only things that can’t be different from perception. An example is in here:

“I remember he came to a new year’s party at my house but he was with a group of lads who were drunk and on something and my parents asked them to leave,” said Tills (Source: Guardian)

I remember he came to a New Year’s party at my house but he was with a group of lads who were drunk and on something and my parents asked them to leave. After that we sort of lost touch. (Source: Telegraph)

“We used to socialise together up until we left school but he turned up to a party at my house with some friends after they had been smoking puff [cannabis] and my mum threw them all out. We sort of lost touch after that.” (Source: Sun)

It couldn’t be more clear: The Guardian and the Telegraph both state the exact same information, while the sun makes up its own exaggerated story. In this case, it doesn’t have a great effect in the world. It is a different story if, just before the presidential elections, it would have been said that Donald Trump had smoked for the man. One such small sentence could have caused America to have a different president! This great influence shouldn’t be played with or lied about!

In conclusion, there are a lot of forms of news which aren’t as factual as you might think. Even some newspapers commit to objectiveness. If we don’t take care, we could be heading into a lot of trouble and fights, while they are unnecessary. So watch out for your sources, how much you believe them and how active you are in discussing the matters you read about. After all, we don’t want a made-up  world, we want the real

Sources:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3169397/london-terror-attacker-khalid-masood-picture-adrian-ajao-westminster/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/23/violent-extremist-dropped-polices-radar/

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/25/khalid-masood-profile-from-popular-teenager-to-isis-inspired-terrorist

 

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

Consumers are fooled by the food industry

When shopping in the supermarket, not everything is what it seems. Many products do not live up to the expectations, or contain certain ingredients which cause health issues without the consumer being aware of this. Shouldn’t the consumer have the right to know exactly what they are consuming, and what the effect are?Afbeeldingsresultaat voor voedsel verpakkingen

People are becoming more and more aware of what is going on in the food industry and a lot of media pays attention to the use of food. Even though the press has spent some attention to the unconsciousness of the average consumer and a lot of people are taking action by becoming for example vegan or start eating biological food. Unfortunately the consumers are often fooled when buying ‘biological’ products. For example, biological bee honey, you would expect a better quality honey from natural bee honey (or at least the bees are living in some kind of natural environment) However, the truth is that biological bee honey contains a large amount of microscopic plastic parts which are caused by the polluted air. I think the consumer should have the right to exactly know what process their product went through, what dangers there are with consuming the product and there should be a clear description of that the product is.

You might argue ‘what’s wrong with the description of food on the shelves’ but often products aren’t what they say they are. Oxtail soup isn’t really made from oxtails, it is actually made out of meat left overs. Cereal contains real iron! It is important that the consumer know exactly what they are buying without being misled by false advertisement. The regulations on how products are presented should become stricter, so the consumer know what they are buying instead of thinking they are buying a certain product but ending up with a product that doesn’t meet its advertisement.

Thirdly I also think it is important that the safety of the consumer is being guaranteed. A lot of poison and antibiotics are in the food process which may actually have major effects on human health. It is a known fact that people can become resistant against antibiotics, and so do the animals that are treated with them. The food industry should take more action to protect the safety of the citizens, even when that means that the food process will take longer. and therefore the meat would be expensive. Ensuring safety is expensive, but in the case of meat that would only be good, not only will the consumer be protected, the amount of meat that is being sold could be reduced, which would be a great step for ecological development. The government should be keen to make these developments happen, for the safety of the citizens, and the future for our children. Furthermore it is also important that if the health effects of a certain product are unknown, the consumer should be aware of this, by displaying this clearly on the packaging. Taurine, which is used in cans of energy drink, is a good example: there is little to know about Taurine, and about energy drinks in overall. Many people claim that energy drinks are very dangerous and could even cause heart failure do to the overdose of caffeine, this is why the consumer should be aware of the dangers of the product, and should be knowing if the consequences aren’t known yet.

Adding all this information up you can state that it is of major importance that the consumer knows what they are buying, what the health effects are and that they aren’t fooled by the name of the product. The packaging should be clear for all consumers, and regulations should be stricter to prevent any escalation on the health department. It is time for the consumer to be the boss of their own stomach.

Sources:

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/642516/exactly-what-energy-drinks-do-to-your-body-risk-death

keuringsdienst van ware (NPO) ossenstaart soep

keuringsdienst van ware biologische honing

http://www.voedingscentrum.nl/encyclopedie/antibiotica.aspx

Author: Amber Aerts – Freaders

Social media, a social isolation

This has probably happened to you too often: you are telling one of your most intriguing stories to someone but suddenly, this person’s phone gets a notification. That is not a big problem of course, but when the person takes his phone out to check it, losing all interest in anything you say, it will drive you nuts. Another example: When you are in an important meeting and then someone’s phone starts to ring… Is that funny Facebook photo more important? Really!? Smartphones are an amazing invention, but they can be very annoying. People tend to replace their social interaction in the real world with their phones. They annoy others with their devices and also themselves because using a phone a lot has serious consequences. So, we should really watch out in what way we use our devices, how we use them and what effect it has on ourselves and others.

First, a little health disclaimer: while there is no direct proof that RF-fields emitted by electric devices causes Cancer, there is great possibility that the emission does increase the chances. The high frequency of cell phone use can have negative effects on our stress levels. The constant ringing, vibrating alerts, and reminders can put a cell phone user on edge. Using electric devices a lot also causes changes in brain activity. This means lower reaction speed, changes in sleep patterns (which often results in less sleep or less good sleep) and a few other negative effects.

“In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers examined if there is a direct link between the psychosocial aspects of cell phone use and mental health symptoms in young adults. The participants of the study included 20 to 24-year-olds who responded to a questionnaire, in addition to a one-year follow-up. Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women, whereas high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression for men.” (Source: Medical Daily)

Another issue is that your phone can contain more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat. Faecal matter can easily be transferred by cell phones from one person to another.

“In a study conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, researchers sampled 390 cell phones and hands to measure for levels of bacteria. The results of the study showed that 92 percent of the cell phones sampled had bacteria on them — 82 percent of hands had bacteria — and 16 percent of cell phones and hands had E. Coli.” (Source: Medical Daily)

And if that wasn’t enough: “Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to back pain,” (Source: HealthCentral)

I am sorry for saying that this health disclaimer would be ‘little’. So I’ll move on, after this last point:

Staring at your mobile device can cause problems in your vision later in life. According to The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of the American citizens don’t know or are in denial that they are susceptible to digital eye strain.

Secondly, affection to others. The presence of a cell phone, while two or more people are talking face-to-face, can generate negative feelings toward the person who has his or her device visible.

“In two studies conducted at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, researchers studied the effects of a mobile device during a nose-to-nose conversation. In the first study, 37 pairs of strangers were asked to spend 10 minutes talking to each other about an interesting event that happened in their lives within the past month. Half of the participants were seated in a secluded area with a mobile device present on a desk nearby whereas the other half remained without a cell phone. The results of the study showed that those who had a mobile device nearby were perceived less positive by the stranger, compared to the other participants without a cell phone present.” (Source: Medical Daily)

Your phone is a big distraction. This both has effects on you and on others. Notifications can impair our concentration, even being short in duration they cause enough of a distraction to affect your ability to focus on a given task, decreasing your performance by prompting task-irrelevant thoughts and mind-wandering. And when you are late with your work, others will get annoyed by it as well. The distraction can also be a very dangerous in some specific situations, like driving for instance, a simple notification can cause really serious accidents and even take lives. For a deeper dive into this subject, you can click here.

The social life of people is also moving from reality into social media. People are getting more disconnected to the real world, they put their phones ahead of human interaction, it’s getting harder to see people talking to each other in public places, they’re always too busy with their mobile devices, checking notifications, sending messages or just sharing a new video. Technology brings many benefits to our modern society, but when it reaches a certain point it starts being harmful, time-consuming, counterproductive and even dangerous.

To prevent you from hurting yourself, you should stop using your devices so much. Kick off from your addictions. Search possibilities to do something else than fiddling around with your phone. Start a talk with a stranger, go play a board game with your family, find a new hobby, go sporting, go swimming, skiing, golfing, anything! Just leave your phone at home. And hey, if you don’t use your device that often, you’ll have more battery left at the end of the day!

So don’t get stuck on your screen, as it will cause health issues like high stress, bad memory, bad night rest, bad mood and more. Don’t refrain yourself from real social interaction, you will miss so many opportunities. Maybe you won’t even notice it if your true one walks by because you were playing candy crush… It is time to turn off your phone or at least turn of the notifications. Forget about it and have fun!

 

Sources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/effects-mobile-technology-our-society-leonardo-jines

http://www.medicaldaily.com/5-reasons-why-cellphones-are-bad-your-health-247624

http://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/7-surprising-causes-of-back-pain

 

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

Eyes on the road, hands off your phone

Every single time when step outside your door, you participate in traffic. There is a certain set of rules built around the transportation of goods and people in order to prevent accidents. The different types of transportation, if it is by car, train, foot or subway, each have their own rules.

A few days ago, the topic about the amount of deaths in traffic was in the news. According to the Centraal Bureau van de Statistieken (Statistics Netherlands), the amount of deaths in 2016 increased with 8.9% compared to 2015. About 30% of all the deaths were motorists that passed away in a traffic accident. The majority of the motorists were between the age of 18 and 25 or above the age of 75.

The most common and well known cause of car accidents is distraction. According to rtlnieuws.nl, around 25% of the accidents share this cause. There are a lot of forms of distraction, such as listening to music, calling someone, sending messages, checking social media and commercials alongside the road. The chance of an accident increases a lot when using social media and sending messages. This is because you are physically and mentally distracted from your surroundings.
The distraction in traffic is not only dangerous for the people who get distracted, but also for other people. It is proven that when you are on a mobile device while driving, the chance of an accident increases from 23 up to 130 times. According to the Openbaar Ministerie (Public Prosecution Service), the chance of getting in an accident when calling would be multiplied by four. Veilig Verkeer Nederland (no translation available) beliefs that using your smartphone while driving is one of the most common causes of deaths in traffic, but there are no facts that substantiate this statement.

These accidents do not only have consequences for the victims, but also for the fire brigade, police, ambulance, other participants in traffic, the insurance and the victim’s next of kin.

When there has been an accident, the police, ambulances and, if it is very extreme, the fire brigade have to go to the place of the accident. They have to help the victims but also have to find out what and how it happened.

The other participants in traffic are also effected, because they have to wait until the wreck of the car, the ambulance and the police are gone. This can cause traffic jams, which might cause that the other traffic participants arrive late at their destination and that they might miss an important meeting or happening.

Insurances are also deeply affected: When the amount of accidents increases in the upcoming years, there will be more people with a high risk. Therefore, the premium the insured have to pay, will also increase.

Like I discussed above, there are quite some consequences for both the victims of the accidents caused by distraction and for the participants around the issue of the increasing number of (fatal) accidents.

One of the solutions which might decrease the number of accidents in traffic, is making more commercials to inform people about the (fatal) consequences of the usage of your phone while driving, sailing or else. Although there are many forms of distractions, the phone is the worst of them all. This is because, like I mentioned before, you are getting physically and mentally distracted. It is also important to inform people at schools about the consequences. Not only motorists get caught by cars often, cyclists do too. When they get informed about what could happen when they distract themselves, they might think twice before they decide. Another solution is decreasing the amount of commercials alongside the road. Therefore, people will get distracted less and will be focussed more on the road. And last but not least, handing out more and higher fines when people break the rules. This way, the amount of accidents will decrease, because there are bigger consequences when the people get busted by the police.

In my opinion, it is very important that people get informed about the consequences of getting distracted in traffic. The government should make sure there less distractions alongside of the road. When this happens, the amount of traffic accidents (and also the fatal ones) will for sure decrease. To improve the situation you could already start by yourself: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands off your phone.

 

Sources:

http://www.nu.nl/auto/4662837/toename-verkeersdoden-oorzaken.html

http://nos.nl/artikel/2171059-cbs-aantal-verkeersdoden-opnieuw-gestegen.html

https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nederland/aantal-verkeersslachtoffers-stijgt-opnieuw-629-doden

https://www.om.nl/onderwerpen/verkeer/handhaving-verkeer/telefoneren/

 

Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders