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VARIABLE FACTOR OF PRODUCTION: An input whose quantity can be changed in the time period under consideration. This usually goes by the shorter term fixed input and should be immediately compared and contrasted with fixed factor of production, which goes by the shorter term fixed input. The most common example of a variable factor of production is labor. A variable factor of production provides the extra inputs that a firm needs to expand short-run production. In contrast, a fixed factor of production, like capital, provides the capacity constraint in production. As larger quantities of a variable factor of production, like labor, are added to a fixed factor of production like capital, the variable factor of production becomes less productive.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 3: The Economy Page: 7 of 18

Topic: An Economy <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Because of the scarcity problem, we need a way to divide up what we have. This is accomplished by an economy.

An economy is a system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources, goods, and services that addresses the basic economic problem of scarcity and answers the three questions of allocation: What? How? For Whom?

Economies rely on markets and government to perform the allocation task.

The allocation processes involves the institutions of:

  • Markets allocate resources through voluntary choices made by people--buyers and sellers.
  • Government allocates resources through involuntary taxes, laws, restrictions, and regulations imposed on these people.
Both are important methods of allocation.

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UNCERTAINTY

The observation and recognition that information, especially information about the future, is not known. While any number of events might occur in the future, uncertainty exists because which specific events will occur is unknown. A related concept is risk, which is assigning probabilities to potential future outcomes. Uncertainty is a central component in the economic study of information.

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PURPLE SMARPHIN
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time watching the shopping channel hoping to buy either a T-shirt commemorating last Friday (you know why) or a rotisserie oven that can also toast bread. Be on the lookout for bottles of barbeque sauce that act TOO innocent.
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Rosemary, long associated with remembrance, was worn as wreaths by students in ancient Greece during exams.
"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."

-- Anthony J. D'Angelo

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