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IKEA's strange, unique economics can be boiled down to this: survival of the fittest furniture.
IKEA has weird economics, wherein favorite pieces of design get better and cheaper.
There is a sort of evolutionary dynamic at play in the annual Ikea catalog: survival of the fittest furniture.... The company tends to discontinue products that remain expensive. “If they can’t figure out how to make them more cheaply, or retool them or slightly redesign them, it seems like the things disappear.”
One example is the BIlly bookcase. Here's a brief history. Over 41 million have been sold since 1979 (full transparency: we're staring at three of them as we write this), though they sell for widely varying prices around the world, prompting Bloomberg to launch a Billy Index.
Be thankful if you're in Slovakia, where Ikea's iconic Billy bookcase is the cheapest among almost 50 countries surveyed by Bloomberg. The price of $39.35 (when converted from the local currency) is less than half the cost in Egypt. The north African nation is the most expensive on the list, at $101.55.
Related: If you enjoy the Billy Index, you'll love the Economist's Big Mac Index.
Sprawling feature on the geography of Japanese internment maps incredible displacement.
The highest-traffic routes led families hundreds of miles from their homes in jarring dislocations such as from Seattle to the Arizona desert, or San Francisco to rural Arkansas.
Since 50 percent of farmers are undocumented, an impending labor crunch threatens American agriculture.
Americans are spurning farm jobs. As a result, crops in at least 20 states rot because there aren't enough workers to pick them. Deporting millions and building a wall would send farms, and our food, into a full-on crisis.
Italy revolutionizes and scandalizes the sport of rugby by "rucking" less.
A rugby match is built on "rucks," what happens when a player is tackled to the ground. In an 80-minute game, it happens about 200 times. The ball-carrier goes down, everybody huddles around him, then he almost always manages to pass the ball to his teammates, setting up for another offensive play.
But what happens when the defensive side doesn't send anybody to the scrimmage, as Italy preferred not to in an international match just yesterday?
It caused chaos. Since no rucks were formed when an Englishman was wrestled to the ground, there was no offside line during those plays. Subsequently, Italian defenders were free to wander around to the English side of the tackle and wait for the ball to arrive, since all passes must go backwards. The sport was turned completely on its head. At times, it was like watching a computer game with a glitch, or a bizarre version of American football in which the defensive end gets to stand next to the quarterback.