Lee Ullmann, Director of the MIT Sloan Latin America Office Office of International Programs
Big data is a popular buzz word these days. Companies are told they should harness the vast amount of data produced globally and it will lead to greater profitability and productivity. By using big data, they can reap benefits like producing better products and customization options. That’s all well and good, but it’s contingent on managers understanding how to use and analyze the data. How many can really do that across all industries?
A McKinsey Quarterly report in 2015 found that very few legacy companies have achieved “big impact” through big data. In the study, participants were asked what degree of revenue or cost improvement they had seen through use of big data. The answer was less than 1 percent for the majority of the respondents.
A big problem with big data is that, although everyone talks about it, most people don’t really know what to do to ensure that investing in it is a win-win proposition. To shed light on this issue, MIT Sloan is bringing its deep expertise to a May 26 conference in Bogotá, Colombia called, “Big Data: Shaping the Future of Latin America.” The presenters include faculty from across the MIT campus as well as the Department of National Planning in Colombia. With examples from their own research, they will share new and innovative ways to use big data to achieve specific goals.
If you are like a lot of people, your New Year’s Resolution list includes one or more ventures that you’ve been stalling on. Likely you’ve postponed working on this item due to some lack of clarity or perhaps you fear that you haven’t the proper passion for the topic or sector or a compelling vision to start a business. Indeed, how many times have you heard this advice given to people thinking of starting a company: “You’ve got to be passionate about it. You gotta love what you do.” But guess what?
What’s an acceptable percentage to tip? The amount has been accelerating without any clear economic force driving it, and with unclear benefits for all parties involved. In the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century, a 10% tip was common. By the 1980s, 15% tips had become the standard. Now we observe 18%, 20%, and even 25% tipping rates.
Perhaps as a result, tipping is a constant source of tension and debate, and a favorite topic for social and economic critique. And, like any controversial subject, it has its own little-understood rules and oddities.
As we see pictures of German citizens cheering tens of thousands refugees arriving from Syria and other war zones, we may be witnessing an emerging pattern of the years to come: bureaucracy is failing (EU), systems collapsing (millions of Asylum seeking refugees in urgent need of helping hands) — AND: citizens rising to the occasion!
In the context of ever increasing national egoism and political hypocrisy on the side of many EU (and non-EU) politicians, the outpouring of solidarity from citizens of Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and elsewhere is a profound sign of hope. If the EU is going to break down in the years to come, it will not be because of the millions of refugees now beginning to streaming in. It will result instead from a cold-hearted response to a humanitarian crisis that makes all the EU declarations look like a stream of empty phrases and hypocritical statements. At the moment, we see this is exemplified by the cynical policies of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, designed to increase refugees’ suffering and thereby deter additional refugees from seeking Asylum in EU countries or by the governments of Poland and the Baltic States that declared that they would only accept refugees of Christian faith (putting Europe back almost 400 years to the time prior to the Peace of Westphalia).
I recently testified at a Ways and Means Committee hearing about tax reform. While there is broad agreement about the need to reduce the U.S. corporate tax rate, which is now highest among the world’s advanced economies, Committee members asked how they could explain this to constituents. Would this be perceived as fair?
When businesses choose their legal form for tax purposes in the United States they have several options. The simplest option is that the owner can operate the business without a separate legal entity in which case the income is taxed directly to the individual on their tax return. This is known as a sole proprietorship. An alternative is a pass-through entity, which is not taxed at the entity level (generally) but instead “flows through” income to the owner(s) who are taxed on their individual income tax returns. These entities include partnerships, LLCs, and S-corporations.
The other common type of organizational form is the C-corporation, which is subject to an entity level tax. In addition, when dividends are paid, the shareholders are taxed on the dividend income. Thus, the C-corporation form of business organization may result in double taxation. Almost all publicly traded businesses are taxed as C-corporations, while many small business are organized as pass-through entities.