Business & Economics

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]

Africa for Norway and narratives of pity

When I was in high school, I heard about South Korean churches that sent missionaries to English-speaking parts of the world in an evangelistic effort. I remember being offended and dismayed: who did they think they were, that they could think of the United States as unchurched? How could they…  [more]

Thanksgiving on food stamps

In many ways, Soong-Chan Rah’s story is all-too-common. As a child, his father abandoned his family and his mother worked 18 hours a day to try to make ends meet. Those jobs were low-paying service jobs, so money was tight and their family had to rely on government programs like…  [more]

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