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SCARCITY RENT: The marginal opportunity cost imposed on future generations by extracting one more unit of a resource today. Scarcity rent is one of two costs the extraction of a finite resource imposes on society. The other is marginal extraction cost--the opportunity cost of resources employed in the extraction activity. Scarcity rent is the cost of "using up" a finite resource because benefits of the extracted resource are unavailable to future generations. Efficiency is achieved when the resource price--the benefit society is willing to pay for the resource today--is equal to the sum of marginal extraction cost and scarcity rent.

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CARTEL

A formal agreement between businesses in the same industry, usually on an international scale, to gain market control, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. The most famous international cartel is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which seeks to exert control over the world oil market. Other cartels have existed, or still exist, in the global markets for uranium, diamonds, long distance telephone services, and airlines.

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Fact 1: Our Limited Pie

The first stop for any pedestrian on a leisurely stroll through the busy economic streets of Shady Valley is Scarcity Stan's Ye Olde Bakery Shoppe and Confectionery Palace. The most noted pastry on Scarcity Stan's list of delectables, wedged between his mouth-watering apple danishes and scrumptious jelly donuts, is economic pie. My mouth waters with the thought.

Economic pie isn't like other donuts, cakes, and confectioneries with their gobs of sweetness, but very little nutritional sustenance. In fact, given that it refers to the sum total of the economy's resources and productive activity, economic pie is filled to the brim with sustenance. Unfortunately, Scarcity Stan and the congregation of people we call society, has only one economic pie, and while it's pretty large, it's never quite as big as we would like.
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a crowded estate auction hoping to buy either a box of multi-colored, plastic paper clips or several orange mixing bowls. Be on the lookout for cardboard boxes.
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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.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

-- Albert Einstein

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