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NAFTA: An abbreviation for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is an economic, international trade treaty between the three nations that occupy the North American continent -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States -- that was launch in 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement is designed to eliminate assorted trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including the reduction or elimination of many tariffs and nontariff barriers. While economic theory clearly indicates efficiency is enhanced by the reduction and elimination trade restrictions, NAFTA has been strongly opposed by those potentially harmed by more efficient trade, especially labor unions. However, NAFTA is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Maastricht Treaty.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 3: The Economy Page: 8 of 18

Topic: A Mixed Economy: Markets and Government <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Markets do an effective (and efficient) job of answering the three questions of allocation--most of the time.
  • Markets are the VOLUNTARY exchange of goods and services.
  • A pure market economy is an economy that uses nothing but markets to allocate resources.
  • A pure market economy is a useful theoretical benchmark.
Market responses to the allocation questions:
  • What? Resources are used to produce goods with the highest prices.
  • How? Goods are produced using the combination of resource with the lowest prices.
  • For Whom? People with more income buy more goods.

Government also helps answer the three questions of allocation.
  • Government allocation is INVOLUNTARY. It sets the laws and rules.
  • A pure command economy is an economy that uses nothing but government to allocate resources.
  • A pure command economy is another useful theoretical benchmark.
Government responses to the allocation questions:
  • What? When government spends taxes, it dictates what goods will be produced.
  • How? Government has laws and rules that specify how resources will be used to produce goods.
  • For Whom? Government collects taxes from some people and distributes them among other people.

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ECONOMY

The system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services that a society uses to address the problem of scarcity.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time looking for a downtown retail store seeking to buy either looseleaf notebook paper or a three-hole paper punch. Be on the lookout for letters from the Internal Revenue Service.
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Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a champion of the scientific method, died when he caught a severe cold while attempting to preserve a chicken by filling it with snow.
"Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment."

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