PRINT & MEDIA

Commerce


COMMERCE DEFINED

Part 1:

While BUSINESS refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, COMMERCE means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any country. Thus, commerce is a system or an environment that affects the business prospects of an economy or a nation-state. We can also define it as a second component of business which includes all activities, functions and institutions involved in transferring goods from producers to consumers. 
 

COMMERCE primarily expresses the fairly abstract notions of buying and selling, whereas trade may refer to the exchange of a specific class of goods, "the sugar trade", for example, or to a specific act of exchange, as in "a trade on the stock-exchange".  BUSINESS can refer to an organization set up for the purpose of engaging in manufacturing or exchange, as well as serving as a loose synonym of the abstract collective "commerce and industry".  Some commentators trace the origins of commerce to the very start of communication in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other. Historian Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago. For a detailed and extened discussion of business and commerce readers can find many sites on the internet.

Part 2:
  
In historic times the introduction of currency as a standardized moneyfacilitated a wider exchange of goods and services. Numismatists have collections of these monetary tokens, which include coins from some Ancient World large-scale societies, although initial usage involved unmarked lumps of precious metal. The circulation of a standardized currency provides a method of overcoming the major disadvantage to commerce through use of a barter system, the "double coincidence of wants" necessary for barter trades to occur. For example, if a man or woman who makes pots for a living needs a new house, he/she may wish to hire someone to build it for him/her. But he/she cannot make an equivalent number of pots to equal this service done for him/her, because even if the builder could build the house, the builder might not want many or any pots. Currency solved this problem by allowing a society as a whole to assign values and thus to collect goods and services effectively and to store them for later use, or to split them among several providers. For more on this subject go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce


COMMERCE AND PUBLISHING

Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature, music, or information.  It is the activity of making information available to the general public. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning: they are both the originators & the developers of content. Such publishers, like myself, also provide media, the means, to deliver and display the content for the same. The word publisher can refer to the individual who leads a publishing company or an imprint; it can also refer to a person who owns a magazine. Traditionally, the term refered to the distribution of printed works such as books (the "book trade") and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as micropublishing, websites,blogs, video game publishers and the like. For more on literary commerce and business, exercises I have now been involved with for at least a dozen years, go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publishing

WRITING: A BUSINESS

Professional business communication is essential to the success of any venture. This communication includes, at least for this writer, writing memos, reports, or proposals. I see myself, my work, as a small business and I benefit from professional and technical communication. There are many different forms and aspects of business communication. Every document must be reviewed for legal implications, because any and all written documents in a business environment can be used in court, if required.  All documents require the use of professional language and tone. When writing any document, it is important to pay attention to one's audience & consider their background when writing. Two criteria for communication involve the ability to persuade and the ability to translate one's literary product into the business environment. This environment is, in my case, the world-wide-web. When writing business documents such as memos, reports, or workplace e-mails, it is important to consider the above points. Efficiency in the business setting is also of extreme importance & it all begins with communication. Wasting time in communicating is ultimately wasting money in today's society; in my case it is only wasting time. For more on business communication go to:http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Professional_and_Technical_Writing/Business_Communications

SOCIAL COMMERCE

Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services. More succinctly, social commerce is the use of social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions. The term social commerce was introduced by Yahoo! in November 2005 to describe a set of online collaborative shopping tools such as shared pick lists, user ratings and other user-generated content-sharing of online product information and advice.

The concept of social commerce was developed by David Beisel to denote user-generated advertorial content on e-commerce sites, and by Steve Rubel to include collaborative e-commerce tools that enable shoppers "to get advice from trusted individuals, find goods and services and then purchase them". The social networks that spread this advice have been found to increase the customer's trust in one retailer over another.

Today, the area of social commerce has been expanded to include the range of social media tools and content used in the context of e-commerce, especially in the fashion industry. Examples of social commerce include customer ratings and reviews, user recommendations and referrals, social shopping tools (sharing the act of shopping online), forums and communities,social media optimization, social applications and social advertising. Technologies such asAugmented Reality have also been used with social commerce, allowing shoppers to visualize apparel items on themselves and solicit feedback through social media tools. For more on social commerce go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_commerce

E-COMMERCE

Electronic commerce, commonly known as E-commerce or eCommerce, is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, inventory management systems, and automateddata collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction's life-cycle, although it may encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail, mobile devices, social media, and telephones as well. For more on e-commerce go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-commerce

BUSINESS DEFINED

A business, also known as an enterprise or a firm, is an organization involved in the trade ofgoods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are prevalent in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and provide goods and services to customers in exchange of other goods, services, or money. Businesses may also be not-for-profit or state-owned. A business owned by multiple individuals may be referred to as a company. For a more detailed discussion of "business" go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business


SUSTAINABILITY: SOME THOUGHTS


Against the backdrop of climate change, environmental degradation, and the crippling extremes of wealth and poverty, the transformation from a culture of unfettered consumerism to a culture of sustainability has gained momentum in large part through the efforts of civil society organizations and governmental agencies worldwide. Beyond informed policies and ‘greener technologies’ it is a transformation that will require an earnest examination of our understanding of human nature and of the cultural frameworks driving institutions of government, business, education, and media around the world. Questions of what is natural and just will need to be critically re-examined. The issue of sustainable consumption and production, under consideration by this Commission, will need to be considered in the broader context of an ailing social order—one characterized by competition, violence, conflict and insecurity—of which it is a part.

In its contribution to the Commissions’ review of the 10-Year Framework for Programmes[i] on sustainable consumption and production, the Bahá’í International Community would like, first, to note the strengths of this evolving Framework and, second—in line with the vision outlined above—to identify issues which require further elaboration. In terms of its strengths: the Framework considers the economic, social and environmental aspects of the transition to sustainable consumption and production, thereby breaking down the long-standing compartmentalization of these domains[ii]; it recognizes the inter-linkages between the themes of the Framework (e.g. education, institutional capacity building, participation of women, application of indigenous knowledge, etc.)[iii]; it has sought to involve stakeholders from around the world through regional consultations; and it calls on actors from all levels of society to achieve the goals articulated therein. For the remaining part of this contribution of the Bahá'í International Community to the 18th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
entitled Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism---go to:
http://file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Ron/My%20Documents/Baha%27i%20History-Writings/Rethinking%20Prosperity.htm

WORK AND LABOUR

Work involves many things: (i) project management, the effort applied to produce a deliverable or accomplish a task; (ii) employment, a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee; (iii) creative work, a manifestation of creative effort; (iv) house work, management of a home; (v) manual work, physical work done by people; (vi) paid work, relationship in which a worker sells labor and an employer buys it; and (vii) job, a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. For many more useages of the term 'work' go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work Labor or employment can also refer to many things: (a) contract labour or employment, a relationship between an employer and an employee; (b) manual labour, physical work done by people' (c) wage labour, delivery of services by person for payment; (d) bonded labour, a system of unfree labour where a person must work to pay off a debt; (e) child labour, the employment of children under an age determined by law or custom; (f) Labour Day, a national holiday in many countries; (g) labour economics, the functioning and dynamics of the markets for labour; (h) labor force, the people of a country or other geographic entity actively employed or seeking employment. For many more useages go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human rights concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect. It asserts that a citizen of a state, in which that citizen is present has the liberty to travel, reside in, and/or work in any part of the state where one pleases within the limits of respect for the liberty and rights of others, and to leave that state and return at any time. Some immigrants' rights advocates assert that human beings have a fundamental human right to mobility not only within a state but between states.
I don't want to get into the vast implications of this subject. I have, though, raised it in the context of the subject of commerce.

Restrictions on international freedom of movement, either immigration or emigration, are commonplace. Within countries, freedom of movement is often more limited for minors, and penal law can modify this right as it applies to persons charged with or convicted of crimes; for instance, parole, probation, registration.  In some countries, freedom of movement has historically been limited for women, and for members of disfavored racial and social groups. Circumstances, both legal and practical, may operate to limit this freedom; for example, a nation that is generally permissive with respect to travel may restrict that right during time of war.  In some instances, the laws of a nation may assert a guarantee of this right, but lawless conditions may make unfettered movement impossible. In other instances, a nation whose written laws codify such rights may fail to actually provide them.

MIGRATION

I would like to make a few more remarks
about migration, the movement of people from place to place, since this has become a facet of big business and commerce around the world in a host of different ways. There is a planned eighteen-book series on global diasporas and an International Library of Studies of Migration, consisting of six volumes. International migration and diasporas constitute distinctive fields of inquiry now and there is considerable overlap between them. The study of international migration is broader in scope and partially subsumes diaspora studies. Diasporas arise from international migration. Constant interaction between diasporic communities in several sovereign jurisdictions and often with the same homeland is a defining feature. While the implications of this for commerce among other subjects is extensive, I will make a few statements here about the vast Baha'i diaspora.

Baha'i studies of international pioneers in diasporic communities has hardly begun. The study of diasporas and international migration in a Bahá’í context have really only begun to become relevant in the last four epochs. This theme will become much more significant for the Bahá’í community in future generations as the Baha'i community becomes part of every cluster, every locality on the planet in the decades and centuries ahead.

But whether one's movement is forced or unforced, the journey requires a place of origin as the very background against which the figures of our world can emerge. My place of origin geographically was, of course, in southern Ontario, Canada.  In terms of ethnicity, social class, sub-culture, institutional influences, et cetera, 'origin' becomes more complex to define. Jager writes that to be without origin is to be homeless and--blind. On the other hand, the sphere of dwelling, or origin, cannot maintain its vitality without the renewal made possible by the path, the journey.  A community without outlook, without vision, he goes on, atrophies. It becomes decadent and incestuous. Psychological incest results primarily from the refusal to move on the path.  It is a refusal to accept the future, to accept change and a suicidal attempt to live entirely in the past. The sphere of dwelling, if it is not to be a moribund location, is interpenetrated by journeying.

THE PIONEER

Part 1:

The pioneer, and certainly this one, this Canadian now living in Australia, a person who has lived now in two dozen towns and three dozen or more houses, has had a life interpenetrated with journeying. By the fifth epoch, in the opening years of the new millennium, journeying became more a psychological one than a physical one. My charity, my generosity, was cultivated increasingly in an atmosphere of guarded solitude, a world of established boundaries and clear distances from the various forms of social interaction. By mid-2005 the hospitality I had freely given for so many years, I had begun to limit. After half a century(1955-2005) of a seeking out of social life, of relationships and their associated activities, I had begun to pull in the reigns quite sternly and established a much more solitary set of terms, a much less gregarious style of life. As a sacred refuge from the world of commerce and society, the walls of my home were not to be indiscriminately permeable to society; they were to be a protective barrier. In this I was helped by the disinclination of people in these parts to visit each other and by my own overwhelming desire to write. The idiosyncratic selectivity of my social activity and hospitality was virtually ignored or regarded with indifference by my contemporaries. The concern of some writers, like the poet Stephanie Mallarmé, that excessive intellectual activity to the exclusion of everything else was extremely harmful was not a concern of mine. A modest amount of domestic and social activity still existed in my life; perhaps half my day on average involved no intellectual interests.

My home in these early years of late adulthood was an environment which allowed, and indeed fostered, a retreat to the interior chambers of the mind. If my incarceration in my home was self-induced, it was also a prison of delight, a domestic interior that housed my literary production. There was some intrusion of ordinary daylight and heat in the morning in my study where most of my work was done, but by afternoon the morning’s bright sunlight had gone. It could not chase away the shadows of dreams or the workings of the imagination. A conveniently placed fan blew away the hot air which tended to fill my study from December to April and an oil heater kept me warm in winter. The requirements for interior repose, for a desireable psychological space, were aided by my wife’s desire and need for order and organization in the house. Some might interpret my withdrawal as a neurotic response to a range of supposed personal traumas and difficulties. Perhaps there was some truth in this view for my life had had its traumas and difficulties. A little like Emily Dickinson who made of her home the principle association of her life especially as her years progressed, I made my house in George Town Tasmania my base of interiority, of reflection, of seclusion, of a writer’s life. As I wrote this edited version of the 5th edition of this work in my 62nd year I had enjoyed more than six years of a relatively and an increasingly reclusive life.

Part 2:

The most sympathetic of my friends and readers tend to assume, if they give any serious thought at all to my style of life, my routines and habits, that my writing is obsessional and perhaps even phobic. They acknowledge, of course, that my need for privacy is chiefly pragmatic, an enabling condition of artistic production. One of the pleasures I have in living in this remote backwater of the world, with all its natural beauties, is that most people don’t care what I do with my time, don’t give a stuff, as they say in the vernacular here at the end of the antipodes.

After I discovered, as autobiographer, some way to convey the true story of what happened and accurately represented it in a narrative, I did not abandon the narrational manner of speaking and addressing the reader directly, speaking in my own voice, and representing my considered opinion as a student of human affairs. Perhaps I voiced my opinions a little too extensively to suit some readers. As the years went on and my autobiography lengthened, I found that I dilated my story. The nature of the period, the places, the agents, the agencies and the processes (social, political, cultural, etc. )that I had studied was described and analysed in detail, perhaps too much detail. But, however much the whole thing was dilated it was not falsified.


INTIMATE COMMERCE

Every poet follows his own genius, his own poetic inclination and every poem dictates its own laws. For this reason poetry is, for me, an experiment. I exult in the freedom of the poet and in the independent, elastic and prodigious literary form that is the poem. I do not use the word 'prodigious' loosely. For I have now written some six thousand poems and two million words. I find this result, this productivity, 'marvellous' and 'enormous,' two of the meanings of 'prodigious.' I employ whatever terms and ideas are available to suit my needs and match the performance that evolves during the poetic exercise I am engaged in. The 'form' of each poem is its shape, a shape that results from the unfailing cohesion of all the ingredients in the poem and from the germinating idea or ideas at the centre of the poem. The success of each poem results from its intensity, its coherence and its completeness. During the writing of each poem my motive provides an intimate commerce, an avenue, a vehicle, for the flow of ideas, for the growth of taste and the active sense of life that each poem engenders. -Ron Price with thanks to J.A. Ward, The Search for Form: Studies in the Structure of James's Fiction, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1967, pp.4-9.

So many years of incessant labour
and a particular kind of observation
surely will come to something--
all this poeticizing,
some peculiar affection
for those leavening forces.

So many years of incessant labour
for this international spirit
breathing forth the perfume
of His Cause so that, one day,
it will not be passed over
by the thoughtful.

So many years of incessant labour,
one of the antennae of the race,
but the bullet-headed many
do not trust this antennae
and the slough of despond
continues with troubled
forecasts of doom.

So many years of incessant labour
to create means of communication.
This is the struggle,
the struggle of great art
to describe the different,
to write of it in poetry.

Ron Price
4 October 2002

Part 1:

GOOGLE-MICROSOFT
 
In 1998 two Stanford graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founded Google.com, a search engine that used a better technology than had previously existed for indexing and retrieving information from the immense miscellany of the World Wide Web and for ranking the Web sites that contained this information according to their relevance to particular queries based on the number of links from the rest of the Internet to a given item. This PageRank system transformed the Web from its original purpose as a scientists’ grapevine.
 
From the random babble the Web had been it soon became a searchable resource providing factual data of variable quality to millions of users. I was one as I retired from FT work in 1999.  It was the exigencies of commerce that transformed Google itself from an ingenious search technology without a business plan to a hugely profitable enterprise offering a variety of services including e-mail, news, video, maps, and its current, expensive, and utterly heroic, if not quixotic, effort to digitize the public domain contents of the books and other holdings of major libraries. This new program aims to provide users, wherever in the world Internet connections exist, access to millions of titles while enabling libraries themselves to serve millions of users without adding a foot of shelf space or incurring a penny of delivery expense.
 
In the first year after I retired from FT work, July 1999 to July 2000, Google officially became the world's largest search engine. With its introduction of a billion-page index by June 2000 much of the internet's content became available in a searchable format at one search engine.  In the next several years, 2000-2005, as I was retiring from PT work as well as casual and most volunteer activity that had occupied me for decades, Google entered into a series of partnerships and made a series of innovations that brought their vast internet enterprize billions of users in the international marketplace. Again, I was one.
 
Part 2:

Not only did Google have billions of users, but  internet users like myself thro
ughout the world gained access to billions of web documents in Google’s growing index/library.  The information revolution set off in the closing decade of the 20th century by the invention of the World Wide Web transformed irreversibly much of human activity. Internet communication, which has the ability to transmit in seconds the entire contents of libraries that took centuries of study to amass, vastly enriched the intellectual life of anyone able to use it, as well as providing sophisticated training in a broad range of professional fields. It was a finer and more useful library than any of those in the small towns where I would spend my retirement in the years ahead. It was also a library with a myriad locations in which I could interact with others and engage in learning and teaching in ways I had never dreamt of in the first five decades of my life as a student and teacher: 1949-1999.
 
This electronic system of communication has built a sense of shared community among its users that is impatient of either geographic or cultural distances. This description of the sense of shared community created by the internet has proved to be a prescient insight into the evolution of internet use worldwide. It is interesting to note that Friendster began in 2001, Linkedin and Myspace in 2003, and Facebook in 2004.

The internet is a cornucopia of accurate, well-argued and knowledgeable information. But it is also a place for specious and spurious, inaccurate and beguiling arguments. People who know little about an issue are often easily taken-in on the internet. Many often believe a u-tube post they can see to one that requires study and reading on their part. The internet, like many forms of technology before it, is both boon and beast, asset and debit, to the lives of its participants. Indeed, a quite separate section of this statement on my cyberspace experience could be devoted to the negative and positive impacts of the internet. 
 
Part 3:

In 1994, at the age of fifty and as I was beginning to eye my retirement from FT work as a teacher and lecturer, Microsoft launched its public internet web domain with a home page.  Website traffic climbed steadily and episodically in the years 1995 to 1999.   Daily site traffic of 35,000 in mid-1996 grew to 5.1 million visitors by 1999 when I had taken a sea-change and retired to Tasmania at the age of 55.  Throughout 1997 and 1998 the site grew up and went from being the web equivalent of a start-up company to a world-class organization. 
 
I retired from FT work, then, at just the right time in terms of the internet capacity to provide me with: (a) access to information by the truckload on virtually any topic; and (b) learning and teaching opportunities, both direct and indirect, far in excess of any I had had in my previous years as a student and teacher.  My first website in 1997 was part of the initial flourish of web sites and search engines in the mid-1990s. The second edition of my site was in 2001. A world, a succession, of brand names have made electronic communication an everyday experience. Web browsers such as Netscape, Internet Explorer, and Safari, as well as search engines such as Yahoo and Google, the latter founded in 1998, all came on board just as I was retiring from 50 years in classrooms as a teacher and student.
 
This new technology had also developed sufficiently to a stage that gave me the opportunity, the capacity to post, write, indeed, “publish” is quite an appropriate term, on the internet at the same time.  From 1999 to 2005, as I say, I released myself from FT, PT, casual and most volunteer work, and Google and Microsoft offered more and more technology for my writing activity for my work in a Cause that I had devoted my life to since my late teens and early twenties.
 
Part 4:

The Internet has become emblematic in many respects of globalisation. Its planetary system of fibre optic cables and instantaneous transfer of information are considered, by many accounts, one of the essential keys to understanding the transformation of the world into some degree of order and the ability to imagine the world as a single, global space.  The Internet has widely been viewed as an essential catalyst of contemporary globalisation and it has been central to debates about what globalisation means and where it will lead.
 
There are now several hundred thousand readers, as I say above, engaged in parts of my internet tapestry, my jig-saw puzzle, my literary product, my creation, my immense pile of words across the internet--and hundreds of people with whom I correspond on occasion as a result. This amazing technical facility, the world wide web, has made this literary success possible. If my writing had been left in the hands of the traditional hard and soft cover publishers, where it had been without success when I was employed full time as a teacher, lecturer, adult educator and casual/volunteer teacher from 1981 to 2001, these results would never have been achieved.
 
I have been asked how I have come to have so many readers at my website and on my internet tapestry of writing that I have created across the world-wide-web.   My literary product is just another form of published writing in addition to the traditional forms in the hands of publishers.   The literally hundreds of thousands of readers(perhaps even millions since it has become impossible to keep even an accurate account of all those who come across what I write and see the name of the Cause) I have at locations on my tapestry of prose and poetry, a tapestry I have sewn in a loose-fitting warp and weft across the internet, are found at over 8000 websites where I have registered: forums, message boards, discussion sites, blogs, locations for debate and the exchange of views.  They are sites to place essays, articles, books, ebooks, poems and other genres of writing.  I have registered at this multitude of sites, placed the many forms of my literary output there and engaged in discussions with literally thousands of people, little by little and day by day over the last decade.  I enjoy these results without ever having to deal with publishers as I did for two decades without any success.