Great Britain is situated on the British Islands which lie to the north-west of Europe. The official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain


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GREAT BRITAIN

Great Britain is situated on the British Islands which lie to the north-west of Europe. The official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom has an area of 94, 249 square miles. The popula­tion of the United Kingdom is 56, 6 million people. The capital of the country is London. English is the official language.

The United Kingdom is a parliamentary monarchy. In law, the Queen of Great Britain is the head of the executive system, the hear of system of justice and of the Armed forces.

In practice, the Queen acts only on the Advice of her Min­isters. She reins but she does not rule.

Great Britain has the oldest Parliament in the world.

Parliament consists of the Queen, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Parliament sits in the Palace of Westminster. It opens every year in Autumn.

The prime Minister is the head of the government.

Every five years the British people elect the members of the House of Commons. The House of Commons consists of 630 members, who may belong to various parties.

At present there are two main political parties in Great Britain: the Conservative Party, the Labour Party. The party which obtains the majority of seats in the House of Commons forms the Government and the other parties form the Opposition. Great Britain has a non-elected, hereditary, second Chamber - the House of Lords. It has 850 members.

The main functions of Parliament are to legislate, and to control the Actions of the Government.

Any member of the Parliament may introduce a bill to the Parliament.

Every bill has three readings at first in the House of Com­mons.

After the third reading the bill goes before, the House of Lords. If the Lords agree to the bill, it will be placed before the Queen for signature.

The Queen is the only non-party member and the only one with access to all government papers.





^ THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The USA is located in the central part of North America. Its area is 9,363,200 square kilometers. The population of the USA is over 228 million.

The United States is a Federal Union of 50 states. The Presi­dent is the head of the government He forms the government.

The Constitution is the basic law. It defines the structure and the method of national government and lists its rights and fields of authority (власть).

According to the Constitution the three main branches of the USA government are the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

The executive branch includes the President, Vice-President, and the Presidents' Cabinet.

The function of the executive branch is to administrate and execute the law. Every four years the America people elect the President. But they may re-elect their President for another term of four years.

The function of the Cabinet is to advise the President on any affair he wishes such advice. The Cabinet consists of the heads of the thirteen executive departments - the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury (финансы), the Secretary of De­fence and all the rest.

The legislative branch of the government is the Congress. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The senate consists of 100 members, two from each of the 50 members. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The population of each state determines the number of members.

The function of the Congress is to make laws and to fi­nance the operation of the government.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial organ of the United States and the head of the judicial branch.

The major political parties in the United States are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. This two-party sys­tem practically dominates the political life of the country.





^ THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

In theory, the constitution has three branches: Parliament, which makes laws, the government, which «executes» laws, i.e. puts them into effect, and the law courts, which interpret laws. Although the Queen is officially head of all three branches, she has little direct power.

Parliament has two parts: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Members of the House of Commons are elected by the voters of 650 constituencies. They are as MPs, or Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister, or leader of the Government, is also an MP, usually the leader of the political party with a majority in the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister is advised by a Cabinet of about twenty other ministers. The Cabinet includes the ministers in charge of major government department or ministries. Departments and ministries are run by civil servants, who are permanent officials. Even if the Government changes after an election, the same civil servants are employed.

The House of Lords consists of the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual. The Lords Spiritual are the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, together with twenty-four senior bishops of the Church and England. The Lords Temporal consist of hereditary peers who have inherited their titles; life peers who are appointed

by the Queen on the advice of the Government for various serv­ices to the nation; and the Lords of Appeal (Law Lords) who be­come life peers on their judicial appointments. The latter serve the House of Lords as the ultimate court of appeal. This appeal court consists of some nine Law Lords who hold senior judicial office. They are presided over by the Lord Chancellor and they form a quorum of three to five when they hear appeal cases.





^ THE US CONSTITUTION

The form of the US government is based on the Constitu­tion of September 17, 1787, adopted after the War of Independ­ence. A «constitution» in American political Language means the set of rules, laws, regulations and customs which together pro-

vide the practical norms or standards regulating the work of the government

In the course of the War against Britain 13 states united un­der federal government. The newly formed federal republic had a very weak central control. The economic situation in the country was very unstable. Inflation, taxes, bankruptcies aroused indig­nation among the farmers.

In the fall of 1786 an uprising took place in the state of Massachusetts. The rebellion was put down but that was a sign, which showed the ruling classes that they must set up a strong system of national government

In 1787 the Constitutional Convention formulated a Con­stitution for the United States. The Constitution is, with some amendments, in force to this day. It consists of the Preamble, 7 articles and 26 amendments. The first ten of them called the Bill of Rights were adopted by the Congress in December 1791.

The Bill enumerated what the government was not going to be allowed to do, which was an important democratic gain for the people.

Some of these 10 amendments are now unimportant, but others, especially the 5-th Amendment is still significant The 5-th (the due process amendment) provides that «no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law and no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself».

Americans say that of all freedoms (freedom of speech, press, conscience) proclaimed in the Constitution there is only one freedom-freedom to enterprise.



^ MAIN CONCEPTS OF AMERICAN BUSINESS

«The business of America is business», said President Cal­vin Coolidge (1923-1929) and these words remain true today. The principle aim of business is to make financial profit.

There exist in the United States two main kinds of business institutions - private and governmental. Private businesses in­clude large companies whose capital is represented in shares, which are held by individual shareholders who earn dividends from their shares. In addition, there are non-profit institutions. These are called charitable organizations. Americans tend to have more respect for private businesses than for government agencies which they consider more bureaucratic.

Americans believe that in private business they can express ideals of free competition, individual freedom and equality of opportunity. But many Americans understand that very often business does not live up to these principles. There are some problems in realizing the high ideals of fair business practice. One of them is unequal starting opportunities. It is obviously easier for someone who already possesses considerable capital to begin a business venture than it is someone who does not. But nevertheless the legend of the poor boy who rises «from rags to riches», the entrepreneur who creates something out of nothing still exists in America. The entrepreneur who loves individual freedom and independence from authority, who built the industrial riches of the nation is the symbol of hero businessman.

In the course of time a new type of businessman appeared This is the «organization man» who works within already estab­lished structure and is at the top. But unlike the entrepreneur he shares responsibility with others. Though in America today the road to success lies often through established large business, the entrepreneurial ideal inspires many. A great number of small businesses exist in the USA today. There are a lot of companies with fewer than 20 employees. These companies account 60% of American business. Today most Americans believe that the free-enterprise system based on profit - making is the one that best promotes welfare of the nation.





^ THE STRUCTURE OF THE USA GOVERNMENT

The United States of America is a federation of 50 states which was established by the Constitution in 1787. Each state has its own government and its own capital city and within each state there are smaller subdivisions of local government such as coun­ties, townships, cities and villages.

^ FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

The federal government of the United States is divided into three main branches: the legislative, the executive and the judi­cial. The legislative branch of the government is the Congress. The function of the legislative branch of the government is to make laws and to finance the operation of the government through gathering taxes and appropriating money requested by the executive branch of the government.

The executive branch, which includes the President, vice-president, and the President's cabinet, is responsible for admin­istering and executing the laws.

The judicial branch of the federal government consists of the Supreme Court of the United States and the system of federal courts. It has the responsibility of judging the constitutionality of acts of law.

^ THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The legislative branch if the U.S. government is vested in the Congress. The Congress of the U.S. is composed of the Sen­ate and the House of Representatives. The term of the Congress is for two years.

THE SENATE

The U.S. Senate has 100 members - two from each of the 50 states. Each Senator is chosen by a majority of voters in the entire state, and his job is to represent the whole state. Members of the senate are elected to six-year terms.

The Constitution says that a Senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the U.S. for nine years, and a resident of the state from which he is elected.

^ THE HOUSE

The US. House of Representatives has 435 members. The Constitution says that each state, no matter how small in popula­tion, must have at least one Representative. A Representative must be at least 25, a U.S. citizen for seven years, and live in the state from which he is elected. Each state, except the five which elect only one Representative for the whole state, is divided into Congressional districts. The Constitution, however, does not re­quire the Representative to live in the Congressional district that elects him. Most do not live in their districts.

The business of Congress is to make laws. The U.S. Con­stitution also gives Congress the power to:

- Raise money by means of taxes or borrowing.

- Make rules for trade with foreign countries and between states.

- Set up post-offices and federal courts.

- Organize the Armed Forces.

- Declare war.

The U.S. Senate has some special powers. It must approve by majority vote the President's appointment of such high offi­cials as ambassadors, Cabinet members, and federal judges.

The Senate must also improve, by a two-thirds majority vote, a treaty between the U. S. and a foreign country before the treaty can become a law. Congressmen do work long and hard. But most of the work is done in committee meetings. Here bills are situated, experts beard, and recommendations are made to the whole House or Senate.

^ THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Introduction

After the Second World War the community of nations undertook to make human rights a common ideal for humanity. This ideal was enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, adopted in 1945, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaimed the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 was the Council of Europe’s first treaty and is its greatest achievement. The Convention makes express reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations, but is broader in scope since it includes a monitoring system. It has both a political and a legal dimension:

• its political dimension lies in the fact that it is the common denominator of the European democracies and serves as a standard for accession to the Council of Europe;

• its legal dimension consists in the guarantee that it affords of international judicial protection of human rights, based on clear definitions of the rights concerned and on supervisory machinery. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg deals with complaints of breaches of the Convention lodged either by states parties against other signatory states or by individual applicants, whatever their nationality, who deem themselves to be the victim of a violation of Convention rights by a signatory state. However, before bringing their case before the Court, applicants must first have exhausted all the legal remedies available in the country concerned. Nevertheless, fifty years after the drafting of the Convention there are still violations of human rights.
^ THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

The history of the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe was Europe’s first intergovernmental organization established in the aftermath of the Second World War - a fact of which many people are unaware. The objective was to make states work together in order to avoid future conflicts. In 1949 ten countries - Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom - signed the treaty setting up the Council of Europe. Since its foundation the organization has had its seat in Strasbourg. It has two official languages - English and French. Today, with 41 member states, the Council covers virtually all of Europe. This pan-European organization is a forum for discussion of the concerns and desires, the doubts and the hopes of almost 800 million people in an area extending from the shores of the Atlantic to the far-eastern border of Russia.

^ Principles and conditions of accession

Any European state may become a member of the Council of Europe on condition that it undertakes to safeguard the dignity of its citizens by upholding their fundamental rights and adhering to ethical values. The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity among its members. States acceding to the organization’s statute commit themselves to acknowledge the principles of:

• the rule of law

• human rights

• and pluralist democracy.

Moreover, the statute expressly provides that a member state which ceases to comply with these principles and obligations may be excluded from the organization.

Objectives

The Council of Europe aims to heighten awareness of and enhance the cultural identity of Europe in all its diversity. It seeks to help find solutions to some of the key problems of our era:

• racism, discrimination against minorities

• social exclusion

• organized crime, corruption

• trafficking in human beings, violence

• drug abuse, and the scourges of AIDS, malaria and cancer

• bioethics and the issue of cloning

• protection of the environment.

It also seeks to promote democratic stability in Europe by supporting political, legislative and constitutional reforms.

^ THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (ECHR).

Since its foundation the Council of Europe has drawn up over 170 conventions. These aim to harmonize judicial practice in the member states and are binding on states which have ratified them. The first instrument of this kind devised by the Council of Europe was the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which was signed in Rome in 1950. This international treaty is of unparalleled importance. It goes beyond the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states by requiring the signatory states to secure certain rights and freedoms to everyone in their jurisdiction. The Convention defines these universal rights and freedoms, which are inalienable, indissociable and interdependent, whether civil, political, economic, social or cultural in nature. The Convention goes much further than the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since its authors did not confine them selves to merely drawing up a list of rights but, at the European regional level, transformed the principles asserted in the Universal Declaration into tangible legal obligations. To this end, they established an international supervisory and protective system. All individuals deeming themselves to have been the victim of a violation of the rights secured in the Convention may lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, after exhausting the legal remedies available in their own country.

^ MONEY AND ITS FUNCTIONS

All values in the economic system are measured in terms of money. Our goods and services are sold for money, and that money is in turn exchanged for other goods and services. Coins are adequate for small transactions, while paper notes are used for general business. There is additionally a wider sense of the word «money», covering anything which is used as a means of exchange, whatever form it may take. Originally, a valuable metal (gold, silver and copper) served as a constant store of value, and even today the American dollar is technically «baked» by the store of gold which the US government maintains. Be cause gold has been universally regarded as a very valuable metal, national currencies were for many years judged in terms of the so-called «gold standard».

Nowadays however valuable metal has generally been re placed by paper notes. National currencies are considered to be as strong as the national economies which support them. Paper notes are issued by governments and authorized banks, and are known as «legal tender». Other arrangements such as cheques and money orders are not legal tender. They perform the function of substitute money and are known as «instruments of credit». Credit is offered only when creditors believe that they have a good chance of obtaining legal tender when they present such instruments at a bank or other authorized institution, if a man’s assets are known to be considerable, then his credit will be good. if his assets are in doubt, then it may be difficult for him to obtain large sums of credit or even to pay for goods with a cheque.

The value of money is basically its value as a medium of exchange, or, as economists put it, its «purchasing power». This purchasing power is depend on supply and demand. The demand for money is reckonable, as the quantity needed to effect business transactions. An increase in business requires an increase in the amount of money coming into general circulation. But the demand for money is related not only to the quantity of business but also to the rapidity with which the business is done. The supply of money, on the other hand, is the actual amount in notes and coins available for business purposes. If too much money is available, its value decreases, and it does not as much as it did, say, five years earlier. This condition is known as «inflation».

Banks are closely concerned with the flow of money into and out of the economy. They often co-operate with governments in efforts to stabilize economies and to prevent inflation. They are specialists in the business of providing capital, and hi allocating funds on credit. Banks originated as places to which people took their valuables for safekeeping, but today the great banks of the world have many functions in addition to acting as guardians of valuable private possessions.

Banks normally receive money from their customers in two distinct forms: on current account, and on deposit account With a current account, a customer can issue personal cheques. No interest is paid by the bank on this type of account. With a deposit account, however, the customer undertakes to leave his money in the bank for a minimum specified period of time. Interest is paid on this money.

^ FOREIGN TRADE AND INVESTMENTS

The world economy is increasingly becoming a single economic unit. Individual national economies are developing closer linkages through trade, capital investment, and financial institutions. Multinational corporations spread their activities across national boundaries, and the international banking system carries on banking activities throughout the world.

During the last two decades, while world output has been growing about 4% per year, world trade has been growing about 8% and production by foreign subsidiaries has been growing by some 10%. Export and import shares of output have increased considerably in practically all-industrial sectors. A growing percentage of world trade is becoming intra-industry trade (reflecting economies of scale and increased demand for differentiated products) and even intra-firm trade by transnational firms (reflecting decomposition of production activities around the world).

The inter-enterprise international division of labour influences relations between developed and developing countries primarily because the giant international companies transfer certain labour intensive production phases or whole production cycles to the developing countries where a cheap and sufficiently qualified (literate, easily teachable) labour force is already available.

The closer integration of developed countries steps up the further progress of the division of labour and facilitates its better organization. The major part of the worldwide demand for new machinery and equipment that accelerate industrial-technological development is met by industrially developed countries. International exports of armaments continue to be an important factor for increasing their exports as well.

The weight of developing countries in world trade is gradually declining. In the seventies, the newly independent states played an important role in the world economy and international politics. Their share in world production increased, and they were able to launch a campaign for a new international order. Almost all over the developing countries world foreign mining concessions were nationalized, raw material prices rose sharply, and the industrialized states become more heavily dependent for raw material supplies on the former colonies. However, using their economic might and technological superiority, they have created and perfected new forms of enslavement: technological, food and financial. They have managed to integrate the developing countries’ economies yet more fully into the world capitalism economy and thus made them more vulnerable to market fluctuations. After the rise in the price of raw materials the West took measures to economize on raw materials, develop resource-saving technologies, and synthetic structural materials, recycle waste matter and extract its own minerals. This led to a reduction in the utilization of raw materials per unit of social product and diminished the West’s dependence on supplies of raw materials from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

^ THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE «INSIDE»

MAX WEBER

Max Weber (1864-1920) is one of the few major figures of sociology whose ideas permeate the work of both quantitative and. qualitative sociologists... A major thrust of Weber’s methodology was to link the scientific concepts of general laws and causal analysis with the purportedly unique subject matter of social science — human beings.

Weber’s conception of sociology combines a concern for the individual (in particular, for his motives and meanings) with the goal of causal scientific explanation. His position was basically this: Any difference between the social and natural sciences comes from the basic fact that a social scientist is an object of the same type he is studying — a human. The fact that humans are interpretive animals — that they create meanings and work with symbolic and abstract representations — is what makes it possible for them to develop a science of any sort. But in the social sciences we have an additional advantage. In the case of inanimate objects and lower forms of life, we can only observe and describe them and, by interpretive understanding, detect patterns and general laws which they seem to obey. However, with humans we have an advance clue — we know about subjectivity. We have more or less directly experienced and observed our own motives, reactions, emotions, and meanings as they are connected to our social actions. Our fellows have communicated similar experiences to us in ordinary language. All this occurred before any science of human action began. Thus, the generic possibility that subjective elements determine actions is known to us.

Assuming that rocks or plants actually bad motives for their «behavior», it would be unclear that we could ever discover them. For, in order to find some things, one has to suspect in advance that they are there. Given that, as humans, we are aware of the general possibility of specific subjective states of others, there remains the question of how to go about gaining access to these states. Weber singled out three types of subjectivity, or «meanings», which were of special interest to the social scientist:

1. The concrete purposes, motives, and meanings of another person which accompany his specific social actions.

2. The average, common, or approximate meaning of something given to it by a group of people (the meaning of award in a language is of this type).

3. The meaning(s) attributed to a hypothetical ideal actor in a symbolic model of action which is constructed by the social scientist.

In Weber’s definition of sociology… the German word Verstehen has been translated as «understanding». Many American sociologists have associated the term Verstehen with Weber and have taken it to stand for a form of sociological analysis that emphasizes the achievement of empathetic appreciation as a goal. However, for Weber this was a secondary goal, the primary one being the acquisition of a causal explanation of social action. Empathetic understanding of the subjective elements of action was but one means, and not always a necessary one at that.

Thus we see Weber’s major use of Verstehen: the observation and interpretation of the subjective states of mind of other people. Verstehen generates hypotheses concerning the connections between subjective states and human action but does not validate them. These hypotheses and/or concepts were then put in theoretical models of social action, used to predict and understand courses of action.

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