Blog Archives

How pyramid schemes work

Gaby Del Valle investigated multilevel marketing companies and found. According to the Direct Selling Association, the multilevel marketing (MLM) industry’s lobbying arm, one in six American households is involved in the industry. Most MLM salespeople don’t make a ton of money —

Posted in Managerial Micro

Interest rates are low because of demographic changes and rising corporate power

Greg Mankiw wrote in the NYT about the puzzle of persistently low interest rates. Interest rates have been lower than ever before in history and they have been very low for decades so low interest rates seems to be the

Posted in Macro, Managerial Micro

Amazon as a nonprofit

For most of Amazon’s history it made zero profit. That changed a couple years ago, but although its gross profit margin on revenues is now positive, it is still pretty negligible today. Amazon is a huge conglomerate these days, but

Posted in Managerial Micro

A history of the Corporation – Wonkish

There have always been large organizations that have done the kinds of things corporations sometimes do, but for most of human history, those organizations were were organized as religious hierarchies or governments rather than as for-profit businesses. Businesses were small

Posted in Managerial Micro

The expected value of potential lives lost during atomic testing

Rob Reid wrote a great explanation of the horrible risk taken during the Manhattan Project, when American nuclear scientists took a chance estimated at one-in-three million that the first atomic test would create a chain reaction that would ignite the

Posted in Globalization & International, Health, Managerial Micro, Violence & Peace

An airline “dent and scratch sale”

A classic story of price discrimination that textbooks tell is the appliance ‘dent and scratch’ sale in which an appliance store will deliberately create cosmetic damage on some of their washers and refrigerators so that they can sell them at

Posted in Managerial Micro

VOX messed up: already has enormous monopoly power

Emily Stewart at made a mistake about monopoly power in America. She wrote that Amazon… could eventually become so big that it can control what shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS charge it, and, in areas where it becomes

Posted in Managerial Micro, Public Finance

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