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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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 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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January 31, 2017

WilliamMurphyFor years American Apparel seemed poised to become the next big fashion brand. Their simple but bold cotton clothing and suggestive advertisements catapulted the company to a $1 billion valuation in 2007. A decade later, however, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy and sold its assets to a Canadian firm for just $88 million. Along with shuttering its 110 stores, the company also lost its famed garment factory in Los Angeles.

This production facility was one of American Apparel’s best assets Continue reading

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November 1, 2016

MarkOhIn April 2013, more than one thousand Bangladeshi garment workers died when the Rana Plaza building collapsed. Considered to be the deadliest garment factory accident in history, the tragic event led to worldwide condemnation of many Western clothing companies. After all, brands like H&M, Walmart and Zara had long pushed producers in Bangladesh’s growing garment industry to make clothes faster and cheaper. While this allowed retailers to set low prices at their stores, the focus on efficiency forced Bangladesh’s factories Continue reading

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October 25, 2016

MicheleM.FIsraeli entrepreneur Yekutiel Sherman had a great idea for a product: a selfie stick that folded seamlessly into the back of a smartphone’s case. He spent a year carefully designing his idea, producing prototypes and securing small investments from family and friends. By December 2015 Sherman launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to finish funding the item, now called Stikbox. But while the project immediately attracted investors, his popular crowdfunding campaign also caught the attention of Chinese bootleg manufacturers. Within Continue reading

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October 20, 2016

CorttoAccording to a study conducted by the Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade American workers will miss out on two million industrial jobs due to lack of training. For years the Obama administration has tried to close this growing skills gap by promoting German-style apprenticeships that provide on-the-job education for young workers. In Germany roughly half of all high school graduates opt for these intense training programs, not least of all because they are virtually guaranteed employment at the end. Continue reading

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August 29, 2016

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership inches closer to ratification in the U.S. and abroad, the debate surrounding free trade agreements like it has grown more intense. This video takes a look at one of the first of these tariff-eliminating multinational deals, NAFTA, and the ways that it has remained controversial.

Questions:

 

  1. Do free trade deals like NAFTA or TPP provide enough of an economic benefit to justify their potentially negative effects on the U.S. job market?
  2. How do tariffs encourage Continue reading
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As a bit of an antidote to the tragic violence and uncertainty that has dominated recent headlines, this short, fun video looks at the last producer of disco balls in the U.S. and the ways they’re struggling to stay relevant.

 

 

Questions:

  1. Why would you purchase a Kentucky-made disco ball for $125 when one produced in China runs for as little as $30? 
  1. What stage of the product life cycle does the disco ball currently fall under?

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March 14, 2016

In 2005 the website Etsy launched as an online marketplace where artisans across the country could sell their wares. The Brooklyn-based company quickly established itself as a destination for handcrafted items that shoppers wouldn’t find in any stores. As the years progressed Etsy’s army of craft sellers grew into the thousands, with women accounting for a whopping 85 percent of them. The company marked a major milestone in 2012 when it became a certified benefit corporation. By 2015 Etsy’s stock Continue reading

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