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August 25, 2019 

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ARBITRATION: Intervention of an impartial third party to settle disputes between two others. The decisions of this third party -- the arbitrator -- are legally binding, much like the ruling of a judge in a court of law. Arbitration is commonly used to interpret a collective bargaining agreement between unions and employers. Much like a judge (in some cases it is a judge) an arbitrator determines how a given union and employer conflict stacks up against the terms of existing agreement. Note that an arbitrator doesn't try to decide what's "best, "fair," or mutually agreeable to both sides -- as would be the case with mediation -- but only what's in line with the existing agreement.

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Fact 4: Our Monopolized Markets

Our pedestrian's jaunt through the economy is not, unfortunately, an unrestrained shopping spree for confectioneries, spark plug tools, and Houston, Texas. We have other important errands to run. At the moment we need to hike over to Shady Valley's exclusive provider of cable television services, the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television Company, Inc., to inquire about a mysterious fee that appeared last month's bill.

The good news is that the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters (the 4M people) Cable office is a mere 2 miles (3 kilometers for the metrically inclined) from the Shady Valley Central Town Sprawling Hills Shopping Mall. A hop, skip, and a moderately long jump later, our excursion through the economy takes us to the front door of the 4M Cable Television Company where I hope to discover why last month's cable bill included a $3,569 charge for something called "The Vacation Channel." I didn't even know I had a vacation channel. (But, I'm sure it's a great channel, and if I don't have it, then I will certainly subscribe. Please don't disconnect me.)

Of course, because this an afternoon workday, the doors of the 4M office are locked. I can almost make out, through the expensive stained glass windows, what appears to be several Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television employees, with champaign bottles in hand, dancing on expensive mahogany desks. Let's not disturb them. As they say in the cable business, an upset worker is a disconnected customer.
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time flipping through mail order catalogs hoping to buy either a large red and white striped beach towel or a bottle of blackcherry flavored spring water. Be on the lookout for bottles of barbeque sauce that act TOO innocent.
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Much of the $15 million used by the United States to finance the Louisiana Purchase from France was borrowed from European banks.
"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time. "

-- Anna Freud, psychologist

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