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July 21, 2018 

AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy!

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THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM: Another term for scarcity, which is the pervasive condition of human existence that exists because society has unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used for their satisfaction. In other words, while we all want a bunch of stuff, we can't have everything that we want (see free lunch). In slightly different words, this scarcity problem means: (1) that there's never enough resources to produce everything that everyone would like produced; (2) that some people will have to do without some of the stuff that they want or need; (3) that doing one thing, producing one good, performing one activity, forces society to give up something else; and (4) that the same resources can not be used to produce two different goods at the same time. We live in a big, bad world of scarcity. This big, bad world of scarcity is what the study of economics is all about. That's why we usually subtitle scarcity: THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM.

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AmosWEB is an Internet-based resource of economics information offered by AmosWEB LLC. AmosWEB LLC was established April 1, 2000 to publish economics information and instructional resources through the World Wide Web.

At AmosWEB, we take economics seriously, but with a touch of whimsy. We recognize the importance of economics to our lives, careers, and citizenship, but we try to have a little fun with it along the way. On the one had... serious. On the other hand... whimsical. A balance much like that of demand and supply.

AmosWEB began its Internet existence under the name AmosWORLD. (You might see AmosWEB listed as AmosWORLD in some search engines. AmosWorld.com is currently maintained by a talented artist named Amos Kmiec.) We have been providing economics information through the World Wide Web since the earliest days of the World Wide Web, when memory was measured in kilobytes, disks were floppy, and PPP was the primary way to get online.

Over the years, we've provided economics information to students, instructors, and web surfers on six continents (we're still working on Antarctic). We have consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of all websites on the Internet (according to Rank.com). Our most popular resource is the AmosWEB GLOSS*arama, an extensive glossary of economics terms and concepts. We also offer the increasingly popular AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, and encyclopedia of economics.

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The principle author and content developer of AmosWEB is Orley M. Amos, PhD, a Professor of Economics at Oklahoma State University with a couple of decades of instructional experience. Assistance has been provided over the years by Antonio Avalos, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Economics at California State University, Fresno.

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PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION

Slight differences that exist between two or more goods that are essentially the same and which satisfy the same basic want or need. This is generally pursued in monopolistic competition and oligopoly by firms seeking to increase sales and profit. Many of the best known businesses in the economy practice product differentiation to gain an advantage on the competition and to acquire a bit of market control. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are very similar, but each has a few differences in terms of taste, packaging, and esteem.

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Fact 2: Our Subjective Values

Upon leaving Scarcity Stan's Bakery Shoppe and Confectionery Palace our pedestrian's excursion drops into Mega-Mart Discount Warehouse Super Center. A quick tour of this mecca of mass production -- lasting no more than three days -- is likely to reveal within the 20 gadzillion square feet of floor space a number of sales racks, shelves, and tables filled with merchandise marked down for clearance. A prominently displayed sign on one sales rack boldly declares that the regular $24.99 price has been drastically reduced, for this week only, to $3.98. What a bargain! What a sale! We have the chance -- "for a limited time only" -- to get stuff valued at $24.99 for only $3.98! With a bargain like this, how can we lose?

It's easy to lose, if you don't understand the concept of value. Most of us have several "bargains" stored away in the attic, closet, or garage that never have seen, and probably never will see, anything resembling use. What seemed like a great "bargain" at the store, does nothing but occupy space at home. (By the way, does anyone have use for a distributor cap for a 1949 Ford?)
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time searching for rummage sales trying to buy either a pair of blue silicon oven mitts or a coffee cup commemorating the 2000 Olympics. Be on the lookout for high interest rates.
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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, almost 2 million children were employed as factory workers.
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me."

-- Erma Bombeck, writer

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