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The French Perfume Boom
The marketing of scents through clever branding, rather than real differences in what’s being sold, originated in nineteenth-century France.
Can Consumer Groups Be Radical?
Historian Lawrence Glickman looked at the consumer movements of the 1930s to find out.
Atlantic City’s Grand Casino Bust
Nearly every American is now within a few hours’ drive of a casino. But critics note that casino gambling has not delivered on its economic promises.
What Good Moms Buy
The way advertisers target mothers has changed along with the social understanding of American motherhood, one sociologist found.
What Is a Bubble?
Tulip bulbs. Housing. Bitcoin? In every bubble, the value of something is based more on peoples' esteem of it, rather than intrinsic worth.
When the Elderly Poor Are Left Behind
In Japan, elderly people are committing crimes just so they can go to jail and feel cared for. A similar situation has played out in India, where the elderly have been left out of traditional social support networks.
Why Americans Used to Hate Hotel Workers
In 1874, popular writer Henry Hooper called the hotel clerk “the supercilious embodiment of Philistinism.” What accounts for the nineteenth century hate?
The Roots of Privatization
The great turn towards privatization is usually thought to have begun in the 1970s, with Chile's dictatorial regime, but its roots go back further than this.
What Makes a Company Worth Working For?
Academics are studying what makes a good company culture. These have involved everything from ranking hierarchies of needs to sociological explanations of group mentalities.
Robert Reich: How to Resurrect the Common Good
Reich talks justice for Wall Street malfeasance, the importance of faith-based communities, the threat of demagoguery, and finding hope in today's youth.