March 23, 2018 

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ECONOMIC SYSTEM: The assorted institutions that society uses to answer the three basic questions of allocation and address the fundamental problem of scarcity. Another, more popular term for economic system is economy. An economy, or economic system, is the structural framework in which households, businesses, and governments undertake the production and consumption decisions that allocate limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants and needs.

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Lesson 7: Market | Unit 1: The Exchange Page: 2 of 22

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

Equilibrium is the balance of opposing forces that remains unchanged until another force intervenes.

For example:

If two people are pushing in opposite ways on a swinging door with equal strength, then neither will be able to go through. Each pusher represents an opposing force.

For a market, the opposing forces are:

  • Demand. Buyers want to pay a lower price.
  • Supply. Sellers want to receive a higher price.
Market equilibrium is indicated by equilibrium quantity and equilibrium price.
  • Equilibrium quantity is the quantity of a good traded among buyers and sellers when a market is in equilibrium.
  • Equilibrium price is the price agreed to by buyers and sellers when a market is in equilibrium.
  • Buyers and sellers will continue to trade the equilibrium quantity at the equilibrium price indefinitely.
  • But, the equilibrium quantity and price can be disrupted by ceteris paribus determinants of demand and supply. Analyzing these disruptions help us understand economic events.

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A disruption of market equilibrium caused by a change in a supply determinant and a shift of the supply curve. A supply shock can take one of two forms--a supply increase or a supply decrease. This is one of two disruptions of the market. The other is a demand shock.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time searching the newspaper want ads wanting to buy either a birthday gift for your uncle or a pair of red and purple designer socks. Be on the lookout for mail order catalogs with hidden messages.
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The wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, was once removed from a London tram because he lacked the money needed for the fare.
"It is not the straining for great things that is most effective; it is the doing of the little things, the common duties, a little better and better."

-- Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Writer

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