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Introduction

Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services).[need quotation to verify] Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors."

Having a business name does not separate the business entity from the owner, which means that the owner of the business is responsible and liable for debts incurred by the business. If the business acquires debts, the creditors can go after the owner's personal possessions. A business structure does not allow for corporate tax rates. The proprietor is personally taxed on all income from the business.

The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or by public officials) to refer to a company. A company, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity and provides for limited liability, as well as corporate tax rates. A company structure is more complicated and expensive to set up, but offers more protection and benefits for the owner.

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Ludwig von Mises's family's crest

The Austrian School, also known as “the Vienna School” and as “the Psychological School”, is a school of economic thought that advocates adherence to strict methodological individualism. As a result Austrians hold that the only valid economic theory is logically derived from basic principles of human action. Alongside the formal approach to theory, often called praxeology, the school has traditionally advocated an interpretive approach to history. The praxeological method allows for the discovery of economic laws valid for all human action, while the interpretive approach addresses specific historical events.

This Aristotelian/rationalist approach differs both from the currently dominant Platonic/positivist approach of contemporary neo-classical economics and the once dominant historical approach of the German historical school and the American institutionalists. While the praxeological method differs from the current method advocated by the majority of contemporary economists, the Austrian method is essentially identical with the traditional approach to economics used by the British classical economists, the early continental economists, and the Late Scholastics. The Austrian methodology is, therefore, a continuation of a long line of economic thought stretching from the 15th century to the modern era and including such major economists as Richard Cantillon, David Hume, A.R.J. Turgot, Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Nassau Senior, John Elliott Cairnes, and Claude Frédéric Bastiat.

The most famous Austrian adherents are Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Joseph Schumpeter, Gottfried von Haberler, Murray Rothbard, Israel Kirzner, George Reisman, Henry Hazlitt, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. While often controversial, and standing to some extent outside of the mainstream of neoclassical theory — as well as being staunchly opposed to much of Keynes' theory and its results — the Austrian School has been widely influential because of its emphasis on the creative phase (i.e. the time element) of economic productivity and its questioning of the basis of the behavioral theory underlying neoclassical economics.

Because many of the policy recommendations of Austrian theorists call for small government, strict protection of private property, and support for individualism in general, they are often cited by laissez-faire liberal, libertarian, and Objectivist groups for support, although Austrian School economists, like Ludwig von Mises, insist that praxeology must be value-free. They do not answer the question "should this policy be implemented?", but rather "if this policy is implemented, will it have the effects you intend?".

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The multimedia studio at the headquarters of Infosys Technologies Limited in Bangalore, India.
Photo credit: Indianhilbilly

Infosys is a multinational information technology company, with nine development centers in India and over 30 offices worldwide. Infosys and its subsidiaries employ over 80,501 professionals. Its annual revenues for the fiscal year 2006-2007 exceeded US$3.1 billion with a market capitalization of over US$30 billion.

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"The process of substitution, of which we have been discussing the tendencies, is one form of competition; and it may be well to insist again that we do not assume that competition is perfect. Perfect competition requires a perfect knowledge of the state of the market; and though no great departure from the actual facts of life is involved in assuming this knowledge on the part of dealers when we are considering the course of business in Lombard Street, the Stock Exchange, or in a wholesale Produce Market; it would be an altogether unreasonable assumption to make when we are examining the causes that govern the supply of labour in any of the lower grades of industry. For if a man had sufficient ability to know everything about the market for his labour, he would have too much to remain long in a low grade. The older economists, in constant contact as they were with the actual facts of business life, must have known this well enough; but partly for brevity and simplicity, partly because the term "free competition" had become almost a catchword, partly because they had not sufficiently classified and conditioned their doctrines, they often seemed to imply that they did assume this perfect knowledge."

Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1890

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  • ...that Valrhona, a company based in the small town of Tain l'Hermitage in the Rhône Valley in France, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality chocolate?
  • ... that Hollywood accounting is the practice of distributing the profit earned by a large project to corporate entities which, though distinct from the one responsible for the project itself, are typically owned by the same people, with the net result of reducing the project's profit by a substantial margin, sometimes even eliminating it altogether.

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