College Research Papers

Here are a few of my college research papers:
  • How to Reduce the Threat of Terrorism
  • Museum Observation and Analysis
  • The Differences between the Tokyo and New York Stock Exchanges


How to Reduce the Threat of Terrorism

Course in Human Resources Management (1989)
by Steve Amoia


Terrorism: the very name is synonymous with fear, hatred, and brutality. Such a word was foreign to Americans until 1979, when Iranian extremists took control of the American embassy in Teheran. In the months that followed, the superpower America was brought to its knees by a fanatical group of students from a Third World nation. The entire world witnessed our collective helplessness and inability to extricate fellow Americans from their physical and mental bondage. When President Carter finally ordered a daring rescue mission, the resultant failure only exacerbated a nation's embarrassment and sense of hopeless despair. After the brutal terrorist attack made upon Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland last year, it was evident that Americans remain easy prey of terrorist factions. Americans, especially those who work abroad, must learn how to reduce their vulnerability to terrorist attacks, along with knowing how to reduce their exposure to risk.

American firms doing business overseas must develop strategies to understand the types of terrorists that pose threats to their personnel, along with educating employees in vulnerability reduction methods. According to Carl Swanson, a journalist with Industrial Management, terrorists may be classified into three groups:

1) Political terrorists, primarily
interested in overthrowing existing
governments, 2) Criminal terrorists,
who attack primarily for money or
objects, and 3) Cause/religious
terrorists, who feel that their cause
justifies their actions. (1)


A globally integrated economy has forced American corporations to expand into foreign markets, which exposes thousands of employees to the threat of international terrorist activities. Terrorists attack corporations because they symbolize nations. Robert Hall, a risk management consultant with Frank B. Hall & Co., states, "A terrorist act has a 87% chance of succeeding and that the terrorists themselves have a 79% chance of escaping punishment." (2)

So, how do Americans living abroad escape the extreme probability of becoming a victim to a terrorist act? Business executives and employees alike must undertake a thorough risk assessment, both at the workplace, and within the home. Most terrorism experts advise to maintain a low-profile, to avoid expensive homes and cars, to vary the daily routine, and to refrain from anything associated with American life or culture while residing abroad.

There have been several airport terrorist bombings that have occurred over the last few years, especially in Italy, West Germany, and Greece. However, travel to and from airports can be perilous, for as Larry Brown, a writer for Security Management observes, "Special attention should be accorded security while the executive is riding from place to place in a car, a time of especially high risk." (3) Special risk exists for business executives who have lived abroad for the longest duration, since terrorists are afforded the opportunity to monitor daily routines and home security. Gene Masprangelo, who is a terrorism expert for Business Risk International, provides chilling proof in the following statement:


There are people constantly looking
for targets. In France a few years
ago, police raided a safe house
and discovered scores of videos of
people leaving their homes and
going to work. The terrorists had
been watching them in the comfort
of their living room. (4)

Companies operating in high-risk locales must convince potential terrorists that their employees would be difficult targets, which is achieved by a serious commitment to plant/office security and employee avoidance training programs. In the expert opinion of Mr. Masprangelo, "You want to create uncertainty about your security. If they (terrorists) make the decision you are a risk, they will dismiss you and look at someone who is less security-conscious." (5)

One of the ways of reducing terrorist risk is to identify those times when perils are more likely to occur. Companies need to exercise extreme caution on or about anniversary dates that are significant to terrorist organizations. For example, the 17th of November terrorist faction of Greece each year commemorates its anniversary with some type of anti-American attack. According to Mr. Masprangelo of Business Risks International, terrorist activity usually escalates after hunger strikes by imprisoned members, terrorist court trials or executions, treaty signings, and political elections.


Whenever a terrorist attack fails, risk increases proportionately for future victims. In many cases, terrorist attacks are merely attempts for international media coverage. With this in mind, "When terrorists attempt an attack and fail, they often come back immediately with another equally barbaric act. They can't afford to fail. It's bad for their image." (6)

Americans abroad need to be especially cognizant of the dangers of airline travel. Such a peril was tragically evidenced by the unconscionable terrorist murders of the occupants of Pan Am Flight 103, the majority of whom were American citizens. Travellers should avoid any display of wealth and not carry any sort of military identification. Avoid first-class seats for two reasons: 1) Proximity to the cockpit, which is essential to any terrorist attack, and 2) Terrorists assume that less valuable people travel in the coach section of the plane. Some leading American firms, such as the defense contractor, General Dynamics, advise their employees to use foreign carriers for any trans-Atlantic or European travel.


In the event of an actual terrorist attack, Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert with Kroll Associates, advises the following risk-reduction procedures:

Resist the instinct to take control.
People tend to do foolish things in
the first few seconds.... They make
foolish attempts to resist or escape.
... Don't do anything to make yourself
stand out.... It's unwise to start up
conversations with captors, but if
they initiate, take advantage to
establish yourself as an ordinary human
being who is not completely dissimilar
to them.... Don't argue or engage in
political discussions or polemics....
There's a natural tendency for hostages
to identify positively with the captor.
Don't fight it.... It's more difficult
for captors to harm someone with whom
they have developed some relationship. (7)

The brutal specter of terrorism can be mitigated if Americans learn to reduce their vulnerability to risk while in foreign lands. By making thorough risk assessments, along with recognizing when the threat of terrorist action is greatest, Americans can force terrorist groups to look elsewhere. Walter Laquer, author of Terrorism, when queried about the future of terrorist acts, stated, "My comparison is with physics: No one can predict exactly how small particles will act, only mass movements." (8)


Footnotes

1. Swanson, Carl L. "The New and Growing Management
Problem of Terrorism." Industrial Management, 29 (May-June 1987): 2,3.
2. Hofmann, Mark A. "Corporations Often Are Terrorist Targets." Business Insurance, 22 (02 May 1989): 67-68.
3. Brown, Larry C. "Let's Be Realistic: How to Provide the Best Protection for Top Executives Who Travel." Security Management, 31 (January 1987): 63-65.
4, 5, & 6. Bell, Alexa. "Terrorists Set Their Sights on Corporations." Investor's Daily, (29 November 1989): 1,34.
7. Bell, Alexa. "Experts Advise On What To Do If Caught In A Terrorist Incident." Investor's Daily, (29 November 1989): p. 1.
8. Kurtzman, Joel. "Terror Amid Change." New York Times, (03 December 1989): Section 3, p. 1.


References

Cowan, William. "Office Security: Thwarting The Terrorist Threat." Administrative Management, (June 1987): 14-16.
Dahl, Jonathan. "Firms Warn Workers Traveling Abroad." Wall St. Journal, (10 April 1989): Section B, p. 1.
Follet, Ken. On Wings of Eagles. New York: Signet, 1983.
Kelly, Robert and Jack Barnathan. "Out on a Limb: Executives Abroad." Security Management, 32 (November 1988): 117-127.



Museum Observation and Analysis

Course in Introduction to Humanities (1989)
by Steve Amoia

1. Subject: The Dancer, by Auguste Renoir. 1874.
Location: National Gallery of Art, West Wing, Gallery 89.

Brief Description
:


http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/mstoilov/Art/Pictures/renoir_the_dancer.jpg
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

The Dancer, by Auguste Renoir, is an elegant rectangular portrait of a young ballerina. The subject, who poses solitary in a ballet stance, has light golden hair, an oval face, blue almond-shaped eyes accented by black eye brows, along with strawberry lips and rouge cheeks. The young girl is wearing a sky blue costume and soft pink dancing shoes.


Analysis:

I found the portrait to be captivating and harmonic. The image is one of stillness; however, a flowing quality is discernible in the painting. The work is a model of economy, balance, grace and rhythm. Although the subject appears alone, one is not engulfed by its dominance, due to the well-proportioned use of space.


I observed a fan-like, triangular symmetry that remained consistent throughout the work. The lines are evident in the manner that the girl's hair falls down upon her shoulders, along with the relationship of the hair bow and the shoulder straps. The triangular pattern is repeated in the placement of her arms and hands, the posture of her sinewy legs and feet, and above all, within the configuration of her flowing blue skirt.


In terms of shape, I also viewed a use of ovals, which were evident in the subject's face and eyes, and in the wrist and neck bracelets. The shape of the skirt has a gyrating quality about it, for it gives the illusion of movement, which provides a vivid contrast to the general fixed posture of the portrait.


The colors and soft texture of the brush strokes had a soothing appeal to me. The green and light yellow shaded background promote the impression of stage lighting, which further emphasized the dance theme. The artist employs different values of blue, ranging from sky, magenta, to an almost white, fluffy stroked shade found in the fringes of the skirt. The brief use of thicker strokes of black, red, and pink provided an interesting contrast to an otherwise aesthetic perspective.


2. Subject: La Condesa de Chincon, by Francisco de Goya. 1783.
Location: National Gallery of Art, West Wing, Gallery 37.


Brief Description


María Teresa de Borbón (a los dos años), National Gallery of Art, Whashinton D.C.
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.
La Condesa de Chincon, by Francisco de Goya, is a large square portrait of a very young girl (two years and nine months as stated in the bottom left corner by Mr. de Goya). The subject, who has a round face, blue eyes, and blond hair, is attired in a blue blouse and long black skirt. The young girl is standing in front of a rectangular ledge, flanked by plants on her left, and by a small dog on the right. Mountains and hillsides can be seen in the background.


Analysis:

In my estimation, this work is a combination of symmetry and variety. There were repetitions of triangular lines in this painting, which were represented by the mountain slopes, the distance between the top of the girl's veil to the placement of her arms against her torso, and finally, the shape of her flared skirt.


Rectangular shapes were present, especially as seen in the well-detailed ledge. I also observed a rectangular box pattern in the long flowing veil that the subject was wearing. In terms of color, there is great variety. The background contains forest green, light and dark grey, and a brief touch of brown. In the foreground, the value of green changed in the plants, for they appeared more vivid. The foreground colors also included gray, celestial blue, white, and midnight black. The shade of brown in the dog's face was darker than what was found on the dirt floor.


Differences in the stroke texture were contrasted in the precise lines found in the ledge, as compared to the fuzzy composition of the mountains and accompanying hillside. There was fine detail work in the plant life. The lace in the girl's veil and blouse had an embroidered appearance; however, the dog is presented as a shaggy blur.


This work is well-proportioned and displays a fine use of space. The viewer sees many contrasting themes, such as the dog versus the child, the plants versus the mountains, and the dirt floor as compared to the clean gray ledge.

Comparison Of Both Subjects:

The works shared similarities in the following areas: young girls as central subjects, oval faces, triangular linear perspective, contrast of stroke texture, and the elegant use of blue in the costume designs.


With respects to differences, I observed several. Renoir's portrait is harmonic. The ballerina is the dominant feature of the work, whereas de Goya provides a variety of themes in his painting. Renoir is not as specific in defining his physical environment, for one can only assume that it is indoors. By comparison, it is unmistakable that de Goya's painting takes place outdoors, due to the surrounding elements. De Goya's setting gives his work an earthy appeal, which contrasts with the aesthetic quality found in Renoir's subject.


The Dancer, although poised and erect, provides an illusion of movement, whereas the mountains and ledge from La Condesa de Chincon demonstrate permanence. The environment of de Goya's work includes human, plant, animal, and natural elements. Renoir's work concentrates only upon the human perspective.
 

The Differences between the Tokyo
and New York Stock Exchanges

Course in International Finance (1990)
By Steve Amoia


Over two hundred years ago, so the legend says, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was created under a butterwood tree at the corner of what is now Wall and Broad Streets in the lower east side of Manhattan. In 1949, in a less anecdotal fashion, the American military occupational force organized the nascent Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in the rebuilding land of the rising sun. A stock exchange, or market of stocks, is the most fundamental economic institution in a capitalistic society. The prime economic function of a stock market is to raise capital and spread risk. Both the NYSE and TSE fulfill their primary economic function; however, the TSE differs from its American counterpart in five key areas, each of which will be discussed in detail: 1) Role of the market specialist, 2) Price/Earnings ratio, 3) System of ownership, 4) Philosophy of publicly-traded corporations, and 5) Resilience to market collapses.


I. Role of the market specialist:

Each day on the NYSE, 1700 issues are traded between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The most widely followed barometer of market activity is the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 common stocks, which generates an average of 167 million shares of volume each trading day. These publicly-traded companies are controlled by 50 specialist firms, whose sole responsibility is to process an orderly market with the buy and sell orders for their stocks. If the stock of the specialist slips in price, which happens when there are more sellers than buyers, they must buy enough of the excess float to ease the stock's descent. Should the price begin to increase rapidly, the specialist will sell off inventory to maintain equilibrium.

In contrast, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is divided into two trading sessions. The largest companies trade during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and number 1,140 firms, which comprise the Topix value-weighted composite index. The most widely followed component of the Topix is the Nikkei 225 index. During the afternoon session, which takes place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., 440 smaller companies are traded. 

As compared to the 50 specialists on the floor of the NYSE, only 4 specialists (Nomura, Daiwa, Nikko, and Yamaichi) handle the enormous daily volume of over 850,000,000 shares on the TSE. According to a financial writer of the investment publication Investor's Daily, Mr. Chuck Freadhoff, Japanese specialists must adhere to mandates that are not required of their American colleagues:

“Japanese specialists are prohibited
from buying and selling for their
own accounts. In
Tokyo, if a stock
is slipping, the specialists run a
sort of blue-light special called
a `special asked quote,' in which
they can mark the price down every
five minutes until they attract
buyers... On the NYSE, the fortunes
of each specialist unit depends
on its correctly judging the market.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the
four specialist firms pool their
revenues and divide them evenly.” (1) 

II. The relationship of the Price/Earnings (PE) ratio:

The price to earnings ratio is a measure of a stock's expensiveness and risk factor as compared to its quarterly earnings. According to Investor's Daily, for the New York Stock Exchange composite of over 1700 issues, as of August 30, 1989, the PE ratio was 14.01 times earnings. The Tokyo Stock Exchange has an average PE of 57 times earnings, which is a substantial indice of Japanese investment tolerance to risk.

Reasons for the difference in PE ratios:


1) Accounting techniques: Japanese corporations differ significantly from their American contemporaries in their treatment of subsidiary unit accounting and depreciation of capital assets. Nikko International Capital Management, a branch of one of the "Big Four," provides the following reasons for higher Japanese PE ratios: 

“The earnings of Japanese corporations are
understated by about 15% because they
don't include the earnings of subsidiaries.
American companies report consolidated
earnings. The accelerated depreciation
method favored by Japanese corporations
greatly reduces reported earnings.The earnings
per share would increase by 78% if they (Japanese)
used the favored
U.S. method of straight-line
depreciation, which stretches out depreciation,
thus reducing earnings less each year.” (2)

2) Lack of investment choices: Japanese investors have fewer investment options, and due to a current account surplus of $79.6 billion that is directed into selected areas, stock prices rise in a classical supply-and-demand methodology.

3) Individual investors are less concerned with dividends than American investors: In the opinion of Mr. Hajime Takahashi, who is the capital market manager of Nikko Research Center Ltd. of Tokyo, "Most investors are thinking of capital gains because Japan's stock prices are skyrocketing." (3)

4) Government intervention: Mr. Akyoshi Horiuchi, Professor of Economics at the University of Tokyo, believes that the current high PE ratio can be traced to the government's attempt to reduce the trade surplus with the United States. According to Professor Horiuchi, "The Japanese government wants to expand domestic expenditures because of trade friction with the U.S.... To help increase spending, the nation's monetary authorities have followed an easy money policy."  (4)

III. System of Ownership: Keiretsu.

In the short span of forty years, the TSE has captured over 42% of the total world stock market capitalization. (Chart 1) One of the prime reasons for this success can be attributed to the Japanese economic and cultural system of interlocking companies, or keiretsu.
The keiretsu system was a direct result of the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II, for the Americans decided to revamp the old family-owned companies, or zaibatsu. These zaibatsu were ofttimes in the structure of trading companies that revolved around a single bank. In an attempt to reorganize Japanese business structure, the American financial authorities imposed laws that prohibited banks from owning 5% of a single company's stock, with the intent of enjoining monopoly control.

The Japanese responded to the new arrangements with the innovation of the keiretsu, which like the former zaibatsu, are centered around a bank, who promotes strong relationships among the members of their industrial groups, along with the key feature of cross-holding of each others' common stock. Companies that comprise a keiretsu group often share directors and maintain large equity positions in each others' corporations, which act as an imposing barrier to foreign or undesired entry.

Many American business leaders, along with the government, claim that the keiretsu system effectively locks out foreign competition to Japanese financial and capital markets. In recent months, the famous American corporate raider, Mr. T. Boone Pickens, received an expensive lesson in keiretsu. Mr. Pickens had amassed over 20% of the outstanding common shares of Koito Manufacturing Company, which is a member in the Toyota group, who happen to own 19% of the same firm, and also maintain three members on the Koito board of directors. Mr. Pickens plea for a seat on the Koito board, in spite of a personal appearance at the annual shareholders meeting, was denied unequivocally by the board. Mr. Pickens made a terse statement after his ordeal with Koito, where he compared Japanese corporate structure to "... a club and a cartel, that are much like the trusts that controlled America's corporations 100 years ago." (5) 

With the keiretsu system in mind, foreign securities firms must face a special barrier to entry on the TSE. According to the February issue of Business Tokyo:

“The world's largest and busiest
stock exchange has an exorbitant
new entry fee. Foreign securities
firms now have to shell out $9.65
million to purchase and maintain a
seat on the Tokyo Stock Exchange,
20 times the cost of a
New York
Stock Exchange seat.“ (6)
 
IV. Corporate philosophy of publicly-traded firms:

The fourth element of my analysis is perhaps the most fundamental difference between both stock markets. In the United States, the function of corporate financial management is to maximize shareholder value. Quarterly earnings, which drive the price of a public firm up or down in the marketplace, force the American CEO to focus upon a short-term agenda for economic survival.
In Japan, the role of corporate financial management does not rest upon appeasing the individual shareholder. Current Japanese management practices, which have been coined Theory Z by Dr. William Ouchi of UCLA, foster a corporate culture that is familial and strongly employee-oriented. According to Mr. Fumihiro Tokumasu, who is the director of Nikko Research Center Ltd. in Tokyo:

“In Japan, if you ask who owns the
company, probably the last one
(listed) is the shareholder. First
on the list would be the employees.
Next would be the customers. The
shareholders would come later, perhaps
after banks.” (7)
 

Due to the keiretsu system of ownership that was explained in section III, officers of publicly-traded Japanese firms operate with much longer-term earnings and growth projections than their American counterparts. The apparent rigid corporate structure that is common in Japan can contribute to stock market volatility, for according to the most recent estimate, "Only 20% of shares listed on the TSE are held by individuals, most of whom move quickly in and out of the market." (8)
 
V. Resilience to market collapses:

In the anxious days that followed Black Monday of October 19, 1987, when the DOW 30 suffered a historic 508 point loss (22.6%) of its value in one trading session, the TSE and other leading global exchanges would experience the fallout from Wall Street. With the threat of financial market collapse heard from Wall Street to Main Street, the Federal Reserve Board immediately injected abundant liquid reserves into the financial system to ensure that loan obligations could be honored. On Tuesday, the DOW 30 advanced by 102 points, temporarily quelling the fears of imminent collapse of American financial markets not evidenced since 1929. 

Although the DOW 30 recovered the entire 508 points (and subsequently advanced to a new, all-time high during the first week of January, 1990) in 22 months, the TSE Topix index only required 5 months to recoup its 1987 losses. The Topix lost 21% in the month following Black Monday; the DOW lost 22.6% during one day. The disparity can be explained by two reasons:

1) Monetary policy: The Bank of Japan was not required to inject mass quantities of liquidity into the Japanese market on October 20, 1987 to mirror the Federal Reserve actions. A mere suggestion by the Finance Ministry advised institutions not to create a panic by dumping their shares. The Topix did decline; however, such a descent took over one month, and only resulted in a 21% overall decrease from pre-Crash levels. 

2) Financial market strength: Japan is one of the richest nations in the world, with a current account surplus of $79.6 billion (1988) and an individual savings rate of 16% (Investor's Daily: 10/27/89). As was noted earlier in section III of this paper, the TSE accounts for over 42% of global market capitalization. Excess cash reserves always bode well in times of financial crisis. Eventually, these surpluses will end up in the capital market. Japan's current tax laws, which encourage investment spending due to favorable treatment of capital gains, along with the fact that over 80% of the available stock float does not change hands, provide the foundation for a strong, confident, and efficient liquid market.

In the short span of 40 years, the Tokyo Stock Exchange has vaulted into the bellwether position of the global market. Although created by American financial officials after World War II, the TSE's phenomenal growth can be traced to Japanese innovative techniques with regards to the role of market specialists, P/E ratio, ownership system, corporate philosophy, and market resilience to crises.

References
(1) Chuck Freadhoff, “In Tokyo, Shareholders Tend to Finish Last,” Investor’s Daily, 26 October 1989, page 34, column 1.
(2) Chuck Freadhoff, “P-E Ratios Undermine Differences Between Japanese, U. S. Markets,” Investor’s Daily, 27 October 1989, page 34, column 1.
(3) Freadhoff, page 34.
(4) Idem.
(5) Chuck Freadhoff, “Japan’s Ownership System Wards Off Rivals,” Investors Daily, 28, June 1989, page 30, column 2.
(6) CEO Briefing, “There’s a Special Barrier…” Investor’s Daily, 06 February 1990, page 6, column 1.
(7) Chuck Freadhoff, “In Tokyo, Shareholders Tend to Finish Last,” Investor’s Daily, 26 October 1989, page 34, column 1.
(8) Idem.

Bibliography
CEO Briefing. "There's A Special Barrier." Investors Daily, (06 February 1990): p. 6.
Freadhoff, Chuck. "In
Tokyo, Shareholders Tend to Finish Last." Investor's Daily, (26 October 1989): 1,34.
Freadhoff, Chuck. "
Japan's Ownership System Wards Off Rivals." Investor's Daily, (28 June 1989): 1,30.
Freadhoff, Chuck. "P-E Ratios Undermine Difference Between Japanese, U.S. Markets." Investors Daily, (26 October 1989): 1,34.
Freadhoff, Chuck. "U.S.-Style Buyouts Are Anathema In Japan." Investor's Daily, (25 October 1989): 1,34.
"Guide to International Investing." Fidelity Investments, (03 March 1989): p. 4.
Metz, Tim. Black Monday.
New York: William Morrow, 1988.
Welles, Edward. "The
Tokyo Connection." Inc., (February 1990): 52-65.