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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."

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. (Full article...)

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John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (July 8, 1839–May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the oil industry, and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, Rockefeller helped found the Standard Oil company. Over a forty-year period, Rockefeller built Standard Oil into the largest and most profitable company in the world, and became the world's richest man.

His business career was controversial. He was bitterly attacked by muckraking journalists; his company was convicted in the Federal Court of monopolistic practices and broken up in 1911. He gave up active management of Standard Oil in the late 1890s, while keeping a large fraction of the shares. He spent the last forty years of his life focused on philanthropic pursuits, primarily related to education and public health. He donated most of his wealth using multiple foundations run by experts. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions throughout his life.

Rockefeller may ultimately be remembered simply for the raw size of his wealth. In 1902, an audit showed Rockefeller was worth about $200 million, compared to the total national wealth that year of $101 billion. His wealth grew significantly after as the demand for gasoline soared, eventually reaching about $900 million, including significant interests in banking, shipping, mining, railroads, and other industries. By the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller's remaining fortune, largely tied up in permanent family trusts, was estimated at $1.4 billion. Rockefeller's net worth over the last decades of his life would easily place him among the list of wealthiest persons in history. As a percentage of the United States economy, no other American fortune—including Bill Gates or Sam Walton—would even come close.

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An 1874 newspaper illustration from Harper's Weekly, showing a man engaging in barter: offering chickens in exchange for his yearly newspaper subscription.

Barter is a system of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. It is distinguishable from gift economies in many ways; one of them is that the reciprocal exchange is immediate and not delayed in time. It is usually bilateral, but may be multilateral (i.e., mediated through barter organizations) and usually exists parallel to monetary systems in most developed countries, though to a very limited extent. Barter usually replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, such as when the currency may be either unstable (e.g., hyperinflation or deflationary spiral) or simply unavailable for conducting commerce.

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" Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

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Did you know

William McChesney Martin, Jr.
  • ...that, according to historical legend, Laissez-faire stems from a meeting in about 1681 between the powerful French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert and a group of French businessmen led by a certain M. Le Gendre?
  • ...that Antoine Augustin Cournot derived the first formula for the rule of supply and demand as a function of price and in fact was the first to draw supply and demand curves on a graph in his Researches on the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth?
  • ...that the Toyota Production System (TPS) developed by Toyota, that comprises its management philosophy and practices, organizes manufacturing and logistics for the automobile manufacturer, including interaction with suppliers and customers?

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