November 11, 2013

 

It’s a sad fact that nearly 49 million Americans live without health insurance while millions more scrape by with lackluster coverage. With the Affordable Care Act getting off to a rough start and months to go before its full implementation, the nation’s underinsured must often make due with the limited resources at their disposal. In fact, according to Consumer Reports one of the cheapest and most common ways for people to get the care they need is to barter Continue reading

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October 17, 2013

For many of today’s conscientious consumers, it’s not enough for a product to be simply affordable and effective. Environmentally minded diners, for instance, prefer to know as much about the origins of their food as possible. That’s why so many modern restaurants make sure the names of their organic and artisanal suppliers appear as prominently on menus as the dishes. Now the trend is expanding out of the culinary world and into retail as more and more clothing companies use Continue reading

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October 15, 2013

Wal-Mart became the world’s largest retailer by keeping margins low on everything, including employee compensation. For the Florida-based grocer Publix, however, keeping staff motivated through strong financial incentives is a recipe for success rather than instability. Publix’s net margins of 5.6 percent trounce Wal-Mart’s 3.8 percent, making it the most profitable grocery chain in the nation. With $27.5 billion in sales, it’s also the largest employee-owned company in America. Staffers control 80 percent of the company thanks to a policy Continue reading

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September 9, 2013

The stagnant economy has been tough on many Americans, but none more so than our nation’s veterans. Far too many military men and women come back home from overseas only to find a place almost as inhospitable and unwelcoming as the one they left. On top of a dire job market, many have problems receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs. Thousands of others struggle to come to grips with their post-traumatic stress, sometimes leading to tragedy.

Iraq vet Ian Smith nearly Continue reading

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July 17, 2013

China’s surging economy has provided its citizens with a constellation of benefits that would have been scarcely imaginable even a decade ago. But of all China’s consumer-enabled freedoms, the opportunity for worldwide travel perhaps represents the nation’s biggest leap into modernity. After all, Chinese tour groups were forbidden from traveling to the U.S. until 2007. The following year, 493,000 Chinese tourists flooded America. That number has since grown to more than a million visitors annually. But that’s nothing compared to Continue reading

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fastfoodClocking in at 800 calories with 53 grams of fat and 2,430 milligrams of sodium, Burger King’s Suicide Burger certainly lives up to its name. This outrageous creation features four patties, four slices of cheese and loads of bacon all slathered in special sauce. The existence of this burger brings to mind many troubling questions, not least of which is, “Why would Burger King offer such an abomination to their customers?” Well, as strange as it may seem, they technically Continue reading

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treviThe beauty of Italy’s ancient structures and sculptures has been renowned for more than two thousand years. Over the course of those centuries, maintenance responsibilities for the nation’s antiquities have transferred from their Roman builders to the Catholic Church and finally to the present-day Italian government. But there’s one major matter that separates the latter from its two mighty predecessors: money. As a result of the Italian economy’s recent collapse, the government has been forced to slash the maintenance budget Continue reading

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accountingTo many businesses the process of accounting is simple: keep track of costs and weigh them against revenue to determine profit. But some of the world’s largest companies prefer to figure out their financial well being by using a more complicated, predictive method. Known as fair value accounting, this technique measures a company’s assets by valuing them on estimates and projections rather than hard data. Its proponents argue that it makes accounting information more relevant for day-to-day operations. Critics of Continue reading

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credituThe Great Recession soured millions of people’s relationships with traditional banks, driving many to entrust their money with credit unions instead. Along with incessant media coverage of their questionable dealings, banks at the time had to contend with consumer outrage about hidden fees and supersized overdraft penalties. As a result, credit unions appeared to be safe and sensible money managers compared to their colossal, unscrupulous counterparts on Wall Street. Plus, credit unions offered perks like free checking, friendly staff, and Continue reading

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forkTechnology has streamlined so many aspects of modern life that it can be difficult to remember a time when little electronic gadgets didn’t rule the world. Although millions of Americans remain inseparable from their smartphones, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the country’s dependence on technology. In fact, a growing number of scholars and cultural observers are worried that today’s latest innovations are becoming too efficient for humanity’s own good.

Take Google’s self-driving car, for instance. One neuroscientist recently laid Continue reading

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