March 10, 2020

Last week we looked at how fears over coronavirus have caused major events to cancel and governments to restrict travel. Since then, organizers of South By Southwest have called off the festival while Italy has expanded emergency measures for the entire country. That means no public gatherings will be allowed in the Mediterranean nation along with a general ban on travel for all citizens unless they receive special permission. This global escalation of tensions surrounding the Covid-19 virus has Continue reading

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February 11, 2020

A few weeks ago, the coronavirus outbreak in China caused countless businesses to shutter as the government also restricted travel throughout the country. Many companies announced plans to stay closed during an extended Lunar New Year holiday, which was supposed to end yesterday. But with many workers still unable to leave their hometowns, a number of manufacturers are pushing that date back. Volkswagen, for instance, will only reopen some of its plants in about a week due to complications with Continue reading

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January 31, 2020

Last week, the world learned that a deadly, fast-moving disease called the coronavirus had appeared in several Chinese cities. The mysterious illness has already killed more than a hundred people and infected thousands more, leading the World Health Organization to declare the coronavirus a global health emergency. Despite its potentially worldwide implications, though, right now the disease is primarily localized in China. Along with placing entire cities on quarantine, Chinese authorities have also extended the annual Lunar New Year holiday Continue reading

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January 14, 2020

Although milk was a staple of the American diet throughout the 20th century, today’s consumers don’t drink nearly as much of it as they did in the past. In 2018 Americans each drank an average of 146 pounds of fluid milk, a category that includes everything from skim milk to heavy cream. While that’s still quite a lot of dairy, it also represents a 26 percent decrease in consumption since 2000. Along with this declining demand, milk companies have also Continue reading

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November 12, 2019

Major conglomerates like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark and Georgia-Pacific earn more than $31 billion annually from toilet paper sales. But while this industry is certainly lucrative, it’s not exactly innovative. After all, one of the few significant developments these companies have made in recent decades is to sell larger rolls. Brands such as Charmin and Quilted Northern treat their products like commodities, meaning that they compete primarily based on price. By concentrating on value, the biggest names in toilet Continue reading

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October 24, 2019

This in-depth video explains how stock buybacks work and why they have possibly contributed to rising income inequality over the years. Along with providing a detailed history of this controversial practice, the video also takes a close look at the closing of GM’s factory in Lordstown, Ohio. 

Questions:

  1. Do you think lawmakers should pass regulations against corporate stock buybacks? Why or why not?
  2. How did the closing of GM’s Lordstown factory affect the community as a whole?
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September 27, 2019

Baking bread is a difficult enterprise under the best circumstances, but baking on an industrial scale is so complicated that only a few long-standing companies have truly mastered it. At the same time, the products made by brands like Wonder Bread are often packed with chemicals that many health-conscious consumers want to avoid. That’s where La Boulange comes in, a San Francisco bakery that runs 24 hours a day and operates like a factory. The video below shows how La Continue reading

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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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April 2, 2019

In 2016 a majority of U.K. voters chose to leave the European Union, a controversial decision that led to years of confusion and infighting among lawmakers. In fact, British officials were supposed to have all the details of “Brexit” hammered out by March 29, 2019. They missed that deadline, of course, and unfortunately aren’t any closer to brokering a deal to leave the European economic community. Now the nation faces the risk of crashing out of the EU with no Continue reading

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March 5, 2019

A few weeks ago, PepsiCo announced the annual results of what turned out to be a very profitable year. The beverage and snack giant saw revenues increase 1.8 percent to a whopping $64.4 billion, resulting in a profit of $12.6 billion. On top of this 158 percent increase in annual profit, Pepsi also predicted organic growth at a rate of 4 percent for the coming fiscal year.

But while the company had plenty of good news in store for investors, Continue reading

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