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SCARCITY: A 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. 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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Lesson 20: Federal Reserve System | Unit 2: What It Does Page: 5 of 20

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The United States had two attempts at central banking in the late 1700s and early 1800s. From 1836 to 1913, a period marked by perpetual economic turmoil, the United States had no central bank.

With no central bank:

  • Banks played fast and loose with deposits and loans.
  • They came up short of reserves and were forced to shut down, taking deposits with them.
  • When deposits evaporated, so too did the financial wealth of customers and part of the money supply.
  • Bank closings were seldom isolated events, bank panics usually spread rapidly throughout the economy.
  • Without money, production went unsold and resources were unemployed.

  • The Federal Reserve System was established in 1913. although imperfect, it has helped stabilize the economy.

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AUTONOMOUS INVESTMENT

Business investment expenditures that do not depend on income or production (especially national income or even gross domestic product). That is, changes in income do not generate changes in investment. Autonomous investment is best thought of as investment that the business sector undertakes regardless of the state of the economy. It is measured by the intercept term of the investment line. The alternative to autonomous investment is induced investment, which does depend on income.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time flipping through the yellow pages wanting to buy either 500 feet of telephone cable or a package of 4 by 6 index cards, the ones with lines. Be on the lookout for cardboard boxes.
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Helping spur the U.S. industrial revolution, Thomas Edison patented nearly 1300 inventions, 300 of which came out of his Menlo Park "invention factory" during a four-year period.
"Executives who get there and stay suggest solutions when they present the problems. "

-- Malcolm Forbes, business executive

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