July 29, 2022

Consumer confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive as prices climb higher due to rising inflation, potentially indicating that the U.S. is on the road to a recession. This video looks at how the government collects data on consumer confidence while also examining the ways that low economic expectations can further fuel inflation.

Questions:

  1. Why does the government collect data on consumer confidence? What sort of questions do they ask participants?
  2. How can declining consumer confidence potentially drive inflation even higher?
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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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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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October 8, 2021

For weeks, stock markets across the globe have become increasingly volatile as investors await the fate of Evergrande, an enormous Chinese real estate company with more than $300 billion in debt. Analysts predict that the property developer will not be able to pay back what it owes, which would likely have damaging ripple effects across the global economy. The video below looks at Evergrande’s current debt debacle and the possible ways that this situation could be resolved.

Questions:

  1. Why are Continue reading
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October 1, 2021

For months, supply chains across the globe have become highly disrupted due to a multitude of factors related to the pandemic. From closed factories and clogged ports to a shortage of shipping containers, supply chain snags are harming small businesses and could possibly affect the flow of goods during the Christmas season. And in the immediate term, shipping issues are contributing to rising inflation which then leads to price increases, something that has been felt by consumers across Continue reading

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September 10, 2021

Although demand for wine from California’s Napa Valley has never been higher, supply is low across the region after years of drought, wildfires, and then the pandemic disrupted production. This video looks at the inflationary pressures currently weighing on winemakers as they consider whether or not to raise prices on the latest vintages.

Questions:

  1. What inflationary factors are driving winemakers to raise prices on their products?
  2. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages for businesses when they raise prices?
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July 30, 2021

Most people probably don’t think about how bunches of bananas make it from farms in Central America to store shelves in the U.S. That’s certainly not the case at Top Banana, a company that handles more than one million pounds of fruit every week. This long but fascinating video takes a look at how Top Banana ripens and ships an enormous amount of bananas through sophisticated logistical processes. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Top Banana constantly check to ensure that its Continue reading
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Yesterday, we looked at how cost-cutting measures used by rental car companies to survive the pandemic have now led to supply problems that are affecting travelers across the country. But rental cars aren’t the only items that are in short supply these days. For instance, a garden supply store called Valley View Farms experienced record sales of patio furniture in March as customers began to emerge from the extended stays at home. Soon after this boom, though, the Maryland retailer Continue reading

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June 22, 2021

Last month, we looked at how the global shortage of microchips has severely restricted production of everything from video game consoles to dog washing stations. This video examines the manufacturing process for these precious components and explains why semiconductor production cannot be easily increased. 

Questions:

  1. Why is it difficult for manufacturers to speed up production on microchips and semiconductors?
  2. What are some possible solutions for increasing global microchip production?
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