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DISMAL SCIENCE: A term for the study of economics developed during the late 18th and early 19th century when economists concluded that continued population growth would push wages and living standards to a minimal subsistence level and keep them there. It persists to the present time because economics continue to point out that actions result in opportunity cost, that nothing is free, and that eventually society has to pay the price for what it does.

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A PRIORI: A presumption made before an analysis is undertaken, often based on experiences, beliefs, or deductions from seemingly self-evident propositions about how the world works. This is a Latin for assumption or axiom. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a posteriori, which is derived from observation or facts. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically "good", because that just seems to be part of human nature, and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

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


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INFLATION PROBLEMS

Two notable problems are associated with inflation--uncertainty and haphazard redistribution. Inflation, especially inflation that varies from month to month and year to year, makes long-term planning quite difficult. Prices, wages, taxes, interest rates, and other nominal values that enter into consumer, business, and government planning decisions can be significantly affected by inflation. Moreover, inflation tends to redistribute income and wealth in a haphazard manner--some people win and some people lose. This redistribution might not be that desired by society, failing to promote any of the basic economic goals of efficiency, equity, stability, growth, or full-employment.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time touring the new suburban shopping complex hoping to buy either clothing for your pet dog or an ink cartridge for your printer. Be on the lookout for broken fingernail clippers.
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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.
"He who has a „why¾ to live can bear with almost any „how.""

-- Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher

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