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January 19, 2018 

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OPPORTUNITY COST: The highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity. This is a hallmark of anything dealing with economics--and life for that matter--because any action that you take prevents you from doing something else. The ultimate source of opportunity cost is the pervasive problem of scarcity (unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources). Whenever limited resources are used to satisfy one want or need, there are an unlimited number of other wants and needs that remain unsatisfied. Herein lies the essence of opportunity cost. Doing one thing prevents doing another.

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A POSTERIORI: A conclusion reached through logical reasoning based on facts and observations about the real world. This notion is closely related to the scientific verification of hypotheses and the identification of principles. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a prior, which is a unverified presumption made before an analysis is undertaken. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically "good", and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

     See also | principle | law | hypothesis | data | empirical | verification | theory | scientific method | a priori | world view | axiom | assumption |


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ECONOMIC SYSTEM

The assorted institutions that society uses to answer the three basic questions of allocation and address the fundamental problem of scarcity. Another, more popular term for economic system is economy. An economy, or economic system, is the structural framework in which households, businesses, and governments undertake the production and consumption decisions that allocate limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants and needs.

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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 pencil sharpeners with an attitude.
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Natural gas has no odor. The smell is added artificially so that leaks can be detected.
"You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true."

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