A Navy Scandal Sheds Light on the Nature of Bribery and the Limits of Free Speech | Government Executive


I am an ethicist who teaches leadership, ethics and law, and I believe a recent bribery case in the U.S. military offers an interesting and distinctive perspective through which to consider these issues. Unfortunately, due to current restrictions on what federal employees can and can’t say about political matters, I can’t discuss all the ways that case might apply to a broader debate.

Nonetheless, there is one thing I can say without caveat or equivocation. Bribery laws for government officials have a powerful ethical principle at their core: If you work for the government, your actions in office are meant to serve the public interest – not your own.

Source: A Navy Scandal Sheds Light on the Nature of Bribery and the Limits of Free Speech – Government Executive

Billionaires Have More Wealth Than 4.6 Billion People | Time


A new report found that the world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people, underscoring the degree of global inequality.

The Oxfam International study, released Monday and dubbed “Time to Care,” shows that the number of billionaires has doubled in the past decade. The authors add that these fortunes have largely been amassed while everyday people, especially poor women, continue to struggle.

Source: Billionaires Have More Wealth Than 4.6 Billion People | Time

Finding new ways to better serve growing number of female veterans | Stripes


Women are the fastest growing demographic in the military, and the number using Department of Veterans Affairs health care has tripled since 2000, according to VA data.

While more women than ever are relying on the VA, it’s still a male-centric system, with predominantly male waiting rooms, exam areas and doctors. Female vets say the lack of gender-specific care, privacy, equitable facilities and security can be barriers to seeking treatment.

Source: Finding new ways to better serve growing number of female veterans – Stripes

Women Are Majority of Workforce, But Still Face Challenges | Time


Going into 2020, the U.S. economy generally seems strong — especially for women, who hold the majority of jobs for the first time in almost a decade.

Women held 50.04% of American jobs as of December, excluding farm workers and the self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 49.7% just one year ago.

What’s driving the surge in female employment?

Source: Women Are Majority of Workforce, But Still Face Challenges | Time

Esper Is Attempting the Biggest Defense Reform in a Generation | Defense One


Since New Year’s Day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued not one but two memos to the force. Both push for “ruthless prioritization” by the bureaucracy in support of his top priority: great power competition with China and Russia.

He’s a man on a mission, and in a hurry. The goal? To achieve “full, irreversible implementation” of the defense strategy. Pentagon officials want to take the military so far down the road that their work cannot easily be unwound by the next cadre of leaders, whenever they might arrive.

In his Jan. 2 memo, Sec. Esper says “aggressive reforms” are getting underway at the Pentagon.

Source: Esper Is Attempting the Biggest Defense Reform in a Generation – Defense One

What is artisanal gold and why is it booming? | Reuters


A rapid rise in the price of gold since 2000 has driven millions of people to deposits in Africa, South America and elsewhere where they dig for gold using basic technology.

Such informal digging – known as artisanal or small-scale mining (ASM) – has been around for centuries, and gold offers cash to communities that may lack alternatives. There are now around 15-20 million artisanal miners, and millions more depend on them, Delve, a global platform for ASM data, estimates.

More and more people are trying to bring this fast-growing trade into the formal economy.

Source: What is artisanal gold and why is it booming? – Reuters

Renewable gases bring European jobs that cannot be outsourced | EURACTIV.com


Deployment of renewable gases will bring the local job opportunities the new Commission is striving for in the European Green Deal, write Wouter Terlouw and Thibaud Lemercier.

The European Green Deal is about cutting emissions, yet also about creating jobs and boosting innovation, Commission President Von der Leyen stressed in her press statement and presentation in the European Parliament on 11 December.

Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent requires us to start implementing low-carbon technologies now. Renewable gases are essential to achieving a climate-neutral EU energy system by 2050 and in addition, can bring those local employment opportunities the Commission is looking for.

Source: Renewable gases bring European jobs that cannot be outsourced – EURACTIV.com

This is the secret to more productive group work


One of the biggest drawbacks in group work is that often members act as if everyone working on a project is the same. This is particularly true in workplaces that see themselves as friendly, because people don’t want to order their colleagues around or give people jobs that may feel like they have lower status.

But any successful team needs people to take on roles. Not everyone in the band can be the lead guitar player.

One key role is the decider. One person needs to have responsibility for being the final judge for key questions that arise. The decider might opt to let the group vote on certain things or to have discussions with team members to reach a consensus. But the group has to have someone who is ultimately given authority to make a decision that the rest of the team will accept.

Another problem is that there is an ideal level of energy for completing work. Too little energy, and it’s hard to get started on a task and to sustain interest in it. Too much energy, and people descend into panic and don’t work effectively.

Source: This is the secret to more productive group work

U.S. job growth slows in December, but labor market tightening | Reuters


U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in December, but the pace of hiring likely remains sufficient to keep the longest economic expansion in history on track despite a deepening downturn in a manufacturing sector stung by trade disputes.

Source: U.S. job growth slows in December, but labor market tightening – Reuters

Material concerns about posting of workers | Susanne Wixforth

Legal arguments over the EU posting of workers directive raise the issue of which is to prevail: workers’ rights or unregulated markets?

Alas, this principle is heavily contested—by employers, aiming to avoid further regulation of wages since this would restrict their freedom to set prices, and by governments, aiming to sustain comparative advantage through low wages. As an advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) put it recently, ‘What is “social dumping” for some, is, quite simply, “employment” for others.’ The trade unions’ response is that social dumping is a matter of EU state-aid law and constitutes an infringement case.

Unfair competition with low wages and incidental wage costs is—besides unfair tax competition—one of the major threats to solidarity and cohesion in the EU.

Source: Material concerns about posting of workers – Susanne Wixforth