Business & Economics

The ascetic appeal of tiny living

We Americans love our stuff. No doubt about it. Consumerism is as American as supersize fries. Any excess naturally brings counter movements toward the opposite extreme. One recent response to wanton consumerism is “tiny living,” a philosophy that emphasizes environmental awareness, adventurousness, self-sufficiency, simplicity, fiscal soundness and - its most…  [more]

Is buying an experience the way to buy happiness?

It turns out money can make you happy - if you spend it on the right things. Recent consumer research has shown that people feel happier spending their money on experiences rather than on material objects. This intuitively makes sense. If I think back on my most memorable purchases this…  [more]

The paradoxical appeal of rude sales clerks

The conventional wisdom is that markets tend to promote mundane virtues like politeness. As businesses compete with one another, any advantage, however slight, can be the difference between a sale and a customer lost. A simple smile or “thank you” can engender goodwill and loyalty and differentiate businesses from one…  [more]

Wait - now money can buy happiness?

What is the relationship between money and happiness? A recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted research contradicting scholarly consensus holding that after a certain point of material prosperity, there is a corresponding decline or flattening in the increase of happiness. The findings from the Brookings Institute - “Subjective Well-Being and…  [more]

Why those on welfare should be allowed to play the lottery

Americans like their freedoms. If the government outlawed the sale of fatty foods, say, or required that everyone put 15% of their paycheck into savings, people would be crying "Nanny state!" almost before the ink on the bill had dried. It's not that people disagree with those goals (we should…  [more]

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