Portal:Business and economics

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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 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.

However, 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

Adam Eckfeldt Color Painting Ellipse.jpg

John Adam Eckfeldt (June 15, 1769 – February 6, 1852; usually Adam Eckfeldt) was a worker and official in the early days of the United States Mint. A lifelong Philadelphian, Eckfeldt served as the second chief coiner of the Mint, from 1814 until 1839.

Eckfeldt's father owned a large smithy and involved himself in early attempts at American coinage. Adam Eckfeldt built early presses for the Mint, engraved some of its early dies, and was responsible for the designs of early American copper coinage, as well as the 1792 half disme which some authorities consider the first United States coin. He was appointed assistant coiner of the Mint in 1796, and became chief coiner on his predecessor's death in 1814.

Selected picture

Brazilian Central Bank building in Brasilia.
Photo credit: Genghiskhanviet

The Central Bank of Brazil (Portuguese: Banco Central do Brasil) is Brazil's central bank. It was established on December 31, 1964.

The Central Bank is linked with the Ministry of Finance. Like other central banks, the Brazilian central bank is the principal monetary authority of the country. It received this authority when it was founded by three different institutions: the Bureau of Currency and Credit (SUMOC), the Bank of Brazil (BB), and the National Treasury.

One of the main instruments of Brazil's monetary policy is the Banco Central do Brasil's overnight rate, called the SELIC rate.


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.

Selected quote

"Judgments of this kind must always be inferior to those which an able business man forms, by the aid of instincts based on long experience with regard to his own business. But they may be made much more trustworthy than they are at present, if they can be based on statistical measures of the relative quantities of the benefits and the injuries which different courses of public action are likely to cause to the several classes of the community. Much of the failure and much of the injustice, in which the economic policies of governments have resulted, have been due to the want of statistical measurement. A few people who have been strongly interested on one side have raised their voices loudly, persistently and all together; while little has been heard from the great mass of people whose interests have lain in the opposite direction; for, even if their attention has been fairly called to the matter, few have cared to exert themselves much for a cause in which no one of them has more than a small stake. The few therefore get their way, although if statistical measures of the interests involved were available, it might prove that the aggregate of the interests of the few was only a tenth or a hundredth part of the aggregate of the interests of the silent many."

Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1890

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On this day in Business history...

September 26:

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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