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8 Fascinating Reads

Here are eight fascinating things I read this week.

Incentives

South Korea got sick of companies hoarding cash, so it found a penalty :

Starting next year, companies with paid-in capital exceeding 50 billion won ($48.6 million) -- about 4,000 large firms, or roughly 1% of all businesses -- will have to pay an additional 10% tax on their net profit after payments for investments, salaries and dividends, unless 60% to 80% of profit has been spent on those three items, or 20% to 40% of profit has been spent on salaries and dividends.

Confusion

AOL has a money factory: people paying for stuff they don't need :

The most amazing thing about AOL's business is the thing that drives AOL's business: Millions of people, who started paying the company a monthly fee for Internet access more than a decade ago, who continue to pay the company a monthly fee for Internet access, even though they likely aren't getting Internet access from AOL anymore. ... Here's how it makes that money: Getting a shrinking number of subscribers -- 2.34 million this quarter, down from 3.62 million at the beginning of 2011 -- to pay an increasing amount -- the average AOL subscriber now pays $20.86 per month, up from around $18 a few years ago.

First impressions

Investor Peter Thiel says never invest in someone wearing a suit:

Rebound

The number of babies born in the United States declined each year from 2008 to 2012. It just last year started to rise again :

Buried

Americans still have a debt problem :

An estimated 1 in 3 adults with a credit history -- or 77 million people -- are so far behind on some of their debt payments that their account has been put

Leisure

Pre-industrial workers didn't work that hard:

There is considerable evidence of what economists call the backward-bending supply curve of labor -- the idea that when wages rise, workers supply less labor. During one period of unusually high wages (the late fourteenth century), many laborers refused to work

Optimism

For the first time since 2009, more than half of Americans don't think the economy is in recession:

Half of those polled said the economy is improving, and 49% think the U.S. is still in a recession, down from 58% last summer and 77% in 2008. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they are still feeling some impact from the recession, down from the 71% who said they initially felt effects from the downturn when it began more than six years ago. Forty percent said someone in their household had lost a job over the last five years, and one of three said someone they live with was forced to take a job with a significantly lower income.

Growth

Ten-year-old Facebook is now a larger company than 104-year-old IBM:

Have a good weekend.

The article 8 Fascinating Reads originally appeared on Fool.com.

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