Wednesday, January 29, 2020
A Comparison between Fyodor DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s Crime and Punishment and Vladimir ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s Essay Example for Free
A Comparison between Fyodor DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s Crime and Punishment and Vladimir ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s Essay Fyodor DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s classic, Crime and Punishment, and Vladimir ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s Lovers and Murderers describe a world of murder, dejection and profound human unhappiness. The two authors explore moral abjection and the destiny of mankind, as ruled by lust, jealousy and immoral instincts. As it shall be seen however, the two novels differ considerably in the way in which they treat the subject of crime, as well as in their point of view and the tone of the narrative. Thus, DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s Crime and Punishment is centered on the idea of moral ambiguity. The Russian author uses an omniscient point of view in order to recount Rodyon RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s experiences before and after he commits the murder. The tone of the narrative is serious and meditative, as questions of morality and justice are interspersed throughout the events and dialogues in the novel. Vladimir ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s Lovers and Murderers treats the theme of murder in conjunction with that of love. The narrative enters a world full of promiscuity and violence, focusing on a great number of characters and the interactions among them. Unlike DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s book that focuses on the portrait and experiences of the main character, ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s work is concerned with the plurality of voices. Moreover, the point of view shifts frequently from the omniscient narrator to the first person narrative, sometimes within the same phrase. Lovers and Murderers is a grotesque mosaic, with a discontinuous narrative and a satiric tone. While DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s work raises questions of morality and social justice, ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel represents the spectacle of human life with resignation. There is no ethical conclusion to ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s analysis of human life and character: he chooses to describe the dynamic of humanity in its bleakest and most ironic aspects. For Dostoevsky, human life is also full of coincidences and accidents. Although, the limit between right and wrong is relative, ultimately, the novel emphasizes the belief in punishment and redemption. In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel, there is no clear delimitation between innocence and guilt: the characters are all fanatics, consumed by passions, jealousy and greedy cravings. Significantly, love and violence intermingle throughout the novel, marking the majority of the relationships among different characters. Paral shows therefore that human interaction is never completely innocent: people devour and are devoured sadistically by destructive relationships. Instead of ending in union and harmony, each affair ends in destruction and crime. In Crime and Punishment there is the possibility of salvation and the triumph of love. Lovers and Murderers shows murder to be the companion of love, with no possibility for moral cleansing. Both novels therefore analyze morality in the context of the dynamics of society, emphasizing the interactions among different characters but with different conclusions. Sin and morality are seen as paradoxes in DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s work, but, ultimately sins can be redeemed after having been committed. ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel illuminates the tableau of human relationships and the relativity of moral principles very differently: all the characters are fallen men and women, who abuse or are abused by others. DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s Crime and Punishment is concerned primarily with moral paradoxes, exemplified through the stories of various characters. The central story, that of Raskolnikov, is paradoxical. The protagonist is an extremely poor student, who struggles with his enormous debts to his landlady and with constant hunger and misery. A proud and noble character, Raskolnikov is tormented by his unjust and humiliating social standing. Despite his intelligence, he lives poorly and is constantly besieged by material concerns. As the novel opens, Raskolnikov has already developed the philosophy that would lead him to murder: he muses that there are superior men who should be able to punish others for their sins. Interestingly therefore, the murder is intended as a punishment of the mean pawnbroker, in the name of social justice. The first part of the novel captures RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s inner tension as he struggles to discern right from wrong. There follows the critical moment of the actual, double murder and afterwards his punishment and final redemption. The cyclical nature of his experience is symbolic: Dostoevsky points here to the paradoxes of morality. RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s act of murder is in itself meant as a punishment and may seem right in its context. To enhance the ambiguity however, Dostoevsky arranges for a double murder: the circumstances force the protagonist to kill Lizaveta as well, the pawnbrokerÃ¢â¬â¢s innocent sister. The novel offers yet other instances of moral ambiguity, such as the saintly and innocent Sonia who is forced to become a prostitute in order to earn money and save her hungered family: Ã¢â¬Å"And then I saw, young man, I saw Katerina Ivanovna, in the same silence go up to SoniaÃ¢â¬â¢s little bed; she was on her knees all the evening kissing SoniaÃ¢â¬â¢s feet, and would not get up, and then they both fell asleep in each otherÃ¢â¬â¢s arms Ã¢â¬ ¦ together, togetherÃ¢â¬ ¦ yes Ã¢â¬ ¦ and I Ã¢â¬ ¦ lay drunkÃ¢â¬ (Dostoevsky 30). Her mother in law, who had previously maltreated her, is now grateful and reverent towards the girl. Sacrifice and generosity are therefore accepted and appreciated in the novel. Her father, Marmeladov, is another example of moral equivocalness: a hopeless drunk, he is a good man who loves his family yet cannot conquer his own vice in order to save them. MarmeladovÃ¢â¬â¢s employer also acts generously, although he does so in vain: he offers him his job back, despite his dependence on alcohol, out of pity for his family. Throughout the novel, morality is questioned, but there is sufficient evidence of the existence of good alongside with evil. The ambiguity that Crime and Punishment describes is one of form rather than substance. In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s Lovers and Murderers morality is permanently mixed with sin. Women and men, coming from the dregs of society as well as from its highest ranks, live in utter disorder and promiscuity. Innocence and guilt are neither relative nor circumstantial. Significantly, the book is divided in numerous fragments bearing two alternative titles: Ã¢â¬Å"ConquerorsÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"BesiegedÃ¢â¬ . In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s vision, the world is not divided in right and wrong, but rather in abusers and abused. These basic roles are moreover easily interchangeable. The relationships seemed to be weighed on a scale, which always tips in favor of one of the partners. The relationship between Alex Serafin and Dasa is a relevant example: Alex conquers and even enslaves the rich woman but he is eventually rejected by the same woman that seemed totally dependent on him. The world of the inhabitants of building 2000 is devoid of moral principles and reasoning. The men and women are driven only by impulses of self-gratification. Their affairs are violent and each partner, either abused or abusive, derives selfish pleasure from the communion. Love is rapacious, lustful and possessive: Ã¢â¬Å"Love is prey and everyone longs for his own destruction Ã¢â¬â letÃ¢â¬â¢s not want them to expose the necks themselvesÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ (Paral 187). If RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s world is marked by sin and punishment, ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s characters pursue their own pleasure and interests without having to pay for their deeds. Raskolnikov murders the two women in his pursuit of justice, without deriving any personal gain from the deed, despite having found a considerable fortune in the ladiesÃ¢â¬â¢ flat. In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel, murder is only perpetrated as a crime of passion. In the case of Borek and Zita, murder is even gratuitous. The comparison between their story and that of Julien Sorel and Madame de Renal in StendhalÃ¢â¬â¢s Red and Black, is extremely significant. While in StendhalÃ¢â¬â¢s morality is extensively explored, Borek and ZitaÃ¢â¬â¢s affair is devoid of any compunctions of guilt despite the fact that Zita is a married woman. The line between love and murder is very thin: one of the partners is always the hunter who chases his victim. The moment when Borek finally conquers Zita and possesses her body is very relevant. The man feels that, instead of loving thoughts he develops murderous ones, without being able to discern between the two categories anymore: Ã¢â¬Å"I realized I was standing there like a murderer, insane because as a murderer I could not act otherwise, even though I had come as a lover, like a murderer or a lover, insane because I no longer saw any differenceÃ¢â¬ (Paral 188). If Crime and Punishment discusses moral ambiguity, Lovers and Murderers comments on the ambiguity of love and murder. Sexuality is always mixed with sadism and violence in ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel, so as to emphasize the fact that love is in fact abusive and possessive rather than disciplined and saintly. Marriage itself is a failure in the novel. An early scene in the novel points to the ultimate moral degradation of the characters. Thus, the poor working woman Madda pays a visit to Frank in his rich and sumptuous apartment. When he asks her to put on a wedding dress as part of the ritual of lovemaking, the woman muses on her previous sexual degradation: Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ ¦and you donÃ¢â¬â¢t have to apologize for madman anything, my earlier lovers wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t even take my clothes off, or even their own, a white wedding dress to church; IÃ¢â¬â¢ve made love with the dirty strap of contemptible overalls between our bodiesÃ¢â¬ (Paral 32). Ironically however, her romantic hopes are bitterly deceived by her heartless partner. Instead of offering the wedding dress as a symbol for love and purity, he uses it as part of a humiliating trick: when Madda is dressed and kneeling before him, FrankÃ¢â¬â¢s wife enters the room and it becomes clear that the woman was only used as amusement by the rich couple. In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s world the beautiful dreams disintegrate very fast. Lovers and Murderers shows that moral choices and principles have to be settled among people and thus no intention or action is definitely pure. Raskolnikov acts in the name of a higher principles, which he sees as commanding: Ã¢â¬Å"I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t kill a human being, but a principle! I killed the principle, but I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t overstep, I stopped on this sideÃ¢â¬ ¦. I was only capable of killingÃ¢â¬ (Dostoevsky 389). Raving with a guilty conscience, Raskolnikov tries to convince himself of the moral justifications of his deed. He didnÃ¢â¬â¢t kill another human being, his violence was directed solely against an erroneous principle. Besides Raskolnikov, the novel abounds in generous characters. For instance, Dounia, RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s sister is willing to sacrifice her own happiness in a marriage she does not desire, in order to help her family. When the same Dounia is accused of trying to attract her employer and make him commit adultery, she escapes by her own generosity and nobility. Moreover, it is the employerÃ¢â¬â¢s wife that actually mends the girlÃ¢â¬â¢s reputation after having marred it, by showing the proof of her innocence to the world. There is no redemption and generosity in ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s novel. The characters act upon their personal interests, without considering each othersÃ¢â¬â¢ feelings. The life that the characters lead is the life of a jungle, where there are no rules other than personal survival and gratification: Ã¢â¬Å"They live only for the fulfillment of their eternal appetites: like animals running free in a jungle. For pleasure alone: like the courtiers of Louis XVÃ¢â¬ (Paral 164). People are not concerned with judgments of value and with ethical principles. Paral introduces his readers to the psychological jungle of humanity, where people follow only their instincts. In Crime and Punishment, on the other hand, Dostoevsky explores sin and crime from a religious and ethical perspective. As critic Alfred Bem notes, Dostoevsky proceeds from the idea of a feeling of the original sin present in all minds: Ã¢â¬Å"To understand Dostoevskys thought one must allow for the presence in the human psyche of a feeling of sinfulness as such, independent of the existence of any concrete crimewhat we might call the feeling of original sin. We can assume, then, that the feeling of sin, of guilt can be present in the psyche unaccompanied by any consciousness of crimeÃ¢â¬ (Bem 59). Hence comes the moral ambiguity of the characters: however saintly in their morality and character, they can succumb to sin because the seed is already planted in the human psyche. ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s world is also dominated by sinfulness, but, in this case, the characters lose their nobility. They are all fallen, abject people, who live by their instincts rather than by principles. Moreover, Raskolnikov performs an experiment more than an actual murder. He wants to apply his philosophical theory to reality and see its effects. Dostoevsky captures here the essence of humanity and its inherent rejection of murder. Ultimately, Raskolnikov is unable to commit his crime in complete cold bloodedness, despite the solidness of his arguments and theory: Ã¢â¬Å"Perhaps no work of literature presents so graphically a man testing and living, psychologically and even physiologically, a theory. Raskolnikovs theory, it will be remembered, is that crime is accompanied by sickness, by a loss of willpower and self-control, unless it is committed for sufficient reason by an Ã¢â¬Ëextraordinary man,Ã¢â¬â¢ in which case it is Ã¢â¬Ëno crime. Ã¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬ (Shaw 142). It is not so with ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s murderers: they virtually live in a jungle, where, besides instincts and passions, there is only pathos without real substance. The point of view and the tone chosen by the two authors are also relevant. RaskolnikovÃ¢â¬â¢s story is told objectively, from an omniscient perspective. This narrative technique does not obscure the characterÃ¢â¬â¢s inner turmoil, however. Dostoevsky pairs his omniscience with indirect speech, a device which helps to reveal the heroÃ¢â¬â¢s thoughts and emotions. Raskolnikov often speaks to himself and, in this way, Dostoevsky gives us access to his unmediated reflections. For instance, he muses on his motivation for committing the murder, wavering between the feeling of guilty and the excuse he finds for his behavior: Ã¢â¬Å"I am putting my little brick into the happiness of all and so my heart is at peace. Ha-ha! Why have you let me slip? I only live once, I too wantÃ¢â¬ ¦. Ech, I am an ? sthetic louse and nothing more,Ã¢â¬â¢ he added suddenly, laughing like aÃ¢â¬ (Dostoevsky 389). Raskolnikov is indeed a criminal and an aesthete at the same time. While his crime is horrendous, his purpose gives it meaning to a certain extent. As Julian Connolly remarks, the way in which Dostoevsky decided to use the point of view in the novel is very significant: Ã¢â¬Å"Dostoyevsky had originally intended to write an account of murder from the perspective of the murderer himself. As he worked on the project in November 1865, however, he concluded that such a perspective might be too limited, so he chose an omniscient, third-person narrative mode instead. Yet traces of the original design remain: much of the novel offers direct insight into Raskolnikovs impressions and experiences. Ã¢â¬ (Connolly 144). Thus, the authorÃ¢â¬â¢s decision to mingle omniscience and first person narrative shows that he was preoccupied to investigate the moral dimension of his characters as well as the psychological one. His technique ultimately merges psychology with philosophy. In ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s case, the frequent shifts of viewpoint, allow for a curious exploration of the stories from the inside and outside simultaneously. Moreover, ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s story is told fragmentarily, with an alternation of voices and points of view. The narrative shifts from the author to an interior monologue of one of the characters without warning, in the course of the same phrase. This provides readers with marks as to actual events and also to the thoughts of the characters at the same time. The novel features a great number of different narrative voices, as each of the characters introduced is also given a monologue. This technique enhances the novelÃ¢â¬â¢s mosaic structure and its grotesqueness. The charactersÃ¢â¬â¢ interior monologues moreover show them to be egoistical and impulsive. Most of their speeches are delirious and self-centered. The tones of the two works also differ and influence the readerÃ¢â¬â¢s perception of the stories. DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s tone is serious and restrained, focusing on the events, the psychology of the main character and the numerous implications of the experiences described. Paral, on the other hand, uses irony, black humor and pathos is order to describe the events in his book. Lovers and Murderers is therefore written as a black comedy, transmitting the author purpose of satirizing humanity in its pettiness and abjection. The two novels deal with the common themes of murder and punishment, but do so in very different ways. Crime and Punishment investigates ethical, religious and psychological consequences of a crime, with an emphasis of humansÃ¢â¬â¢ liability to sin and moral ambiguity in the context of a society. Lovers and Murderers, on the other hand, emphasizes the human world as a grotesque spectacle, driven by the uncontrolled instincts and petty interests of men. DostoevskyÃ¢â¬â¢s work analyzes and questions, while ParalÃ¢â¬â¢s observes and mocks. Works Cited: Alfred L. Bem, Ã¢â¬Å"Guilt in Crime and Punishment. Ã¢â¬ Readings on Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Ed. Tamara Johnson. Trans. Robert Louis Jackson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 58 64. Connolly, Julian. Ã¢â¬Å"An Overview of Ã¢â¬ËCrime and PunishmentÃ¢â¬â¢. Ã¢â¬ Exploring Novels. Gale, 1998. Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. New York: Vintage Classics, 2008. Paral, Vladimir. Lovers and Murderers. Trans. Craig Stephen Stevens. New York: Catbird Press, 2002. Shaw, J. Thomas. Ã¢â¬Å"Raskolnikovs Dreams. Ã¢â¬ Slavic and East European Journal 17, no. 2 (1973): 131-45.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
FRED STENSONÃ¢â¬â¢S - TEETH - Teeth, by Fred Stenson, is an interesting short story, with a plot spread between two hockey games and the childhood memories of the main character. The story is written in first person, through the eyes of a hockey player Ã¢â¬â the main character - and the setting is in western Canada, mainly around Canadian hockey rinks and the main characterÃ¢â¬â¢s hometown. The story presents a player, who plays hockey for money rather than for pleasure. The author of this story tries to provoke the readers, by writing through the eyes of this player, who does not love the game he plays. The idea that a hockey player Ã¢â¬â a professional Canadian hockey player Ã¢â¬â would dislike the game of hockey and still play, is what shocks, confuses and keeps the reader interested in the story. This unusual characterization of a hockey player is also important to the development of plot. Finally, this story gives people advice about how to live and enjoy life more effectively. The story begins during one of BurnsÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬â the main character - hockey games, on a Tuesday night, not long after Christmas. The players in his team are quite fatigued and near the end of a game. They are supposed to change lines onto the ice, but Burns is lost in a daydream about his youth and the line change goes too slowly. For some seconds there is no one on the ice except the goalie and the six members of other team. The other team scores a goal before the line change is completed and BurnÃ¢â¬â¢s team goes on to lose the game 5-3 (93). The reader must conclude that the loss of the game is partly the fault of the main character. This conclusion comes from the fact that he is daydreaming about his childhood, and memories of being made to play hockey by his parents. It is at this point in the story that the reader learns of BurnÃ¢â¬â¢s dislike for the game of hockey, and through these daydreams that the reader discovers the main characterÃ¢â¬â¢s motivation to play the game is the money he is being paid. After the game, in the dressing room, the manager is angry and threatens to send some of the players down to the minor leagues. When the main character hears this, his reaction is not what the reader would expect of a hockey player who loves to play the game. Instead, Burns continues to daydream and shows a lack of respect for his teammates and the manager. The manager mainly blames Burns for the teamÃ¢â¬â¢s loss, because he did not put out, and his lack of enthusiasm infects the
Monday, January 13, 2020
The worldÃ¢â¬â¢s industrial fisheries can be considered predatory, as they hunt fish and other marine life on the behalf of flesh-eating humans. Therefore, these fisheries can be considered as competitors of the natural predators that exist among marine wildlife, and the activities they perform adversely affect the population by reducing the number of fish available as prey. Industrial fisheriesÃ¢â¬â¢ role as predator has been the cause of a major decline in the number of kittiwakes that exist in the North Sea (Frederiksen, 2004).Since the beginning of the 1990Ã¢â¬â¢s the population of these pelagic birds has declined by over 50%, and the black legged creatures (known scientifically as Rissa tridactyla) are thought to have succumbed as a result of a reduction in their food supply caused by an interruption of the food chain (2007). Another factor that has been instrumental in affecting the population of these black-legged kittiwakes in the North Sea has been the change in oceano graphic variables. Such factors as sea levels and temperature in the North Sea have been monitored, and their changes have been shown to correlate with the general changes in the kittiwake population (2004; Wanless, et al., 2007). Specific research done over a 15-year period from 1986 to 2002 has confirmed that not only has significant increase in industrial fishing of kittiwakesÃ¢â¬â¢ prey taken place, but also that significant oceanographic changes also occurred alongside these demographic changes.Kittiwakes and other pelagic birds demonstrate the existence of complex relationships between their feeding levels and their ability to produce offspring (Ollason et al., 1997). The most common form of prey for the black-legged kittiwakes is the sandeel, and it has been shown that during the most active period of sandeel (also known as sandlance) fishery (between 1991 and 1998) the survival of the adult population of kittiwakes showed a sharp and sustained decline (Frederiksen, 2004; W anless, 2007).The harvesting of sandeel has affected the population of kittiwakes in other ways, as the breeding of the species also declined for subsequent generations. Since the longitudinal monitoring of the black-legged kittiwake population has spanned several years before and after this sandeel-harvest period, research has been able to demonstrate that the kittiwake population was actually on the rise before industrial fishing of sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) began. The change registered a 19% fall in the growth rate of the population, from +8% to -11% in just eight years (2004).However, sandeel fishery has had more than just an immediate effect on the population of the kittiwakes. In recent years, this form of industrial fishing has experienced a decline that has proven favorable for the population of black-legged kittiwakes in the North Sea. Nevertheless, the current decline in industrial fishing of sandeel has failed to improve the situation for the kittiwake to a significant degree, as the population continues to fall.Even the newly elevated breeding rates have still proven insufficient to bring the population growth back up to what it was before it was adversely affected by industrial fishery (Frederiksen, 2004). In statistical models developed by researchers, the population decline promises to continue even if sandeel harvesting is low (2004). In order for the kittiwakes to flourish, such industrial fishing would need to cease altogether for an extended period of several years.More recently, it has been demonstrated through research that the sandeel that do survive have also been undergoing changes that may reduce their quality and nutritional usefulness to the kittiwake population (Wanless, 2007). This is particularly important, as kittiwakes tend to go through an extensive and technical, yet very critical feeding stage prior to breeding (Ollason et al., 1997). Analysis of the body composition of these sandeel has rendered low levels of lipids.The sa ndeel have also been appearing significantly later in the season than usual, and their body sizes have shown significant decline in the past three years (2007). While it is not clear to what extent these changes may be attributed to industrial fishing, it might be hypothesized that pollution may have a bearing on these variables. Oceanographic factors may also come into play in this area.The global warming changes to climate have affected oceanographic factors, and these effects have also resulted in a decline in the kittiwake population of the North Sea (Frederiksen, 2004; Wanless, 2007). The correlation between the survival of adult kittiwakes and the increased temperature of the winter seas has been negative. In fact, the success of kittiwake breeding has been recorded as showing a one-year delay (2004). The fact that the decline in industrial fishing of sandeel has been only minimally successful in causing the recovery of the kittiwake population indicates that the increased win ter sea temperatures have taken a heavy toll on these pelagic birds.The association of the decline in kittiwakes with warm winter sea temperatures and increased industrial fishery has led to some difficult choices for humans. Since it is unlikely that global warming can be reversed quickly or easily enough to decrease winter ocean temperatures and improve the condition of black-legged kittiwakes, changes to industrial fishery is the most feasible solution. These changes will have to be drastic in order to garner any improvement in the kittiwake populations, considering that the damage to the population and its breeding processes have proven to be extensive.Therefore, the complete closure (for now) of the section of the fishery industry that harvests sandeel has been considered the only measure that will lead to the recovery of the kittiwake population (Frederiksen, 2004; Wanless, 2007). It might also be considered that reduction in marine pollution is likely to lead to the improveme nt of the condition of the sandeel, which may in turn aid the growth of the kittiwake population by providing them greater nutrition. Therefore, decreasing its use of pollutants is another way in which the fishing industry may help the recovery of the black-legged kittiwake population in the North Sea.ReferencesFrederiksen, M. S. Wanless,Ã M. P. Harris,Ã P. Rothery,Ã L. J. Wilson. (2004). Ã¢â¬Å"The role of Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã industrial fisheries and oceanographic change in the decline of North Sea black-legged Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã black-legged kittiwakes.Ã¢â¬ Journal of Applied Ecology, 41(6): 1129-1139.Ollason, J. G., A. D. Bryant, P. M. Davis, B. E. Scott & M. L. Tasker. (1997). Ã¢â¬Å"Predicted seabird Ã Ã distribution in the North Sea: the consequences of being hungry.Ã¢â¬ Journal of Marine Ã Ã Ã Science. 54(4): 507-517.Wanless, S., M. Frederiksen, F. Daunt, B. E. Scott & M. P. Harris. (2007). Ã¢â¬Å"Black-legged Ã Ã kittiwakes as indicators of environmental change in the North Sea: evidence from longterm studies.Ã¢â¬ Progress in Oceanography, 71 (1). 30-38.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Sample details Pages: 9 Words: 2702 Downloads: 2 Date added: 2017/06/26 Category Finance Essay Type Compare and contrast essay Did you like this example? This essay examines the concept of trust, social preferences and fairness in corporate finance and then explores and discusses their respective importance in the financial markets. Ernest Hemingway famously quoted that Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âthe best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã The role of trust has become paramount in financial markets due to their increasing complexity, and especially because of the escalating use of electronic communication within them, which has made exchanges more estranged and depersonalised. The concept of trust has often been credited for providing significant insights into the transactions and conduct that are found in financial markets. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t waste time! Our writers will create an original "The Concept of Trust, Social Preferences and Fairness in Corporate Finance" essay for you Create order It is however important to first understand the meaning of the term Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"trustÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢, in order to carry out a meaningful analysis of its salience in these markets. The dictionary definition of the word is Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or somethingÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ or Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"a reasonable belief that people will tell the truth, and keep their promisesÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢. A particularly relevant definition of trust is Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"faith or confidence in the loyalty, strength and veracity of a person or thing, without examinationÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢. This definition demonstrates the connection between trust and confidence and is therefore significant, since more often than not; collapses in confidence in financial markets are largely attributed to breakdowns in trust (Tomasic and Akinbami, 2011). Another relevant concept of trust that is pertinent is the definition which was later examined experimentally in the trust game experiment, by Bacharach and Gambetta (2001) and Ermish and Gambetta (2006). The financial system being a series of interlocking markets requires trust within them and between firms and consumers to operate effectively and efficiently. Trust instils a feeling of belief that the relationship with the corporation will be predictable, reliable, and consistent in meeting the necessary needs and requirements (CoveyLink Worldwide, 2006). It is crucial to the health of the economy and the financial landscape because it provides investors with a fairly easy and inexpensive way to make decisions. Banking and finance scholars, such as Gray and Hamilton have asserted that emotions such as trust and confidence have significant influences on decision making, because evaluating the vast array of information and risks associated with complex and uncertain financial services products is difficult for consumers. Thereby, in reality, investors and consumers use trust as some sort of a heuristic, relying on it to fill information gaps. It is therefore imperative that due attention be paid upon it to help investors to continue investing in financial products and services, and securities. Guiso and Sapienza et al. (2008) explicitly addressed everyday investment activity in terms of trust in the stock market by saying Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âThe decision to invest in stocks requires not only an assessment of the risk-return trade off given the existing data, but also an act of faith (trust) that the data in our possession is reliable and the overall system is fair.Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã Trust therefore is important not only in commercial relationships, but is relevant in both retail financial and wholesale markets. Quigley (2007) emphasized the critical role of trust, stating, Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âWithout trust and confidence, markets do not function and value is destroyedÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã . It has been observed in the past that key components of financial markets such as transparency, investor confidence, liquidity and uncertainty, are largely based and dependent on trust and when financial institutions engage in trust abuse, these very components are severely eroded. This was particularly highlighted during the global financial crisis wherein when confidence (trust) declined, the abovementioned important foundations receded, thereby eventually weakening the financial market. The collapse of Northern Rock in 2007 serves as a stark illustration of why trust is instrumental and how its disappearance can have a detrimental effect on financial markets. Furthermore, breakdowns of trust between the members of a firm, and between a firmÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢s relationships with other firms through self-dealing and abuse can have a damaging impact as strongly illustrated by the infamous collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and in Goldman SachsÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ role in the ABACUS scandal in 2007. Stakeholders such as shareholders, creditors and employees trust the senior m anagement of the firm to run it in their best long term interest; the drawback however of strong relations of trust is the high dependency of one party on another that it entails. The use of creative accounting represents an impact of the abuse of this trust, most noticeably demonstrated by the managers of Enron that ultimately contributed to its downfall. Such esoteric accounting treatments conceal short-comings in corporate performance and could be used to fundamentally mislead the market, and raise doubts about the reliability of financial report. Moreover, the so called Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"Agency problemÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ highlights the need and importance of trust between the internal members of a firm, as exhibited in the case of Lehman Brothers wherein the management failed the trust placed on them by their shareholders, thereby leading to its inevitable collapse. For financial markets to operate smoothly, trust between consumers and their agents, between consumers and intermed iaries, and between consumers and the market are undoubtedly required (Social market foundation, 2011). Trust, through the assumption that others will behave similarly according to common norms of economic conduct, instils a belief in a person that their counterpart in a transaction will not take advantage of them and this is an important aspect in the wider social context in which financial organisations operate. It is thus a necessity amongst the diverse professionals and organisations that constitute the market, and promotes economic efficiency in instrumental terms and reduces the transaction costs of economic exchange. Although trust is normally ignored in standard economic models, the existence of trust amongst those who operate within financial markets and the financial markets as a whole, is of prime importance. It is presumably ignored in the standard models due to the supposition that external law and order parties can effectively protect the interests of contracting parti es from fraud and abuses of trust. Companies that inculcate values such as integrity, trust and transparency outperform other firms by a wide margin in terms of growth in stock price and profitability (Kouzes and Posner, 2002). Moreover, Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"transparency paysÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢, as declared by Robert Eccles (2001). Divulging essential information has proven invaluable to companies as it lowers the cost of capital and poses less risk for investors. They are perceived by the public to be more honest as providing accurate information helps the investors in making informed decisions. Deliberately withholding information that is a requisite to making these decisions can create a sense of mistrust and thereby seriously damage a corporations potential to improve business performance within the financial markets. High profile debacles of financial shenanigans, such as Enron and Tyco demonstrated the negative effects of complex business structures and dispensing fallacious finan cial information. The integrity of markets therefore largely depends on market participants being honest and open with each other. According to Tonkiss (2009), Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âTrust leads a double life as both a social value and an economic resource; as such, it is a critical concept for linking social arrangements with economic outcomes.Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã The conservative view of contractarianism states that corporations are a Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"web of implicit and explicit contracts,Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ with established rights and obligations amongst the firmÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢s many stakeholders which includes investors, creditors and the management. Participants upholding this view generally disregard values such as trust, ethics and fiduciary duties. On the other hand, progressive scholars state that trust is predominantly important within firms and the stakeholders do not necessarily behave in a strictly individualistic and selfish manner, as is often implied by other economic models . Additionally, they believe that economic relationships are also social relationships that look beyond just the pursuit of self-interest and in fact, require a certain degree of trust to flourish in the first place. This arguably applies to the associations between different entities in the financial markets and raises doubts as to whether financial markets are merely contract-based markets or if they have a social character, and whether some financial market participants should have Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"other-regardingÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ duties such as fiduciary duties imposed upon them. The traditional description of Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"homo economicusÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢, as the perpetual pursuit of self-interest may not strictly apply in financial markets because the trustees could anticipate additional and institutional benefits from behaving a certain way or making a particular business decision. By expecting the other party to act correspondingly and by upholding the interests of others, they may derive benefit from their seemingly altruistic behaviour. This brings us to the importance of social preferences or Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"other-regardingÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ duties in financial markets. Social preferences or Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"other-regardingÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ duties are a type of preference including trust, fairness, reciprocity and empathy, and are studied in behavioural and experimental economics and social psychology, through economics experiments. Folk wisdom in behavioural economics depicts that in competitive markets, social preferences are of no importance. The standard neoclassical model is built on the assumption that all economic agents are only interested in their own material well-being. Many experiments, starting with Smith (1962, 1964) and later confirmed by Fehr and Schmidt (1999) and Dufwenberg et al. (2008) have shown that the standard neoclassical model holds true and that due to the presence of competition, all market participants behave as if the y are purely self-interested. These authors maintain that even though the standard model is unfair and distributes almost the entire surplus to one side of the market, the classic model predicts market outcomes quite well. Dufwenberg et al. (2008) through a general equilibrium model that allowed for a large class of social preferences identified necessary and sufficient conditions on preferences, which they termed Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âseparabilityÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã , which further strengthened their belief in the Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âclassicalÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã theory; participants with social preferences behave as if they were purely self-interested. However, in contrast, there is also a large body of mounting experimental and field evidence showing that many people are not purely self-interested and that their behaviour is affected by caring about the well-being of others (Ledyard 1995, Fehr and GÃÆ'Ã ¤chter 2000, Karlan 2005, Egas and Riedl 2008, Falk and Heckman 2009). Such social (aka othe r-regarding) preferences constitute a profound deviation from the standard neoclassical homo economicus assumption and also show that people are heterogeneous; some care a lot about other peopleÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢s payoffs while others care very little. The findings by these authors imply that people have been found to promote fairness and care about the welfare of other people by willing to sacrifice their own resources. This behaviour has been termed Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âsocial preferencesÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã or Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âother-regarding preferencesÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã in the behavioural literature. It has through experiments shown that many people do not only care about their own material well-being, but are also concerned about the payoffs of other people they interact with. Despite the cited evidence, the standard neoclassical assumption is still prevalent in the finance literature. Guth el al. (1982) introduced the first and probably most famous experiment on social preferences, term ed as the ultimatum game. Many other experiments ensued in which observed behaviours were inconsistent with the self-interest assumption. For example, in public good games many people deviate from the dominant strategy of free-riding and voluntary contribute to the public good (Ledyard 1995). Furthermore, if given the opportunity, they are willing to punish non-contributors even if this is costly to themselves (Fehr and GÃÆ'Ã ¤chter, 2000). In gift exchange games subjects in the role of workers provide higher effort than contractually enforceable if their employers offer generous wages (Fehr et al. 1993). Thus, experimental evidence does suggest that many subjects are willing to give up some resources to help others. While many subjects in such experiments are willing to spend resources to achieve a fair allocation or to reciprocate kind or unkind behaviour, there are also many subjects who behave very selfishly. To understand the outcomes of these experiments it is necessary to a cknowledge the heterogeneity of social preferences and to study the interaction of fair-minded and self-interested subjects (Fehr and Schmidt 1999, Fehr, Klein and Schmidt 2007). Furthermore, experimental studies such as Brown et al. (2004,2008) showed that the role of social preferences is magnified when parties interact repeatedly and form relational contracts or if they interact once but can acquire a reputation for fair or trustworthy behaviour (Bartling et al. 2009). These findings cannot be explained by the standard neoclassical model but they are consistent with the models of social preferences discussed above. Social preferences are important because they can be used as an alternative to performance based incentive schemes and in fact, they are consistent with many of the frequently observed anomalies in financial markets. They give rise to externalities that will not be internalized if each agent chooses a consumption bundle that maximizes their internal utility. A fe w papers have also shown that socially responsible investments may sometimes perform financially better or not worse than conventional investments (Derwall et al. 2005; Kempf and Osthoff, 2007; Edmans, 2011). Social preferences might be important in many other strategic situations as well and therefore the results of such experiments have broad implications for economists and non-economists alike. They may give rise to herding, multiple equilibria and to booms and busts on asset markets. Herding is an optimal strategy if investors have social preferences and gives rise to multiple asset market equilibria. Even if all market participants behave optimally and have rational expectations, these effects can be used to elucidate time varying risk premia, stock market bubbles and crashes Gebhardt (2002, 2004). Despite these advances and the topicÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢s importance, it is fair to say that little is known about whether, and to what extent, social preferences influence economic ou tcomes in financial markets. A standard argument against the importance of social preferences in finance and economics is that they are driven out in the market place (Levitt and List 2007, List 2009). The regulation of financial markets is however is shaped not only by considerations such as beyond trust, efficiency or self-interest; they also include concern for ethics and fairness (Shefrin and Statman, 1993). The view that fairness concerns and adequate punishment of unfair behaviour are an expression of preferences has been proved to be consistent by Neuro-scientific studies. Fairness is an equally important consideration in financial markets, particularly signified by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in which the words Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"fairÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢, Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"unfairÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ or Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"fairnessÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ were mentioned a hundred and thirty times. The dictionary meaning of fairness is Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"the stat e, condition, or quality of being fair, or free form bias or injustice. Although the words Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âfairÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã and Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âfairnessÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã can mean a variety of different things in different contexts, there are two common themes in most discussions of fairness. The first being procedural fairness i.e. equal rules apply to all participants while the second one is distributive fairness; it examines the outputs rather than the inputs and is concerned with the equality of outcomes. The Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬ÃÅ"inequality of endowmentsÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ has always been an integral problem in financial markets since some investors start with more resources and investments than others, and therefore generate a competitive advantage from the very beginning. Procedural fairness thus can be viewed from the perspective of equal opportunities for all, wherein all market participants are treated alike. Important analysis however has shown that distributive fairness has a la rger influence on consumersÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã¢â ¢ evaluations of overall fairness, being over four times as important as any other element of fairness (The Financial Services Research Forum, 2012). Shefrin and Statman (1999) identified seven dimensions of fairness in financial markets and viewed fairness as a Ã ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã âclaim to entitlementsÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã . The various dimensions namely being: Freedom from coercion. Freedom from misrepresentation. Equal information. Equal processing power Freedom from impulse. Efficient prices Equal bargaining power References: Adler, P. S. 2001. Market, hierarchy, and trust: the knowledge economy and the future of capitalism.Organization science, 12 (2), pp. 215234. Corsetti, G., Devereux, M. P., Guiso, L., Hassler, J., Saint-Paul, G., Sinn, H., Sturm, J. and Vives, X. 2010. A trust-driven financial crisis.EEAG Report on the European Economy, pp. 5370. Duggar, J. W. 2009. 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