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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 11/27/2017

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

1 min

The Benefit The QuickSee is as accurate as a more expensive desktop autorefractor. PlenOptika plans to supply basic $2,500 models to markets where optometrists are scarce and pricier versions to health-care providers in the U.S. and Europe. Innovator ● Shivang Dave ● Age: 35 ● Co-founder and chief executive officer of PlenOptika ● Location: Allston, Mass. Origin Dave and three fellow postdocs began developing QuickSee in 2011 with help from a partnership between MIT and the government of Madrid. The co-creators and their company have received about $3.5 million in grants, awards, and angel investment. Tasks PlenOptika says clinical studies show QuickSee can deliver a prescription measurement on its built-in screen as accurately as a trained optometrist trying out different lenses on a patient looking at an eye chart. Incentives Clifford Scott, president of the New England College of…

5 min
the gop tax plan’s obamacare surprise

The mandate to buy health insurance is the broccoli of Obamacare—the part you have to accept if you want the goodies, like affordable coverage of people with costly pre-existing conditions. Now Senate Republicans are saying you don’t have to eat your broccoli anymore. They eliminate the penalty for lack of coverage in their version of the $1.5 trillion tax cut bill, which they aim to vote on after Thanksgiving. Could removing the penalty, which effectively kills the individual mandate, possibly make sense? Health-care economists describe the mandate as a necessary evil. Without it, they say, healthy people will roll the dice and choose to go uncovered, leaving insurance pools made up of sicker, older people who are costlier to cover. But the impact of the requirement is regressive. Well-off families generally…

4 min
can bitcoin outlast an apocalypse?

Wendy McElroy is ready for most doomsday scenarios: A one-year supply of nonperishable food is stacked in a cellar at her farm in rural Ontario. Her blueprint for survival also depends upon a working internet; part of her money, assuming she needs some after civilization collapses, is in bitcoin. Across the North American countryside, so-called preppers such as McElroy are storing more and more of their wealth in invisible wallets in cyberspace instead of stockpiling gold bars and coins in their bunkers and basement safes. They won’t be able to access their virtual cash the moment a catastrophe knocks out the power grid or the web, but that hasn’t dissuaded them. Even staunch survivalists are convinced bitcoin will endure economic collapse, global pandemic, climate change catastrophes, and nuclear war. “I consider bitcoin…

4 min
pasta’s magic kingdom

Bologna, nicknamed la grassa—“the fat one”—for its wealth and edible delicacies, is located in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, the birthplace of tortellini, Parmesan, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar. Foodies have long hopped on the two-hour train from Rome to hunt down the flavors nestled in the picturesque city and nearby hillside villages. But now, you no longer need to find these delights on your own. Starting this November, you can tap vast swaths of Italy’s food culture at Bologna’s FICO Eataly World, or FICO for short. (The acronym stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, which roughly translates to Italian Farming Factory, but also colloquially means “cool” or “attractive.”) And cool it is, even to a pack of jaded local and foreign journalists visiting just before the Nov. 15 opening. We are herded around the…

2 min
humberto leon and carol lim

TO UNDERSTAND HOW CAROL Lim and Humberto Leon have made Kenzo SA, a Paris-based luxury brand, into a popular phenomenon, you need to know that neither is a trained designer. “We were both really avid readers of magazines” as teenagers, Lim says. “As we listened to our favorite bands, we would see what they were wearing, where they would go eat.” They’ve used this voracious sensibility to build an utterly hip retail empire out of a brand that until about six years ago was known only to fashion’s most inside insiders—and in the process opened the stuffy world of high fashion to young, streetwise consumers. Both grew up in Los Angeles as first-generation Americans—Lim’s family is from South Korea, Leon’s from China and Peru. They met as undergraduates at UC Berkeley and have…

2 min
one year too many on campus

The basic cause of America’s student-loan crisis is no mystery: College tuition and fees continue to soar while the earnings of recent graduates remain unchanged. It shouldn’t be surprising that there’s also a straightforward way to lower the cost of a college degree: Reduce the amount of time it takes to earn one. The U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree is based on cultural convention, not pedagogical wisdom. In most European countries, as well as India, Singapore, and Australia, most undergraduate programs take three years to complete. Some U.S. colleges allow enterprising students to finish their requirements early, but that option is available only to those who enter college with sufficient credits from advanced courses taken in high school—and some elite schools are trying to limit even this practice. Defying industry inertia, a small…