August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we looked at how the nationwide shortage of baby formula was poised to continue for months after Abbott Nutrition shut down a Michigan plant in February. An inspector from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a leaking roof in the facility, pools of water on the floor, and cracks in production equipment used to produce the brand Similac. FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf described the conditions as “egregiously unsanitary” while acknowledging that the federal agency should Continue reading

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August 12, 2022

Thousands of workers at Amazon warehouses and Starbucks stores across the country have voted to unionize in recent months, potentially reversing decades of declining union membership in the U.S. This video takes a close look at the history of unions in postwar America, examining the reasons why service industries largely stayed unorganized and how that could change in the coming years. 

Questions:

  1. Why did union membership start to decline in the 1970s and 1980s?
  2. Do you think U.S. legislators Continue reading
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June 15, 2022

In recent years, fashion brands and retailers like H&M, Nike, Amazon and Target have responded to consumer calls for environmental sustainability by following an influential material rating system called the Higg Index. Introduced in 2011 by a group of companies led by Walmart and Patagonia, this metric is intended to help businesses shrink their environmental footprints by eliminating toxic chemicals and cutting down on water usage during production. According to critics, however, the Higg Index strongly recommends the use of Continue reading

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June 10, 2022

Over the last year, Americans have seen prices skyrocket for everything from food to fuel, leading to higher bills and strained budgets. This video looks at how inflation has played out across the economy, from increased costs for consumer staples like meat and eggs to rising rents that are a result of low housing supplies.

Questions:

  1. What long term economic factors have led to increased meat prices in recent months?
  2. How has a lack of housing construction since the 2008 Continue reading
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Since the beginning of the year, parents around the country have struggled to obtain baby formula due to a nationwide shortage. Although Covid-related supply chain snags have contributed to the problem, matters became considerably worse once the formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories instituted a recall in May. The company produces brands like Similac at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which shut down following the recall. Consumers filed formal complaints with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) about infant illnesses, leading to Continue reading

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Although the sunny state of Florida is famous for its acres of orange groves, the last few years have been stormy for citrus growers as they fight against a tree disease that damages their crops. This extensive video looks at how “citrus greening” brought on by an invasive insect has put many Florida growers out of business while others struggle to adapt to this new agricultural reality. 

Questions:

  1. How has citrus greening impacted the Florida orange industry?
  2. What are Continue reading
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April 28, 2022

While Crocs have had their fans since launching in 2002, the clog brand really took off during the pandemic as housebound Americans searched for comfortable indoor shoes. This video looks at how Crocs won over a doubting public thanks to its unique design, customization, and exclusive partnerships with brands and celebrities. 

Questions:

  1. Why did Crocs close its retail stores and move to a distribution model that focused on online sales? How did it benefit from this switch? 
  2. How 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 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 25, 2022

Anyone who’s had to fill up their car lately knows how the cost of gas has shot through the roof in recent weeks. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average price per gallon increased to $4.24 on Monday, the highest rate in more than four decades. Although the inflation-adjusted price does not quite reach the heights of the 1970s energy crisis, consumers must nevertheless deal with the largest month-to-month gas price increases on record. 

Some parts Continue reading

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