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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February 8, 2019

Sorry, candy lovers, but today we’ve got more bad news. Not only will millions of Americans soon be forced to spend Valentine’s Day without their SweetHearts, but there’s also something wrong with the nation’s supply of Hershey’s Kisses. While the chocolate treats will still be available for next week’s big day, they’ll be missing one of their most distinctive features: the tips. Since December consumers have been puzzled by the tips’ absence, fearing that Hershey had changed the candy’s Continue reading

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January 31, 2019

Over the last few decades, the technological capabilities of American companies have increased significantly with each passing year. In fact, the trade group CompTIA expects global spending on information technology (IT) to increase by more than $200 billion in 2019, which would put total IT spending for the year over the $5 trillion mark. Unlike in the past, though, many of today’s companies are focused on using the tech currently at their disposal rather than searching for the “next big Continue reading

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December 11, 2018

For most of the 20th century, the AM radio band served as the country’s main source for mass media. And while broadcasters eventually moved on to higher quality options like FM and satellite radio, the AM dial remains packed with all sorts of talk, sports, and music programs. And just like in the early days, anybody can tune in as long as they own a radio. That is unless you want to listen while riding in your Tesla or Chevrolet Continue reading

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September 21, 2018

Depending on which way you look at it, the rise of automated labor in the workplace can serve as either a source of optimism or anxiety. On the pro side of the argument, robotic workers will be highly efficient and more willing to perform monotonous tasks than their human counterparts. Of course, matters of “efficiency” don’t mean much to people who could lose their jobs because of automation. And according to a new study published by the World Economic Forum, Continue reading

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