Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Last year I had the nice experience of trying the famous AMTRAK in California. I am really not a fan of trains but this was special, the crew working on the train were all very happy and service minded and the fellow passengers were very talkative. The view from the train window was more or less fantastic from start to stop. I can understand why previous vice president Joe Biden always chose AMTRAK ahead of flights.

I decided to write a longer blog post about AMTRAK, hope you all will enjoy it.

In the period between the md-19th century and early 20th century, intercity travelers used rail as a means of transport. Throughout history, privately owned companies that ran cargo trains were the owners of passenger trains as well. In 1929, there were about 65,000 passenger cars that operated. There was a diminish in the passenger rail popularity followed by doubtful recoveries and pullbacks towards the end of the 20th century. Between 1920 and 1934, the rise of the automobile caused a dramatic fall in the rail passenger revenues. During the same period interstate, bus companies were the greatest beneficiaries as many travelers shifted to the automobile. Nevertheless, improvements in rail services and enhanced diesel powered trains such as Flying Yankee, and Pioneer Zephyr saw the rise of railroads in the 1930’s. Despite the improvements, there was a decline in traffic, and by 1940, about 67% of passenger miles in U.S was held by railroads (Thompson,1925).

In the period between the md-19th century and early 20th century, intercity travelers used rail as a means of transport. Throughout history, privately owned companies that ran cargo trains were the owners of passenger trains as well. In 1929, there were about 65,000 passenger cars that operated. There was a diminish in the passenger rail popularity followed by doubtful recoveries and pullbacks towards the end of the 20th century. Between 1920 and 1934, the rise of the automobile caused a dramatic fall in the rail passenger revenues. During the same period interstate, bus companies were the greatest beneficiaries as many travelers shifted to the automobile. Nevertheless, improvements in rail services and enhanced diesel powered trains such as Flying Yankee, and Pioneer Zephyr saw the rise of railroads in the 1930’s. Despite the improvements, there was a decline in traffic, and by 1940, about 67% of passenger miles in U.S was held by railroads (Thompson,1925).

On the break of World War II, passenger traffic surged due to the restrictions on automobile fuel and troop movements. The end of the war saw the rejuvenation of the neglected and overworked fleets which were often luxurious and fast trains. This sparked the last major revival of the passenger train travel. However, the postwar revival was short-lived as there were 45 percent fewer passenger trains in 1946 than the available trains in 1929.  Continued decline In passengers and trains brought about huge losses incurred by trains although only a few of them made profits. Railroads claimed an aggregate loss on passenger services of higher than $700 million by mid-1950’s as rail deficit had appeared as early as 1948.

By 1965 the passenger trains were 85 percent fewer than trains in 1929 which was represented by only 10,00 rail passenger cars. The gross decline saw passenger service provided on the only 120,000km of track. Railway post office incomes which had provided aid for the remaining trains came to an end in the 1960’s (Stover and John, 1997).

Passenger rail decline in the United States was a result of complex circumstances. Until 1920, the only practical means of intercity travel was the use of rail although the industry was subject to labor inflexibility and government regulation (Phyllis, 1999).  Through private funding, railroad companies constructed a vast and comparatively efficient transport network. This was a development which happened by 1930.

An unprecedented competition for freight and passengers with automobiles followed when the federal government commenced the construction of the national highway system. This competition was profoundly felt by the passenger rails because the government road and airport building programs offered heavy subsidies to trucks, buses, and aircraft. In 2007 the amount of track in the U.S was 226,427km  compared to the peak of 409,177 km of track in 1916. The primary function of some rail routes was to aid the shipping of stock into the railroad companies. As the railroad’s finances deteriorated, they became the first to be abandoned to spare money on taxes. Some rights of way were demolished although others were turned into rail trails as they were taken over by state authorities.

Government regulation

A populist rate settling scheme was introduced by the federal government between 1910 to 1921. The railroads had proved unsuited of functioning as a cohesive network during World War I. As a result, the Government temporarily nationalized the rail industry. In the 1920’s, many unprofitable and redundant lines were deserted due to the profit stagnation I  this period, and most of the passenger facilities fell into a cycle of deferred maintenance. For this reason, many passengers have driven away from these services either due to the evident less appealing services or higher fares. Meanwhile, automobile and U.S Highway such as Lincoln Highway witnessed a rise in popularity and this in effect ate away local rail passenger traffic. Railroads power to realize profits on more sparsely populated lines was hindered by factors such as the increase in labor costs.

Beginning in the late 19th century, the primary regulatory authority affecting railroads was the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). This commission took the front position in rate-setting, which occasionally hampered the railroads potential of realizing profits in the passenger market. In the 1930’s trains were much faster but there still wasn’t developments made in safety systems and signaling that would prevent accidents. As a result, in 1946 there was a horrific Naperville disaster, and 1950 other collisions were also witnessed in New York. Following the Naperville train disaster, the ICC issued an order which called for railroads to introduce automatic train control, automatic train stop, signaling within four years when the trains were at a speed of 80 mph or faster (Wallace,1950). This technology failed to take effect outside the Northeast which led to placing a speed limit of 79 mph which is still in force today in the United States. In 1958, ICC carried out a process known as “train-offs” after it was given the authority to permit or decline adjustments and elimination of passenger routes. ICC operated at a slow tempo since some routes needed beneficial pruning and this delayed action by several months. When the commission ordered for adjustments, it placed emphasis on the merging of the profitable routes with unsuccessful ones. This resulted in a slow and unpopular service replacing the fast and popular rail service (Joe and Howes, 2004).

The commission grew more demanding of corporate mergers. Mergers which the railroads had intended to develop stalled for many years. Examples of these mergers include the merger of the Western railroad and Lackawanna into the Erie Lackawanna Railway, and Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad into Penn Central. When the ICC finally approved the mergers in the 1960’s, deteriorating equipment and station facilities, slower trains had taken effect. The mergers failed at maintaining these railroads passenger train service due to the shift of passengers to automobile and air modes. Erie Lackawanna, however, was mostly a freight railroad and was never a hauler of passenger and neither were its predecessor roads. The Penn Central merged into two large struggling railroads, and this became the major cause of failure. The two separate management structures had little integration of the former New York Central system and Pennsylvania Railroad. The greater cause of the Penn Central failure was the huge overhead costs of operation more than any actions taken by ICC (Daughen, Joseph, and Peter, 1971).

Taxation

Railroads equally carried a significant tax burden. An excise tax of 15 percent of the World War II era lasted until 1962.  The local government saw rail facility as a source of property tax revenue instead of providing the needed support to this service. An extreme example is the Great Northern  Railway which possessed a 0.34 per cent of the estate in Montana. The rail service was appraised about 90% of all school taxes in the county. More than other industries, the railroads are taxed higher, and the rates vary in different states.

Labor related issues

Trade unions had an inflexible relationship with railroads and faced antiquated work laws. The rules did not match with the technological changes that were happening. Unions balked attempts to adjust the existing 100 to 150 mile work days despite the fact that the average train speeds had doubled. The average work days of the railroad workers were reduced by half from 5- 7 hours in 1919 to 2-3 hours in 1959. Consequently, the railroad economic performance reduced by 42% per mile.

Subsidized competition

There were new hurdles that subverted the dominance of the passenger rail. Adding to this was internal and governmental pressures which did no help. The government put money into the development of government-owned terminals and air traffic control systems and the construction of highways.

Freedom increased individualization and convenience of automobile travel as automobiles had become more attainable. In response to this, the government started to develop a non-profit system of roads not subject to taxation utilizing the funds from fuel tax funds and its treasury. The for-profit rails developed earlier using government land grants, and corporate capital was transcended by highways. All told between 1921 and 1955 governmental entities, utilizing taxpayer funds and in reply to taxpayer requests, funded more than $93 billion worth of road, building, and maintenance. As the Jet Age approached in the 1950’s, affordable business aviation grew.  After building urban and suburban airports, governmental entities financed the building for easy entry to the airports and also offered air traffic control services.

Loss of U.S. Mail contracts

Most postal services were conveyed on passenger rain until 1967 in the U.S. Many passenger trains were kept economically viable due to the mail contracts. In September 1967, the Postal service shifted its first class mail almost completely to airplanes, cheaper freight trains, and trucks. This move, in turn, ended mail as a source of revenue to passenger trains as it ended up subsidizing planes instead. Passenger trains such as Santa Fe, Burlington, NW, Pennsylvania and NYC applied for discontinuance of most of their routes as a result of continued support and to some extent investment in rail passenger service. Santa Fe applied for a discontinuation of 33 of the 39 services in September that year wishing to continue its Texas Chief(Chicago- Houston) and Super Chief(Chicago- LA) but in a somewhat low rated form and the interurban San Diegan service. Long distance traffic dropped from 100 million to 25 million within a year, and in 2015, Amtrak exceeded a quarter of the 1967 patronage despite the fluctuations that have been witnessed over the years. In 1968, only two rail postal vans were in use providing services to the Northwest communities (Glischinski, 2008).

The end of the passenger rail seemed to come to and end in the late 1960’s. There were bankruptcy filings followed by requests for termination of services. In 1969, the Pullman company turned insolvent, and in the following year, Penn Central which was a dominant railroad in the Northeastern U.S also became insolvent. At this point, a few in the government desired to be kept liable for the downfall of the passenger train as it now looked that the passenger rail financial hurdles were bringing down the whole industry.

President Richard Nixon signed a law on the Rail Passenger Service Act that was passed by the Congress in 1970. One of the components of the bill sought government financing to guarantee the continuity of passenger trains. A hybrid private entity the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), was conceived to receive taxpayer funding and run the intercity passenger trains.  Railpax was the initial brand name for NRPC but changed its name to Amtrak shortly before the company started operating (Harold, 2000). The provisions contained in the bill were the following;

  • There was a requirement for railroads that did not join the NRPC to operate their passenger services until 1975 but had to seek ICC consent for any adjustments to the service.
  • After May 1971, Only railroads chose by the Department of Transportation (DOT) paid by for by NRPC using federal funds held the obligation to operate intercity passenger service.
  • Any railroad running intercity passenger service was to join the national system since they could contract the NRPC.
  • Bases on the intercity passenger losses, participating railroads bought into the NRPC.
  • Any railroad running intercity passenger service could negotiate with the NRPC, thereby join the national system.

Only six of the twenty-six railroads that operate intercity passenger service in 1970 refused to join Amtrak. The expectation of the involved parties was that the experiment would be short-lived. Many Washington insiders and the Nixon administration had a different view about this experiment. They viewed it as a political means for the Congress and the president to offer passenger trains as the last hurrah as called for by the public. Following the decline in public interest, they expected Amtrak to slowly disappear. In 1974, the Fortune magazine’s exposure of the manufactured mismanagement, the chairman of the Burlington Railroad pointed out that the account was subverting the system to take down Amtrak. There was hope that government interference would be short although it was expected that Amtrak would soon fund itself. Despite the critic’s imagination, Amtrak has operated longer due to the popular support it has received  (Nice, 1998).

The Rainbow era in the 1970’s

In 1971, Amtrak officially commenced its operation. However, they did not receive rights of way or rail tracks at its inception. Having inherited the all previous routes, Amtrak pruned almost half the passenger rail network. Amtrak operated only 182 of the 364 trains that operated previously.  The programs were maintained with only small adjustments made from the Official Guide of the Railways. Several routes were made freight only including Grand Truck Western Railroad’s Chicago to Detroit, and the ex-New York Central Rail road’s Water-level route across New York and Ohio. There were headaches created by the reduced passenger train schedules. (Hilton, 1980).

Problems such as redundant facilities and deferred maintenance were inherited by Amtrak with train stations resulting from companies that served in the same region. Amtrak was tasked with rerouting passenger trains into just one union from the seven train terminals in Chicago. Due to the absence of track links to take trains from New York to Penn Station, Amtrak had to finance the maintenance of both Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. However, this problem persisted until the Empire Connection was constructed in 1991. Some large stations had a huge upkeep which was unjustified, and this forced Amtrak to abandon them. On the other hand, the making of Coast Starlight Los Angeles- Seattle was an instant success (John, 2001).

The Rainbow era is a term that described the early years of Amtrak which cites the organization of the locomotives and rolling stock adopted by Amtrak. The arrangement comprised of a wide mix of color designs from their previous proprietors. The rolling stock formed the multicolored comprise of early Amtrak trains. Amtrak started buying some of the equipment it had hired, including1290 passenger cars, more than 250-second-hand locomotives. By 1975, Amtrak’s rolling stock began appearing as it had painted on most Amtrak equipment the official Amtrak color scheme (Wilner, 1994).

Before long, the chance for Amtrak to acquire rights of way had presented. In the early 1970’s, Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. This was after the bankruptcy of few northeastern railroads including Penn Central who were the owners of the Northeast Corridor (NEC).  The law granted the shift of the parts of the NEC not held by the state to Amtrak, although the initial intent of the law was aimed at the building of Conrail (Puentes, Robert, Tormer and Kane, 2013). On April 1, 1976, Amtrak took most of the NEC. ( The portion in Massachusetts is managed by Amtrak but owned by Commonwealth. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and Metropolitan  Transportation Authority owns the route from New Haven to New Rochelle as the new Haven line.) This line helped the railroad generate revenue as it became Amtraks jewel. The expense of running and managing the corridor was baffling despite NEC ridership and revenues being higher compared to the other segments. Amtraks federal subsidy was a result increased. Some years later there was the transfer of the short route segments to Amtrak as they were no longer needed for freight services.

Just as the first decade and the present day, Amtrak has faced financial problems, but it did find a small success in building trade. Factors such as strikes which disrupted airline operations and fuel shortages raised automobile and airline travel costs highly discouraged competing transport. Amtrak became more relevant in the American transportation needs due to the investments made in Amtrak’s equipment, track, and information. Between 1972 to 1981, Amtrak’s leadership grew from 16.5 million to 21 million.

In 1982, William Graham  Claytor, who was a retired Southern Railway head became president. There was a disastrous financial period witnessed during the Carter administration which led to Claytor retirement so as to lead Amtrak. Claytor endured a good relationship with members of Congress and John H. Riley the leader of the Federal Railroad Administration despite frequent encounters with the Reagan administration. Claytor used short term debts to funding operations.     Uncertain government aid from 1981-2000 led to the stagnation of the ridership at about 20 million passengers annually. In 1993 Claytor was succeeded by Thomas Downs. Amtrak’s goal was still “operational self-sufficiency.”  Years of underfunding and a serious cash crunch that Amtrak suffered in the mid-1990’s had brought about a large overhang of debt. During Downs reign, Amtrak received $2.3 billion tax refund after the Congress included a provision in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Also, Congress also constituted a glide path towards financial stability but excluded railroad retirement tax act payments.

In 1998, George Warrington became president and was obligated to make Amtrak financially self-sufficient.  Financial plans were put in place, and there were expansions into express cargo work and passengers became guests. However, these plans failed. The developments in express freight delivery met competition from other transportation operators like the Trucking industry. There was a delayed delivery of the trainsets for the upgraded Acela Express service, which was anticipated to be a good source of income.

21st century

After the employment of capital advances in the NEC and increase in fuel costs in the21st century, ridership increased as a result. In the late 2000’s, the startup of the high-speed Acela Express yielded considerable publicity and resulted in ridership gains. Nevertheless, in early  2000 Amtrak was unable to cut sufficient other expenditures or add enough express freight with the aim to break even. Congress granted funding and discharged Amtrak from the requisite. In a 2002 election, David L. Gunn took over as president replacing Warrington. Gunn argued that the promise to make Amtrak financially self-sufficient was not a possibility in the short term due to the structure of the economy of the country. Airports, Highways, and traffic control all need a large funding to construct and operate. The funding would come from Aviation trust fund; Highway Trust Fund financed by road taxes and highway fuel, user fees and general taxation as well. Gunn strived to carry off deferred maintenance and dropped most freight express business (David, 2002).

During Bush administration, a plan to privatize parts of the national passenger rail system and spin off other parts to partial state ownership”  aggravated discrepancies in Amtrak’s board of directors. Gunn was fired towards the end of 2005 and was replaced by Alexander Kummant who was devoted to running a national rail system and similar to Gunn was against the idea of placing a separate ownership of the Northeastern corridor (Mathew, 2005). He felt that the long distant routes were on par with national sparks and the sale would prove irreversible. In 2006, Amtrak sought $1 billion funding from the Congress but was unsuccessful. Early 2017, Amtrak served 25 million passengers that year and employed 20,000 individuals in 46 states which represented the highest figures since 1970. Politico noticed a key issue: “the rail framework incessantly works in the red.”

An example has risen: Congress supersedes reductions requested by the White House and appropriates enough subsidies to shield Amtrak from diving into insolvency. However, Amtrak advocates say, that is insufficient to settle the framework’s troubles (David, 1996).

At the end of 2008, Kumar was replaced by Joseph H. Boardman. Three years later Amtrak declared its intent to launch a project called the Gateway project which was to build a section of a high-speed rail from Penn Station in a budget estimated to cost $13.5 million. In December 2013, Boardman was branded “Railroader of the Year” by Railway Age magazine. He was noted as the second longest serving president of Amtrak since its inception 40 years back.

On May 7, 2011, Amtrak marked its anniversary with celebrations across America on National Train Day. This day was also a special day for Amtrak as they launched a commemorative book entitled Amtrak: An American Story was published, and a documentary was created. A 4oth anniversary exhibit train and four commemorative locomotives toured the country. The train welcomed about 85,000 visitors as it toured 45 communities. The train included three refurbished food service car and ex-Santa Fe and was powered by DE Genesis.  Four Genesis locomotives had been painted into retired Amtrak paint schemes: No. 156 was in Phase 1 colors, No. 66 was in Phase 2 colors, No. 145 and No. 822 were in Phase 3 colors (822 pulled the Exhibit train),[55] and No. 184 was in Phase 4 colors. Amtrak further started offering residency program for writers in 2014.

In a letter to employees in September 2015, Boardman told employees of his intention to leave the following year. A week prior he provided an update to Amtraks’s board of directors regarding his decision.  The board of directors took effective measures and named Charles Wick Moorman the former CEO of Southern Railway. Unlike the previous requisite by law to run a national route system, Amtrak was no longer required to do so although it is advisable to operate such. Out of the 48 contiguous states, Amtrak is present in 46 of them. Amtrak services are in three categories: long-distance service, short-haul corridor service outside the Northeast Corridor, and short-haul service on the Northeast Corridor.

Two of the systems use diesel locomotives while the service on the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, as well as between Boston, and Washington is powered by overhead electric cables .The frequency of services in the routes vary from weekday service several times an hour on the Northeast Corridor to three days a week trains on the Sunlight Limited. Amtrak also has a bus service that connects train stations.

The frequency of services in the routes vary from weekday service several times an hour on the Northeast Corridor to three days a week trains on the Sunlight Limited. Amtrak also has a bus service that connects train stations.Northeast Regional and Acela Express are the two most popular and frequently used services running. The NEC runs from Boston to Washington through Philadelphia and New York City. In the fiscal year of 2013, of  Amtrak’s 31.6 million passengers, the NEC services accounted for 11.4 million. The short-haul corridors in California are the most popular service outside of NEC. These comprise Capitol Corridor, Surfliner, and San Joaquin which are extensively reinforced by a network of buses. In the fiscal year 2013, trains accounted for 5,627000 passengers

Northeast Regional and Acela Express are the two most popular and frequently used services running. The NEC runs from Boston to Washington through Philadelphia and New York City. In the fiscal year of 2013, of  Amtrak’s 31.6 million passengers, the NEC services accounted for 11.4 million. The short-haul corridors in California are the most popular service outside of NEC. These comprise Capitol Corridor, Surfliner, and San Joaquin which are extensively reinforced by a network of buses. In the fiscal year 2013, trains accounted for 5,627000 passengers all together.

Empire Service is also a popular corridor that operates between New York and Toronto, and in 2015 carried around 1,538,000 passengers. The other one is the Keystone Service from New York to Harrisburg, through Philadelphia and this route accounted for 1,343,000 passengers that same year. NEC has four of the busiest by boardings which comprise: Penn Station, Union Station, 30th Street Station, and South Station. The other two are Union Station(Los Angeles) and Union Station(Chicago) (Mathew and Phillips, 2006).

Efficiency

Compared to commercial airlines, Amtrak is 30-40 percent more energy effective per passenger mile. However, the exact figures for specific route are dependent on load along with other variables. Amtrak’s diesel trains are less efficient compared to the electrified trains in NEC and can sustain energy gained from regenerative braking back to the electrical grid. Regarding safety per mile, passenger rails compete with other modes. Amtrak’s one-time performance is calculated differently from the airline’s one-time performance. If a plane arrives within 15 minutes of the schedule, then it is considered one-time. Amtrak utilizes a sliding scale, with trips under 40 km regarded as late if they are behind schedule for more than 10 min and up to 30 min for trips over 887km in length.

In 2005, Amtrak had a 0.116 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per passenger kilometer. This is like an automobile with two individuals, around four times the regular US motorcoach, and around eight times a Finnish electric intercity train or completely stacked fifty-situate bus, and roughly twice as high as the figure in UK rail. It is, nevertheless, around 66% of the crude carbon dioxide discharge of a long distance residential flight.

Intermodal connections

In downtown areas, most Amtrak rail stations are connected to local public transport. Amtrak shares codes with United Airlines and offers service between New Haven, Philadelphia 30th St, Stamford and Wilmington. There are special codes used to assign these intermodal routes. Furthermore, Amtrak serves air stations at Oakland, Baltimore, and Milwaukee. Amtrak also extends many of its routes through coordinating Thruway motorcoach service.

On-time performance

Amtrak trains operate on tracks controlled and run by privately owned freight railroads outside the Northeast corridor and stretches of track in Michigan and Southern California. Under the federal law, the freight rail operators are obligated to provide dispatching choice to Amtrak trains. Some freight rails roads are known to be skirting these rules. Consequently, passengers wait for traffic to clear the track and this usually takes long hours. In 2008, strict rules regarding train priority took effect following investigations on the railroads dispatching practices. For this reason, Amtrak saw a rise in the one-time performance from 74.7% to 84.7% in just a year. For instance, Missouri River Runner was Amtrak’s best performer as it saw its performance shoot from 11% to 95%. Economic downturn accompanied this improved performance leading to the lowest freight traffic volumes since 1998 (Loving and Rush, 2009).

Ridership

In 1972, Amtrak in its first full year of service carried 15,848,327 passengers. In 2016, Ridership reached a peak of 31,272,790 which was double the number reached in 1972.

Guest Rewards

Guest rewards are Amtrak’s loyalty program that is like the frequent-flyer-programmes of most airlines. Members collect points by riding Amtrak and can redeem them for discounted tickets and sometimes free tickets.

Commuter services

In conjunction with regional and state authorities in California, Amtrak through various commuter services serves an additional 6.1 million passengers.

Lines

Amtrak owns 730 miles comprising of 1,186 bridges (including the famous Hell Gate Bridge) consisting of 42.5 miles (68.4 km) of track, and 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles (47.8 km) of track. In places like New England, Amtrak renders track maintenance, leasing tracks, and regulating train journeys. More often, these tracks are rented from local or regional governments. Moreover, Amtrak owns the lines below. (Mike, 2011).

  • Empire Corridor. 11 miles between Spuyten Duyvil, New York, and New York Penn Station. Amtrak leased the 94 miles between Schenectady, New York and Poughkeepsie, New York, from owner CSX. Furthermore, the whirlpool rapids Bridge and short approach segments near it areas well owned by Amtrak.
  • Northeast Corridor: the northeast corridor between Boston and Washington through Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Newark is owned by Amtrak while closely working together with several regional and state commuter agencies. The Metropolitan Transport Authority and Connecticut Department of Transport own the route between New Haven, Connecticut, Northeast corridors, and New York.
  • Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line: This line runs from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Signal and track improvements were completed in October 2006 following the investment partnership with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This advances would allow all electric service with trains reaching a top speed of 180 km/h.
  • New Haven-Springfield Line: Amtrak owns the 60.5 miles (97.4 km) line between New Haven and Springfield.
  • Chicago–Detroit Line: Amtrak acquired the west end of the former Michigan Central main line from Conrail in 1976.
  • Post Road Branch: 12.42 miles (19.99 km), Post Road Junction to Rensselaer, New York

Amtrak owns a station and yard tracks in New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Orlando, Oregon, Saint Miami, Florida, and Oakland. Amtrak further owns New York Penn Station and Chicago Union Station Company. Amtrak has 99 % of 30th Street Limited and 99.7% interest in the Washington Terminal Company.

In the present day times, Amtrak faces various imperative work issues. In the region of benefits financing, due to confinements initially forced by Congress, most Amtrak specialists were delegated “railroad representatives, ” and duties to the Railroad Retirement framework have been made for those workers. Nevertheless, in light of the fact that the span of the commitments is resolved on an expansive basis instead of with reference to the business for whom the representatives work, a few critics, for example, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, keep up that Amtrak is sponsoring cargo railroad benefits by as much as US$150 million/year (BINNEWIES, 1975).

As of late, endeavors at changing traveler rail have addressed work issues. In 1997 Congress discharged Amtrak from a preclusion on contracting for work outside the partnership (and outside its unions), opening the way to privatization. Since that time, huge numbers of Amtrak’s representatives had been working without a contract. The latest contract, approved in 1999, was primarily retroactive (Pucher, 1999).

Given the structure of railroad unions by occupation, starting in 2009 Amtrak has 14 separate unions to consult with. Besides, it has 24 different contracts with those unions. This makes it hard to roll out significant improvements, rather than a circumstance where one union consults with one manager. Previous Amtrak president Kummant took after a helpful stance with Amtrak’s exchange unions, discounting arrangements to privatize extensive parts of Amtrak’s unionized workforce.

In late 2007 and mid-2008, however, real work issues emerged, an aftereffect of a question amongst Amtrak and 16 unions regarding which representatives ought to get medicinal services benefits. The debate was not settled rapidly, and the circumstance heightened to the point of President Bush announcing a Presidential Emergency Board to determine the issues. It was not quickly fruitful, and a strike was debilitated to start on January 30, 2008. Amidst that month, notwithstanding, it was reported that Amtrak and the unions had settled and January 30 go without a strike. In late February it was declared that three more unions had worked out their disparities, and as of that time it appeared to be far-fetched that any more issues would emerge sooner rather than later.

References

Abbey, Wallace W. (November 1950). “Millions for Signals”. Trains: 45–49.

Binnewies, H. (1975). Determining and influencing the train running costs and traction energy problems. Rail International (6).

Daughen, Joseph R.; Binzen, Peter (1971). The Wreck of the Penn Central. Mentor Books. pp. 213–214, 255, 310–311.

Edmonson, Harold A. (2000). Journey to Amtrak: The year history rode the passenger train. Kalmbach Books. ISBN 978-0-89024-023-6.

Frassinelli, Mike (February 6, 2011). “N.J. senators, Amtrak official to announce new commuter train tunnel project across the Hudson”. The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on February 7, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011.

Glischinski. Santa Fe Railway. Voyageur Press & MBI publishing (2008) p. 154.

Hilton, G. W. (1980). Amtrak: The National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

Kelly, John (June 5, 2001). “Amtrak’s beginnings”. Classic Trains Magazine. Retrieved December 29, 2010.

Luberoff, David (November 1996). “Amtrak and the States”. Governing Magazine: 85.

Loving, Jr., Rush (March 2009). “Trains formula for fixing Amtrak”. Trains.

Morgan, David P. (April 1959). “Who Shot the Passenger Train?”. Trains: 14–15, 20–21.

Nice, D. C. (1998). AMTRAK. THE HISTORY AND POLITICS OF A NATIONAL RAILROAD.

Slason Thompson, A Short History of American Railways, Books for Libraries Press: Freeport, NY (1925, reprinted 1971), p. 324–391, 405.

Stover, John F. (1997). American Railroads (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-77658-3.Wald, Matthew (November 9, 2005). “Amtrak’s President Is Fired by Its Board”. New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.

Wald, Matthew (November 9, 2005). “Amtrak’s President Is Fired by Its Board”. New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.Wald, Matthew L.; Don Phillips (December 23, 2006). “Surprising Forecast for Amtrak: Growth”. The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2008.

Wald, Matthew L.; Don Phillips (December 23, 2006). “Surprising Forecast for Amtrak: Growth”. The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2008.

Wilner, F. N. (1994). The Amtrak Story.Welsh, Joe; Bill Howes (2004). Travel by Pullman: a century of service. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0760318573. OCLC 56634363.

Welsh, Joe; Bill Howes (2004). Travel by Pullman: a century of service. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0760318573. OCLC 56634363.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Monday, April 10th, 2017

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 2017, in Brookline, Massachusetts. His parents were affluent people and belonged to the wealthy class among the elite. John F. Kennedy as a baby was known by family and friends as Jack. As a little baby as noted by his mother and medical records, he was not the healthiest of the babies. John F. Kennedy as a child suffered from whooping cough, measles and smallpox. Moreover, in 1920 little John suffered from the scarlet disease which was considered as a potentially life-threatening disease.

At a tender age, the Kennedy’s moved to an old house in Brooklyn. It is in this neighborhood that the family being Irish experienced a lot of prejudice, however, John Kennedy’s father was determined to make it in life. John’s father had set his mind and was determined to make a million dollars before he was thirty-five. Joseph senior went ahead to make his fortune on trading stock markets. It is his sheer hard work that made him a lot of wealth making his nine children live a very comfortable life. In 1927, the Kennedy’s moved to a palatial twenty room Georgian-style mansion.

John F. Kennedy attended the Riverdale country school and in 1931, the future president attended Choate boarding school, a school that was attended by children of the elite class. It is at this school that Kennedy become rebellious especially because he was living in the shadow of his brother who was an exemplary student and athlete. It is in this school that John became so notorious that he went ahead to form a group of rebellious students known as the Muckers club after pulling an array of stunts in school.

It is at this school that John became a very popular student. He made many friends and played tennis, golf and even basketball. It was once said by his headmaster that he had a clever and individualistic mind. Nevertheless, John was often very lazy and unmotivated. He passed in subjects that he took great interest on. These subjects were English and History, it is Latin which he failed miserably due to lack of interest as he saw learning Latin as unnecessary.

Jack graduated from Choate and entered Harvard in 1936, where Joe was already a student. The brothers both played football. Jack was not as good an athlete as Joe but he had a lot of determination and perseverance. Unfortunately, one day while playing he ruptured a disk in his spine. Jack never really recovered from this accident and his back continued to bother him for the rest of his life.

Their father once announced that his eldest would be the first Catholic to become president. While Jack, on the other hand, seemed somewhat less ambitious. He was active in student groups and sports and he worked hard in his history and government classes, though his grades remained only average. When Mr. Kennedy was appointed United States Ambassador to England, the family moved there with exception to Joe and John (jack) who were at Harvard. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. By this time, Jack was a senior at Harvard and decided to write his thesis on why Great Britain was unprepared for war with Germany. It was later published as a book called Why England Slept.

It is his application letter that has been embraced for years by how he stated his reasons. It stated that he wanted to be a Harvard man just like his father and that the university was different to other universities since it had something definite to offer. It is also important to note that as an upperclassman in Harvard became a motivation to John F. Kennedy where he started becoming a studious student and had a very strong inclination in political history. It is in this institution where young Kennedy realized his potential as he even entered the dean’s list for his exemplary grades.

As soon as John’s graduation from Harvard College, he was given the prestigious position of Lieutenant and commander to the south pacific as commander of Patrol torpedo boat. Kennedy commanded a twelve man crew whose core mission was to prevent the Japanese ships from delivering supplies to their soldiers. The most devastating period of Kennedy’s military life was on 2nd August 1943 a Japanese destroy travelled towards their boat. Kennedy’s team tried to swerve but their efforts were useless.

The destroyer rammed into their boat splitting the boat into half killing two of Kennedy’s men. Kennedy survived with an injury at his back after slamming hard at the cockpit. It is during this period that John showed courage and his leadership skills became evident. He was able to guide the surviving crew to an island while floating on a wrecked piece of the ship. He was able to rescue one of his men who was still alive but drowning by towing him to the piece of the boat. After being rescued by after six days where two natives of the island spotted them and went to look for help. The sole act of leadership during that trying time made him be conferred the Navy and Marine Corps medal for leadership and courage. It is during his recovery and after two serious successful surgeries that Kennedy wrote the following names, Profiles in courage, the book was mainly centred on the lives of senators who exercised their valor in areas they didn’t believe in. The book was awarded the prestigious award the Pulitzer for biography.

With the war coming to an end Kennedy had two options, to retire or to find a career. John had always wanted to be a teacher or a writer after the war. However, his father after some serious deliberations convinced him into vying for congress in Massachusetts’ eleventh congressional district.

It is in 1946 that Kennedy won the seat and commenced his political career. Due to his sickly nature, John’s appearances in congress were minimal. In any case, because of his proceeding with weakness, Kennedy had one of the most noticeably awful participation records in Congress. In 1952 he was chosen to the US Senate.

However, after subsequent to being chosen congressman, John F. Kennedy, at 36 years old, wedded 24-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier, a journalist with the Washington Times-Herald. Tragically, from the get-go in their marriage, Senator Kennedy’s back begun to hurt again and he had two genuine operations. His Senate stay was also little fulfilling than that of his time in the House of representatives. As his desire started developing to be an incredible political pioneer he chose to keep running for President of the United States. This is the place his assurance and persistence truly turned out. He could vanquish Adlai Stevenson, who was “twice named by the Democrats for president and twice crushed” (Brinkley, 2012), in the primaries and got the support from the Democratic Party for the leader of the Unites States. Kennedy could do this with a considerable measure of practice and assurance. Rather than being exceptionally certain about his addresses, he would hone them, again and again, to know them all around and turned out to be very sure about giving his discourses than any adversary could. The first race John F. Kennedy won was as a delegate for Boston in the House and the whole campaign was upheld by his father’s contribution.

His third term was just a routine, after al, the reputation that had come to him from the sale and distribution of his book and winning an award in the war, his work in Congress had exhausted him; that made it inconceivable for as a lesser individual from the chamber to make some sort of stamp” (Dallek, 2011). After his House portrayal he kept running for a seat in the Senate. He won the 1952 decision against Henry Cabot Lodge, “the race turned more on charm than on issues or even the monetary fortitude or hierarchical splendor that Joe and Bobby conveyed to the table” (Dallek, 2011). His Senate stay was very little more fulfilling than that of his time in the House delegates. As his desire started developing to be an incredible political pioneer he chose to keep running for President of the United States. This is the place his assurance and diligence truly turned out.

It is in 1960 that John F. Kennedy decided to take his political ambitions a notch higher. He did this with the help of his brother Robert Kennedy where the dynamic duo acted in congruence with Robert being the leading campaigner. John had an upper hand compared to his opponents, this was due to the fact that he was an extrovert, eloquent, had good looks and the charm that would sweep guys off their feet. Robert Kennedy really wanted John to win the presidency, this was the fact that Robert was running for the senator at that material time. His win would mean popularity to Robert and more votes for him in the south. However, there were some slight drawbacks, this was because John was from the northern and professed the Roman Catholic faith. His stand on eradicating segregating and advocating for civil rights didn’t augur well in the south since the south out rightly pro-segregation. His debates with Nixon gave John popularity and political mileage as newspapers and television covered the debates all through.

Robert Kennedy was the right man for the job in aiding John’s presidential prosperity. He had wealth of knowledge in campaign management. Robert had acted as an aide to Adlai Stevenson during the 1956 presidential election gathering precious knowledge and fundamental technics of running a fruitful campaign. However, due to various differences between him and Stevenson, it is in the public domain that Robert went ahead to vote for Stevenson’s political nemesis Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is during the electioneering period that Robert Kennedy published a book named, The enemy within that described how there was corruption and foul play among various unions and political parties. It was during the nominations of the Democratic Party’s nomination where John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were battling head to head that the Lyndon started a smearing campaign defaming John with allegations that John had Addison’s disease. Robert being a caring brother denied the said allegations informing the public that his brother had never suffered from such a malady.

John F. Kennedy was confirmed as the 35th president on January 20, 1961. In his maiden speech where he discussed the requirement for all Americans to be honorable citizens and to stop complaining what the government can do for them and focus more on what they would do for the country. He likewise solicited the countries from the world to consolidate to battle what he called the “normal adversaries of man: oppression, destitution, infection, and war itself.” President Kennedy, together with his significant other and two kids, brought another, energetic vibe to the White House. The Kennedys trusted that the White House ought to be a place to observe American history, culture, and accomplishment. They welcomed craftsmen, authors, researchers, artists, performers, on-screen characters, and competitors to visit them. Jacqueline Kennedy additionally shared her significant other’s enthusiasm for American history. Assembling a portion of the finest art works and furniture the United States had delivered, she refurbished every room in the White House to make it a place that genuinely mirrored America’s history and aesthetic imagination. Everybody was awed and valued her diligent work.

For the vast majority of his life, Robert Kennedy remained in the shadow cast by his more seasoned sibling, John; simply after President Kennedy’s death did general society picked up an entire feeling of Robert (“Bobby,” as he was called by peers and family) as a conferred advocate for social equity and a smart legislator in his own privilege. In this thorough account, unpromising adolescent, far-fetched to coordinate the achievements of his more seasoned siblings, to the compelling man who ran “the privately-owned company,” arranging the Kennedy mission for political power.

Perhaps the most controversial period in President John F. Kennedy’s career was when he portrayed nepotistic characteristics by electing his brother attorney-general of the United States. Many of the citizens and the media dubbed the appointment of Kennedy as unwarranted as he lacked the experience and qualifications of being an attorney general. In one of the New York Times headlines during the appointment period stated that was not good enough to appoint an astute young political manager to a major governmental post. It is said that the President-elect was not the one who wanted his brother as attorney-general. Third parties such as his father pressured him to make the decision. Bobby Baker, the then senate secretary majority was the king maker to Robert’s appointment as he persuaded members of the senate including Richard Russell to vote the young leader in. Having performed outstandingly well during the senate hearing, Robert became elected as the Attorney General and to many people’s surprise, John did well in his capacity as AG. He performed his duties as attorney general relentlessly and to the best of his capabilities.

His ties with the President made him get dubbed as the brother protector, Washington’s number two, and chief adviser, controller of patronage, executive overseer and chief counsel. His tenure as the Attorney general supplemented his brother’s presidency where John F. Kennedy relied on his brother’s advice on matters concerning administration, policy and general advice. His wits and knowledge of the law made him a great tool to the smooth running of America. Robert Kennedy as America’s 64th attorney general. In this part, Kennedy kept passionately fighting corruption, and additionally mobsters and sorted out wrongdoing. In 1964, Jimmy Hoffa was sentenced jury altering and misrepresentation.
As attorney general, Kennedy likewise pushed for the social equality of African Americans. In the fall of 1962, he sent many government troops to Oxford, Mississippi, to implement a U.S. Preeminent Court arrange conceding the principal dark understudy, James Meredith (1933-), to the University of Mississippi. The state’s segregationist senator, Ross Barnett (1898-1987), had endeavored to bar Meredith, whose enlistment incited uproars and brutality at the school. Also, Kennedy worked with his sibling, and in addition his successor as president, Lyndon Johnson (1908-73), on the milestone Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial separation in voting, business, and open offices. Kennedy likewise went about as one of his sibling’s nearest political counsels in the White House and was included in essential remote arrangement choices, including the organization’s treatment of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. He later composed a book about the emergency, titled “Thirteen Days,” which was distributed after death in 1969.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s tenure was not all that smooth sailing despite receiving wise counsel from his brother and other qualified advisors. John Kennedy’s presidential difficulties would keep him occupied and thinking until his terrible death in 1963. His difficulties incorporated the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban rocket emergency, the Vietnam strife, Laos, the Berlin Conflict, the Cold War, and the space race. Kennedy additionally played a part in the OECD, “Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development”, (OECD Obs., 2013). The OECD is a discussion in which the part legislatures of 34 vote based systems with market economies cooperate, and in addition working with more than 70 non-part economies to advance monetary development, flourishing, and practical improvement. All contracting parties and non-contracting parties can look at strategies, look for answers to issues, and organize both worldwide and household approaches. President Kennedy set up the Peace Corps by official request on March 1, 1961. “The Peace Corps was an outgrowth of the Cold War”, (John F. Kennedy Library, n.d.).

The Cold War between the United States and the U.S.S.R., otherwise known as the Soviet Union, was a name given to the connection between the two elements and the danger of an atomic war. This kept going from 1945, yet President Kennedy had a ton to do with the US’s achievements amid this time. This Cold War was all the more a position against socialism than the Soviet Union itself, but since they were communists the Soviet Union was the greatest danger at the time. There were many clashes, emergencies, or circumstances amid President Kennedy’s chance in office.

The primary thing Kennedy did was to build up the Peace Corps by official request. “President Kennedy called attention to that the Soviet Union “had several men and ladies, researchers, physicists, instructors, designers, specialists, and medical caretakers . . . arranged to spend their lives abroad in the administration of world socialism.” The United States had no such program, and Kennedy needed to include Americans all the more effectively in the reason for worldwide vote based system, peace, improvement, and opportunity.” (John F. Kennedy Library, n.d.). Next Kennedy set up the Alliance for Progress and about a month later was the disappointment at the Bay of Pigs.

This was an attack on Cuba to expel Fidel Castro, a devoted communist who was an ally of the Soviet Union, by Cuban outcasts that were prepared, financed, and prepared by the United States. In spite of the fact that President Kennedy did not begin any piece of it he was consoled by the CIA and the military that the attack would prevail without US military help, so he consented to proceed with the arrangement of the intrusion. The outcasts did not have any achievement and that permitted the CIA and the US military to weight President Kennedy to permit the US military to go in. Kennedy did not permit their weights to impact his choices and chose to remain against them. He didn’t permit any US military to attack Cuba, essentially as a result of his dreams of peace for all countries.

Next was the Cuban rocket emergency, where the Soviet Union attempted to move atomic rockets into Cuba. Kennedy again did not permit the military to go into to Cuba, yet set up a military bar into Cuba. While Kennedy consulted with the Russian pioneer, Khrushchev, the military again influenced Kennedy to attack Cuba. Kennedy would not permit the attack since he and Khrushchev went to a consent to deflect war and expel rockets from neighboring nations of each other. Kennedy’s dreams of peace influenced his choices in the concurrence with Russia and at last turned into the establishment of the association with Russia. At long last President Kennedy, trying to end the, marked the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty alongside Russia and England and would be embraced by the United Nations 33 years after the fact. Robert Kennedy has been credited for his advice during the Cuban crisis in fact I the book, Thirteen Days, a work which we now know was assembled with the help of his companion and JFK’s speech specialist, Theodore Sorensen. In a brief commentary of the book, Robert Kennedy claimed that in ExComm, the organization that was established by the president toward the beginning of the emergency to offer him sound advice and warnings, he had steadfastly driven to those authorities who were of the opinion of barring Cuba against those more who were on the special organization who supported some type of military activity against the island. By looking at a U.S. assault on Cuba with the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, the Attorney General decided to dishonor and turn down the pro-military advice given by some members of ExComm, guaranteeing that his sibling settled on the more secure, more judicious approach of a naval barricade.

Also, on October 27, when the emergency was at its most serious, it was Robert Kennedy who astutely established the arrangement that finished the superpower encounter: he prompted JFK to keep in touch with Nikita S. Khrushchev tolerating the terms offered in the Soviet pioneer’s October 26 letter (expulsion of Russian rockets from Cuba as a byproduct of a U.S. guarantee not to attack the island), while basically disregarding his October 27 message (which additionally requested the withdrawal of U.S. Jupiter rockets from Turkey). This, combined with a promise passed on face to face by Robert Kennedy to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin that the Jupiter rockets would be expelled anon yet this must remain a mystery part of the settlement, brought about Khrushchev calling it quits. To put it plainly, Robert Kennedy’s commitment indispensably critical in guaranteeing peace during his brother’s tenure.

President Kennedy had a long and burdensome battle with the Vietnam struggle. Kennedy took the event of the 6th commemoration of the foundation of the Republic of Vietnam to keep in touch with its American-upheld president, Ngo Dinh Diem, swearing that the United States ‘was resolved to help Viet-Nam protect its freedom.’ In the letter, in any case, Kennedy offered no further solid guide to Diem, expressing that he was anticipating a report from the key military advisor he had sent to evaluate the circumstance before settling on conceivable extra activities”, (Sandler, 2013).

The counselors were sent to Vietnam under the instructions of offering military guidance toward the South Vietnamese individuals. However, their core goal was to send reports to President Kennedy on the genuine circumstance of the Republic of Vietnam. Kennedy sent his military instructor, General Maxwell Taylor to Saigon to get an assessment of the Vietnamese military, (Brinkley, 2012). President Diem and President Kennedy traded letters all through this time. Diem asking for military troops to foster his cause in Vietnam, while Kennedy answered that the United States would build help to their exertion just as more consultants and more cash, yet not as military battle troops. At the point when General Maxwell detailed that if the United States did not send battle troops to Vietnam that they would lose their partnership with President Diem, in light of the fact that the Viet Cong would assume control South Vietnam rapidly.

The circumstance did not make strides, in September of 1963, President Kennedy announced in a meeting, In the last investigation, “it is their war. They are the ones who need to win it or lose it. We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as counselors, yet they need to win it, the general population of Vietnam, against the Communists. Yet, I don’t concur with the individuals who say we ought to pull back. That would be an awesome mix-up. [The United States] endeavored to safeguard Europe. Presently Europe is very secure. We likewise need to take part—we dislike it—in the safeguard of Asia”, (John F. Kennedy Library, n.d.).

On January 18, 1962, Kennedy marked a national security notice approving dynamic battle exercises by some American troopers in Vietnam (despite the fact that the officers were as yet depicted as “guides”), (Brinkley, 2012). These officers were known as the Special Group and were the main military troop reporting to the United States. The early considerations of American wherever was that of assurance that the war in Vietnam would soon be won. American fighters were in helicopters and assaulted the Viet Cong guerrillas from above. Due to the early feelings of triumph, arrangements were being made to begin pulling back US troops only five months after the fact in July of 1962. The early guarantees of a speedy closure of the war were brief and withdrawal arrangements were postponed over and over. Reports were being sent to Kennedy that they were prevailing in Vietnam. The Viet Cong guerrillas could get the workers of South Vietnam to move their loyalties, since they were extremely helpless against the Viet Cong.

By late 1962, all Americans required in the Vietnam War were quickly losing trust in President Diem, (Brinkley, 2012). During the earlier months of 1963 the Kennedy organization was searching for approach to dispose of President Diem, as a result of his absence of capacities to get his benefactors to battle in the war. Diem’s officers did not have any desire to endure overwhelming losses battling the Viet Cong very close and conceivably lose the war. General Harkins came to an arrangement for the South Vietnamese armed force to be more successful in the mission, however, President Diem would not permit his armed force to do what Harkins recommended or practically whatever else the American government needed.

Diem’s end begun when the utilized his administration and attempted to suppress Buddhists of South Vietnam by confining their political and religious exercises. A portion of the clarification for his conduct was achieved by being that the Buddhists were the biggest religious gathering in South Vietnam, however, Diem was a staunch Catholic and abhorred the Buddhists. The Buddhists began a peaceful dissent against Diem, and his administration troops shot at the Buddhists bringing on a snowball impact for Diem. After Diem was made a request to remunerate the Buddhists and he overlooked the solicitations, a Buddhist minister set himself ablaze and got the world’s attention through much air play in type of a front page story on all popular daily papers.

Kennedy was shocked and rolled out prompt improvements in his organization. At that point a military upset began against President Diem, however Kennedy expressed he would not support or obstruct the overthrow. Diem was killed and President Kennedy got some answers concerning his passing the following morning while at the same time perusing the New York Times. It was said that President Kennedy had not been seen so discouraged since the Bay of Pigs. President Kennedy was never ready to see the finish of the Vietnam War, in light of the fact that on November 22, 1963 he was killed while riding in an auto in Texas.

22nd of November 1963 would be the last day for President John F. Kennedy on earth, this was in Dallas where he had a presidential party. On or about 12:30 p.m when the Kennedys were in a procession of a motorcade, in a convertible car while waving at the huge crowds, as they were passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire was heard in the plaza. Bullets struck the president’s neck and head making him lose his balance and falling to towards his wife. It is on Sunday morning that news spread of the arrest of the assassin who had ended the president’s life. The individual was Lee Harvey Oswald, he was a new employee of the Texas School Book Depository. Moreover, conspiracy theorists argue that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Central Intelligence Agency operative, though these claims are unsubstantiated. While being transferred from the police headquarters to the county jail Lee Oswald was shot at point blank on live television by Jack Ruby a local night club owner.

The cause of the assassination has never been substantiated, Robert Kennedy was so depressed that at one time he was stated to have said that his works as the Attorney General in combating mobsters who were the king- pins of organized could have played a vital role his brother’s assassination as he attracted a lot of enemies. In a book by one of his aides Edwin O. Guthman, the aide recounted that he thought that it was whom they would have killed instead of his brother. The assassination of his brother had a tremendous effect on him whereby he was needed to fit in his brother’s shoes and give the nation hope and continue with his brother’s unfinished works. He started questioning the political system and started to become more vocal than ever before. In 1964 Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy to run for a seat in the senate this was after giving deep thoughts of leaving politics especially after his brother’s death (John) and the plane crash that had his brother Ted Kennedy injured. In 1965, after successfully securing a seat in the senate, Robert had a certain edge over other senators in the house. This was due to the fact that he was more popular as the former President’s brother who was his most trusted advisor. Moreover, his advocacy for gun control and being prepared for house debates made him acquire quite a reputation.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency, this brought hope and anger in equal share among his fellow citizens. His message was that of bringing change in a society that had been divided by race and wanted to act as a bridge between the divided society. Among many issues that Robert vowed to fight for included civil rights and the eradication of urban poverty. It is the assassination of his friend Martin Luther King junior that made him give a speech which was mainly centered on the theme of reconciliation of all races and the unification of America as one country despite race, religion and any other differences.

It is on 5th June 1968, five years after his brother’s assassination that Robert Kennedy would suffer the same fate. After addressing his supporters at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles, California, after being advised that passing through the kitchen of the hotel was the shortest way to the press room. Robert defied advice from his bodyguard Bill Barry not to pass through the kitchen. It is in this kitchen where a twenty-four-year-old Palestinian going by the name Sirhan Bishara Sirhan opened fire shooting Robert three times. Despite being rushed to Good Samaritan hospital Robert died the following morning. Two brothers who were both assassinated but left a lifetime legacy not only for their stand in politics but their stand in areas that seemed controversial especially during John Kennedy’s tenure as president.

The two brothers not only paved way for the civil rights movement but also gave humanity hope through their speeches and actions on uniting America and their fight against segregation which was of fundamental importance during their time. Robert’s advice and protecting the brother from various controversies made John Fitzgerald Kennedy to become one of the most desired Presidents of our lifetime and to go into the history books as a character whose determination and passion amounted to great success especially in his time as president.

Growing up in China in the 80s

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Chinese born in the 1980s, known as 80 hou (baling hou in putong hua), are famous for westerners as the first generation born during the enforcement of the one-child policy of China. The 80 hou is a generation of more than 200 million only children with shared burdens and opportunities. Their thinking emerges through traditional Chinese culture and Confucian morality, but they begin their careers in an almost full market, governed by WTO rules. Many of them are solely responsible for financial support for the retirement of their parents. Since the 80 hou fulfill their responsibilities and achieve their social goals, their unique perspective is certain to influence trends in the global economy.

For the past decade, it was in fashion to refer to the 80s cohort, as the “little emperor”, a generation of self-important only children who in the traditional Chinese childlike piety with excessive demands for material goods, The parents and grandparents are just too happy to offer. In fact, some 80 hou in Peking have lived up to the “small emperor” stereotype Many come from families who have gained wealth and residential property portfolios after receiving state reimbursement to torn Hutongs to pave the way for Beijing’s rapid urbanization . These families gained financial security by investing reimbursements in newly developed housing in the late 1990s, in some cases buying several units. When the prices of apartments in Beijing escalated over the past ten years, many were killed for living by solving one property while living in another and renting a third unit to earn a stable income. Pekinger with so much luck have known that their only children can lead a leisurely existence. They can choose to work when they want to have more money, but there is no need for them to provide financially for themselves or their parents. However, this lucky 80 hou leisure class said to never have tasted bitterness constitutes a small 80 hou demographic sling. The overwhelming majority of the 80 hou honor their traditional role and work to fulfill their responsibility within family unity . As such, the majority of this generation is under serious pressure to fulfill the role of the breadwinner for their families, while simultaneously trying to advance their careers and achieve their social goals.

80 recall the rarity of consumer goods during their formative years. China’s economic transition has just begun, and the shortcomings created by the central planning still prevail. As a result, they are consistent with the fears of the older generation, prone to working long hours, and pay attention to more than half their monthly income. They are also the first generation exposed to Korean and American pop culture, and many are hardcore fans of Michael Jackson, * NSYNC and Guns N ‘Roses. But while admiring the boldness and voluntary attitude of Westerners, their identity is rooted in the Chinese tradition.

Educated 80 hou are well read in Chinese classics, and they express great pride in their country. The 80 hou were shocked and horrified when they were exposed to Western criticism for the first time in 2008, when the media highlighted the protesters who defiled the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay to China. Chinese 80 She saw with contempt the cultural tendency of the French and other Western peoples to protest. Protesting in France is a political and cultural norm for communication between the people and the government, but this Western style has not translated well. Many Chinese found the protests absurd and offensive. In response, the 80 hours gathered in online communities to express their great love for the country and the dignity of traditional Chinese culture. 80 hou also enjoy the ability to pamper in online shopping and entertainment. Fashion has become a passion for this generation, and the Louis Vuitton logo has made great ideas in 80 hou as a static symbol, but they still recognize fine Chinese cuisine as the greatest luxury in the world.

When the 80 hou grew up, their education was the center of attention for grandparents and parents in the house. All resources have been made to progress the child’s education and skill. As young adults, they were able to enter the workforce during a period of openness, which also included the acceptance of China into the WTO. Their first steps to the career were taken during an economic yoke. They have experienced a greater chance at the beginning of their careers than most of the 90s are likely to enjoy. The 90 hou go into the workforce at a time of global economic recession. They do not recall past shortcomings because their experiences are characterized by a period of prosperous economic development and urbanization. However, the 90 hou can face more scarcity than adults in the labor market than the 80 hou.

80 hou are an important generation for their experience of entering the workforce the moment the Chinese economy was widely recognized as the driving force of the world market. In addition, 80 years have grown in a time of freedom to move, study, work and earn. Career advancement is accessible in the modern market, but the tendency of young professionals to expect consistent praise, higher salaries, or leadership positions, often referred to as characteristic of America’s Gen Y is antithetic to pursue Chinese culture. While 80 hou have great dreams and great hopes for themselves, they are probably not directly asking their bosses for new opportunities. Instead, they pursue practical ways to prepare for career advancement, such as studying new skills or learning new trades.

Since Beijing has evolved into a modern metropolis, millions of the 80s have returned to the capital, looking for better jobs and more access to international culture. This generation shares a common dream of home ownership, but the price of buying a residential home in Beijing or Shanghai is so exorbitant that few manage such a benefit without financial contributions from their families. Average gross salaries for successful employees can range from 1,000 RMB to 3,000 RMB per month (about $ 140 – $ 400) The going rate for residential property in Beijing is at least 16,900 RMB ($2,500) per square meter2, and the price of a 90 square meter apartment can be higher than 1.9 million RMB ($279,400)3. The mainstream mindset of the 80 hou is to qualify for a good paying white-collar job, work long hours, and save most of one’s income so as to eventually buy an apartment. The large rent-to-price ratio (approximately 1:546) does not deter people from pursuing investment in the real estate market or viewing it as a sound investment. The rent-to-price ratio compares the cost of renting a home to the cost of purchasing one. Buying a home is paramount because it meets the financial and social needs of adult Chinese today. After they buy a home, they can provide a place for their retired parents, marry and have a baby. Afterwards, savings will be directed towards giving their only child the best chance possible to succeed in education and career.

Tens of millions of the 80 hou are not white-collar professionals. They are young men and women who migrated from the countryside into China’s major cities to work as servers in restaurants (fu wu yuan in putong hua) or guards at apartment complexes (bao an). They came from subsistence farming societies and moved to the eastern cities to earn a near subsistence wage. The meager salaries are saved to provide their families with health care. Illness can devastate these farming families. Middle-aged parents and young adult children work far from home all year, saving their salaries and pooling their earnings at Spring Festival family reunions. These working poor do not have enough money for a college education and do not qualify for white-collar jobs. They carry on a long-standing tradition of living for the next generation, which is an all-too-common experience for the peoples of developing nations. Parents work throughout their lifetimes, saving for basic nourishment and the advancement of their children’s education. They do not entertain the idea that they will climb the social ladder themselves, but save their money to provide for family health care and direct their hopes toward the future of their progeny. For the 80 hou working poor, the menial jobs available in the city provide important perks such as free room and board. As the famous Chinese idiom proclaims: “To the people food is heaven.” The migrant working poor of Beijing may earn an average of only a few hundred RMB a month, but they are able to save the majority of their pay for their families because rent and food are provided by their employers.

Despite the pressure to provide for their families and a high-level of competition for jobs and educational advancement, many individuals of the 80 hou pursue their career ideals with gusto. Three such individuals are profiled here. They come from a variety of backgrounds including highly educated families, subsistence farmers, and well-connected families. Each of the three has experienced times of scarcity and has suffered anxiety over finances, some more than others. What these three 80 hou share is their extraordinary attitude toward life in their quest to provide for their families while achieving their own goals. Each has taken whatever life presented and pursued individual social advancement. Each depends upon him or herself to provide financial security, and considers marriage a future prospect and not something to depend upon for social success. These three are not overcome by the pressure to provide, and they are far from complacent about their careers. In fact, they are passionate about fulfilling their ambitious dreams. Their individual stories follow.

The post-80s reached puberty when the reform era (initiated in 1989) was already on its way. Nevertheless, they were emotionally shaped (early childhood) in the midst of the cultural revolution, an age of instability and uncertainties in the future. Education was not widespread and unconditional devotion to the communist leadership was nationally enforced. Today, while they generally estimate the economic development and growth of the powerful Chinese nation, the post-80s also see how the values are changing at the moment. They complain that today’s young people, instead of appreciating the opportunity to attend school, complain about the student’s education. Similarly, the modern youth spend money on superficial goods instead of recognizing the importance of the money saving. Not to mention solidarity, friendship, and marriage, which are increasingly casually treated these days, often coupled with materialistic interests.

The post-80s are only a decade away from the post-70s and are mostly sons and daughters of the parents who were born in the 1950s or 1960s. The social turbulence of the Mao regime is tense for them and it is up to their parents to decide whether or not to share their experiences with them. Some parents want their children to appreciate every opportunity given by the new era and to shape their offspring into a “post-70s” form. In many other cases parents enjoy the fact that their children only know the reform era of China and wish them to enjoy the new comfortable lifestyle. In such cases, parents can promote the formation of spoiled children and, in extreme cases, build selfish nouveau riche youngsters (fuerdai). The introduction of one-child policy has made such a phenomenon still widespread since the parents pay more attention to the happiness of their individual offspring and neglect the discipline.

In which aspects are the Post-90s so different from the Post-80s? While the negative stereotypes of the post-80s are linked to the emergence of a selfish group that leads a course of depreciation, this generation also carries a certain burden on the shoulders. Being a single child can mean more study and work pressure as the sole successor to the family. While they complete, the Post-80s experience the competition of the market economy and the challenge of buying an apartment. “Yueguangzu” (youngsters who spend their whole monthly income) and “woju” (living in modest residence, which are the economic burden of buying an apartment over many years) are some of the terms that express the less casual sides of the post- Experience 80s.

The Post-90s suffer from similar prospects, but they do not seem to be guinea pigs in a new socioeconomic experience. The problems of student pressure and high prices are already socially acknowledged facts and the emotional needs of the individual are taken into account in a larger respect. This does not mean that the post-90s do not eat bitterness (chiku 吃苦), but at least the system provides more means to overcome stress and deliberately or not, open the door for neoliberal individualistic values.

In terms of consumerism, the post-90s take it to the next level, very selectively and consciously. Internet shopping is a past time hobby and needless to say the Internet is also an important social hangout and empire of self-expression for the post-90s adolescents.

A survey by the Guangzhou Committee of the Communist Youth League of China tried to provide some data to support popular stereotypes. The survey found large differences between the members of the three generations in the attitude towards marriage (the post-70s who want to keep the family “safe” in all respects, post-80s see divorce as something that can sometimes be celebrated) , Shopping (the post-90s strongly prefer online shopping), save money (the post-70s constantly consider how to save their income) and working hours (overtime hours tolerated only by the post-70s). This survey is indeed interesting, although such a comparison is problematic because it reflects the differences between the age groups and, for example, does not indicate how the post-1970s a decade ago (when they were at an age, Which corresponds to the post-80s.

Generation Y – People who were born from 1980 to 1995

To the world, Generation Y teens shared many common experiences. As in India and the US, young people in China were swept in a booming economy. Although foreign trade embargoes of Tiananmen were present, economic growth in China continued in a fast pace in the 1990s and early 2000s. The reforms continued, including the sale of equity in China’s largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements to foreign exchange and bond markets. In 2004, the National People’s Congress provided protection for private property rights and put a new emphasis on reducing the downside of industrial growth, including regional unemployment, the uneven distribution of income between urban and rural regions, as well as environmental pollution. The country has made significant investments in science, technology and space exploration. Thousands moved from rural villages to cities, farms to factories, leaving behind family, class and history. By 2007, most of China’s growth came from the private sector. During this time, China has gradually become more open and less repressive – not a democracy but also a totalitarian state.

Nicknames of the “litter emperor”, Gen Y’s in China occupy a special role in the burgeoning society. China’s one-child policy, introduced in 1979, means that most members of this generation are only children, in many cases growing up as the only focus of two parents and four grandparents. They tend to have a high self-esteem and a confidence level that positions them for leadership roles in China and the world.

Like many Y’s around the world, this generation has strong advanced technological skills and an urge to be globally linked. As adolescents, they also communicate directly with the outside world and influence the future of their country. During the Tibetan turmoil of 2008 marking the 49th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising of 1959 against the rule of Beijing, young patriotic Chinese led Internet campaigns against Western media coverage of the protests. Also in 2008, when a massive earthquake killed 70,000, many young people participated in the rescue as volunteers.

Teen Y’s in China have experienced a surge of national pride. Two foreign colonies were returned to China during their teenage years: Hong Kong from Great Britain in 1997 and Macau from Portugal in 1999. In 2001, China was admitted to the World Trade Organization. Most clearly in 2008, China successfully organized the Summer Olympics in 2008.

As in India, Y’s in China share this generation’s global sense of immediacy, coupled with the excitement, a part of the first wave of the country’s broad economic opportunity and growing national pride. Y’s in China are confident and competitive. For many, the desire for economic success is closely linked to the desire for status. They are looking forward to increasing the role and influence of China in the world.
When we were preparing for future generations, one child policy was revaluated in 2008 and expanded by at least another decade, assuring that the next generation will consist largely of single children.
China, like other countries I will be discussing over the coming weeks, illustrates the dramatically different experiences and formative events that have influenced the generations (the generations I call traditionalists and boomers in the United States) growing up in the 1940s and 1970s Similarity of experiences in the 1980s. Generations X and Y are the beginnings of global generations.

China’s one-child policy was officially launched 30 years ago on 25 September 1980 in an open letter from the Communist Party of China. By this time, the government had been deployed locally and nationally for voluntary birth control and discouraged surplus reproduction.

The policy was created after Chairman Mao launched a campaign to encourage families to have more children, resulting in birth rates of over 4 children per family. At the same time, there was a food shortage that resulted partly from Mao’s failed economic planning of the Great Leap while the 30 million Chinese died of man-made famine.

Although the birth rate fell to 3 children per family by 1980, a new regime of Chinese leaders believed that violent restraint on population growth would lead to greater economic prosperity. As a result, a coercive policy was born that would influence the most intimate aspect of any Chinese citizenship – their family.

The one-child policy restricts the majority of Chinese families to a child. The consequences of a child without a birth permit vary according to the province, with the fines being as high as the average annual income. The policy was originally introduced as a temporary measure, which would take place only for 20 to 30 years, but it continues to this day.

In order to enforce one-child policy, the Chinese government uses a quota rewards scheme for planning officers to perform the birth control policy. If they do not meet these quotas, they will either be punished or lose the opportunity to earn promotions.

In 1984, the policy was somewhat relaxed, with rural families and other demographic groups being able to obtain permits for a second child. But these new exceptions varied drastically from province to province and were no longer applied when agricultural families migrated to urban centers. Policy remains an important concern for parents who are exposed to local officials to approve their eligibility.

The Chinese government boasts that the one-child policy has prevented over 400 million births and announced in March 2013 that they had aborted 336 million children in the last four decades, carried out 196 million surgical sterilizations and 403 million IUDs (intrauterine devices). The loss of life and the imposition of the rights of mothers is breathtaking.

A growing demographic crisis is emerging in China as the population ages so that a smaller workforce is responsible for a massive number of older citizens. Some call this the “4-2-1” problem, because several generations have grown up as nurses: Now 1 child is often assigned with the support of 2 parents and 4 grandparents. Chinese scholars have pointed to the demographic situation as a major concern to urge the government to change the one-child policy.

Politicians also criticize because their brutal law enforcement officers meet quotas by forcing pregnant women to undergo pregnancies, often resulting in imminent loss of jobs, colossal fines, and even personal harm. Women who still reject these forced abortions were arrested and held back for forced exile. The highest-ranking cases were those of Feng Jianmei, whose 7-month-old baby was forcibly aborted on June 2, The image of her dead baby lying next to her (circled) quickly circulated the globe and caused uproar in China and around the world. In response to the universal condemnation of this forced abortion, the Chinese government began to exceed the late-stage forced abortion at the national and provincial level. Unfortunately, the enforcement of this law is spotty, and forced abortion has still occurred. On March 22, 2013, another 7-month-old baby was forcibly abducted, and this image also circulated widely on the Internet.

Another tragic consequence of the policy is China’s growing gender inequality. Coupled with a traditional predilection for men, the policy causes parents to get rid of daughters by abortion, abandonment, or child killing. This removal of girls is called gendercide. (Read more about it here.) Experts predict that by 2020, China will be home to 40 million more men than women under the age of 20. This figure is equivocal with the total population of men under 20 in the US.

Scholars, activists, ordinary Chinese citizens, and even Chinese government officials have come together to demand an end to one-child policy. But the greatest choir has been of the followers of Jesus both inside and outside of China who have not ceased praying for God to put an end to the massacres and slaughter of innocents. Brave Christians are represented in the faith to love girls and women around them in the name of Jesus.

As of March 2013, the Chinese government seemed to be clinging to the one-child policy by making only marginal and insignificant tweaks that allowed two children under certain circumstances. All Girls Allowed believes that God will end China’s cooperation policy in response to our prayers and our love’s actions. May you accompany us to experience God’s liberation as he shares the Red Sea and leads his people into freedom!

China’s one-child family policy, which was first announced in 1979, has remained the same despite the extraordinary political and social changes that have occurred over the past two decades. It arose from the belief that development would be impaired by rapid population growth, and that the sheer size of the Chinese population together with their young age structure was a unique challenge.

  • The one-child family policy has been developed and implemented to eliminate the social and economic consequences of the persistent rapid population growth
  • The implementation was more successful in urban areas than in rural areas
  • Social and economic reforms have made a rigorous policy implementation difficult
  • The main critique of politics is its suggestion to discriminate against women who can be aborted, abandoned or unregistered
  • Policy has facilitated some of the pressures of rapid population growth in municipalities, reducing the population by at least 250 million

Governmental family planning services were made available as a contribution to maternal and child health in China from 1953 onwards. As a result of falling death rates, the population growth rate rose to 2.8%, which led to around 250 million more people per year, rebellions, wars, epidemics and the collapse of imperial authority, where annual population growth is likely to be no more than 0.3 %, Such expansion was seen as part of the new strength of China. Mao Zedong quoted a traditional saying: “Of all things in the world, people are the most precious.”

The rapid growth has, however, severely impacted the government’s efforts to meet the needs of its people. The fourth five-year plan in 1970 included targets for the population growth rate for the first time. Contraception and abortion services were extended to rural areas, and there was extensive support for the later marriage, longer intervals between births and smaller families. Within five years the population growth rate decreased to around 1.8%, and the target for 1980 was a growth rate of 1%. In order to achieve this, each administrative unit has introduced and discussed its own goal, and, if necessary, has tried to change the incentive behavior of its population. At the local level, collective income and allocations – for example, health care, welfare and schools – could allow couples to understand the impact of their personal family selection on the community. They also made it possible for the Community to exert pressure on those who wanted children outside the agreed plans.

Origins of one child policy

But even the 1980 target, let alone the more ambitious aim of reaching zero growth by the year 2000, was unattainable through a “later, longer, fewer” campaign.

Population studies had been discontinued in China in the late 1950s in line with Marxist doctrine. Only in 1975 did new university departments begin to be established, staffed largely by statisticians. They quickly realised that with half of the population under the age of 21, further growth was inevitable even if each family was quite small. By the time of the 1982 census there were already more than 1 billion people in China, and if current trends persisted, there could be 1.4 billion by the end of the century. Most population growth rate targets were abandoned in the early 1980s, and from 1985 the official goal was to keep the population at around 1.2 billion by 2000.

Elements of the policy

Details of what the one child policy involved and how it was to be implemented have varied at different times. The essential elements are clear. The aim was to curtail population growth, perhaps to 1.1 billion and certainly to 1.2 billion, by the year 2000. It was hoped that third and higher order births could be eliminated and that about 30% of couples might agree to forgo a second child. The ideal of a one child family implied that the majority would probably never meet it. It was argued that the sacrifice of second or third children was necessary for the sake of future generations. People were to be encouraged to have only one child through a package of financial and other incentives, such as preferential access to housing, schools, and health services. Discouragement of larger families included financial levies on each additional child and sanctions which ranged from social pressure to curtailed career prospects for those in government jobs. Specific measures varied from province to province.5 Minorities were excluded from the policy.

Early implementation

In some of the largest and most advanced cities like Shanghai, sizeable proportions of couples already chose to have only one child. Both adults worked full time with long hours; the housing allocation was only 3.6 m2 per person in 1977; without conveniences such as refrigerators tasks like shopping and cooking were time consuming daily efforts. In most families, at least one member would be employed in the state sector and susceptible to government direction. As a result, it was not long before 90% of couples in urban areas were persuaded to restrict their families to a single child.

Rural families, however, were more difficult to convince. Peasants with limited savings and without pensions needed children to support them in old age. As married daughters moved into their husbands’ families, a son was essential—and preferably more than one. Infant mortality had fallen greatly, but in 1980 it was still around 53 per 1000 live births nationally and higher than that in rural areas.6 Years of political upheaval had left many peasants cynical about government policies and their likely duration; it also left them adept at avoiding unpopular

Years of political upheaval had left many peasants cynical about government policies and their likely duration; it also left them adept at avoiding unpopular prescriptions. Local authorities were forced to rely on fines for higher order births. They also turned to stringent birth control campaigns, which in the policy’s earlier years resulted in considerable numbers of women being bullied into abortions and sterilization. Village level family planning workers were caught between the state’s demands and the determination of their friends and neighbors. Gradually villagers developed a process of negotiation and compromise7 which allowed a degree of flexibility within the policy. As a result, irrespective of the particular directives at any given time, the proportion of women with one child who went on to have a second (almost universal behaviour in the late 1970s) fell only to 90% by 1990.

Effect of reform process on implementation

The economic reforms of recent years in China had many—often unintended—consequences for the one child family policy. Possibly the most important has been the growth of internal migration. Tight restrictions on movement, especially rural-urban movement, were relaxed as the demand for labour in the towns and cities grew. Government efforts to regulate the migrants, or even to identify their numbers, have been only partially successful. Recent estimates suggest that up to 150 million Chinese—most of them adults in their 20s and 30s—form a floating population who leave their villages for longer or shorter periods. Earning cash wages, living in makeshift accommodation, moving between jobs and between cities and their home villages, these people are seldom eligible for state-provided services and see no reason to draw official attention through temporary registration.

One result has been declining in the reliability of population statistics, already compromised by the reluctance of family planning workers to admit their inability to achieve the results demanded of them. In 1991-2, perhaps a quarter of all births were missed.10 As a result, although China’s official total fertility rate for 1990-5 was 1.92 children. It may be more realistic to assume total fertility around the replacement level—that is, a little over two children per couple.

Although both male and female births are underreported, the birth of a girl is twice as likely to be ignored. Underreporting is believed to account for about half to two thirds of the difference in infant sex ratios, which by the early 1990s had risen to 114 boys for every 100 girls. Unrecorded daughters may be left with relatives, adopted out, or abandoned to orphanages,13 which are increasingly unable to cope with the influx. Sex ratios are further skewed by widespread abortion, after the illegal but lucrative use of ultrasound to identify fetal sex.

In many rural areas rising incomes make it possible to see the fine for an additional child as a feasible investment strategy. At the same time peasants are increasingly saving for old age through a variety of retirement schemes, some offered through non-government family planning associations. These family planning associations, besides promoting family planning and the one child policy, offer various social welfare benefits including training and income generating loans for rural women and basic maternal and child health screening and care.

The introduction of fees for health services has had severe consequences for poorer peasants, and many women are unable to access reproductive health services, including maternity care or even follow up for contraceptive problems. One recent provincial survey found that over 70% of diagnosed women in a random sample had at least one reproductive tract infection. A long standing challenge to effective family planning had been the poor quality and limited choice of contraceptives, especially in rural areas reliant largely on intrauterine devices and sterilization. With support from international agencies, especially the UN Population Fund, quality has been improved (manufacture of the unreliable steel ring intrauterine device ceased in 1994). A wider range of methods is becoming available, and despite the extra cost to the individual they are proving popular.

Urban dependence on the state for employment, housing, education, and other benefits, which facilitated compliance with the one child policy, is being progressively reduced. However, although some in lucrative private work may choose to ignore the policy, for most people the increased costs and greater insecurity which they now face probably contribute to caution in family building. Instead, incomes are channeled into buying better health care and education for the sole child and providing the desirable brand name toys and clothes now available. Concerns over spoilt “little emperors” are widespread, and some family planning associations now run parent education classes to counter parents’ overprotective behavior.

The one child policy has unquestionably imposed great costs on individuals, even if (as has been suggested16) these costs have to be seen in the context of a Chinese tradition in which demographic decisions have never been individual. Most Chinese people seem prepared to make such a sacrifice if the pain is generally shared.

In 1993, the family planning associations were officially given a supervisory role in monitoring coercion and other abuses in implementing the policy. The complaints they receive almost invariably relate to unfair favourable treatment of cadres or other favoured individuals.

The main criticism of the policy, though, is undoubtedly its stimulus to sex discrimination. Faced with hard choices about overall numbers, the Chinese girl child has once again become expendable. Too many girls, if not aborted, face orphanages or second class lives concealed from the world and with reduced chances of schooling and health care. China has one of the world’s highest rates of suicide of women in the reproductive years.19 Increased pressure to produce the desired child, and a perceived reduction in the value of females, can only have exacerbated the problems of rural women.

At the same time, the successes of the policy should not be underrated. In the context of rising costs and rising aspirations throughout China, there is increasing recognition among the four-fifths of the population that is rural of the burden to the family of having a third child, and some are even willing to avoid a second.Moreover, since its inception reductions in Chinese fertility have reduced the country’s (and the world’s) population growth by some 250 million. These reductions in fertility have eased at least some of the pressures on communities, state, and the environment in a country which still carries one fifth of the world’s people.

Helen Zou

Helen Zou was born in a town southwest of Chongqing municipality. Her father was a well-known local lawyer and her mother a homemaker. In her youth, Helen assisted her father as a scribe, using her good handwriting to copy legal documents for his practice. Copy machines were a rarity, and when available, far too expensive. Her father was most impressed by her talent and intelligence. He encouraged her to pursue law or medicine, saying that a career as a lawyer, teacher or doctor was most suitable for women. She was intent upon following in her father’s footsteps and studying law, but later, as his health failed, she wanted to become a doctor, so she could cure him of his ailments. However, he died the year before she was to choose a college major. Since she could no longer cure her father, she no longer found it practical to study medicine, and as her understanding of the red tape complexities of China’s legal system grew, she gradually lost interest in pursuing a law degree.

Helen often read English novels and watched American movies. She had a great desire to travel to foreign countries. She remained at the top of her class throughout middle school and high school. When the time came to choose a college major, Helen chose English language. She graduated from Chongqing Three Gorges University in 2004, and had a secure job offer teaching English at Dalian University. She declined the offer and went to Beijing in search of more exposure to international culture.

She started her work experience in Beijing as an employee of a Chinese state-owned company. In 2006, Helen began working as the assistant to an entrepreneur of a high-tech Chinese company preparing to make its IPO on NASDAQ. In this growing company she had the chance to participate in the functioning of projects from IPO to HR restructuring. Currently, she works for this company as an investor relations specialist. Helen enjoys being close to information, constantly aware of company affairs and industry trends. She recognizes the importance of delivering the right messages to investors. Her goal is to complete an MBA degree abroad to increase her understanding of finance and business ethics. Her career goal is to be the investor relations executive preparing Chinese companies for their IPOs on Western stock exchanges by overhauling their financial systems management and advertising these opportunities to investors. Despite her strong work ethic and obvious talent in disseminating bilingual financial communication, she does not receive sufficient training for advancement opportunities from her company. Most booming Chinese companies have not yet developed a framework for conducting career mobility or training incentives for employees.

The majority of employees in successful Chinese companies are content to have a secure job with decent pay in the big city. They do not feel the need to push for more opportunity. Those who are anxious to elevate their positions must constantly face the disappointment that their long hours and good efforts will not afford them advanced progression into managerial or decision-making roles. Helen is currently preparing for the TOEFL and GMAT examinations, studying in the evenings after work and on weekends. She will use her savings, accumulated over the last six years, to support her dream of studying abroad and attending an American university to complete her MBA degree. She must excel in these exams, since being awarded a scholarship by a foreign university is a financial imperative for her to accomplish her dream. As a 28-year-old, single woman in China, her career ambitions are countered by her responsibility to provide for her widowed mother. Helen must be able to afford her educational goals while providing for herself and her mother. The portion of her income not directed toward necessities and savings is spent trying her hand at the Chinese stock market. She views such investment as a hobby and not as a resource for financial gain. Such play enriches her experience in calculating risk in the Chinese stock market.

Helen considers marriage a future concern. Although she enjoys dating in her free time, she views such interaction as no more than interesting and fun. Helen believes that as she achieves her career goals, she will come into contact with a most suitable mate. She is certain he will be a dynamic individual with lots of international perspective. She looks forward to the day she can settle down with financial security and provide a stimulating home environment for her future family to thrive.

Yongbin Fang

Yongbin Fang was born to subsistence farmers in Anhui Province. His parents were born in the 1950s and as adolescents in the 1960s survived periods of starvation by chewing on seeds that they randomly found while sifting through the dust of the barren earth. Their parents, Fang’s grandparents, were tormented by purges and eventually defeated by starvation. In the fertile 1980s, Fang was born into a family with survivors’ spirit. He grew up helping his family reap the corn during the harvest season and attending the local school in the off-season. It was there that he gained literacy and studied basic mathematics. As a kid in the 1990s, he gazed wistfully at the skyscrapers towering off in the distance. Often the men of his village went to the city to work as construction laborers. They always returned home with cash for their families.

Fang dreamed of becoming an architect. At the age of 17, he left school and went to Suzhou to be a carpenter’s apprentice. He worked for the whole year, learning the trade and earning only room and board. During the Spring Festival family reunion at the end of that year, his parents told him it was time to earn an income, so he followed his uncle and father to work as a carpenter on construction sites in burgeoning Beijing. Since he was young and nourished by his dream of becoming an architect, he proved to be a fast learner. The boss took notice of this and sent him to work as a mechanic at the garage he owned. There Fang mastered new trades and decided to invest in getting his driver’s license. This new skill enabled him to earn a higher income by working as a bus driver for private kindergartens in Beijing.

The savings he accumulated by working a better paying job was immediately invested into his educational advancement. He put himself through university while working full-time, earning a degree in interior design. The foreign English teachers working at the Beijing kindergartens often sought Fang’s help and friendship. He realized the next useful skill for him to master was English language. So again he used his income to support his educational advancement. He completed an independent study program at Beijing Foreign Studies University and successfully passed all the exams to earn a diploma in English language and literature. He used his new skills by working as a translator for Chinese public relations firms, and prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he landed a job as a translator for a German news corporation that conducts all their China reporting in English, as it is more commonly spoken in China than German. He continues to adapt his skills to creatively strategize his financial security. Currently, he takes every opportunity to learn about professional photography so that he can advance his career into higher realms of the media industry. In 2007, his parents and uncle combined their savings to help Fang purchase a small apartment in east Beijing. This investment provided Fang a secure living situation to support his career in Beijing. They hope that the money invested in the home purchase will prove to be an asset to them all in the future. Fang saves 80 percent of  his monthly income to put toward basic necessities for his parents and himself in the future. His mother is still a housewife and subsistence farmer in the countryside. His father and uncle are migrant laborers who earn petty cash on construction sites. They are reaching the age of retirement, which to Fang means “forcibly jobless” because no one wants to hire elderly construction workers. He is not convinced the social insurance system will guarantee security for him and his family throughout their elderly years. The pension and subsidies directly accessible to his family are too low to rely upon in times of illness. Fang is responsible for providing for himself, his parents and his uncle over the next decades. Such responsibility leads to his high propensity to save, as well as hard work, will power  and self-sacrifice. As his family has supported him, he will support them.

There is little time and few resources left for Fang to start a family of his own. Fang’s peers in the hometown married in their early 20s and have raised large families. Fang has always resisted social pressures to fit in with his hometown peers and return there to marry a local girl. He centers his life on providing for his family and pursuing a professional career. He finds the girlfriends of his generation to be overly demanding. They require the suitor to own an apartment, and if that is achieved, then they chirp on about the location and quality of apartment necessary for them to agree to marriage. Men of the 80s generation must achieve a high level of material success to please the modern Chinese woman. Fang hopes to marry a woman with perspective and goals similar to his own. To afford such a wife and then have a child would be a privilege, but for now such a lifestyle is a luxury just out of his reach. At the age of 30, he still has plenty of time. Fang will continue to pursue his career ambitions and uphold his ideals for family life, making progress step-by-step. As the famous saying goes, a journey of a thousand “li” starts with a single step.

Candace Sun

Candace Sun was born in Anshan City, Liaoning Province. Her maternal grandfather was an engineer and her paternal grandfather a battalion commander in the Chinese Army. Her parents did well working in factories, and in the 1990s found success as small business owners. Candace’s parents encouraged her to learn traditional Chinese arts and she excels at painting and calligraphy. Ever at the top of her class, she often won school competitions. In elementary school, she was the champion of an academic competition and was awarded a set of the four Chinese classics of literature. She cherished these great works and spent her free time reading the classics and learning other tales of Chinese philosophy.

In 2000, Candace was accepted into Beijing Wuzi University. There she earned a degree in economics. After graduating at the top of her class, she went to work full time at the company that had provided her college internship. She began working in the art department of a Chinese online gaming company as a professional 3D artist.

Her skills in calligraphy and her knowledge of the classics and Chinese mythology were greatly appreciated by her employers. She provided real value to the company’s product line, so once the company launched their IPO on NASDAQ, she was one of the original team members to be handsomely rewarded in stock options. Candace advanced to middle management leadership positions and received English language training from her company. Her ability to clearly express herself in English, and the value she contributes to the development of company product lines provides her more certain opportunity for career advancement.

In 2009, she put her assets into purchasing a fine apartment in one of Beijing’s up-and-coming residential neighborhoods. She views home ownership as a long-term investment and as a way to provide for her parents’ retirement. They live together in her apartment home, carrying for her nourishment as she fulfills the role of breadwinner. Candace’s career goal is to become a senior professional manager for the company. She has successfully passed all graduate admissions examinations to enroll in the MBA program at the University of International Business & Economics in Beijing. She will attend graduate school part-time, while she continues to work full-time in the field of 3D design. She intends develop her skills to add value to her company’s product line and is enthusiastic about contributing to making her company become one of the leading online game companies in the world. She enjoys her work and joyfully pursues her career. At 28 years old, she feels no pressure to marry anytime soon. She has a laissez-faire, or traditional Chinese Taoist wu-wei, go-with-the-flow attitude towards marriage. She has faith that a suitable partner will come into her life as she authentically pursues her dreams.

Conclusion

China’s 80s generation is associated with shared burdens and opportunities. They bore serious pressure to surmount at red-learning in their secondary and University education. As they find their way into the robust modern economy, those with the best credentials have great chances to try a variety of positions and jobs.

There is room for them to pursue entrepreneurial business relationships or devote their daily lives to the growing Chinese multinational companies.

Characteristic for the 80s generation to work long hours and to respect the traditional protocol for obedience in the workplace. Those who want to drive their professional careers at a faster rate to higher levels will benefit from the training that stimulates their creative problem solving skills and cultivate their confidence in taking innovative approaches to career development. Those who proactively reach the credentials to advance to a higher level of industry by saving and investing in advanced training, will be willing to take new employment opportunities when presented to them. In this way, they can realize their dreams, support their families, and infund resiliency throughout the Chinese economy.

The traditional role of religion in China is no different than that among Islam: religion and the state are effectively connected, and a ruler without religious sanction it is as difficult to imagine as a faith independent of the state. The demands of Confucianism, for centuries China’s official system of faith, may be less demanding as that of Islam, but their place in society is similar. They are also addressing the problems that religion is facing the communist regime in Beijing today. If the basic culture of China does not change dramatically, no Chinese leader can rule without any kind of universally accepted moral or ideological language.

Likewise, the concept of religion as an independent good-the realm of individuals and private organizations-will appear odd or even subversive to many Chinese, especially government officials. Not so long ago, there was a feeling that Marxism, which was able to properly mediate by the Mao Zedong party, could actually serve as a new and revolutionary orthodoxy for modem China. Certainly, communism was, in fact, a religion for its early Chinese converts: more than a sociological analysis it was a revelation and a prophecy, which concerned all its beings and was interpreted in sacred texts, many imported from Moscow and often printed in English. This faith has disappeared today, leaving in China a great emptiness that fill some common belief.

Since communism has fallen dramatically in China in recent decades, religious practice has steadily increased in some way or another. An extraordinary and quite unexpected revival has made long-barred Buddhist temples again with worshipers! In Tibet and Xinjiang the Lamaist Buddhist and Islamic faith, respectively have become more and more powerful, even if the inexorable persecution persists. Communist officials now use their ethics of hierarchy and authority to strengthen their rule.

Ironically, only Daoism, perhaps the only truly indigenous faith in China, has actually been eliminated by the almost half century of the communist religious war. Like the remarkable economic development of China, which is far better known, the revival of religion does not appear to be intended by the officials who set it in motion by repeating a few prohibitions. Rather, it has gone far beyond the manageable change they had imagined, as economic development is a powerful factor for Change which can threaten the status of the regime. Although its numbers are relatively small, contemporary Chinese Christianity is a good initial index for these changes and the problems they cause for the central government.

Though communist rule. Religion is not the only answer to these needs, as every visitor will testify: China is now a turbulent country, where droves of merchants, real and figurative, hawk controls their commercial and ideological goods, while a weakening dictatorship to avoid the shipwreck of its authority. China has thus encountered such times of trouble often over its thousands of years of history, and whenever it has, religion, as often as not, has a volatile factor.