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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 νέμω [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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Damage from Hurricane Katrina

Actuaries are business professionals who deal with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries are highly trained experts with a deep understanding of financial security systems, their reasons for being, their complexity, their mathematics, and the way they work. They evaluate the likelihood of future events and design creative ways to quantify the contingent outcomes in order to minimize losses associated with uncertain undesirable events. These risks can impact both sides of the balance sheet and require asset management, liability management, and valuation skills. It takes a combination of strong analytical skills, business knowledge and understanding of both human behavior and the vagaries of information systems to design and manage programs that control risk. Actuaries work in a number of insurance disciplines, which may be classified as life, health, pensions, annuities, and asset management, social welfare programs, property, casualty, liability, general insurance and reinsurance.

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The drawing of the Euro symbol
Photo credit: Erina

This diagram illustrates how to draw a euro symbol, based on official documentation, and has been prepared specifically for Wikipedia and released to the public domain. ADF and BCDE intersect at D. BCDE, GH, and IJ are parallel. BCDE intersects centerline at C.

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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"Buy what thou hast no need of; and e'er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries."

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1732-1758

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On this day in Business history...

May 27:

  • 1836 - Jay Gould, a leading American railroad developer and speculator, was born on this day.

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