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January 16, 2018 

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DIAMOND-WATER PARADOX: The perplexing observation that water, which is more useful than diamonds, has a lower price. If price is related to utility, how can this occur? This paradox was first proposed by classical economists in the 19th century and was subsequently used as a stepping stone for developing the notion of marginal utility and the role it plays in the demand price of a good. The paradox is magically cleared up with an understanding of marginal utility and total utility. People are willing to pay a higher price for goods with greater marginal utility. As such, water which is plentiful has enormous total utility, but a low price because of a low marginal utility. Diamonds, however, have less total utility because they are less plentiful, but a high price because of a high marginal utility.

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EXCESS RESERVES: The amount of bank reserves over and above those that the Federal Reserve System requires a bank to keep. Excess reserves are what banks use to make loans. If a bank has more excess reserves, then it can make more loans. This is a key part of the Fed's ability to control the money supply. Using open market operations, the Fed can add to, or subtract from, the excess reserves held by banks. If the Fed, for example, adds to excess reserves, then banks can make more loans. Banks make these loans by adding to their customers' checking account balances. This is of some importance, because checking account balances are an major part of the economy's money supply. In essence, controlling these excess reserves is the Fed's number one method of "printing" money without actually printing money.

     See also | bank reserves | bank | Federal Reserve System | money supply | open market operations | easy money | tight money | fractional-reserve banking | money creation |


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MARGINAL FACTOR COST, MONOPSONY

The change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input employed by a monopsony. Marginal factor cost, abbreviated MFC, indicates how total factor cost changes with the employment of one more input. It is found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in the quantity of input used. Marginal factor cost is compared with marginal revenue product to identify the profit-maximizing quantity of input to hire.

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Paper money used by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prior to the U.S. Revolutionary War, which was issued against the dictates of Britain, was designed by patriot and silversmith, Paul Revere.
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