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ACTUAL INVESTMENT: Investment expenditures that the business sector actual undertakes during a given time period, including both planned investment and any unplanned inventory changes. This is a critical component of Keynesian economics and the analysis of macroeconomic equilibrium, which occurs when actual investment is equal to planned investment. The difference between planned and actual investment is unplanned investment, which is inventory changes caused by a difference between aggregate expenditures and aggregate output. Should actual and planned investment differ, then aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate output, and the macroeconomy is not in equilibrium.

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BUSINESS CYCLE: The recurring expansions and contractions of the national economy (usually measured by real gross domestic product). A complete cycle typically lasts from three to five years, but could last ten years or more. It is divided into four phases -- expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. Unemployment inevitably rises during contractions and inflation tends to worsen during expansions. To avoid the inflation and unemployment problems of business cycles, the federal government frequently undertakes various fiscal and monetary policies.

     See also | real gross domestic product | economy | full-employment production | resources | aggregate expenditures | contraction | recession | expansion | peak | trough | recovery | unemployment | inflation | fiscal policy | monetary policy | business cycle phases | circular flow | business cycle measurement | economic indicators |


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ALLOCATION

The process of distributing resources for the production of goods and services, and of distributing goods and services for the satisfaction of wants and needs and human consumption. This allocation process is an essential part of an economy's effort to address the problem of scarcity.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time visiting every yard sale in a 30-mile radius looking to buy either an electric coffee pot with automatic shutoff or a brown leather attache case. Be on the lookout for bottles of barbeque sauce that act TOO innocent.
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A thousand years before metal coins were developed, clay tablet "checks" were used as money by the Babylonians.
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