September 7, 2017

iidar-sagdejevLast year we took a close look at how Wells Fargo fostered a culture of fraud that encouraged employees to open unauthorized credit and debit card accounts for customers. Investigators at the time estimated the bank had created more than 1.5 million fraudulent accounts, leading Wells Fargo to fire thousands of employees. Further inquiries from Congress also caused the company to replace managers and roll back executive pay as part of an overhaul of its retail division. The scandal Continue reading

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August 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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August 3, 2017

timrockOver the course of four decades, more than 80,000 people have learned how to become McDonald’s managers on the the leafy grounds of Hamburger University. The company long considered this 86-acre Oak Brook, Illinois, institution to be the perfect place to train employees while also attracting top-level executives. Then last year McDonald’s surprised staff by announcing the company would move its headquarters out of the suburbs and into the West Loop of Chicago.

Located near an “L” train stop and Continue reading

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July 28, 2017

lifegaurd-standWith the fall semester right around the corner, there’s only a few more weeks of freedom left for those lucky students who didn’t have to spend their break in class. Of course, those who managed to avoid summer school may have been working at one of the many seasonal jobs that pop up at this time of year. According to employers, however, these jobs have become increasingly difficult to fill recently. For instance, in the spring business owners located along Continue reading

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June 19, 2017

robert-scobleA few months ago we looked at how increased competition has hurt sales at Whole Foods and slowed its growth in recent years. Faced with the possibility of shutting down stores, CEO John Mackey cleared five people from the board of directors, appointed a new chairwoman, and hired a new CFO. Executives even developed plans to cut costs while also improving operations.

Then suddenly everything changed: last week Amazon announced that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. This Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.

Questions:

 

  1. What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
  2. How have labor Continue reading
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john-edwardsIn 2007 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike for 100 days, bringing much of the entertainment industry to a halt. The action left tens of thousands of workers idled and reportedly cost the Los Angeles economy $2 billion. The writers eventually reached a deal with Hollywood studios and ended a dire situation that neither side wanted to see happen again.  

Ten years later, though, these two groups found themselves at yet another stalemate during Continue reading

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April 27, 2017


bankers-regulatorsThe 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act stands as one of the most complicated pieces of legislation ever devised. The law includes more than 22,000 pages of rules, which is equivalent to about 15 copies of Tolstoy’s epic novel
War and Peace. These guidelines tell banks how much money they must set aside, how they can advertise, what sort of investments they can make, and many other stipulations and requirements.

As you can imagine, keeping track of all those regulations Continue reading

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April 25, 2017

chinese-companiesFor years tech giants like Facebook and Google have tried to set up shop in China only to see their efforts blocked by the country’s restrictive government. In place of these global brands, domestic companies like the search engine Baidu and the social network Weibo have flourished among China’s enormous Internet community. And in an ironic twist, this growing tech sector owes much of its success to the structure and culture of Silicon Valley’s biggest names.

Many Chinese companies are Continue reading

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