Economics Stories & News

mother on laptop with dog and child

How to Successfully Lead an Effective Team of Newly Remote Workers

COVID-19 is forcing us to make organizational adjustments that are outside of the comfort zone for some. Although it’s been reported that 43 percent of employees work remotely with some frequency, leading a team of employees from afar can feel daunting, especially if those employees are new to working from home. 

Forgive us our debts?

A trendy idea circulating on the political left is student-loan debt forgiveness. For some graduates and non-graduates, student loans are, indeed, onerous.

The proponents are missing a fundamental ethical issue that business majors, in particular, should understand: YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT. Students and their parents sign contracts for student loans. The interest rates are often subsidized, and, in any event, given the Federal Reserve’s ongoing policy of keeping interest rates low, the terms are probably no more onerous than in the past.

Foreign gold coin

Wealthy Hoarders—American style

Recently I’ve seen a spate of posts on Facebook—granted not the most veracious of mediums—bemoaning rich Americans’ penchant for “hoarding” their wealth. One envisions human versions of Disney’s Scrooge McDuck character defying physics by diving into treasure chests of gold coins.

People exiting a plane

In praise of cost cutting

Major American airlines are notorious for squeezing more passengers onto their planes. The image of sardines in a can is apt. Passengers, of course, whine. Pundits, consumer advocates, and legislators are outraged and claim airlines are only interested in increasing profits. Is it ethical to reduce costs or to increase revenues in order to increase profits?

Economists can shed light on this situation. Many ethicists lack training in economics and may misunderstand some of the nuances involved.

Businessman holding cash

Billionaires should not exist

The title is a quote from Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Apparently he used to say, “Millionaires shouldn’t exist,” but given that he is now a millionaire thanks to his books, he has altered his slogan.

I think I heard one candidate claim in an advertisement, “People, not billionaires,” so apparently billionaires are no longer people. This objectification of people with a billion dollars or more in wealth is troubling.

NCAA Building

Profiting from your likeness

In the wake of his scintillating performance in the NCAA football championship game between Louisiana State University and Clemson, fans and the media lionized quarterback Joe Burrow. What differentiated Burrow and Iowa’s own Maddie Poppe, another talented young adult? There were no constraints upon Ms. Poppe’s ability to earn money from her talents and likeness. Until he finished his collegiate career, Burrow could not receive payments for use of his likenesses. LSU was free to make as much money as possible from his wondrous skills, but he was not.

Business person with a tree in their hand

The consumer's impact on sustainability and the economy

Consumer preferences change from generation to generation. These preferences are dependent on a number of things — family values, cultural relevancy and personal experiences.

That’s why studies focusing on Generation Z, people born after 1995, and millennials, people born between 1981 and 1995, have been so important for the future of business. Younger generations have a higher level of social consciousness, studies show, especially about the environment. Those views have factored into their purchasing decisions as well.

Rack of multi-colored shirts

It's not easy being green

Companies seeking to project themselves as eco-friendly may find themselves having their very raison d’etre questioned. Zara, a well-known retailer renowned for its rapid responses to changes in fashion, recently announced its plans to reduce its negative impact on the environment.

Manufacturers of inexpensive, ready-to-wear clothing have allowed Americans to fill closets full of clothes. Such stores as Forever 21 and H&M sell very inexpensive, almost throw-away, clothes that afford younger people the opportunity to wear a variety of outfits.

Craft brewing graphic from the UNIBiz 19-20 magazine

Exploring the economics of sustainable craft brewing

A wise professor in graduate school once told me that the most relevant research questions come when you least expect them, and usually when you are talking with people about their everyday activities and concerns. He was known for always carrying a pen and notepad regardless of the social setting. While I carry a smartphone instead, his advice has served me well. For me, a casual conversation with a colleague has led to a new line of research involving beer. Tough gig, right?!

Windmill with red and blue

Can we find common ground on sustainability?

Bob Inglis, a former U.S. congressman from South Carolina, has a friend in the recycling business. Whenever Inglis discusses the topic of sustainability, the environment and how to tackle these issues, he gets a simple but practical answer from his friend: “Sustainability means making a profit.”

“That’s what he tells me,” Inglis said. “Fixing economics is key, and sustainability becomes sustainable because it’s profitable.”

Inglis is truly trying to make sustainability profitable. That’s how he believes everyone can get behind the sustainability cause.