Purposeful Summaries – gobirds115

Do Toms Shoes Really Help People?

It seems counterintuitive that buy one/give one businesses that donate items like shoes and glasses to underdeveloped communities could actually be doing them a disservice.

On the surface, businesses such as Toms Shoes seem like they’re doing something great. For the most part they are. They make people feel like they contributed to a good cause when they purchase shoes because they know a pair of shoes is going to an underdeveloped community. But experts weighed in and called the idea for these types of businesses “risky”. These businesses assume that underdeveloped communities automatically need a surplus of whatever it is they have to offer. After the earthquake in Haiti, they were in a very vulnerable state. Shoes weren’t exactly at the top of their list of needs. The truth is that only the ones who are present in the situation can identify needs. Toms had a situation like this where they were giving shoes to kids in an underdeveloped community so they could enter schools. What they didn’t know was that these kids all had shoes for the most part. After Thailand’s tsunami, rice was being shipped in at high rates to help aid. However, this was only a coastal issue and the abundance of rice became a real problem for local rice farmers. Toms creates a similar issue for local shoe businesses in these communities.

These businesses should make sure they’re addressing a true problem instead of simply pouring in unnecessary items. Some other businesses have started to work with these communities and help them grow their local business instead of overloading them with unnecessary goods. Some examples are Warby Parker, a glasses company that partners with local businesses and Two Degrees Food which donates food to hungry children when their bars are purchased. Toms however provides little information on where their goods are going.

The Counterintuitive World

It seems counterintuitive that deciding that armoring fighter planes in the places that they were most fired at is actually less effective in improving the durability of the planes. Planes that made it back with many bullet holes in one place were armored heavily in those places. However, the planes that didn’t come back had less bullet holes in different places. Therefore, the areas that don’t really have bullet holes should really be armored up because it’s proven that the other parts can withstand bullet penetration but the other parts may be more vulnerable. The article goes on to mention how Israeli Air Force Flight Instructors used counterintuitive methods in their training. When an instructor reprimanded a pilot, their performance improved. When a pilot received good feedback, their performance lacked the next time out. This type of counter intuition is seen in typical human behavior when we see a doctor because an illness has become very bad. The illness becomes better after we see the doctor because that’s the only way it has to go. But it doesn’t mean it’s because the doctor is the main reason. it just so happens that we chose to see them at this time instead of seeing them earlier.

Vancouver combats heroin by giving its addicts the best smack in the world

It seems counterintuitive that the answer to fighting heroin in Vancouver is actually giving addicts some of the best heroin there is. Vancouver has worked to find a solution to their city’s heroin problem and the current solution is a safe zone where users can go to shoot up safely under the supervision of nurses, with clean syringes, antiseptics, and some of the top tier heroin there is to offer. Although it seems bizarre, the idea comes from another research project where patients were prescribed heroin alternatives to help quit heroin. Now it seems they’ve moved onto cleaner heroin and lighter/less dosages as a treatment for heroin addiction. The logic for this is that by having professionals administer the drugs to these addicts on a daily basis it will be keeping them from seeking the high elsewhere where they can potentially cause harm to themselves. It also helps keep the community and society safer by not having addicts chasing the high in public where they may go to extreme measures to get their fix which can potentially result in harm to others. Members involved in this program believe it is a life changer. One of the members says “it allows him to function” and “he is able to hold down a job because of the program” (Campbell, 2015). This program may never result in addicts quitting heroin but it leads to safe addicts who will have far less potential in causing harm in society.

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