Are We Living In A World With No Democracy?

Are We Living In A World With No Democracy?

By Nigel Hilton

The world economic forum published an article in late 2017 that stated that democracy is on the decline. Countries around the world are seeing the democratic values decline sharply, but we can’t blame that will all the issues the world is facing at the minute. But a world without democracy is not one that we want to live in. Democracy covers a wide range of categories. It is measured by the function of a government, the state of civil liberties, and political culture to name but a few. There are still some countries leading the way that have a strong democracy, Norway and Iceland are to name but a few. So considering that democracy is on the decline, we’re going to explore what a world with no democracy is, and what is being done to try and strengthen it around the world.

Image Credit

Economic Growth

Democracy actually effects economic growth more than you would realise, but there have been many studies carried out that have tried to prove this different. It is in fact common belief that it has no influence over economic growth at all, but you can’t ignore the statistics. The lower the level of democracy goes in a country, the lower the level of economic growth. This is because political regimes aren’t being carried out to protect the economic growth of a country. The effects of which can be catastrophic for the economy and cost of living within that country.

Government Power

The government holds a lot of power, that’s always been the case. But the power the government has often causes so many issues in the world. There is only so much the public can do with regards to this, but the state of civil liberties does protect us somewhat. It means to government can’t change civil rights such as the ‘free exercise’ which allows people to practice their religion. What it doesn’t protect us from is the decisions being made about wars and the things that are really damaging our countries. The National Endowment for Democracy is funding non-profit organisations that are trying to change the level of government power in countries that might have a lower level of democracy, and in turn bring countries closer together. Because it isn’t just government power that democracy determines, it is just so much more than that. Countries such as North Korea have zero levels of democracy, and their ruler does in fact have full power of the decisions that will affect his nation.

Public Political Influences

The public can only have so much say in what the government does, as we’ve already said. But, the higher the influence of the public, the higher the level of democracy. It is giving the public the right to decide smaller decisions that happen within the country. Take the recent brexit of Britain. 72% of the population turned out to vote, which saw a rise in the level of democracy within a country. The less influence the public has, the more decisions that the government could make that would not go in favor of the public.



Gun violence has been a major controversy lately and that’s mainly because of the recent school shootings in the country. People, especially students, are now calling for the ban of firearms but just how much of a risk does gun ownership bring to the table?  According to The Guardian, American civilians have at least 265 million firearms, which when distributed, makes it equivalent to having one firearm per American. If that is the case, you could assume that most people by now would know about the legal factors to consider when owning a firearm and the charges it involves. To shed light on that topic, we have rounded up the key things you need to know legally about firearm/weapon charges:

Who can own a firearm?

With over 52,026 federally licensed firearms dealer nationwide and Walmart still as the nation’s largest dealer, it becomes obvious that anyone can look into guns anytime and anywhere they wanted to. With the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Actimplementing a background check before any purchase, it requires a certain standard before you can get your hands on a firearm. Now let us dig up what exactly the main requirements are for an individual to be eligible for gun ownership:

Legal age

By federal gun laws, an individual should be of legal age, meaning at least 18 years of age, in order to be eligible for gun ownership.

The permit and license to carry firearms

Most of the states require an individual to possess a permit to carry firearms. However, some do not. In fact here is a list of some of the states where one can easily purchase a gun without a gun registration, permit, and license required to purchase firearms:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Wyoming


  • You have renounced your US citizenship
  • You reside in the US illegally
  • You have been discharged dishonorably from the military
  • You are a certified drug addict
  • You have been convicted of domestic violence against a parent, guardian, and spouse
  • You have been issued a restraining order from someone by being found guilty of stalking, harassing, and threatening the individual
  • You have been diagnosed as mentally ill
  • You are a fugitive


Federal laws have allowed multiple states to regulate their own laws when it comes to legally-owned firearms carried by individuals in a public setting by implementing a “Right to Carry” which falls into the following four categories:

  • Anomalous Open Carry States – the local government is allowed to implement restrictive open-carry laws among its people who choose to carry their guns in public.
  • Permissive Open Carry States –  gun owners are allowed to carry their guns in public.
  • Non-Permissive Open Carry States – the government will only allow the carrying of firearms in public for the main purpose of self-defense, hunting, and target practice.
  • Licensed Open Carry States – gun owners with a permit and license are the only ones legally allowed to do openly carry their firearms in public.



Anyone under the age of 18 years old, and yet has a possession of a firearm, is considered as illegal. As given by different federal laws in each state, penalties for the convicted minor will also differ as he/she can face jail time from 90 days up to 3 years, and will also be eligible to bail out for $1000 up to $100,000.

The only exception for a minor to possess a firearm is when he/she is with parents and is carrying the gun with their permission for it to be used for hunting or target practice, otherwise, it would be considered illegal.

Illegal possession of firearms


A lack of valid ID, a lack of or expired Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, and inability to present a safety certificate upon purchase can subject you to penalties. You can pay from $1,000 up to $25,000 and can face up six months of jail time and up to five years of imprisonment.

Convicted Felons

Nearly all of the federal state laws prohibit convicted felons from possessing any weapons/firearms for the safety of the public. It may even take up to 10 years before a convicted felon can gain the right to possess any firearm, and he/she will also be facing 10 years of imprisonment if found with illegal possession of firearms.

Should a convicted felon wish to restore his/her rights to possess firearms, he/she may do so by involving executive actions such as a pardon from the governor and judicial actions such as expunging of records.

What can you do to be free of charges?

In order to fully avoid the charge with regards to possession of firearms, it is best that you follow the federal state laws and to always carry with you the certificates, permits, and IDs that will prove to any authority that you are indeed eligible to carry around firearms. Should anything be charged against you that you think it was violating your right, you may consult a lawyer who can help you sort through the legal procedure.

Many times, employees who are facing firearm/weapon charges are more likely discriminated in the workplace. Thus if you have legal concerns on workplace employment discrimination, you may click here to get more information.  

Anne McGee

Anne McGee has over 20 years of experience writing about law subjects where she hopes her knowledge can help the common reader understand law topics that may be of relevance to their daily lives. If she’s not reading a good book, then chances are Anne is jogging during her free time.

anne mcgee.jpg


By Nigel Hilton

fed ex.PNG

Image link

These days, businesses can sell just about everything. You have those selling online services such as writing, design work or local services like cafes and launderettes. They can sell digital products which can include anything from clip art to website templates to legal contracts. They can sell experiences, memberships and much more. However, selling items, physical products is always going to be a good business model. If your business will be buying (or making) products to sell, there are some added considerations of doing so that a lot of other businesses don’t need to think about. Here are just a few of them to bear in mind.

The Products You Will Sell: Manufacturing vs Outsourcing?

You might be selling anything from clothes and homewares to technology or something niche like parts for machinery.  Whatever it is, your first consideration should be whether you will be making these things yourself and setting up a manufacturing plant, or outsourcing to a specialist third party company. Manufacturing is arguably one of the most difficult elements of any business, however when you design and create your own products can be incredibly satisfying and profitable. Plus it puts you in control of your business. But there’s a lot at stake, get this wrong and it could be the downfall of your entire business. Not only does your plant need to be safe for workers, but the product you make requires you to comply with all kinds of health and safety laws, and FDA approval in some cases. The equipment and know-how needed to make a product can be extensive, while it’s certainly not impossible for a smaller company to manufacture themselves- many will go the outsourcing route so they know they’re not getting it wrong. You’re able to import from China now and find great deals on all kinds of products and so if you want to get off the ground quickly and start selling and turning a profit right away then this could be for you. However it’s worth spending some time deciding whether manufacturing yourself or outsourcing is right for you.

Storing Your Stock

Regardless of whether you manufacture your products yourself, outsource or buy them from a wholesaler, you will always need a place to store your items. A large warehouse that’s accessible for delivering the finished items and also shipping them out is essential- it needs to be big enough so that you’re not constantly running out of stock since this can negatively affect your business reputation. It needs to be free of leaks or damage to avoid ruining your stock, and it also needs to be large enough so that everything you sell can be properly stored and organised ready for picking and packing. You should have a returns area in the warehouse too. That way, things that have been returned but are still sellable can be repackaged and resold. Warehousing costs are something to take into consideration, if you’re going to be manufacturing products then ideally you will want this premises to be a short distance away from your plant. That way you avoid unnecessary transportation costs.

Packaging and Fulfilment

Getting your items picked and packed is another important part of the chain from the factory to the customer’s house. Products need to be picked carefully ensuring size and colour selection is correct. They need to be wrapped and packed (especially important if items are fragile) and they need to have the address labels added to them. As with manufacturing, you could choose to outsource this, or you could keep it in-house and employ people yourself. You need workers that are used to being up on their feet for long hours and used to an active and demanding job. When you’re hiring, your best bet would be to look for people who have experience working in similar roles, since warehousing work can be tough for those that aren’t used to it.

Shipping and Going Global

The last link in the chain when you sell physical items is using an efficient way to deliver them to the customer’s home. Once everything has been made and packaged up, you need a way to get them to the door of the person who ordered. The method you choose will largely depend on what it is that you sell. For example, small items can be sent via the postal service as long as they don’t contain any prohibited items. You would need to check to make sure first, aerosols, nail polish and batteries are all some surprising examples. For a fee, businesses can have their items collected from their premises by the postal service, that way you don’t have to stand in a queue with hundreds of items! If your items are larger, more fragile or you want a more precise service then courier could be your best bet. These kinds of companies often offer different levels of service. For example, some will send the customer a text message before delivery with a link to be able to track them on the map. They also give the ability to rearrange or reschedule the delivery right up until the time that it’s delivered. This will cost more,  but could be worth it for more expensive items as it will give the customer peace of mind. Even if you have a fantastic product, if the shipping is slow or unreliable then it will cause the customer to have a negative experience overall.

Every step of the process needs to be right. If your manufacturing plant fails or you don’t use reliable suppliers- you have nothing to sell. If your inventory isn’t stored and organised properly, items could be damaged or the wrong things could be sent out. If your delivery company messes up then it could mean long delivery times leaving your customer unhappy. Make sure each piece of the puzzle is right, and you increase your chances of making a profit with a business that sells products.

Do you sell products, or would you consider setting up a business that does?

Is Poor Productivity Ruining Your Small Business? Here’s How To Stop It!

Is Poor Productivity Ruining Your Small Business? Here’s How To Stop It!

By Sharon Jones

Disastrous productivity level due to the wasting of time and resources is a major issue across all many business large or small. However, for the small operator or micro business, productivity really can be a big deal. After all, your margins are slim, and any unnecessary delays can put you in a place where achieving your targets for that period is impossible, a problem that will then have a negative knock-on effect on your profits. With that in mind, find out below how to eliminate poor productivity and ensure that your business is running as efficiently as possible.

Eliminate redundant tasks

First of all, one way in which you can boost productivity in your business is to identify and then eliminate tasks that are redundant. This task can sound pretty easy, but it can be tough because most people are resistant to change and like to keep thing the way they have always been.

In fact, employees can often get twitchy when you are attempting to streamline task as they feel they might be out of a job soon. However, if you explain to them what is happening and include them in the process, you are likely to get a much better result and find that thing get more productive faster.  

In particular, consider tasks that are by many individuals in a day that only really need to be done once. Things like writing letters and documents, where most use a standard text, and just a few individual details are added.

Picture source

You could save a great deal of time by introducing a document management system that allows everyone to work from the same updated templates rather than come up with their own every time. You could even increase continuity and standards across different departments and employees as well. These all being things that will have a positive effect on your business.

Cut the cord to your email

Next, let’s look at emails. Even bosses of companies have a problem here, as there seems to be an innate belief that it is vital to read every message the moment that it comes in.

Image source

Guess what? There isn’t! In fact, doing so is distracting you and breaking your focus for the task that you are working on. Something that makes everything take longer, and you feel more stressed. So get everyone to turn off their email notifications, and schedule two short action times in the day where they can deal with them to improve productivity.

Bye bye smartphones

Smartphones in the workplace can be a good thing, especially if they are in use for company business. However, there are so many distractions including apps, and news, and messengers on them that they can easily suck attention away from work tasks.

Banning smartphones may be controversial but just think how focused people will be.

Image link

That is why if you want to improve productivity in a major way you could take the controversial decision to ban smartphones in the workplace. Although, you do need to remember that this will apply to yourself as well as your employees! Who knows though, maybe it will help you to get more done too?


What Is SEO and How Can It Help My Small Business?

What Is SEO and How Can It Help My Small Business?

Picture Source

By Jerry Mooney

More and more businesses are taking to the realm of online commerce. There’s a good reason for this. Online retail has massively increased in popularity over the past decade or so. Just take a look at the success of online retail giants such as Amazon! While in the past, the majority of people would head straight to a brick and mortar store on the high street when looking for goods and products, nowadays they have the option to purchase their wares online from the comfort of their own home. Increased demand for convenience means that customers can often receive exactly what they want by the next working day or even the same day as they place their order! While convenience may well be one of the main benefits for users of online commerce, the practice actually offers various other benefits. Reduced operation costs (as online businesses don’t have the expense of brick and mortar property rent, a lack of overheads such as gas, electricity, or water bills) mean that goods can be offered at a lower price too! It’s not all too surprising that you might be considering taking your small business online or setting up online if you haven’t yet commenced trade. However, if you do take to the virtual realm, there are a few business practices that you will need to familiarize yourself with. Top of the list? SEO. Here’s everything you need to know about the practice and how to make the most of its benefits.

What Actually Is SEO?

To keep things simple, let’s first state that “SEO” stands for “search engine optimization”. It is a business practice which revolves around getting as many search engine users to visit your webpage as possible. Of course, every small business operating online needs as much traffic as possible in order to secure sales and boost brand exposure. But where do search engines come into this? Well, just think about it. When consumers want a certain item or are trying to find your brand, they make use of search engines and generally limit their search to results that appear on the first page. When’s the last time you ever went beyond a search engine’s first or second page when looking for anything? Very rarely. You really do need your website to feature as highly as possible to guarantee hits. Now, each and every search engine will be different, and each uses its own means of ordering their results. So, which search engine should you focus your efforts on? While there are various search engines out there, generally speaking, Google tends to be the most effective and is consequently the option that will bring you the best results, so should be the search engine that you focus your main efforts on. This is because it is the most popular search engine. 1.7 billion people make use of it, so you want to appear as high in the Google search results as possible in order to get the greatest exposure, make the most sales and generate the most profit. However, if you prefer other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo, don’t worry, you can focus on them too.

Picture Credit

How Do You Set Up an SEO Campaign?

So, as you can see, there’s plenty that you can gain from SEO. So, it’s time to start focussing on putting an SEO campaign together.


The first thing on the checklist of your SEO campaign is to get engaged with blogging. Google loves legitimate posts. If you clearly pay for posts elsewhere, they’re likely to miss you out of their optimisation. Instead, you need casual, natural looking links to posts on blogs that frequently put out posts without advertising purpose. For a complete piece on this, take a look at Blogger Outreach Best Practices – How To Write A Guest Blog Post For SEO.

Optimizing Keywords

A key part of SEO is keyword optimisation. This is the act of researching, analyzing, and selecting the best keywords to incorporate into your webpage in order to drive traffic to your page effectively. While most search engines will not release the details of exact search terms that users submit when searching for goods, most of the time, general common sense will work. Consider what you would put in when searching for the goods that you provide. Also, browse lists of others’ commonly searched words and incorporate as many as possible into every aspect of your site.


If you’re not already familiar with the process of outsourcing, it’s time to start looking into it. We’re all well aware of how busy people setting up a small business or maintaining a small business can be. There’s so much to focus on. So many areas to constantly develop or nurture. So it’s not surprising that you may not have time to do absolutely everything yourself. Outsourcing is the business practice of sending your work out to third parties to deal with and complete. Now, there’s a good chance that you don’t really have the time in your schedule to spend researching SEO in-depth, but to make a success of your campaign, you really do need a good working knowledge of the area. Luckily, there are other individuals out there who have studied it extensively and can optimise your entire webpage quickly and simply without having to conduct extensive prior research (as they’ve already done it time and time again). Outsource this aspect of your work to them. They’re much more likely to make a success of your campaign first time around!

While you may never have heard of SEO before, hopefully now it’s firmly stuck in your mind as a business essential that can make or break your brand’s success. If you haven’t yet dabbled in SEO, it truly is time to start focusing on creating a high profile SEO campaign that will drive as much traffic to your commercial website as possible. This should serve to expose your brand and secure sales, allowing you to turn over the profit that you deserve!

Pin It on Pinterest