An Economics Lesson From an Ant

Not only providing a lesson that relates to building nest tunnels, ant economics can also teach us about diminishing returns to scale.

All You Need to Know About Doughnuts

Knowing that last Friday was National Doughnut Day, we can thank the inventor that made doughnut mass production possible.

Everything You Never Knew About the Sandwich

The Earl of Sandwich might have created the first slab of beef on two slices of bread because he wanted to eat at his desk (at the Admiralty). As one theory goes, he was hungry. Since waiting for his main…

The Reason There Are Fewer Russian McDonald’s

Embargoing goods from countries that imposed sanctions, Russia included McDonald’s and ignored the benefits of David Ricardo’s comparative advantage.

Restaurant Economics: How to Make 1500 Meals a Day

At 2 am, converging at the delivery entrance of Balthazar in NY’s SoHo are mussels from New Zealand, russet potatoes from Idaho, steak from the Midwest and chicken breast and bacon from Prince Edward Island while some Little Skookum oysters originated in Washington State.…

Innovation: Happy Birthday Moving Assembly Line!

Yesterday, the moving assembly line celebrated its 100th birthday. Before October 7, 1913, in one place, a car was built by teams of workers. The chassis took 12 hours to finish while magneto production required 15 minutes and 29 workers.…

Mass Production: A BMW

I wonder if Henry Ford would have been surprised by this 15 minute BMW factory production video tour (below). Few people, lots of robots, the process begins with a colorless shell and ends with the BMW moving off the assembly…

The Real Mother of Invention

Saying that profit, not necessity is the mother of invention, economic historian John Steele Gordon starts his column in this week’s Barrons. His focus was the 18th century clipper ships that earned people like John Jacob Astor $50,000 for a single voyage…

When Are Potato Chips Good For Us?

Potato chip manufacture is a technological marvel. During one year, in one typical factory, the chips in 80 million bags of Lay’s Potato Chips started as potatoes that were picked and plunked into railroad cars, funneled out for washing and…