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NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE: The largest stock market in the United States, located on the famous Wall Street in New York City. This is the big daddy of all stock markets in the country, often referred to as the "big board." It was begun in the 1790s to help fledgling corporations in our fledgling country raise the funds needed for capital investment. All stock transactions (millions each day) are conducted by its members, making membership a very valuable commodity. It currently has slightly over a 1,000 members or "seats," with the only way to get a seat on the exchange from a retiring or deceased member.

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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 at a going out of business sale looking to buy either a large, stuffed kitty cat or a cross-cut paper shredder. Be on the lookout for letters from the Internal Revenue Service.
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Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson, an accomplished mathematician and economist.
"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent. "

-- Isaac Newton, mathematician, physicist

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