Joel Schectman

Marriott Hotels Go Porn-Free

The U.S. porn industry began vibrating last week when a market-research group reported that Marriott, one of the country's biggest hotel chains, would phase out in-room porn channels--a mainstay of the adult industry. In a press release, Marriott cited changing technology trends, and admitted that revenue from the movies was down.

Vermont's Tax Test

Odds are that tax reform will soon get a real hearing in Washington, D.C. President Obama has called for it, and both Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and a bipartisan deficit-reduction committee have endorsed the idea. A simplified system—one that lowers the overall rate but eliminates exemptions—could help attract foreign investment and shrink the deficit, recouping an estimated trillion dollars a year now lost to creative accounting. Or that's the argument.

The Unstoppable Infomercial

The recession may have forced Americans to cut back on trips to shopping malls, but it was a boon to infomercial marketers, with their late-night pitches for thinner bodies and fatter bank accounts, and butt toners and wonder drinks.

A Pawn Shop for the Affluent

Forget the old stereotype of pawn shops as dives that draw mostly lower-income people seeking quick cash in return for a few trinkets. Instead of accepting a boom-box and handing back $60 for gas, a new kind of pawn shop is taking in Picassos and Rolexes and doling out thousands of dollars.

How to Be a Social Entrepreneur

Is it possible to do good and do well? Businesspeople with a goal to better society—known as social entrepreneurs—think so. Unlike traditional nonprofits, these do-gooder companies turn a buck while pushing for environmental and social goals, like helping people out of poverty or reducing the use of harmful pesticides.

What Does Deflation Actually Deflate?

t's complicated. Deflation and inflation are defined as cycles of falling and rising prices, respectively. Experts disagree on which force is more likely to overtake the economy, but either way, not every good or service will move in the same direction—creating confusing exceptions that make it hard to plan a family budget. To help make sense of it all, here are economists' predictions—for both scenarios—about prices in five everyday areas: