Business

‘Dune: Part Two’ Gives Sci-Fi-Obsessed Silicon Valley a Reason to Party
Business

‘Dune: Part Two’ Gives Sci-Fi-Obsessed Silicon Valley a Reason to Party

In a top-floor atrium in downtown San Francisco on Thursday evening, tech workers from Google, Slack, X and Mozilla mingled next to a pair of cardboard cutouts of Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook founder, chatted as others sipped from cannily named cocktails like the Fremen Mirage (gin, coconut Campari, sweet vermouth) and the Arrakis Palms (vanilla pear purée, gin, Fever-Tree tonic). Tim O’Reilly, a tech industry veteran, dropped by. Alex Stamos, the former head of security at Facebook, was also spotted.“Do you think they’ll let me take home one of the freaky sandworm popcorn buckets?” someone in the crowd tittered. The suggestively designed buckets had become a sensation across social media.The techies were all there to celebrate Silicon Valley’s newest obsessio...
How 33-Year-Olds, the Peak Millennials, Are Shaping the U.S. Economy
Business

How 33-Year-Olds, the Peak Millennials, Are Shaping the U.S. Economy

I have covered economics for 11 years now, and in that time, I have come to the realization that I am a statistic. Every time I make a major life choice, I promptly watch it become the thing that everyone is doing that year.I started college in 2009, in the era of all-time-high matriculation rates. When I moved to a big coastal city after graduation, so did a huge crowd of people: It was the age of millennial urbanization. When I lived in a walk-in closet so that I could pay off my student loans (“The yellow paint makes it cheerful!”, Craigslist promised), student debt had recently overtaken auto loans and credit cards as the biggest source of borrowing outside of housing in America.My partner and I bought a house in 2021, along with (seemingly and actually) a huge chunk of the rest of the...
Eurozone Inflation, Continuing to Ease, Rose 2.6% in February
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Eurozone Inflation, Continuing to Ease, Rose 2.6% in February

The NewsInflation rates across most economies in Europe continued their descent last month. Consumer prices in the 20 countries that use the euro as their currency rose at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in February, down from 2.8 percent in January, the statistical office of the European Commission reported on Friday.Why It Matters: Interest rates won’t go down until inflation does.The sooner inflation rates drop closer to the European Central Bank’s target of 2 percent, the sooner the bank may be inclined to lower interest rates, which now stand at 4 percent. Christine Lagarde, the bank’s president, has said that she expects inflation will continue to slow given how much energy prices have declined from the nosebleed levels they reached in 2022. The easing of supply chain blockages has als...
Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank
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Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that she had personally urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to increase commercial engagement with the West Bank, contending that doing so was important for the economic welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians.Ms. Yellen’s plea was outlined in a letter that she sent to Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday. It represented her most explicit public expression of concern about the economic consequences of the war between Israel and Hamas. In the letter, Ms. Yellen said, she warned about the consequences of the erosion of basic services in the West Bank and called for Israel to reinstate work permits for Palestinians and reduce barriers to commerce within the West Bank.“These actions are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and ...
FTC Sues to Block Kroger-Albertsons $24.6 Billion Grocery Store Merger
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FTC Sues to Block Kroger-Albertsons $24.6 Billion Grocery Store Merger

The Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general on Monday sued to block Kroger, the supermarket giant, from completing its $24.6 billion acquisition of the grocery chain Albertsons, saying the deal would hurt competition in the industry.The agency said the deal, which would be the largest supermarket merger in U.S. history, would most likely result in higher prices for groceries for consumers and, with fewer supermarkets, reduce the ability for grocery-store employees to negotiate higher wages and better working conditions.“This supermarket mega-merger comes as American consumers have seen the cost of groceries rise steadily over the past few years,” Henry Liu, director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Competition, said in a news release. “Kroger’s acquisition of Albertsons would...
Can a Tech Giant Be Woke?
Business

Can a Tech Giant Be Woke?

The December day in 2021 that set off a revolution across the videogame industry appeared to start innocuously enough. Managers at a Wisconsin studio called Raven began meeting one by one with quality assurance testers, who vet video games for bugs, to announce that the company was overhauling their department. Going forward, managers said, the lucky testers would be permanent employees, not temps. They would earn an extra $1.50 an hour.It was only later in the morning, a Friday, that the catch became apparent: One-third of the studio’s roughly 35 testers were being let go as part of the overhaul. The workers were stunned. Raven was owned by Activision Blizzard, one of the industry’s largest companies, and there appeared to be plenty of work to go around. Several testers had just worked la...
U.S. Imposes Major New Sanctions on Russia, Targeting Finance and Defense
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U.S. Imposes Major New Sanctions on Russia, Targeting Finance and Defense

The United States on Friday unleashed its most extensive package of sanctions on Russia since the invasion of Ukraine two years ago, targeting Russia’s financial sector and military-industrial complex in a broad effort to degrade the Kremlin’s war machine.The sweeping sanctions come as the war enters its third year, and exactly one week after the death of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, for which the Biden administration blames President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. With Congress struggling to reach an agreement on providing more aid to Ukraine, the United States has become increasingly reliant on financial tools to slow Russia’s ability to restock its military supplies and to put pressure on its economy.Announcing the sanctions on Friday, President Biden reiterated his calls on ...
The Great Compression – The New York Times
Business

The Great Compression – The New York Times

Robert Lanter lives in a 600-square-foot house that can be traversed in five seconds and vacuumed from a single outlet. He doesn’t have a coffee table in the living room because it would obstruct the front door. When relatives come to visit, Mr. Lanter says jokingly, but only partly, they have to tour one at time.Each of these details amounts to something bigger, for Mr. Lanter’s life and the U.S. housing market: a house under $300,000, something increasingly hard to find. That price allowed Mr. Lanter, a 63-year-old retired nurse, to buy a new single-family home in a subdivision in Redmond, Ore., about 30 minutes outside Bend, where he is from and which is, along with its surrounding area, one of Oregon’s most expensive housing markets.Mr. Lanter’s house could easily fit on a flatbed truc...
Can the Olympics Rejuvenate One of France’s Poorest Corners?
Business

Can the Olympics Rejuvenate One of France’s Poorest Corners?

Parisians are already grumbling about the crowds for this summer’s Olympics. They envision sweaty tourists jamming the subway cars, making the hell of commuting even more, well, hellish. They are planning their summer escapes; at worst a “télétravail” schedule to work from home.But not Ivan Buyukocakm. Glancing out at a corner known for drug dealing near his family’s kebab shop in the low-income district just north of Paris, he sees the upcoming Olympics as heralding something totally different: opportunity.“They are redoing the streets and refurbishing buildings,” said Mr. Buyukocakm, as a woman in a thin coat dragged a grocery trolley toward a dilapidated housing project. “This area is going to be improved. Life could get better.”That is the hope anyway. French officials have made a loft...
Nature Has Value. Could We Literally Invest in It?
Business

Nature Has Value. Could We Literally Invest in It?

Picture this: You own a few hundred acres near a growing town that your family has been farming for generations. Turning a profit has gotten harder, and none of your children want to take it over. You don’t want to sell the land; you love the open space, the flora and fauna it hosts. But offers from developers who would turn it into subdivisions or strip malls seem increasingly tempting.One day, a land broker mentions an idea. How about granting a long-term lease to a company that values your property for the same reasons you do: long walks through tall grass, the calls of migrating birds, the way it keeps the air and water clean.It sounds like a scam. Or charity. In fact, it’s an approach backed by hardheaded investors who think nature has an intrinsic value that can provide them with a r...