In January 1990, McDonald’s made history when the company opened its first location in Moscow, creating a symbol of unity between the U.S. and Russia after decades of tension. “In the history of McDonald’s, it was one of our proudest and most exciting milestones,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “After nearly half a century of Cold War animosity, the image of the Golden Arches shining above Pushkin Square heralded for many, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, the beginning of Continue reading

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Although electricity prices usually tend to increase alongside the temperature, this summer Americans could see their utility bills rise to record levels. The video below explains how climbing natural gas costs have made air conditioning more expensive than ever, a situation made worse by tangled supply chains and the war in Ukraine. 

Questions:

  1. How do rising natural gas prices impact utility costs for consumers?
  2. Do you think utility providers should invest more in renewable energy sources to reduce their Continue reading
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The Covid-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on people’s mental health. The World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent during 2020. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of Americans have recently reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Some patients struggle to book appointments with therapists, however, either because their insurance doesn’t cover their specific needs or because demand for mental health services has skyrocketed. 

“Since Covid, Continue reading

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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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April 19, 2022

As companies continue to face climbing costs, many businesses are responding by either raising prices themselves or reducing the size of their product offerings. But there’s at least one company who hasn’t surrendered to the effects of inflation: 23-ounce cans of AriZona iced tea remain 99 cents, the same price as when they hit the market 30 years ago. So is AriZona somehow immune to recent price increases? Not in the least, considering that the cost of aluminum has Continue reading

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April 15, 2022

As businesses across the globe contend with rising inflation, many companies are cutting costs by reducing the size of consumer goods and hoping buyers don’t notice. This video looks at this growing trend of “shrinkflation” and the risks that companies take when they downsize snacks. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies responding to rising costs with “shrinkflation?” 
  2. What risks do companies take when they alter the packaging or size of consumer goods like snacks?
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April 12, 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2022 consumer prices rose by 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year, amounting to the largest increase since 1981. Not only must businesses contend with pandemic-related supply chain issues that have persisted for well over a year, but also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to spiking fuel and food costs. As a result, inflation continues to rise alongside prices for essential goods like housing, groceries, and gasoline. Continue reading

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April 8, 2022

The e-commerce giant Amazon is the second largest private employer in the U.S., with more than 1 million employees working in fulfillment centers and corporate offices around the country. For years, labor activists have sought to unionize this enormous workforce, but past efforts largely failed to gain traction. That may be starting to change, however, if recent developments at New York’s largest Amazon warehouse are any indication. 

Last week, staff at the JFK8 facility on Staten Island voted 2,654 Continue reading

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April 5, 2022

After the invasion of Ukraine last month, thousands of companies around the world either ceased operations in Russia or started divesting from the aggressor nation. This corporate response to the invasion followed a string of sanctions by governments around the world who intended to deal an economic blow to Russia. But cutting financial ties with the country has also led to some unexpected ripple effects on small businesses as well as multinational companies who must adjust to this complicated situation. Continue reading

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March 11, 2022

Earlier this week, we looked at how some companies faced increasing pressure from consumers to halt their operations in Russia during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. While chains like McDonald’s eventually listened to the outcry and shut down their Russian locations, other companies could not join the “corporate exodus” as easily. Burger King, for instance, has about 800 locations in Russia that are owned by independent franchisees, meaning the company cannot shut them down directly.

But with the eyes of Continue reading

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