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Portal:Business and economics


The business and economics portal

The New York Stock Exchange floor

In the social sciences, economics is the study of human choice behavior and the methodology used to make associated investment and production decisions; in particular, though not limited to, how those choices and decisions determine the allocation of scarce resources and their effect on production, distribution, and consumption. The word "economics" is from the Greek words οἶκος [oikos], meaning "family, household, estate", and νέμω [nemo], or "distribution, allocation", hence meaning "household management" or "management of the state". An economist is a person using economic concepts and data in the course of employment, or someone who has earned a university degree in the subject. Economics undergraduate courses cover at least two main branches:

  • Microeconomics studies the behavior of individual households and firms in making decisions on the allocation of limited resources. Microeconomics applies to markets where goods or services are bought, and sold. It examines how decisions and behaviors affect the supply and demand for goods and services, which determines prices, and how prices, in turn, determine the quantity supplied and quantity demanded of goods and services.
  • Macroeconomics studies inflation, price levels, rate of growth, national income, gross domestic product and changes in unemployment of a company, rather than the more specific details that microeconomics studies. [[1]]


There are also other sub-fields of economics.

In economics, economic systems study and analyze the organizing of production, distribution, consumption and investment. As well as, the study of optimal resource allocation and institutional design. Traditionally, the study of economic systems was based on a dichotomy , or set, between market economies and planned economies, but contemporary studies compare and contrast a number of different variables, such as ownership structure (Public, Private or Collective), economic coordination (planning, markets or mixed), management structure (Hierarchy versus adhocracy), the incentive system, and the level of centralization in decision-making. An economy can be analyzed in terms of its economic sectors, the classic breakdown being into primary, secondary and tertiary. A business, also known as an enterprise or a firm, is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are prevalent in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and provide goods and services to customers in exchange of other goods, services, or money. Businesses may also be not-for-profit or state-owned. Management in business and organizations is the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization or initiative to accomplish a goal. Management is also an academic discipline, and is traditionally taught at business schools. Economic policy refers to the actions that governments take in the economic field. It covers the systems for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the labor market regulations, national ownership, trade policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, regulatory policy, anti-trust policy and industrial policy. In economics, sustainable development refers to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Selected article

Finn Michael Westby Caspersen, Sr. (October 27, 1941 – September 7, 2009) was an American financier and philanthropist. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, he followed his father, Olaus Caspersen, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States, as chairman and chief executive of Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States. After an $8.6 billion acquisition of Beneficial by Household International in 1998, Caspersen ran Knickerbocker Management, a private financial firm overseeing the assets of trusts and foundations.


Selected picture

A supermarket in North America.
Photo credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

A supermarket, a large form of the traditional grocery store, is a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food and household products, organized into aisles. It is larger in size and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store, but is smaller and more limited in the range of merchandise than a hypermarket or big-box market.

Selected economy

US county household median income 2009.png

The United States of America is the world's largest single national economy. The United States' nominal GDP was estimated to be $17.295 trillion as of Q2 2014, approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. Its GDP at purchasing power parity is also the largest of any single country in the world, approximately a fifth of the global total. The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's foremost reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others it is the de facto currency. Its six largest trading partners are Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and Italy.


Selected quote

Again, if expenses are too great, and it seems impossible to meet competition, there is seldom any serious effort made to find out why expenses are too high, but it is assumed that the way out of the difficulty is to reduce wages. It never appears to occur to a manager that perhaps the cause of the excessive expense may not lie with the workman, but with the management. Managers rarely seem to suspect that, if the workmen were more intelligently directed, the output per man might be largely increased without a corresponding increase in expense.

Those who have given even superficial study to the subject are beginning to realize the enormous gain that can be made in the efficiency of workmen, if they are properly directed and provided with proper appliances. Few, however, have realized another fact of equal importance, namely, that to maintain permanently this increase of efficiency, the workman must be allowed a portion of the benefit derived from it.

To obtain this high degree of efficiency successfully, however, the same careful scientific analysis and investigation must be applied to every labor detail as the chemist or biologist applies to his work. Wherever this has been done, it has been found possible to reduce expenses, and, at the same time, to increase wages, producing a condition satisfactory to both employer and employee.

The great difficulty in instituting this method of dealing with labor questions is that usually neither employer nor employee has sufficient knowledge of the scientific method to realize either the amount of detail work necessary, or the extent of the benefits to bo derived from it. In general, their inclination is to adhere to the methods with which they are familiar, and to distrust all others, even though their methods have failed to bring them appreciably nearer the solution of their problems, and the newer methods have produced results far more satisfactory than they even hoped for. A scientific investigation into the details of a condition that has grown up unassisted by science has never yet failed to show that economies and improvements are feasible that benefit both parties to an extent unsuspected by either.

Henry Gantt, Work, wages, and profits, 1913

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On this day in Business history...

November 22:

Did you know...

  • ...that Valrhona, a company based in the small town of Tain l'Hermitage in the Rhône Valley in France, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality chocolate?
  • ... that the GDP deflator (implicit price deflator for GDP) is a price index measuring changes in prices of all new, domestically produced, final goods and services in an economy.
  • ... that Hollywood accounting is the practice of distributing the profit earned by a large project to corporate entities which, though distinct from the one responsible for the project itself, are typically owned by the same people, with the net result of reducing the project's profit by a substantial margin, sometimes even eliminating it altogether.

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