Business

The Hidden Hindrance to Innovation

Fredrik Erixon & Björn Weigel— What’s ailing Western economies? They are suffering from multiple problems: declining growth in GDP per capita; a slower pace of productivity and corporate investment growth; a workforce that is generally unhappy with their jobs; and a general reduction of economic opportunity. However, there is one factor that

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The Globalization of the Industrial and Financial Revolutions in the 19th Century

Meghnad Desai— The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed one of the many episodes of globalization. This one was built on the industrial and financial revolutions. The new inventions in transport and communications – railroads, steamships and the introduction of the telegraph – had connected the many parts of

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The Struggle to Define Strong Sustainability

Dieter Helm— The trouble with strong sustainability is that it contains very little by way of guidance as to what we should do, except ‘preserve everything’. It is in essence the claim that natural capital should be regarded as non-substitutable, and hence, following Eric Neumayer, strong sustainability can be called

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Piracy’s Impact on the Creative Class

Scott Timberg— When you ask people why they steal music, or why they don’t care about the collapse of the record industry, the more informed ones talk about the decadence of the labels themselves. Lowery, who teaches a course on the economics of music at the University of Georgia’s business school,

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The World’s First Corporations

It is commonly believed that the first corporations were English and Dutch trading corporations from the 1600s. But Germain Sicard, in an overlooked 1952 thesis, argued that the first corporations arose much earlier, in mills from the 1300s in Toulouse, France. His landmark research brings these mills to life and

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Do Workers Deserve Wages Sufficient to Live On?

Joseph William Singer— Should we raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour? Those who say yes seek wages sufficient to sustain workers; those who say no argue that this will increase business costs, leading to layoffs of the very people we are trying to help. Would an increase help

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Léon Blum and the Forty-Hour Workweek

Pierre Birnbaum— On June 21st, 1936, following the June 7th signing of the Matignon Agreements, the Popular Front government voted in the forty-hour workweek. They were led by Léon Blum, who had triumphed in the May 1936 elections. The law was a real revolution, a reconsideration of labor conditions for

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Technology and Wages: A Conversation with James Bessen

James Bessen is an economist and lecturer at Boston University Law School. He is the author of Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth. In a recent conversation, we had the chance to talk about the effect technology has on wages and job availability. Yale University Press: In your

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This Is Your Milk on Coke

Coca-Cola was bottled and sold for the first time on March 12, 1894. Since then, the soft drink company has undergone a striking number of changes and expansions: new flavors, new containers, new markets, and new industries. Despite the company’s varied history, Coke’s newest venture, Fairlife milk, might still surprise

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Remembering the Flint Sit-Down Strike

Julius Getman— February 11 is a date with special significance for union leaders, members, and supporters. On that date in 1937, the General Motors Flint facility ended its sit-down strike with a dynamic and long-lasting union victory. General Motors was forced to recognize and bargain with the UAW—something it vowed not

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