September 29, 2017

Last week Apple released the iPhone 8, the latest version of its iconic smartphone. The company’s flagship product has brought in billions upon billions of dollars over the years, prompting some to wonder why Apple doesn’t move iPhone production to the U.S. After all, it could definitely afford the increased labor costs that comes with doing business domestically. But as this video shows, looking after the bottom line is far from the only reason why Apple keeps its manufacturing operations Continue reading

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September 15, 2017

In the 17th century citizens of the Netherlands enjoyed an historic era of art and prosperity known as the Dutch Golden Age. Wealthy merchants spent lavishly on all sorts of luxuries, including a new flower imported from Turkey called the tulip. Demand for tulips reached incredible heights until the bottom suddenly fell out of the market. This short video looks at what many economists consider to be the first market bubble to burst.

Questions:

  1. How does the Dutch tulip craze Continue reading
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September 1, 2017

Along with being one of the most groundbreaking trade pacts in history, the North American Free Trade Agreement is also considerably controversial. NAFTA has especially faced criticism recently, leading representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet and discuss the future of the deal. This video looks at how NAFTA currently impacts supply chains in North America and how changes to the agreement could affect commerce.

Questions:

  1. What do American opponents of NAFTA want to change about the deal? Continue reading
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August 17, 2017

momoneympproblemzAfter its founding in 1892, General Electric spent decades growing into one of the country’s most successful companies. It continued to expand in the years following World War II, only this time GE began thinking globally rather than domestically. The company built its first international supply chains by establishing manufacturing centers in industrialized nations like France and Japan. By the 1990s GE moved on to developing economies like India and China where the company could produce items like jet engines Continue reading

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August 8, 2017

popcornLast week we looked at how Netflix has loaded on debt while developing a new slate of original content. Although the streaming giant is taking a big risk with this strategy, many entertainment industry insiders still think Netflix is in a much stronger position than traditional movie theaters. With attendance down 3 percent from 2016, AMC Entertainment recently downgraded its outlook for the rest of the film industry’s year. The announcement sent theater stocks tumbling and caused the top four Continue reading

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July 14, 2017

edwin-leeThis week we’ve taken a look at the effect mobile technology has had on Chinese businesses, both for better and worse. Of course, China is far from the only Asian nation to undergo drastic changes thanks to the rise of smartphones. From India to Indonesia, mobile technology has altered the ways that both consumers and businesspeople go about their lives. Still, perhaps no other place on the continent has been as fundamentally changed by smartphones as the country of Continue reading

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June 29, 2017

Christiaan-ColenOn Tuesday Roman Klimenko headed into his Kiev accounting office for work just like he does every day. A few hours after he opened his tax preparation software, however, something went horribly wrong. “The screen became red,” said Klimenko. “A warning appeared, and everything on the hard drive was scrambled.” In a matter of moments he lost all of his filings from last year.

This same situation played out across tens of thousands of Ukrainian computers in that same instant. 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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June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

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June 13, 2017

slgckgc-kitkatKitKats first landed in U.K. candy stores in 1935 and the four-fingered bars quickly became a hit. By the 1970s the crunchy chocolate candy had grown from a popular British treat into a worldwide hit. Nestle purchased KitKat in 1988 and solidified the candy bar’s position as a global brand. KitKat has changed little over the course of this long history, retaining its signature four-fingers of chocolate that “break off” with a satisfying snap.

But according to a recent ruling Continue reading

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