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TANSTAAFL: A rather cumbersome and usually hard to remember acronym for the expression "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. This is a favorite saving of many economists because it highlights, albeit in a grammatically questionable manner, the fundamental problem of scarcity. The phrase serves to emphasize that seemingly "free" lunches are not really free. While they might be free to the customer, someone must pay, that is, incur an opportunity cost of foregone production. The lunch eaten by one person cannot be eaten by another.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 1: Economics Page: 1 of 18

Topic: Definition <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Economics:

A social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources used to produce goods and services that satisfy consumers' unlimited wants and needs.

Key points in the study of economics:

  • Social Science: Economics uses the scientific method to explain and study our society.
  • Allocation: Economics studies allocation decisions about distributing resources, goods and services.
  • Scarce Resources: The economy's resources are limited relative to their use.
  • Production: We transform available resources into goods and services. That's production.
  • Consumption: The goods and services produced are used to satisfy wants and needs. That's consumption.

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INTERCEPT, AGGREGATE EXPENDITURES LINE

The intercept of the aggregate expenditures line indicates autonomous expenditures, aggregate expenditures that do not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as aggregate expenditures that the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) undertake regardless of the state of the economy. Autonomous expenditures are affected by the aggregate expenditures determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the aggregate expenditures line.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at the confiscated property police auction seeking to buy either a pair of blue silicon oven mitts or a coffee cup commemorating the 2000 Olympics. Be on the lookout for celebrities who speak directly to you through your television.
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The portion of aggregate output U.S. citizens pay in taxes (30%) is less than the other six leading industrialized nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan.
"Lead the life that will make you kindly and friendly to everyone about you, and you will be surprised what a happy life you will lead."

-- Charles M. Schwab

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