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April 24, 2018 

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SIXTH RULE OF IGNORANCE: The sixth of seven basic rules of the economy. It is a fact of life that obtaining information is a costly activity, it requires resources that have alternative uses. As such, no one knows everything and everyone is ignorant about something. I might know a lot about economics, but you can recite every line of every episode of "Gilligan's Island", and that weird-looking guy you bumped into at the store has a detailed account of everything you've done for the past five years.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: Demand Theory
  • The Theory
  • Making Decisions
  • Utility
  • On To Demand
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: Total Utility
  • A Measure Of Satisfaction
  • Total Utility Schedule
  • Utility Maximization
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Marginal Utility
  • Incremental Satisfaction
  • Measuring Marginal Utility
  • Diminishing Marginal Utility
  • Getting Satisfied
  • Diamond-Water Paradox
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: The Curves
  • Total Utility
  • Marginal Utility
  • Both Curves
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Taking Stock
  • Two Laws
  • Two Considerations
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Consumer Demand

    This lesson discusses the basics of consumer demand theory, especially the notion of utility. Utility is the fancy-schmancy economic term that means satisfying wants and needs. The purpose of this lesson is to set the stage for a behind-the-scenes look at the demand-side of the market. Because the prices buyers are willing to pay for the goods depend on the utility, an understanding of demand requires an understanding of utility.

    • The first unit of this lesson, Demand Theory, introduces the concept of utility and previews the relation between utility, consumer decision making, and demand.
    • In the second unit, Total Utility, we take a look at the first of two key technical notions of utility are used to examine the relation between utility and demand.
    • The third unit, Marginal Utility, presents and discusses the second of the two technical notions of utility, and the most important notion underlying demand.
    • The fourth unit, The Curves, illustrates the total utility and marginal utility concepts with handy graphs.
    • The fifth unit, Taking Stock, then wraps up this lesson with an extended preview of the relation between utility and demand.

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    BALANCE ON MERCHANDISE TRADE

    A subset of the balance of payments current account that records the difference between the payments received for exports of goods to other nations and the payments made for the imports of goods from other nations. The goods included are physical or tangible goods, but not intangible services. The balance on merchandise trade is thus appropriately divided into merchandise exported and merchandise imported. Two other subsets of the current account include the balance on services and unilateral transfers. The commonly termed balance of trade is the sum of the balance on merchandise trade and the balance on services.

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    Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at an auction looking to buy either throw pillows for your living room sofa or a hepa filter for your furnace. Be on the lookout for celebrities who speak directly to you through your television.
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    Natural gas has no odor. The smell is added artificially so that leaks can be detected.
    "You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you're doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle. "

    -- George Lucas

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