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July 23, 2019 

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UTILITARIANISM: A philosophical view that the value or worth of an action depends on the amount of pleasure it generates or the amount of pain it prevents, or in economic terms, the amount of utility generated. Utilitarianism, although dating back to the early Greek philosophers, is largely attributable to the work of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. This philosophy played a major role in the development of modern consumer demand theory and utility analysis.

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TANSTAAFL: A rather cumbersome and usually hard to remember acronym for the expression "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. This is a favorite saving of many economists because it highlights, albeit in a grammatically questionable manner, the fundamental problem of scarcity. The phrase serves to emphasize that seemingly "free" lunches are not really free. While they might be free to the customer, someone must pay, that is, incur an opportunity cost of foregone production. The lunch eaten by one person cannot be eaten by another.

     See also | free lunch | scarcity | opportunity cost | scarce resource | scarce good |


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ABSTRACTION

Simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details while doing economic analysis. Abstraction is an essential feature of the scientific method. Hypothesis verification, model construction, and comparative static analysis are not possible without abstraction.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at an auction trying to buy either a package of 3 by 5 index cards, the ones without lines or a blue mechanical pencil. Be on the lookout for mail order catalogs with hidden messages.
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The 22.6% decline in stock prices on October 19, 1987 was larger than the infamous 12.8% decline on October 29, 1929.
"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."

-- Aristotle, philosopher

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