The Week: Most Recent Business Postshttp://theweek.com/section/index/businessMost recent posts.en-usTue, 21 Oct 2014 06:17:00 -0400http://theweek.comhttp://theweek.com/images/logo_theweek.pngMost Recent Business Posts from THE WEEKTue, 21 Oct 2014 06:17:00 -0400Paul Krugman, Amazon, and the left's backwards view of book-industry titanshttp://theweek.com/article/index/270263/paul-krugman-amazon-and-the-lefts-backwards-view-of-book-industry-titanshttp://theweek.com/article/index/270263/paul-krugman-amazon-and-the-lefts-backwards-view-of-book-industry-titans<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0127/63573_article_main/w/240/h/300/amazon-actually-helps-small-publishers-find-readers.jpg?209" /></P><p>More and more, Paul Krugman is turning into a caricature of himself.</p><p>The Nobel Prize&ndash;winning <em>New York Times</em> columnist wrote an op-ed this week arguing that Amazon wields a dangerous amount of clout, using Amazon's dispute over book prices with Hachette publishing group as his prime evidence. Amazon "has too much power," Krugman writes, "and it uses that power in ways that hurt America." Krugman compares Amazon to the Big Oil robber barons of a century ago, arguing that no matter how much customers love Amazon, the e-tail giant is bad.</p><p >...Amazon's defenders often digress into paeans to online...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270263/paul-krugman-amazon-and-the-lefts-backwards-view-of-book-industry-titans">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:17:00 -0400The main reason markets are jittery? The future looks gloomier than it did before.http://theweek.com/article/index/269977/the-main-reason-markets-are-jittery-the-future-looks-gloomier-than-it-did-beforehttp://theweek.com/article/index/269977/the-main-reason-markets-are-jittery-the-future-looks-gloomier-than-it-did-before<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63463_article_main/w/240/h/300/christine-lagarde-and-the-imf-presented-a-sobering-report.jpg?209" /></P><p><br /></p><p>After a relatively benign period, market upheaval has returned. The main stock market indices fell last week across Asia, Europe and the U.S., while safe-haven assets like gold have been on the rise. This followed a slow drip of bad economic news, not least the sharp fall in German industrial output in August. More recent was the latest "World Economic Outlook" by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which makes sober reading.</p><p>The agency has downgraded the forecasts for global growth that it made in April and July. Lurking in the background is an underlying global debt problem: the slow, costly...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/269977/the-main-reason-markets-are-jittery-the-future-looks-gloomier-than-it-did-before">More</a>By Sayantan GhosalMon, 20 Oct 2014 09:05:00 -0400Personal finance tips: A warmer, less-expensive winter, and morehttp://theweek.com/article/index/270036/personal-finance-tips-a-warmer-less-expensive-winter-and-morehttp://theweek.com/article/index/270036/personal-finance-tips-a-warmer-less-expensive-winter-and-more<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63492_article_main/w/240/h/300/you-could-be-cranking-the-thermostat-up-a-lot-less-this-winter.jpg?209" /></P><p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1"> Preparing for higher interest rates<br /></span></strong>The balmy climate for bond investors is "about to get chillier," said Jonathan Burton at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. The Federal Reserve is signaling that the benchmark federal funds rate, currently near zero, will soon begin to rise and could approach 4 percent by the end of 2017. As a result, bondholders should "adjust their portfolios &mdash; and expectations." Experts say investors should keep a close eye on the pace of the rate increases. "Fast and furious will damage bond portfolios more than slow and steady." The good news is that the Fed has hinted any rate...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270036/personal-finance-tips-a-warmer-less-expensive-winter-and-more">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:17:00 -0400Open source the CBO!http://theweek.com/article/index/270162/open-source-the-cbohttp://theweek.com/article/index/270162/open-source-the-cbo<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0127/63547_article_main/w/240/h/300/let-us-in.jpg?209" /></P><p>The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as a nonpartisan group tasked with producing "scores" (a sort of predictive economic analysis) of the macroeconomic and budget impact of congressional bills, is one of the most politically important parts of our government.</p><p>All politicians rely on CBO scores to trumpet the cost benefits of their own bills or to lacerate their opponents over deficit-expanding price tags. CBO scores get cited in the media as gospel, and they can powerfully shape legislation and its chances of becoming law. For example, an enormous part of the ObamaCare debate was devoted to...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270162/open-source-the-cbo">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:05:00 -0400Is Amazon a monopoly?http://theweek.com/article/index/270041/is-amazon-a-monopolyhttp://theweek.com/article/index/270041/is-amazon-a-monopoly<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0127/63503_article_main/w/240/h/300/jeff-bezos-company-has-made-some-pretty-serious-power-grabs.jpg?209" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Amazon must be stopped, said Franklin Foer at <em>New Republic</em>. It's easy to be "seduced by the deep discounts, the monthly automatic diaper delivery, [and] the ability to buy shoes or books or pinto beans or a toilet all from the same place." But the e-retail giant "has achieved a level of dominance that merits the application of a very old label: monopoly." To be sure, internet-age monopolies like Amazon are "a different species" from predecessors like U.S. Steel or Ma Bell, particularly since Amazon's intention isn't to saddle customers with higher prices. Instead, in its "pursuit of bigness," the...</span></p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270041/is-amazon-a-monopoly">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0400The economic case for keeping the minimum wage at $7.25http://theweek.com/article/index/269895/the-economic-case-for-keeping-the-minimum-wage-at-725http://theweek.com/article/index/269895/the-economic-case-for-keeping-the-minimum-wage-at-725<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63499_article_main/w/240/h/300/minimum-wage-jobs-arenrsquot-the-problem-the-anemic-economic-recovery-is.jpg?209" /></P><p>Economics often gets a bad rap. It has been derisively branded "the dismal science." Economists are accused, like the local weatherman, of always being wrong. Yet, the study of economics is simply the study of human nature and humans' reactions within the context of a market economy. And if more policy makers and voters truly understood the fundamentals of economics, they might find themselves on the other side of the now-popular argument to raise the minimum wage.</p><p>Liberals employ a raft of studies and some specious arguments to back up their minimum-wage-raising stance, touting them as proof...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/269895/the-economic-case-for-keeping-the-minimum-wage-at-725">More</a>By Jay HansenFri, 17 Oct 2014 14:00:00 -0400How to get America to full employment -- and fasthttp://theweek.com/article/index/270019/how-to-get-america-to-full-employment--and-fasthttp://theweek.com/article/index/270019/how-to-get-america-to-full-employment--and-fast<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63483_article_main/w/240/h/300/printing-money-good-what-youve-been-doing-with-it-meh.jpg?209" /></P><p>Monetary policy is one of the most important aspects of our world. It is also among the most misunderstood.</p><p>This is not some esoteric lesson. Few things matter more than monetary policy. For instance, more than 70 years after the Great Depression, it is commonly agreed upon by economic historians that disaster could have been avoided if the U.S. Federal Reserve had known what it was doing in the wake of the 1929 Wall Street crash. And many historians think that without the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler would not have happened. Oops.</p><p>Monetary policy matters a lot (it can drive up inequality...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270019/how-to-get-america-to-full-employment--and-fast">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:11:00 -0400Ban PowerPoint!http://theweek.com/article/index/269985/ban-powerpointhttp://theweek.com/article/index/269985/ban-powerpoint<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63469_article_main/w/240/h/300/no-more.jpg?209" /></P><p>PowerPoint just might be the single biggest drag on productivity and clear thinking in corporate America today.</p><p>Let me explain.</p><p>PowerPoint has become the lingua franca of the corporate world. Inside many companies, if you want to say or ask something, you have to produce a PowerPoint. (I use PowerPoint as a generic term for slide presentations &mdash; maybe your company uses another piece of software, though I doubt it.) In many places, PowerPoint is a deliverable. Consulting firms sell PowerPoint decks &mdash; sometimes literally.</p><p>The problems with PowerPoint are numerous: It puts the standard...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/269985/ban-powerpoint">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:35:00 -0400Obama is siding with Amazon at the Supreme Court. It's both illogical and inhumane.http://theweek.com/article/index/269870/obama-is-siding-with-amazon-at-the-supreme-court-its-both-illogical-and-inhumanehttp://theweek.com/article/index/269870/obama-is-siding-with-amazon-at-the-supreme-court-its-both-illogical-and-inhumane<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63414_article_main/w/240/h/300/amazons-warehouse-workers-may-find-themselves-hard-pressed-for-support.jpg?209" /></P><p>Working in an Amazon warehouse is physically demanding. It generally doesn't pay much. And yet the company has tried to squeeze even more uncompensated time from its employees, according to workers involved in a case that was heard by the Supreme Court last week.</p><p>Not surprisingly, the very pro-business Supreme Court appears likely to take the company's side. But what is surprising &mdash; and dismaying &mdash; is that the Obama administration's Department of Labor is siding against the workers, too.</p><p>The case, <em>Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, </em>concerns a lawsuit filed against a temp agency...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/269870/obama-is-siding-with-amazon-at-the-supreme-court-its-both-illogical-and-inhumane">More</a>By <a href="/author/scott-lemieux" ><span class="byline">Scott Lemieux</span></a>Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:08:00 -0400Why the U.S. needs to ban work email after hourshttp://theweek.com/article/index/269536/why-the-us-needs-to-ban-work-email-after-hourshttp://theweek.com/article/index/269536/why-the-us-needs-to-ban-work-email-after-hours<img src="https://7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net/807E8C/origin.theweek.com/img/dir_0126/63303_article_main/w/240/h/300/step-away-from-the-digital-desk-gentlemen.jpg?209" /></P><p><br /></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-ffc11e09-ecfc-6021-2dd1-34e2a0c46884">When I was living in </span>New York City this past summer working at a media company, two things would keep me awake way past my bedtime: The suffocating summer heat that makes you feel like you're being wrapped in a hot, wet blanket at all times, and the gentle buzz of my phone announcing that at least 50 emails waited for me by the time I woke up.</p><p dir="ltr">The freelance and publishing world is one that rarely sleeps, seeing as most websites operate on a 18-hour work schedule to be inclusive of all time zones of the United States. But being constantly plugged into our work allows little time to creatively...</p> <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/269536/why-the-us-needs-to-ban-work-email-after-hours">More</a>By Shawn BinderTue, 14 Oct 2014 09:04:00 -0400