November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
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September 5, 2019

In recent years, progressive policymakers have advocated to increase the minimum wage across the nation while other legislators oppose the measure entirely. Along with looking at the reasoning behind both sides, this video also explains how foreign countries deal with the complicated issue of the minimum wage. 

Questions:

  1. How does minimum wage policy in the U.S. differ from other countries?
  2. Should the U.S. develop a minimum wage system that is tied to inflation? Why or why not?
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August 23, 2019

Last Wednesday, the stock market tanked after the yield curve for the bond market became inverted, meaning that interest rates on short-term bonds grew higher than those paid on long-term bonds. The video below takes a look at this complicated concept and explains why the “inverted yield curve” can be a warning sign of a recession. 

Questions:

  1. What is the difference between short-term and long-term bonds? 
  2. Why do investors consider the inverted yield curve to be a potential sign of a recession?
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August 9, 2019

For 106 consecutive months, the U.S. labor market has added jobs. But even though there’s plenty of work to go around, much of it is low-paying since wages have not grown as fast as expected. This video looks at the some of the factors contributing to low wage growth in the U.S., such as automation and the decline of unions. 

Questions:

  1. How has the rise of automation contributed to low wage growth?
  2. Do you think wage growth would be Continue reading
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June 25, 2019

For decades, the New Jersey-based party supply retailer Party City has relied on balloon sales to keep it afloat. Doing so requires a plentiful supply of helium, the second-most abundant element in the universe that is nevertheless increasingly difficult to find on Earth. Due to both supply chain and production problems, companies are currently using up helium at a quicker rate than it can be produced. As a result, the skyrocketing price of helium has begun to spoil the fun Continue reading

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June 20, 2019

In recent months, officials at the Federal Reserve have debated whether or not the institution should do anything to combat rising inflation. This video explains the basics about inflation and what the Fed could potentially do about it.

Questions:

  1. What are some of the potential causes of inflation?
  2. What is the Federal Reserve’s role in managing inflation?
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March 28, 2019

From metal water bottles to sustainable comforters, green-minded companies have created a wealth of options for today’s eco-friendly consumers. But while many of these products are good for the environment, they’re often too expensive to make a big impact on the marketplace. For instance, a startup named LARQ sells a stainless-steel water bottle with an ultraviolet light in the cap that purifies any water poured through it. Although this product is meant to serve as an alternative to $2 plastic Continue reading

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February 7, 2019

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, lovebirds across the nation are running out of time to stock up on romantic gifts like flowers and candy. But while stores should have many of the seasonal items that shoppers are looking for, there’s one iconic Valentine treat that consumers won’t be able to get their hands on. Due to the sudden closing of the Necco candy factory in July, there will be no SweetHearts available this year.

The colorful heart-shaped candies Continue reading

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February 1, 2019

Many years ago, hundreds of delivery men used to criss-cross New York City transporting big bottles of seltzer water directly to customers. As soda and other pre-packaged drinks became popular, however, most of the city’s “seltzer men” began to disappear once demand for their product plummeted. But the old-school seltzer trade isn’t entirely dead in the Big Apple. The video below shows how Brooklyn Seltzer Boys carries on this legacy by combining traditional methods with a new marketing strategy.

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January 29, 2019

From December 22, 2018, up until last Friday, the federal government remained shut down due to a budget dispute between the White House and congressional Democrats. During the course of this 35-day shutdown, thousands of federal employees either worked without pay or were sent home until the government reopened. And according to a new report from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the shutdown cost the U.S. economy an estimated $11 billion.

The report says that most of the lost Continue reading

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