In today’s modern economy, statistics are supreme. GDP, unemployment and interest rates all play dominant roles in the allocation of the government’s budget. No spending bill can hope to pass into law without a battery of statistics and figures charting how such legislation will benefit the country. But just how accurately do those numbers reflect the world we live in?

Take GDP, for instance. The famous figure has only been reliably collected in the U.S. since the 1930s and didn’t Continue reading

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penniesThere are many today who feel that the time has come to retire the penny even though it has been a mainstay of American currency for centuries. The venerable Abraham Lincoln-emblazoned coin has without a doubt seen better times. In 1913 it possessed 25 times more purchasing power than it does currently. The penny also used to be profitable to produce. In 1990 it cost 0.6¢ to make one of the copper-coated coins, resulting in a yield of 0.4¢ Continue reading

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April 3, 2013

 

In the eyes of many Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, the people who run America’s biggest companies are untouchably wealthy power brokers. However, this viewpoint fails to take into account the startling effect that the recession had on job security across the spectrum. One need not look further than the fate of former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. After a string of failures, the board elected to part ways with the company’s founder. In his farewell statement to staff, Mason cheekily Continue reading

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March 20, 2013

yarnAs long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their Continue reading

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March 5, 2013

With economic recovery proceeding at a sluggish pace, many companies are operating on razor thin margins that can be easily disrupted. For instance, business got so slow at the plastics company Saint-Gobain last fall that executives cut worker hours by 40 percent. Although this type of story has become all too common since 2008, a federal government-funded work share program ensured the company’s staff didn’t lose their entire income. Thanks to the additional funds, Saint-Gobain’s employees recouped 70 percent of Continue reading

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February 5, 2013

Although franchising has many benefits, it doesn’t provide much freedom to the franchisees. After all, their primary job is to maintain the brand’s image, which just so happens to be whatever their corporate bosses say it is. They can also fall victim to larger trends that have affected their parent company. For instance, an entrepreneur named Jerry Merrill lost his Baskin-Robbins franchise in 1999, along with 600 other franchisees the company could not afford to keep. Merrill and 34 other Continue reading

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