April 2, 2020

After a long debate, last week legislators finally approved and signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package that provides much needed economic relief during this unprecedented health crisis. The video below looks at how the money will be allocated to companies and the logistics behind expanded unemployment benefits as well as a $1,200 stimulus payment to American adults. 

Questions:

  1. What sort of restrictions does the stimulus package place upon companies that accept government relief?
  2. Do you think this Continue reading
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March 17, 2020

Fears over the spread of coronavirus have upended daily life for millions of Americans and countless businesses. The CDC has recommended that organizations cancel any events with 50 or more people, and restaurants around the country are either switching to take-out only or closing entirely. As a result of the uncertainty surrounding this health crisis, financial markets around the globe are experiencing near-record drops in value. In fact, on Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by about 3,000 points, Continue reading

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March 12, 2020

Yesterday, the World Health Organization officially classified coronavirus as a pandemic, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plummet by nearly 1,500 points. This rapid decline in the market has reversed more than a decade of expansion for the U.S. economy while companies around the world suffer from border closures and shutdowns. As a result, employees in many struggling industries are facing layoffs as business as usual grinds to a halt. 

For instance, the Port of Los Angeles has Continue reading

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February 28, 2020

Stock markets around the world have been falling dramatically all week due to fears surrounding the spread of the coronavirus. If global exchanges continue with this cycle of massive selloffs today, then the past week could represent the biggest stock market drop since the height of the 2008 financial crisis. And it’s not looking too good so far: “We’re drinking from a fireman’s hose this morning,” said Patrick Spencer, managing director at the investment firm Baird. “It wasn’t a good Continue reading

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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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