Portal:Business and economics

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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 νόμος [nomos], or "custom, law", and hence literally means "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 always cover at least the 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 deals with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole, rather than individual markets. This includes national, regional, and global economies.

There are also other sub-fields of economics.

In economics, economic systems is the study and analysis of organizing production, distribution, consumption and investment and the study of optimal resource allocation and institutional design. Traditionally the study of economic systems was based on a dichotomy 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

US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Pre1968Seal.jpg

The United States Assay Commission were an agency of the United States government from 1792 to 1980. Its function was to supervise the annual testing of the gold, silver, and (in its final years) base metal coins produced by the United States Mint to ensure that they met specifications. Although some members were designated by statute, for the most part the commission, which was freshly appointed each year, consisted of prominent Americans, including numismatists. Appointment to the Assay Commission was eagerly sought after, in part because commissioners received a commemorative medal. These medals, different each year, are extremely rare, with the exception of the 1977 issue, which was sold to the general public.

The Mint Act of 1792 authorized the Assay Commission. Beginning in 1797, it met in most years at the Philadelphia Mint. Each year, the President of the United States appointed unpaid members, who would gather in Philadelphia to ensure the weight and fineness of silver and gold coins issued the previous year were to specifications. In 1971, the commission met, but for the first time had no gold or silver to test, with the end of silver coinage. Beginning in 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed no members of the public to the commission, and in 1980, he signed legislation abolishing it.


Selected picture

1933 double eagle coin
Photo credit: User:293.xx.xxx.xx

The 1933 double eagle is a United States 20-dollar gold coin. Although 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens double eagle were minted in 1933 none were ever officially circulated and all but two were melted down. Supposedly, 20 found their way into the hands of collectors, but 19 of these were subsequently seized or voluntarily turned in to the Secret Service, who destroyed nine of them, making this one of the world's rarest coins. Five are still missing out of the 20.

Selected economy

Ohio quarter, reverse side, 2002.jpg

The economy of Ohio nominally would be the 25th largest global economy behind Sweden and ahead of Nigeria according to the 2013 World Bank projections, and the 24th largest global economy behind Sweden and ahead of Norway according to the 2013 International Monetary Fund projections. The state had a projected GDP of $526.1 billion in 2013, up from 517.1 in 2012, and up from 501.3 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2013, Ohio was ranked in the top ten states for best business climate by Site Selection magazine, based on a business-activity database. The state was edged out only by Texas and Nebraska for the 2013 Governor's Cup award from the magazine, based on business growth and economic development. A new report by the Quantitative Economics and Statistics Practices (QUEST) of Ernst & Young in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST), ranks Ohio as third in the nation for friendliest tax environment.


Selected quote

At this point in the inquiry relation had established itself between the "interview programme" and the results obtained in the experimental rooms. The source of those constraints, relief from which the relay assemblers had so freely expressed, had, at least in part, revealed itself. Human collaboration in work, in primitive and developed societies, has always depended for its perpetuation upon the evolution of a non-logical social code which regulates the relations between persons and their attitudes to one another. Insistence upon a merely economic logic of production-especially if the logic is frequently changed-interferes with the development of such a code and consequently give rise in the group to a sense of human defeat. This human defeat results in the formation of a social code at a lower level and in opposition to the economic logic. One of its symptoms is "restriction". In its devious road to this enlightenment, the research division had learned something of the personal exasperation caused by a continual experience of incomprehension and futility. It had also learned how serious a consequence such experience carries for industry and for the individual.

Elton Mayo, The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization, 1933
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On this day in Business history...

February 22:

Did you know...

  • ...that, as of August 2008, more than 113 countries around the world, including all of Europe, required or permitted IFRS reporting and 85 required IFRS reporting for all domestic, listed companies?
  • ...that in the circular flow model, the inter-dependent entities of producer and consumer are referred to as "firms" and "households" respectively and provide each other with factors in order to facilitate the flow of income?
  • ...that the balance of payments of a country is the record of all economic transactions between the residents of a country and the rest of the world in a particular period?

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