April 21, 2022

Before the pandemic, enormous shipping vessels bound for the West Coast of the U.S. from Asia usually took the same predictable and profitable voyages. After docking in either the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the ships would unload their cargo and then head up north to Oakland, where they stocked up on agricultural goods from California’s expansive farmland. This cargo would ultimately end up in markets around the world after journeying across the Pacific and disembarking in Southeast Continue reading

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March 17, 2022

With inflation rising to its highest levels in 40 years, the Federal Reserve plans to take action by raising interest rates in an effort to get the money supply under control. This video looks at the ways the Fed guides the economy by influencing the federal funds rate, which then affects everything from banking policies to the housing market. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the Fed planning to raise the federal funds rate?
  2. How does the federal funds rate eventually affect Continue reading
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February 25, 2022

In theory, overdraft fees charged by banks are meant to be a “convenience” for customers so that their purchases are not declined when they are unknowingly low on funds. In practice, however, these fees have become a major revenue generator for banks that charge an average of $33.58 for each overdraft. That means consumers can be hit with multiple fees if they accidentally make numerous purchases while past the limits of their account. Studies show that this practice particularly harms Continue reading

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February 1, 2022

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government passed the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to provide money for payroll expenses that had been lost during the nationwide shutdowns. The initiative offered companies with 500 or fewer workers low-interest loans of up to $10 million to cover about two months of payroll. With unemployment soaring at the time, the idea was to bring relief to struggling employees while simultaneously giving businesses more breathing room on Continue reading

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January 11, 2022

For decades, Hollywood studios and movie exhibitors abided by the law of the “theatrical window,” the period of time where a film could only be seen in theaters. This window steadily shrank over the years as home video and streaming gained dominance until it was almost obliterated in 2020 as theaters shut down for the pandemic. The fascinating video below looks at the ways that coronavirus changed domestic movie distribution and how theaters could still have a profitable future ahead Continue reading

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November 2, 2021

As debates in Washington about raising the debt ceiling once again make the news, this video provides a comprehensive and straightforward explanation of the U.S. national debt. Along with examining the sale of government bonds, the video also considers whether or not the country should retain the debt limit. 

Questions:

  1. How does the sale of bonds benefit both investors and the government? 
  2. Do you think the U.S. should continue to maintain a debt limit? Why or why not?
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September 15, 2021

Over the last year, Apple has been engaged in a legal battle with Epic Games, the software developer behind the blockbuster video game Fortnite. The company sued Apple after the tech giant removed the mobile version of Fornite from its App Store, alleging that Epic encouraged customers to purchase the game on different platforms. Apple claimed that this prevented it from collecting the commission it earns on every sale through the App Store, which Epic then accused of being anti-competitive Continue reading

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September 3, 2021

It’s a scenario that plenty of fast food fans have faced before: they pull up to the drive-thru speaker at McDonald’s and ask for their favorite frozen treat, only to hear the reply, “Sorry, but the machine is broken right now.” Responsible for about 60 percent of the chain’s desserts, the McFlurry machine is a vital asset for Golden Arches franchises across the country, even though their unreliability has become something of a running joke. Along with serving as the Continue reading

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August 20, 2021

This week, T-Mobile announced that hackers obtained the personal information of millions of customers in a ransomware attack. While the telecommunications giant said that 40 million users had their data compromised, the thieves themselves claimed they made off with information from more than 100 million people. This includes customers’ names, phone numbers, and addresses as well as other sensitive data such as social security numbers, drivers license information, and PIN numbers.

T-Mobile added that no passwords or account numbers were Continue reading

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August 17, 2021

The economic disruptions of the past year and a half caused small businesses to lose an average of 11 percent of their revenues. This was not the case for the globe’s big corporations, though. According to a McKinsey study of 5,500 “big, highly productive” U.S. and European companies, all surveyed firms reported that they experienced no declines in sales during the pandemic.

Although large companies had already been overtaking their smaller rivals before 2020, economists say that the pandemic widened Continue reading

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