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Ethos Water ditches sourcing in California

Fri, 2015-05-08 13:00

Starbucks finally gets its head out of its coffee grounds.

We're having, as you might have heard once or twice, a heckuva drought out here in the West.

So Starbucks has decided it's maybe not a great idea to be using California water for its Ethos bottled water brand.

Mother Jones magazine reported a little more than a week ago that the coffee chain was using private springs up near the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Starbucks said today: yeah, no — we'll use Pennsylvania water for at least the next six months.

Weekly Wrap: Grexit and Brexit, jobs report and stock values

Fri, 2015-05-08 13:00

Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Nela Richardson from Redfin and the Wall Street Journal's John Carney. The big topics this week: the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen comments on stock values, and the possibility of Great Britain and Greece withdrawing from the European Union and the Eurozone, respectively, continues to be debated.  

 

 

Landing a dream job right out of college

Fri, 2015-05-08 12:41

Lupita Carabes is a young woman just starting out in the workforce.

Carabes recently graduated from the University of Portland, majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. 

At a job fair this spring at her school, she stood out in the crowded field. Carabes is the first person in her family to get a college degree, and says that's just one of the reasons she's a quadruple threat in her industry:

"I am a woman, and engineer, and a Latina," she says. She recently accepted a job at IBM.

To hear more of Carabes' story, listen to the full interview using the audio player above.

The cost of stress in the police force

Fri, 2015-05-08 12:13

When it comes to what stresses police officers out, it's not the car chases, or the threat of getting shot at, or even killed.

Ask Cherie Castellano, director of Cop2Cop, a 24 hour hotline which fields up to 850 phone calls every month for stressed-out police officers, and she'll tell you — the worst part of an officer's job is secondhand trauma: exposure to murders, car accidents, seeing hurt kids. All the horrible things police have to deal with on a daily basis. But she says there's a close number two.  Some argue it may even be number one. And it happens after the car chases are over.

It's something Brian Higgins knows all about. 

"What frustrated me was all the other stuff, the administrative baloney," says Higgins, a police officer who served for 27 years and recently retired as chief of police for Bergen County, NJ.

For lots of cops, it's the stress that festers on the inside: administrative nitpicking, being micromanaged, charged with trivial offenses and being poorly managed that really bothers them. 

Higgins says as the son, and grandson, of a police officer, he was fully aware of what he was getting into when it came to the physical risks on the street.

"I expected this," he says, "chasing people, getting shot at. That's why I have a job with benefits, that's why they buy me a bullet proof vest, that's why they buy a gun, that's why they give me very good training because that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna chase people, I might get hurt."

Politics of policing

But what Higgins and many other cops say they don't want is to have to deal with is the inescapable politics of policing.  If you've ever seen the HBO police show, "The Wire" you know what he's talking about. The entire series, spanning six years kicks off when a detective, named Jimmy McNulty, makes his boss look bad — by accident. His boss begins a campaign to make McNulty's professional life a misery.

Pluck that bad boss out of the television. Plunk him down behind a real world desk, give him a uniform, a badge and an enormous, detailed rulebook with which he administers discipline and you have a living, breathing example of one of the problems Higgins is talking about.

"I had a buddy of mine [who] jumped into a river for a helicopter that went down, rescued two people and when the chief showed up, he was asked where his hat was," he says. "That's so frustrating, it makes you wanna just lash out."

"The evidence is pretty clear that the sources of stress tend to come mostly from administrative issues internal to the organization," says Robert Kane, director of the Criminology and Justice Studies program at Drexel University.

Breaking the rules

In many cases, says Kane, police officers are weighed down with many more rules than other professions. Following all of them, he says, can make it very difficult for officers to do their jobs.

"Whether they wear short sleeves or long sleeves in their uniform, the position of their name plate or their badge. In many police organizations, a lot of these little nitpicky things are called 'white socks violations,'" he says.

There are so many rules, Kane says, it’s almost impossible to do the job without breaking some. From the seemingly trivial, to bigger issues, like when it's ok to pull out your gun or taser. The problem is so widespread cops have a saying about it, "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six." Which translates into: police officers would rather be judged by jury of twelve, than be carried by six pall bearers at their own funeral.

"They know they're breaking the rules, but in their minds it's a rule that's worth breaking," Kane says.

Officers, he says, are much more willing to risk a rule violation than place themselves at risk.

"In their minds, they’re telling you, 'I could get killed out here and I’m going to use the tools of my trade in ways that I think are best for me and my colleagues,'" Kane says.

Keeping people happy

Jon Shane, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says part of the administrative stress officers cope with also stems from the way they're hired and promoted. Something he witnessed firsthand during his 16-year tenure on the Newark, N.J. police force from which he retired as a captain.

“I certainly watched people get promoted into positions that they clearly did not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do," he says.

Politics, says Shane, are to blame. Often, chiefs are appointed by politicians. So, there's the inherent pressure of keeping your job. You need to be sure the politicians are kept happy.

"You’re told how you’re going to do your job. You’re going to be told who gets a summons and who doesn't," he says. "So we have speeding problems on this street, but on this street you have several council members who might be speeding. You're not going to set up an enforcement operation on that street, you're going to go to another street where no one is likely to complain."

Shane says that expectation of loyalty moves right down the ranks. Captains have to keep chiefs happy, lieutenants keep captains happy, and so on. He says this means departments officers can be hired based on loyalty, and not because they're the best candidate for the job.  And all of this, he says, can breed cynicism, and ethics can start to slip away.

"Because the sentiment is, 'nobody really cares,'" he says. "'Look at the people above me, what they're doing. If they're doing those things, nobody is going to care what I'm doing down here.'"

Stressed out

All of the stress cops face on the job, says Shane, can drive some of them to drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and even excessive use of force.

If the idea that workplace stress can cause such an extreme response seems shocking or surprising, it's not as counter intuitive as you may think, says Dr. George Everly, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and a specialist in stress, trauma and human resilience, who's worked with cops for decades.

“I’ve heard it for 30 years," he says. "What is stress? It is arousal. It is a survival mechanism."

Officers, Everly says, are the thin blue line "between innocent, law abiding people and those who would do them harm."

The military aside, he notes, it's hard to find many comparable professions where every day work is done in a landscape of potential violence.

“There are few jobs that have those weights in them," he says.

When you think about what stress is — the fight or flight response and what police do — it makes sense.  “In the context of violence it is predictable that you would escalate the violence,” he says.

A broken system

To those who question the connection between workplace stress and cops lashing out, Everly says, people who haven't done the job simply have no idea what they're talking about.

"Like me offering an opinion about being an astronaut," he says. "Those people need to get out of their offices and get out on the street."

But it's between the street and police department where cops are getting squeezed. Higgins says police officers have less and less discretion about how they do their jobs, which exacerbates existing stress even further.  

"Sit in your car, walk your beat, shut your mouth and only do what the book allows you. In the business world you'd leave your job," he says.

But, he notes, often times police can't. Except for the top jobs, like chief, they're stuck. If you to move from one police department to another, because of the complex chain of loyalties, you have to start from the bottom. The current focus on problems with individual officers, Higgins says, is ignoring a bigger problem: the system is broken.

"If it was the subject, who waved the gun around you'd have certain groups who'd come out and say they had mental health, why didn't we ask why was he waving the gun, I get that," he says. "But there's nobody asking about the cop. 'Why did the cop react this way?'" 

Your Wallet: Crazy transaction fees

Fri, 2015-05-08 10:10

In next week's show, we're talking about transactions.

Have you ever looked at a bill or a receipt and thought, "15 cents for what? What's a landing fee? A $2.95 convenience fee ... why?"

We're putting together a collection of crazy transaction fees or charges, and we want yours. 

Take a picture of your bill or receipt, put it on Instagram and tag us @marketplaceAPM. You can also send us pictures on Twitter @Marketplace and @MarketplaceWKND or Facebook.

Please don't forget to cover up your personal info.

The big business of fruit arrangements

Fri, 2015-05-08 06:46

Tariq Farid is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edible Arrangements, the fresh fruit arrangements company.

Farid was 11 years old when he and his family moved to the United States from Pakistan. As a young boy, Farid worked several different after-school jobs to help his family make ends meet. His entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at the age of 17, when he borrowed $5,000 from his parents and bought a small flower shop in East Haven, Connecticut.

He began his first Edible Arrangements inside his flower shop and says his customers loved them. That’s when he knew he was onto something.

"In 1999, it was Easter — we sold about 28 arrangements and it took us all day to make them because we had no tools, we used to cut everything by hand. But customers would call back and say 'hey, this was a great hit,'" says Farid.  

There are now close to 1,200 Edible Arrangements stores in 14 countries.

PODCAST: Got jobs?

Fri, 2015-05-08 03:00

Airing on Friday, May 8, 2015: There's fresh-out-the-oven jobs number today. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 223,000 new jobs in April. And the employment rate hit a seven year low at 5.4 percent. Next, we check in with our partner at the BBC on the re-election of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Lastly, we look at the increasing impact smartphones have on the police force. 

New police monitoring app offers direct line to ACLU

Fri, 2015-05-08 02:00

A new app from the ACLU of California promises to allow anyone to record video of officers and have it automatically uploaded to the agency's server. 

The app also offers a function to alert other app users nearby if there's an incident with police that someone believes requires more witnesses. 

The ACLU of California launched the mobile app for Apple and Android phones last week. The group says it has so far been downloaded 40,000 times, more than a similar app from New York's ACLU, which has been available for several years.

Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of California, says the app's relative popularity has to do with high profile police use-of-force incidents in recent months that have been caught on phone cameras.

 "We've seen...incidents where officers took a cellphone and deleted video, and so this provides some measure of protection against that," he says. 

Bibring says this ACLU app isn't the first of its kind, but it's been tweaked to be more specifically geared towards documenting incidents of misconduct. The app allows for longer video recordings than previous versions. It also has a library of information about citizens' rights in documenting police officers in public places. Bibring says the ACLU gets questions regularly about what those rights are. 

"It's not a brand new trend, but it's absolutely a growing trend," says Jocelyn Simonson, who teaches law at NYU, and has research that will be published in the California Law Review in early 2016 that looks at the growing trend of citizens' oversight over police in public places. 

"Part of what we're seeing is a change in the recognition that filming police officers is an important thing," Simonson says. 

But the ACLU's app may be going in the wrong direction, says Christine Cole, executive director of the Crime & Justice Institute at the Boston-based group Community Resources for Justice, a non-partisan think-tank that focuses on social justice issues. 

"This tool actually exacerbates the divide and makes it feel like us versus them," Cole says. Nevertheless, she says, police and communities must both learn to deal with increased scrutiny on camera. 

 

A preview of the eurozone meeting on Monday

Fri, 2015-05-08 02:00

The seemingly endless Greek debt crisis lurches towards another crunch moment on Monday. Eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release around $8 billion in bailout money to the government in Athens .

The ministers and Greece’s other creditors insist that before Athens gets any more cash, it must toe the line on austerity. But the Greek government is digging in and refusing to impose the spending cuts and reforms that have been demanded.

The Greek finance minister claims he can meet a big debt repayment next week with or without the bailout cash. But a payment five times bigger falls due on the 20th July. If Greece hasn’t reached agreement with its creditors by then, that really could bring this interminable crisis to a climax.

Click on the multimedia player above to hear more. 

In the Great Lakes State, Flint pays a high price for water

Fri, 2015-05-08 02:00

The plight of the bankrupt city of Flint, Michigan has long stood as the poster child for post-industrial job loss and blight in the U.S.

On top of all Flint’s struggles, providing clean drinking water has become one the biggest problem facing the struggling city.

U.L. Brown has seen a lot of changes since he moved to Flint from Arkansas back in 1965.  One thing he’d never seen however was his drinking water change color.

On the kitchen table in front of him set several gallon jugs. One is spring water bought in a store, the other two come from his tap and have slight shades of brown and green.

"This is the water that I buy,” Brown said, pointing to a jug of clear water. 

“This is the water that comes from our faucet.  You wouldn't want a drink of that water, you wouldn't want your kids to drink that water."

Like many residents in Flint Brown’s been told by the city that the water is safe for drinking.  Still, he claims it just doesn't taste like fresh water.

For decades Flint bought its water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DPSW), which draws from Lake Huron. Last year Flint’s 30-year contract with Detroit ended, and the rates went way up according to Flint’s Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.

“Using round numbers, the cost of purchasing water from Detroit, was somewhere around a $1 million per month,” Ambrose said.

For a city facing a crippling budget deficit, a million-dollar water bill was too much to swallow. So, the city switched to its backup source, the Flint River.

Shortly after the switch last summer,  the city was forced to send out two boil advisories for high levels of E. coli and other bacteria.  Ambrose says measures have since been take to insure the water is safe.

"Is the water so unsafe that it is a total disservice to our citizens? Our answer is, 'no.'"

But, with the average house paying $150 per month for water, many residents feel they deserve better.

Pastor Alfred Harris represents the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, a citizens group urging the city to go back on Detroit water, until the new 80-mile Karegnondi pipeline to Lake Huron is complete next year.

"We're paying exorbitant fees for water, that's really not safe,” Harris said.

“I believe the health of the people should be everyone's main concern. The health of the people no matter what it costs.”

Flint emerged from 41 months of state receivership last week. And with the new pipeline, the city will have an opportunity for both fresh water and a fresh start.

Kitchen appliances are back in fashion

Fri, 2015-05-08 02:00

Mother’s Day is coming up. People scrambling to grab a gift often head straight to the small appliances section. But those appliances aren't just for moms. People in general are cooking more at home, they’re entertaining, they’re devouring cookbooks and food blogs. Kitchen electrics make up a $7 billion industry. But the products are a lot different than they used to be. Except, of course, when they’re not. Confused?

Let’s start with coffee. Because in the world of small appliances, the coffee maker is king. Mary Rodgers, marketing director for Cuisinart, says her company just launched a new coffee/espresso maker.  It’s elaborate; it has a milk tank, a frothing wand, a steam control dial. Retail price? $600.

At the same time, simpler coffee makers like the French press are making a comeback, thanks to coffee shops. But it’s not just coffee makers. Small appliances now either do five things at once, or one simple thing, like something your grandmother used.

Debra Mednick, a home industry analyst with The NPD Group, says it’s part of a back-to-basics movement. To a lot of home cooks, she says, what’s old is new again. Sorry, not old… retro.

“We’re seeing products that are very traditional, or that go way back, that don’t necessarily have innovation,” Mednick says.

Like the slow cooker. Or KitchenAid’s stand mixer, which has barely changed since the 50’s.

“We are seeing evidence of products that have become popular that actually require some work,” she says.

Take meat grinders. Mednick says people today want control over their ingredients, they want to know where their food comes from. Beth Robinson, public relations manager for KitchenAid, says people want to be creative and have an easier time in the kitchen.

Toast is easy, right? Not with artisanal bread. So KitchenAid this year launched a $500 toaster with longer slots to fit those oddly shaped slices. Robinson says people will pay, especially if it’s pretty, “or if they want some really great functionality, they will spend $500 for a toaster.”

Now that the microwave isn’t taking up all the counter space, there’s room for that powerful new pulverizer, formerly known as the blender.

 

Toasters for Mother's Day, and beyond

Fri, 2015-05-08 01:00
$7 billion

 

This is the size of the kitchen electrics industry. With Mother's Day right around the corner, people rushing to grab a last-minute gift will often head to the kitchen appliance section in their local mall. But those appliances aren’t just for mom. People, in general, are using new products, buying classic ones, devouring cookbooks and browsing food blogs. This is part of a bigger trend of Americans cooking at home more often. 

 

233,000

 

That's how many jobs the U.S. economy added in the month of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. That number is right in line with most economists' estimates, according to Jay Bryson at Wells Fargo Securities. The employment rate is even rosier, at 5.4 percent, a seven-year low.

 

$3.6 billion

 

This is how much Whole Foods reported in earnings in its second quarter. The retail chain is sometimes mockingly labeled "Whole Paycheck," says food analyst Darren Seifer, due to the expensive food items it offers. Now the grocery store is planning a spinoff that's "aimed at millennials," says a company rep. The new sister chain will be more affordable and more accessible for younger consumers wishing to buy organic. 

 

$100

 

This is how much nail salon owners charge each new employee for his/her job, according to the New York Times. In this investigative report, manicurists, mostly immigrants, are routinely exploited by their employers. In addition, they also often work long hours and endure abuse, according to the article.

 

$8 billion

 

On Monday, the Eurozone Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is deciding whether to release this amount in bailout funds to Greece. Greece's creditors have made their demands clear: before Athens receives any more cash, the government must toe the line on austerity. But the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says this plan would push the country further in debt.   

Mother's Day follows the DIY movement

Fri, 2015-05-08 01:00
$7 billion

This is the size of the kitchen electrics industry. With Mother's Day right around the corner, people rushing to grab a last-minute gift will often head to the kitchen appliance section in their local mall. But those appliances aren’t just for mom. People, in general, are using new products, buying classic ones, devouring cookbooks and browsing food blogs. This is actually part of the bigger trend showing that people are cooking at home more. 

233,000

That's how many jobs the U.S. economy added in the month of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. That number is right in line with most economists' estimates, according to Jay Bryson at Wells Fargo Securities. The employment rate is even rosier, at 5.4 percent, a seven-year low.

$3.6 billion

This is how much reported earnings Whole Foods has in its second quarter. The retail chain is sometimes mockingly labeled "Whole Paycheck," says food analyst Darren Seifer, due to the expensive food items it offers. Now the grocery store is planning a spinoff that's "aimed at millennials," says the company representative. The new sister chain will be more affordable and more accessible for younger consumers wishing to buy organic. 

$100

This is how much nail salon owners charge each new employee for his/her job, according to the New York Times. In this investigative report, manicurists, mostly immigrants, are routinely exploited by their employers. In addition, they also often work long hours and endure abuse, according to the article.

$8 billion

On Monday, the Eurozone Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is deciding whether to release this amount in bailout funds to Greece. Greece's creditors have made their demands clear: before Athens receives any more cash, the government must toe the line on austerity. But the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says this plan would push the country further in debt.   

Silicon Tally: Anyway, here's Powerball

Thu, 2015-05-07 22:52

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Lily Hay Newman, lead blogger for Slate's Future Tense.

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Are music festivals a bubble waiting to burst?

Thu, 2015-05-07 14:22

Forget sweltering clubs and concert halls. Summer tours for some bands are now a matter of hopping from one grassy lawn to another.

Take the indie rock band Modest Mouse. This summer they're playing at least 10 festivals in the U.S., Canada and overseas.

The number of multi-day music festivals in North America has gone from a handful to hundreds.

“We do live in a culture right now which is heavily saturated with festivals,” says Jonathan Levine, who heads of the Paradigm Talent Agency's Nashville office.“If someone has a plot of land and a checkbook, they can suddenly find themselves in the festival business.”

Levine's roster includes the Black Eyed Peas and the Grateful Dead – a band that played one of the most iconic music festivals. But a lot has changed since Woodstock.

Music festivals have gone mainstream, and they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars. Millennials, it seems, are willing to shell out for multi-day music experiences. And deep-pocketed corporate sponsors are willing to shell out to reach them.

And it's all come none too soon for musicians.

The growth in the number of music festivals over the last decade and half has coincided with a big shift in how people buy recorded music — if they buy it. And now streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and, soon, Apple's Beats are reinventing the model again.

“The whole industry, the whole — all of it — is changing so much, especially with the internet, downloads and MP3s and stuff. So, the festivals is really where it’s at,” Katelyn Shook says. Katelyn and her sister Laurie Shook are the front-women of the Shook Twins, a Portland-based indie folk pop group.

The stretch from May to September is the biggest time of year for the Shook Twins – biggest payouts, biggest crowds, biggest publicity. They plan their tours around festival dates.

“It’s so good for an up and coming band because when we go to a new territory, we don’t have to have the pressure of filling the club all by ourselves, we’re just part of this huge thing and they’re promoting it and they’re doing all the cool stuff for it,” Laurie Shook says.

The Shook Twins, Laurie and Katelyn Shook, in their van before a show in Spokane, Washington.

Jessica Robinson/Marketplace

But is there a ceiling on all this growth?

“The problem that we’ve got is that everyone is competing for the same pool of talent. And it’s not just in North America. It’s worldwide,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert business trade publication Pollstar.

For example, Bluesfest in Australia in early April snagged Ben Harper, Hozier, David Gray, Counting Crows and a lot of other in-demand acts, Bongiovanni says. And of course, if they're in Australia, they couldn't be in the U.S. for the ever-increasing number of festivals here. In Pollstar's 2014 year-end business analysis, Bongiovanni forecast the competition for big names could lead to a “bloody market correction that weeds out weaker festivals.”

And he’s not the only one making gloomy predictions.

“There’s only so many artists that can play and anchor and headline the festivals,” Levine says. “So it’s going to be a little bit survival of the fittest. Some will thrive and others will not.”

There's another force putting restrictions on the availability of big-name acts. It's called a “radius” clause. For example, the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee might tell a band it can’t play within 300 miles of the festival two months before or after. Larger festivals use the agreements to make sure they keep exclusive rights on the headliners – and the hype surrounding them.

Still, all of this isn’t bothering Drew Lorona too much. He's one of the founders of the fledgling Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho, which just wrapped up its fourth year. Like most new festivals, it’s struggled to turn a profit. But Lorona says the urban music festival has been careful to grow slowly and put its emphasis on discovering unknown bands.

“I think the festivals that will struggle are going to be the ones that don't have that differentiation. … And that seems to be what's popping up the most – is kind of branded as like a party in the desert type of thing,” says Lorona.

And speaking of popping up, he knows of at least two new music festivals starting in Idaho this summer.

Kale: the cause and solution to all of McDonald's problems

Thu, 2015-05-07 13:00

A pretty clear illustration of the problems McDonald's is going to have turning itself around, as the company said earlier this week it wants to do.

You know where this is going, right? Mickey D's is indeed gonna go with kale. They're testing two breakfast bowls here in southern California, one of which will have kale in it.

Tearing down tech manuals

Thu, 2015-05-07 13:00

When you buy a complex gadget, chances are it’s not going to come with a repair manual. Instead, manufacturers may take the product in, or expect you to purchase a new one when the latest model comes out. This has led to a boom in the repair industry and has inspired countless people to dissect pieces of technology and create their own manuals.

Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson explains the boom and bust of the repair industry and introduces the idea of a “teardown.”

NAFTA legacy casts a shadow on new trade agreements

Thu, 2015-05-07 13:00

President Obama will visit Nike headquarters in Oregon on Friday to tout the benefits of free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal between the U.S., Japan and 10 other nations that’s deep in negotiations.

The president will also likely push for Congress to pass a pending Trade Promotion Authority bill, which would renew his ability to negotiate trade agreements before submitting them for a straight yes or no vote in Congress, without amendments.

Both initiatives have drawn criticism from members of the president’s own party and renewed a much older discussion about the North American Free Trade Agreement's impact on the U.S. in the two decades since it was enacted. 

In the 1992 presidential debates, Ross Perot cautioned that NAFTA would create “a giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs heading south to Mexico, crystallizing public fears about its potential impact.

 

Those fears have colored many Americans' present-day perceptions of the agreement, but the reality is far less dramatic, says Simon Johnson, a professor of global economics at MIT.

“NAFTA did not do as much as is claimed by people who are either for or against NAFTA,” he says. “It did increase trade, particularly between Mexico and the United States. It did displace some jobs in the U.S., and some people who lost those jobs didn’t get good jobs again.”

Trade has winners and losers. Many labor unions, for example, will say the losses aren’t worth the gains. Lots of economists disagree, including Jeffrey Schott, with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“Overall, NAFTA has been a great benefit for the U.S. economy,” says Schott. “It’s boosted productivity, it’s increased economic growth.”

But he says politicians – both Democrats and Republicans – often try to sell trade deals by promising new jobs.

“People with an Econ 101 background know pretty well that you’re not going to create more jobs through a trade agreement,” he says. “But trade agreements affect the type of jobs available in an economy.”

The White House has acknowledged that NAFTA has “not lived up to the hype,” but it disagrees with critics who have dubbed the TPP “NAFTA on steroids.” President Obama argues it should be debated on its merits, not what NAFTA did or didn’t do.

But for many Americans, it’s still very hard to separate the two.

“People seem to know that NAFTA should be opposed without really understanding why,” says Andy Shoyer, a partner specializing in international trade at the law firm Sidley Austin and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

In the early 1990s, Shoyer was an assistant general counsel with the United States Trade Representative, and spent late nights typing drafts of the deal. He still has a T-shirt that a colleague made at the time, listing NAFTA negotiating sessions like concert tour dates.

When he put it on recently, he wife quipped that “while it was safe to wear it around the house, it probably wasn’t prudent to wear it around the neighborhood.”

Modernizing the Magic Kingdom

Thu, 2015-05-07 13:00

Four years ago, the big cheese at the house of mouse unveiled a $1 billion plan for streamlining the guest experience at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The company would introduce some revolutionary wearable tech called “MagicBands.”

The electronic bracelets would be proverbial “keys to the kingdom” for millions of visitors, allowing them to do everything from pay for meals to access their hotel rooms, just by holding their wrist up to a scanner. It was an ambitious goal, and Disney had its work cut out.

“You’re talking about installing 30 million square feet of of WiFi coverage,” says Austin Carr, who wrote about the overhaul for Fast Company. “You’re talking about installing upgrades to the hotel door locks —about 28,000 of them."

The project was an enormous undertaking, and required the 40 square mile park to cram state-of-the-art tech into 40-year-old structures. The rollout of the bands, which started out slowly in 2013, wasn’t without its bumps.

“When you entered the park, a lot of guests complained that it wouldn’t read their MagicBands right," Carr says. "A lot of people had difficulty understanding how the system worked."

That forced Disney to hire more guest services representatives to handle the complaints. Despite the costs and challenges, Carr says CEO Bob Iger’s risk paid off.

"Just being able to swipe your wrist is a reflection of the world I’d like to see," he says.

The Internet of Things the MagicBand can do

  • Check-in with Disney Magical Express transportation
  • Park admission
  • Hotel check-in and unlocking Disney hotel room doors
  • FastPass+ check-in for attractions and entertainment
  • Access special event tickets
  • Connect Disney PhotoPass images to account
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases to Disney hotel room
  • Signal arrival to specific park restaurants, and locate your table using radio frequency (via Wired)

Whole Foods tries to shed its 'Whole Paycheck' image

Thu, 2015-05-07 11:00

Whole Foods Market, Inc., is planning a spinoff chain that it says is aimed at millennials. 

We already have an idea of what it might be called —"Dailyshop," "Small Batch," and "Swiftgoods" are all names the chain has trademarked, among others.

If those names sound quick and easy to you, perhaps it’s no accident. Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst at the NPD group, says millennials eat out less than previous generations. But even though they’re cooking at home, they're "trying still to replicate some of the properties that restaurants provided them."

Those properties, he says, says are speed, quality and freshness. Sounds like millennials would be ideal Whole Foods customers, right? Except for one big problem.

"Everyone likes to call them 'Whole Paycheck,'" Seifer says, due to the store's reputation for high prices.

Millennials eat out less not only because it's healthier, but because millennials are poorer. Economists say the Great Recession created permanent damage to this generation's earning capacity. 

So Whole Foods' model of organic, fresh, and expensive, is being undercut by companies like Walmart and Target, which are increasingly offering organic options at lower prices. 

"This will be a way for them to kind of reach that new broadening out of the organics demand that's going on in the marketplace," says Mark Wiltamuth, managing director at Jeffries.

So the next challenge will be offering a less expensive shopping experience without undercutting Whole Foods' prestige as a brand.

"Maintaining the integrity of the brand while doing so in a way that makes it appeal to a broader audience will be most important," says Christina Rak, a senior analyst at Huge.

We asked Marketplace staff and listeners what the new, chain should be called. Here are some of our favorite suggestions:

  • Failure to Lunch
  • Half Foods
  • Wholer Foods
  • "It's Not All Pizza But Some Of It Is"
  • WasteOfMoney.io
  • [tomato emoji] + [grape emoji]

And, of course...

  • Marketplace

 

 

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