The Week: Most Recent Business Posts recent posts.en-usSat, 22 Nov 2014 08:00:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Business Posts from THE WEEKSat, 22 Nov 2014 08:00:00 -0500Dissecting Amazon and Hachette's new chapter<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Amazon and Hachette are "burying the hatchet," said Shannon Bond at the <em>Financial Times</em>. The Internet retailer and the book publisher ended their "protracted, costly, and very public fight" last week, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Since May, the two have been locked in a war over e-book pricing and profit sharing. Hachette, the fourth-biggest U.S. publisher with authors including J.K. Rowling, Donna Tartt, and Malcolm Gladwell, wanted to retain the ability to set its own e-book prices; Amazon, which sells two-thirds of all digital books, wanted e-books priced at $9.99 or less. When...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:00:00 -0500Why you should be getting ready to ask for a raise<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The October jobs report released Nov. 7 was met with a lukewarm response. Payroll gains totaled 214,000 jobs, down from the 240,000 average of the last five months. The average workweek was slightly longer. Wage pressure remains tepid, running at a 2 percent annual rate.</p><p>But the big news was that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent &mdash; returning to a level not seen since July 2008. Much this decline has been driven by folks dropping out of the workforce, pushing the employment-to-population ratio to levels not seen since the early 1980s (although it's been improving slightly lately...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Anthony MirhaydariWed, 19 Nov 2014 16:48:00 -0500How to rescue the American family and fix the broken school system in one fell swoop<img src="" /></P><p>Nowadays, Elizabeth Warren mostly gets talked about as a potential progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton's inevitable Democratic coronation. But it's often ill-remembered that for most her life, she was an academic. One of her most fascinating works is her book <em>The Two Income Trap.</em><br /><br />A lot of people have probably heard of the phenomenon of the two-income trap, but it's not discussed enough. This is the basic idea: financially, having both parents in a family seems like a no-brainer &mdash; it brings in more money. But it can actually become a trap if the costs involved in having both parents...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:15:00 -0500The Federal Reserve's independence is dangerous, undemocratic, and a boon to Wall Street<img src="" /></P><p>A few months ago, a former employee at the secretive Federal Reserve Bank of New York named Carmen Segarra came forward and blew a big fat whistle. She alleged that she had witnessed regulators, and specifically her boss Mike Silva, act unethically and deferentially towards an entity they were supposed to regulate, Goldman Sachs.</p><p>The specifics of the allegation were as follows. Silva had allowed Goldman to do a deal with the Spanish banking giant Santander, a deal which amounted to being paid to help Santander manipulate accounting standards. Goldman had received $40 million to hold some Santander...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Matt StollerWed, 19 Nov 2014 06:06:00 -0500U.S. public health advocates are worried about a historic trade deal with Asia<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>In the expensive briar patch that is American health care, generic drugs have been key to keeping costs down. But intellectual property provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership, set to be the largest free trade deal ever and the subject of intense speculation since 2005, have public health advocates concerned about the fate of this key component of affordable health care, not only in the U.S., but worldwide.</p><p>The White House believes that the TPP will be beneficial for America's economic and political presence in Asia. Others are worried that the twelve negotiating Pacific nations, from the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Ariel BogleMon, 17 Nov 2014 07:50:00 -0500Personal finance tips: Beware of power-sucking appliances, and more<img src="" /></P><p><strong> A very early 529 gift</strong><br />Why wait until a child is born to start a 529 college savings plan? asked Peter S. Green at <em>The Wall Street Journal.</em> Anyone hoping to become a grandparent one day can open a 529 to "get the savings ball rolling early." A future grandparent who designates the beneficiary as the future parent can contribute as much as $70,000 in a single year tax free (equal to five years' worth of contributions at $14,000). When the infant arrives, the account can be transferred into his or her name. Starting early has major benefits: A 529 plan opened with an initial gift of $14,000, five...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:09:00 -0500The great wage slowdown<img src="" /></P><p>The labor market may finally be hitting its stride, said Eric Morath at <em>The Wall Street Journal.</em> October marked the 49th straight month of U.S. job growth, the "longest stretch of job creation since at least World War II." Employers added 214,000 new jobs to their payrolls, and August and September's jobs numbers were revised up, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.8 percent, "closer to a level many economists consider healthy." The size of the labor force grew as well, said Matt O'Brien at <em>The Washington Post,</em> "which means that unemployment fell for the good reason that people were finding...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:00:00 -05006 questions about company culture you should ask in the interview<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>After hours spent meticulously fine-tuning your cover letter and r&eacute;sum&eacute;, you've finally scored an elusive interview with the employer of your dreams.</p><p>At least, that's what you <em>think</em>.</p><p>In our eagerness to impress hiring managers and potential future bosses, many of us come fully prepared to sell ourselves in a job interview &mdash; but neglect to ask key questions of our own. You know, the kind that can help reveal if it really is a dream to work at a given company.</p><p>"Most of us go into an interview like we would a beauty pageant, where we sit there feeling judged," says Suzanne...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Meghan RabbittTue, 11 Nov 2014 14:10:00 -05004 things your boss will never tell you about getting a raise or promotion<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p> </p><p><strong>1. Stop thinking doing a good job is the most important thing</strong></p><p>Hard work isn't all it's cracked up to be. Performance is only <em>loosely</em> tied to who succeeds:</p><p>Via Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer's book <em>Power</em>:</p><p >The data shows that performance doesn't matter that much for what happens to most people in most organizations. That includes the effect of your accomplishments on those ubiquitous performance evaluations and even on your job tenure and promotion prospects. [</span><em>Power</em><span>]</p><p>Research shows being liked affects performance reviews more than actual performance:</p><p >In an experimental...</p></span> <a href="">More</a>By Eric BarkerTue, 11 Nov 2014 08:55:00 -0500The case for revisiting ethics in the dismal science<img src="" /></P><p>The ethical business gets a bad rap in economics. While in the real world, people flock to Tom's Shoes for its social mission, in economics, the company's ethics are found in its profit margin.</p><p>I blame Milton Friedman's "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits." Though more nuanced than the title suggests, Friedman's article is what got "greed is good" started. In his conclusion, Friedman says that a business' only social responsibility is "to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits." It's a compellingly simple idea, but it rests on...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Adam GurriTue, 11 Nov 2014 08:41:00 -0500