Brazil’s Technology Expansion

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The depreciation of the Brazilian real, which is the worst-performing major currency this year, may be helping reignite economic growth in Brazil after a “weak” first quarter of 2012. Economic growth in Brazil, the world’s sixth biggest economy, has been recovering more slowly than anticipated even as the government steps up interest rate cuts and… Read more »

Remember Driver’s Ed? Things have Changed!

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Mercedes-Benz has long been at the forefront of creating safer cars and now they are aiming to create safer drivers. In December 2011, the company opened the its first driving school in the U.S. called Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. Mercedes has three more in Europe). This school is located on Third Street in downtown Los Angeles…. Read more »

Salute to Tax Day

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According to Adam Davidson (et. al), if economists ran the tax system, there would be virtually no exemptions or loopholes. But instead, he submits, businesses, rich people, Congressmen and attorneys spend a shockingly large amount of time lobbying for tax breaks or exploiting the loopholes that exist. The tax code in 1913 was 27 pages… Read more »

Fed Up with Scorched-Earth Tactics

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A lot of people and companies are upset with Amazon these days. At the end of February, The Educational Development Company (EDC) announced that it would remove all of its titles from the online retailer’s listings because of their predator selling practices. Amazon would buy EDC’s books from a distributor and discount them to the… Read more »

The Economic Downturn Hits J.C. Penney’s Hard

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About 600 employees were laid off at the corporate headquarters of J.C. Penney this week. Under the leadership of the new CEO, Ron Johnson, one of its three call centers in Pittsburgh, PA, will also be closed later this year, which eliminates 300 more jobs. Questions: 1. What type of business is J.C. Penney? Research… Read more »

Copyright Infringement?

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On Wednesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to throw out a five-year old lawsuit asking for $1 billion and filed against YouTube by Viacom, as well as other media companies. This copyright infringement suit has become a symbol of the clash between media companies and those competing with them,… Read more »

Budget Cut Alternatives?

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For generations, community colleges have been seen as a low cost education for many. However, starting this summer, Santa Monica College is going to offer courses that are typically hard to enroll in (due to greater demand and the lack of student seats) at a premium price structure. This two-tiered price structure is raising concerns… Read more »

I Know Where You Live and I Know What you Donated Last Summer!

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No, it’s not a new horror flick, but it is scary. As private schools, like Upper East Side preschool hit the upper limits of what they can charge for tuition (or $21,000 per year), fund raising has become more intense and aggressive. In fact, the “development offices” for these schools are mining online data for… Read more »

Here comes Scoot!

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Singapore Airlines’ wholly-owned budget carrier Scoot will begin flights into China, with flights between Singapore and Tianjin during August. Two more Chinese destinations are also being considered, but the capital of Beijing is not one of them. Questions: 1. How much is S$88 in U.S. dollars? How does this compare to the fares offered by… Read more »

Big News at Amazon: Fulfillment Robots

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Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc for $775 million in cash, a deal that will bring more robotic technology to the e-commerce company’s giant network of warehouses. Questions: 1. What other companies use this kind of robot technology? 2. Discuss the trend of Amazon’s fulfillment costs and what they… Read more »