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Portal:Business and Economics
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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 [oikos], meaning "family, household, estate", and ? [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 determine prices, and how prices, in turn, determine the quantity supplied and quantity demanded of goods and services.
  • Macroeconomics studies inflation, price levels, rates of growth, national income, gross domestic product and changes in unemployment of a country, rather than the more specific details that microeconomics studies.

There are also other sub-fields of economics.

In economics, the field economic systems studies and analyzes the organizing of production, distribution, consumption and investment, as well as 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 systems, such as ownership structure (public, private or collective), economic coordination (planning, markets or mixed systems), 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.

Economic policy comprises the actions that governments take in the economic field. It covers the systems for setting interest rates and the 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.

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 and directing, and controlling an organization or initiative to accomplish a goal. Management is also an academic discipline, and is traditionally taught at business schools.


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BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London in the United Kingdom and with operations worldwide. It is among the world's largest defence contractors; it ranked as the second-largest based on applicable 2012 revenues. Its largest operations are in the United Kingdom and United States, where its BAE Systems Inc. subsidiary is one of the six largest suppliers to the US Department of Defense. Other major markets include Australia, India and Saudi Arabia. The company was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies; Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) - the defense electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc (GEC) - and British Aerospace (BAe) - an aircraft, munitions and naval systems manufacturer.


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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.


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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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