Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). 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.
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is "out of control," a condition in which prices increase rapidly as a currency loses its value. No precise definition of hyperinflation is universally accepted. One simple definition requires a monthly inflation rate of 20 or 30% or more. In informal usage the term is often applied to much lower rates.
The definition used by most economists is "an inflationary cycle without any tendency toward equilibrium." A vicious circle is created in which more and more inflation is created with each iteration of the cycle. Although there is a great deal of debate about the root causes of hyperinflation, it becomes visible when there is an unchecked increase in the money supply or drastic debasement of coinage, and is often associated with wars (or their aftermath), economic depressions, and political or social upheavals.
The main cause of hyperinflation is a massive imbalance between the supply and demand of a certain currency or type of money, usually due to a complete loss of confidence in the currency similar to a bank run. First, the enactment of legal tender laws prevent discounting the value of paper money vis-a vis gold, silver or a hard currency, by forcing acceptance of a paper money which lacks intrinsic value. If the entity responsible for printing a currency then promotes excessive money printing, with other factors contributing a reinforcing effect, hyperinflation usually occurs. Often the body responsible for printing the currency cannot physically print paper currency faster than the rate at which it is devaluing, thus neutralising their attempts to stimulate the economy.
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.
"Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium. Both suppositions are false. A trade which is forced by means of bounties and monopolies may be and commonly is disadvantageous to the country in whose favour it is meant to be established, as I shall endeavour to show hereafter. But that trade which, without force or constraint, is naturally and regularly carried on between any two places is always advantageous, though not always equally so, to both."
- —Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
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On this day in Business history...
Did you know
- ...that EID Parry is one of the oldest business entities in the Indian subcontinent and owes its origin to Thomas Parry, a Welshman who came to India in late 1780s?