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This week marks the end of the Michigan State University Spring 2022 semester, which means that this also closes another year in the books for the globalEDGE team. globalEDGE Blogs will be taking a break from its regular schedule throughout the summer months. This summer, our team members will be traveling, studying, and completing internships or full-time positions, all in the earnest pursuit of furthering our understanding of international business, which will be put to good use this Fall when globalEDGE Blogs returns.

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You have most likely watched a show or movie on Netflix at one point or another. Whether it was borrowing a friend’s account or purchasing the subscription for a month and then getting roped into another, streaming services have become ubiquitous. Netflix has released multiple hit shows and classics to date yet is now the worst-performing stock of 2022 in the S&P 500. It is down 62.5% year to date. What happened?

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Over the last few decades, inflation has been steady and rampant incline. Inflation is the rate of increase in prices over a given period. The current cost of living for a single person in the United States is $38,266 per year. Yet, in 2002, the cost of living was around $27,924 per year. This is a notable jump over the last 20 years. To add to this, the cost to attend college has increased by 169% spanning from 1980 to 2019. One of the steady indicators of economic conditions has been the automotive industry. Specifically, in the piece, the status of the used car industry will be highlighted.

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Cobalt, a key component in the production of lithium-ion batteries that power phones, computers, and electric vehicles, has soared in both demand and price in recent years. Lithium-ion batteries account for over half of global cobalt consumption, and with electric vehicle sales predicted to grow from 6.5 million in 2021 to 66 million in 2040, the appetite for the metal is understandably high. However, Cobalt is a unique commodity because it’s primarily controlled by only two countries: China and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC supplies about 70 percent of the world’s Cobalt, but 80% of its industrial cobalt mines are owned or financed by Chinese companies. This dynamic has disproportionately favored China and has led to hostility among the Congolese government and its domestic mining companies.

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Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin had established Russia to be one of the greatest dominant power’s in the world, yet even at that point, Russia’s economic capabilities were hardly capable of sustaining its’ ‘empire’. In fact, when measured by today's standard exchange rates, Russia’s economy would place as the 22nd largest economy in the world. This is a noticeably sizeable leap from the powerhouse of an economy they were once revered as on the world stage, second only to the USA at one point.

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Warmer weather is approaching, and with it comes the chance to enjoy all-natural, refreshing summer fruits. Bananas, coconuts, grapefruits, guava, pineapples, mangoes, and more all serve as welcome complements to the warmth of summer. While this is the only time of year to enjoy such treats at their best throughout much of the United States, many countries rely on the year-long production of the fruits as a key contributor to their inner economy and diet.

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Facial recognition is becoming more and more common throughout several different industries. Whether it is companies using it for marketing, law enforcement using it to identify suspects, or tech companies to unlock devices easily, facial recognition is seen almost everywhere in our lives. Companies like Apple, Lowe’s, Albertsons, Macy’s, and Ace Hardware already use the technology, while places like Walgreens, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Starbucks, and Ross are just a few among the ones that might use it in the future. It is not only seen in a variety of companies, but The Interpol Face Recognition System (IFRS) also has a database that spans more than 179 countries. The big question remains: should facial recognition be implemented in a war zone?

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