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REALISM OF PERFECT COMPETITION: Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that does NOT exist in the real world. While some real world industries might come relatively close to a one or two of the four key characteristics of perfect competition, none matches all four sufficiently that we can declare a perfectly competitively industry. Some industries come close on the large number of small firms and the identical product characteristics. A few industries have relatively good, although not perfect, information about prices and technology. However, almost all industries fall far short of the perfect mobility characteristics.

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Lesson 3: Scarcity | Unit 3: Opportunity Cost Page: 9 of 17

Topic: The Concept <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

With limited resources and unlimited wants and needs, a lot of opportunities are forgone, a lot of alternatives can't be pursued. This is the idea of opportunity cost.

A definition:

  • Opportunity cost is the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity.
Three points related to this definition:
  • Foregone Alternative: Opportunity cost means NOT doing something else, not producing another good. Using resources to satisfy one want or need means they can't be used to satisfy another.
  • Highest Valued: Opportunity cost is all about giving up the best alternative possible, the most satisfying. Any activity has many alternatives. Opportunity cost is not all of these alternatives, only the most preferred, the highest valued.
  • Pursuit of an Activity: Using resources to produce goods that are consumed to satisfy wants and needs. The key economic activities foregone are production and consumption.

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ACCOUNTING PROFIT

The difference between the revenue received by a firm and the explicit accounting cost incurred. This is the profit listed on a firm's balance sheet, appears periodically in the financial sector of the newspaper, and is reported to the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes. While accounting profit is the "standard" designation of profit used in the business world, economists prefer to use economic profit

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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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