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ECONOMIC GROWTH, SOURCES: Our economy achieves economic growth with increases in the quantity or quality of resources. The quantity part is relatively simple. If we get more resources, then we have the ability to produce more output. We can also improve resource quality, making existing resources more productive, primarily through education and technology.

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Lesson 2: Economic Science | Unit 2: Theory Page: 6 of 20

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

Economic theories are abstractions of the real world.

Three ways to abstract:
  • Words. The earliest human method of abstraction was to represent objects with words. Words also represent ideas. But words can have different meanings.
  • Graphs. Pictures, especially graphical pictures. Many economic theories are abstractly represented with graphs. A picture or graph can be less confusing that words.
  • Equations. Graphs are two-dimensional pictures of mathematical equations. Economic theories are often abstractly represented by equations. Equations can represent relationships between three or more things, like that for X, Y and Z:
Y = 3 + 2X - 4Z

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INCREASING MARGINAL RETURNS

In the short-run production by a firm, an increase in the variable input results in an increase in the marginal product of the variable input. Increasing marginal returns typically surface when the first few quantities of a variable input are added to a fixed input. This is one of two alternatives for marginal returns. The other is decreasing marginal returns. A related phenomenon for long-run production is increasing returns to scale.

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[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time lost in your local discount super center wanting to buy either a 50 foot extension cord or a combination CD player, clock radio, and telephone (with answering machine). Be on the lookout for cardboard boxes.
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This isn't me! What am I?

Parker Brothers, the folks who produce the Monopoly board game, prints more Monopoly money each year than real currency printed by the U.S. government.
"The greatest things ever done on Earth have been done little by little. "

-- William Jennings Bryan

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