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ZERO-SUM GAME: A situation in which a fixed amount is divided up among the winners and losers. In a zero-sum game the wins equal the losses. Many stock market, or financial market, exchanges are zero-sum. One person buys low and sells high, while another buys high and sells low. The wealth in such transactions are merely transferred from one person to another. "Productive" market transactions, in contrast, are not zero-sum. The act of producing goods and services from resources that are consumed to satisfy wants and needs results in a net gain to society.

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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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AVERAGE REVENUE

The revenue received for selling a good per unit of output sold, found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue often goes by a simpler and more widely used term... price. Using the longer term average revenue rather than price provides a connection to other related terms, especially total revenue and marginal revenue. When compared with average cost, average revenue indicates the amount of profit generated per unit of output produced. Average revenue is often depicted by an average revenue curve.

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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.
"It is very rare that you meet with obstacles in this world (that) the humblest man has not the faculties to surmount. "

-- Henry David Thoreau, philosopher

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World Trade Organization
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