Six Economic Ideas that Changed the World

Over the summer, The Economist magazine published independent pieces on six big economic ideas that changed the world (or at least modern finance). These have now been collected into a a single brief. Economic students will recognize many, but these should be read by anyone interested in why markets work (or don't work) in unexpected ways. Among the best are the…

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Blockchain

Important stuff can be hard. So, somewhat against our better judgement, we are covering a pretty technical subject, but one that has enormous potential: Blockchain. Best known as the technology underlying Bitcoin (which we covered here), a blockchain is essentially a distributed database of transactions which can be applied to almost any series of related events involving the same assets --…

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News Moves

News junkies everywhere know that it is the best of times, as news is presented in various forms through a multitude of channels, often in real time — but fear the worst of times, as the implosion of the former monolith of print news threatens the existence of journalism as a profession. Clay Shirky writes a very sage and direct…

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Labor’s Links

Quick - to aptly recognize Labor Day, everyone go update their LinkedIn profiles. You won't be alone: LinkedIn membership has tripled in the past three years and now stands at about 315 million professionals, of whom two-thirds live outside the United States. The company generates revenue of more than $1.5 billion, and its market capitalization exceeds $27 billion. Its achievement…

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Price Imperfect

As comfortable as an Uber ride is, it sure seems to cause a lot of distress. Recently protests against Uber rolled Europe, even as the company was flexing its muscle with an $1.2 billion capital raise at a valuation in excess of $18 billion. Uber's international expansion has been remarkable, as this graph illustrates. And not to be outdone with Taxi…

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Strong Signs in Weak Signals

The ceaseless flow of information and data running through most businesses now has made it easier to spot big trends, but also threatens to wash over smaller pieces of critical information. But increasingly, it is these small snippets of data that carry important insights - key pieces of information floating along in the fast-paced stream of social data. McKinsey recently…

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Bitcoin of the Realm

2013 in a word? According to at least one economist it was: Bitcoin - a secure peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency created in 2009. New Bitcoins are mined by software programmers, and although users can remain anonymous, central to the system is a public database and sequential record of all transactions (as if one could track the use of…

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Where are Wearables We Want to Wear?

Wearables -- electronic devices attached to the body in some way -- are generating some serious buzz, capturing imaginations with visions of science fiction coming to life.  Although wearables have been on the market in some form or another since a complex and miniature  abacus was attached to a ring in the Qing dynasty, dramatic improvements in sensor technology and data…

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One Cool Thing: Revolv

Device by device, homes are getting smarter.  You can now unlock your doors with Kwikset, turn on the lights and get the CrockPot started with WeMo, and adjust your thermostat with Nest.  Unfortunately though, these devices aren't so smart that they can talk to one another.  Each one requires its own app and must be adjusted individually.  Not so hard…

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Who Prospers in the Age of Smart Machines?

The insightful Tyler Cowen has studied the way technology can radically change a wide variety of industries -- how smart machines might displace human beings.  But rather than focus on the typical piece predicting the future of work, Cowen penned an intriguing Op-Ed which tries to imagine what sort of characteristics people will need to prosper in a world where…

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