Business

Can Human Beings Understand the Economy?

Pascal Boyer— It is in the nature of human beings that they create societies. Philosophers have known and said that much for millennia. These days, scientists can paint a detailed picture of how evolution by natural selection made us social animals, providing us with those capacities and preferences that makes

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Troubling Signs of a New Financial Crisis

Kathleen Day— No one can predict what or when the next financial crisis will be, but one can spot troubling trends. Policies and practices that contributed to the last crisis—dubbed the Great Recession it was so severe—have started to reappear. Too much debt fuels every financial crisis. So where can

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The Rise of Webcraft

Anne-Marie Slaughter— In 2004, the British think tank Demos published an edited volume on networks that opens: “Networks are the language of our times. Think about alQaeda. The Internet, eBay, Kazaa. The mobile phone, SMS. Think about iron triangles and old school ties, No Logo and DeanforAmerica. Think VISA and

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The Death of Entrepreneurship Is Greatly Exaggerated

Scott A. Shane— We Americans aren’t creating new businesses with employees at the rate we once did. The formation of new employers has fallen below its replacement rate and many policymakers and pundits have become worried. Lesser entrepreneurship would mean a more rigid economy, less able to respond to shocks.

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Why Be an Economist?

Niall Kishtainy— If you study economics at university, you mainly learn about those basic economic principles. They’re powerful and useful but you should use them with care. Some people think they’re not really ‘science’ at all. They say that underneath economists’ equations is a conservative political ideal that says that

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Hunting Mobile Shoppers

Joseph Turow— “Bricks and mortar is dead; long live bricks and mortar!” This was the surprising theme that emerged from the sprawling 2014 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, reported Laura Heller, editor in chief of the online trade magazine FierceRetail. Everybody in retail had previously been emphasizing only the tremendous advantage that

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The Four Horsemen of Capitalist Decline

Fredrik Erixon and Björn Weigel— Now, however, capitalism seems to have lost its founding spirit of enterprise. Four forces that guided the economy from the 1970s assisted in reducing the scope for experimentation and innovation. They are not the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, nor were they all undesirable, but

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Taming the US Shadow Banks

Tamim Bayoumi— US financial reformers faced a fundamentally different issue from those in Europe. Banks in Europe were under a flawed single system. The issues in the United States, on the other hand, centered on the dual nature of the pre-crisis banking system that contained a relatively tightly regulated core and

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Dispelling Myths about Female Gamers

Nick Yee— Gender is a hotly contested topic in gaming. There is a lot of noise and vitriol, but at its core, much of the debate revolves around the shifting demographics of gaming due to its mainstreaming, and the resulting tension over who gets to be a real “gamer” and

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Net Neutrality and The Internet of Things

Philip N. Howard— The internet of things will help bring structure to global politics, but we must work for a structure we want. This is a challenging project, but if we don’t take it on our political lives will become fully structured by algorithms we don’t understand, data flows we

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