Big-box stores seem to be super-efficient. They bring plenty of cheap goods alongside pharmacies to suburban towns, and rural communities get a better access to basic commodities. But such retailers are like a big fish in a small pond – they do no good to the local ecosystem and consume little fish one by one. Small retailers cannot compete with superstores; they suffer 10 to 40% sales declines and go out of business. Local companies cannot offer such a small price for their goods as big-box stores, but they create more jobs than large retailers do. With every 2 jobs Walmart creates, it destroys 3 jobs in the local market.
From any perspective, local markets are not interested in chain superstores like Walmart. They discourage local entrepreneurship with all the jobs it creates. Small economies also have little profit from chain stores that remove more than a half of their revenue out of the local economy. Recently, Walmart announced their plans to close 269 stores all over the US, which means some small towns will remain without a grocery store and a pharmacy. This is not what local population expects from a huge supermarket.
Development of small businesses is the only way for local communities to increase their wealth. To bring more revenue into the local budget, businesses have to expand beyond their community, not bring external superstores in it. That is why chain stores will not benefit rural communities but only drain them of money.
The internet gave us many useful things such as convenient cloud storage, our favorite shops, and our dear friends online. Some of these things even appeared overly beautiful. Scrolling down social media profiles of our friends, we could assume that their life is such a fun. Fabulous vacations, fancy restaurants, bright events – if we attend some of them occasionally, our friends seem to be constantly there. Or at least, that is how they look on social media. But if we take a look behind the scenes, we will find out that one’s true routine remains out of social media.
This example explains how the Internet distorts our perception of reality. We take as truth whatever is written on the web even if deep inside we realize it is superficial. The same happens with online magazines and blogs. Writers highlight the events from their own perspective that often distorts the original story. However, subjective writing appeared long before the Internet and we cannot blame technologies for supplying unfaithful information.
In fact, the internet gives the access to the reality many of us cannot reach. We still have blogs and magazines that portray the outer world as it is. Numerous online media broaden our outlook and help us learn every day. Not all videos are fabricated, not all posts are made up to collect likes. The problem lies not within the network but in ourselves. The more flawless we want to be, the more misguiding content we generate.
As the war stroke in 1941, a lot of men and some women were sent to the front line. People had no other choice but to protect themselves, and the US workforce quickly reduced by half. Most women faced the challenge of doing men’s work at home and in the workplace. For the first time in the 20th century, the country required a great help from women to operate industrial objects. The society once thought that only men were capable of working at plants, but the war changed trends in the workplace.
At first, many women were reluctant to leave their household duties and go to work. But soon more of them appeared in need of a job to raise children and run the household, and there was no other way out. Having joined the workforce, women found themselves doing double shifts, the first one in the industry and the last one at home. As women accustomed to factory work, they found it engaging as it gave them the opportunity to learn new skills and contribute to the society. The workplace granted women a strong sense of pride that they could hardly have experienced before. They performed men’s tasks no less efficient and combined work with family choirs.
Once the war was over, many women returned to homemaking, but a great part of them remained in the workforce. From this point, few people could disrespect a woman for not being at home with kids, not cooking a dinner for her family. Gender stereotypes reduced after the war took men away, and more women developed the idea that having a job is yet another essential thing in life.
Due to the specifics of their work, soldiers in civil war required a lot of energy. But their routine food was far from extremely nourishing or invigorating. Commissary Departments supplied products to their Union and Confederate soldiers who further cooked it or ate uncooked. Only generals and officers had a cook; other soldiers prepared their meals in groups they called “messes”. They cooked the simplest food over an open fire and completely depended on the products supplied by the Commissary.
A routine diet of a soldier consisted of cornmeal, hardtack, salted meat, and canned products. All of them were well-preserved, which was the first requirement for food in the field. And of course, products were cheap because feeding an army is a generous investment. Letters from Civil War soldiers contain mentions of bacon, but soldiers were unlikely to eat bacon as we know it. The “bacon” rather meant salt pork that was the major source of protein in the army. Union soldiers sometimes could buy fresh meat, fruit or vegetables if there were any local farmers; Confederates mostly relied on gifts from population to diversify their meals.
Vegetarianism was not an option for a soldier because men needed as much energy as they could have. Union soldiers could occasionally afford buying fruit or vegetables from local farmers, and Confederates sometimes ate berries they picked in the woods. Corn, beans, peas, and rice were a common food for them. Fruit were a generous gift to soldiers; they were the only way to prevent Scurvy in the war times. As for drinks, Union soldiers regularly received coffee. Confederate soldiers often did with chicory and other coffee substitutes.
As economic entities, all corporations function in a particular social and cultural environment. The primary aim of businesses is to generate profit, but corporations cannot ignore the world around them. Corporate social responsibility describes the measures a company takes to address environmental and social well-being. CSR does not bring profit right away. It is rather an obligation of businesses to compensate for the damage they do to the environment and a motivation to create a positive social image for their brand.
The simplest way to implement corporate social responsibility is to give money to charity. Some companies face ethical problems, like child labor or gender discrimination; resolving these issues can improve the corporate image in society. Many businesses invest in local communities building infrastructure so that their activity is visible. High level of CSR brings recognition and loyalty of the customers, which definitely helps companies thrive in the competitive environment. That is why corporate responsibility is an investment rather than an excessive charity.
Recent studies on CSR examined the impact of social investment on 15 companies listed on Karachi Stock Exchange, Pakistan. The government plays little role in restoring the welfare in the country, and businesses have plenty of opportunities to gain a positive reputation while investing in society. The studies confirmed that there is a positive impact of corporate social responsibility on the performance of companies in question. CSR generated a greater net profit for the companies as social well-being determines how many products customers can afford. In the developing countries like Pakistan, the impact of CSR on profit is especially visible because there are almost no governmental mechanisms to regulate money supply.