Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Babies at 20

I learned some new things today that in my opinion were more important than the actual field studies I had. To begin with, Danes are must not be very Finance-orientated in business, becuase if they were, they would have more carefully calculated the rate of return and capital costs associated with constructing a huge building. However, they apparently didn't take into consideration risk or time value of money, and half way through the construction of this amazing architectural design, realized they didn't have enough money to finish it. So what was the solution? "Sacking" half of all the employees who work there, even ones that have been there for 20 years. Of course this happens on the same day we were taken to this site to learn about subtitling for tv and movies. Unfortunately, the lecture kept being interrupted by employees full of tension, and finally we were asked to leave because soon may Danes would be asked to leave themselves. Wednesday though? Is that really a good day for firing? Hmmm...I would like to know the logic behind that because I know in the US it usually occurs on a Friday.
I was also recently educated about Danish women having babies young. At first, as an American, you have to wonder, "Why would you want a baby in college?" I mean, there is all of the expenses of college, not to mention mental frusterations and that period in your life when you start off as a young, poor professional. But then you must remember that the government in Denmark actually cares about their citizens and would rather use tax money to benefit the domestic community instead of external affairs like the US would rather spend our money on. Because of this, not only do all Danes recieve a free education for as many years as their field requires, but they are actually given a stipend per month for living expenses. What the Danish women have done with this idea is as follows:
Have a baby young while the government is paying for your life (i.e. while you are in school). Then you simply only have to find someone to look after your child while you are gone for a couple of hours a day, as opposed to an eight-hour work day. The only thing you have to worry paying for is food and the clothing on your back. Then, by the time you finish school (4-5 years), your child is old enough for school. That means the Danish mom can start her job and not have to pay for daycare because her child is in school. Some may argue that this may still become somewhat of a financially challenging situation, but then you have to remember that Denmark does not allow it's citizens to go poor because of it's excellent welfare system. In fact, Denmark has the lowest separation between it's upper and lower classes out of any country in the world. And welfare isn't just abused or used by lazy druggies, it is a part of life, something natural that even middleclass citizens recieve some part of. In fact, I have seen one seeminly homeless person since I got this city of millions.
Another interesting encounter occured last night when I entered the kitchen to cook a corn on the cob. I ended up joining an African group (family and friends of one of the residents) in the dinner they made (which was delicious) and came to realize that all men think a like. One of the guys had a conversation with me that women are perfect and have to be in our double standard society, but this is only because men are like babies and should be treated as such. He continued by saying that women are the most powerful in the sense that they must guide men through life, keeping them out of trouble, teaching them right from wrong, or simply reinforcing maturity. He also said that kids truly are a factor of mostly the mother; and therefore is the mom is messed up, the kid will be too. I had to mostly agree with all of these assertions. Men are babies. What is true in America is true even in Africa. What a small world...yet completely different ways of life.

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