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CARDINAL UTILITY: A measure of utility, or satisfaction derived from the consumption of goods and services, that can be measured using an absolute scale. Cardinal utility exists if the utility derived from consumption is measurable in the same way that other physical characteristics--height and weight--are measured using a scale that is comparable between people. There is little or no evidence to suggest that such measurement is possible and is not even needed for modern consumer demand theory and indifference curve analysis. Cardinal utility, however, is often employed as a convenient teaching device for discussing such concepts as marginal utility and utility maximization.

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NET INTEREST: The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring interest earned by the household sector for supplying capital services. This is one of five official factor payments making up national income. The other four are compensation of employees, rental income of persons, corporate profits, and proprietors' income. Net interest is usually less than 10% of national income, typically in the 6-8% range.

     See also | interest | National Income and Product Accounts | Bureau of Economic Analysis | household sector | factor payments | national income | compensation of employees | rental income of persons | corporate profits | proprietors' income |


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DIAMOND-WATER PARADOX

The apparently conflicting and perplexing observation that water, which is more useful than diamonds, has a lower price than diamonds. This paradox was proposed by economists in the 1800s as a means understanding the role utility plays in the demand price of a good by differentiating between total utility and marginal utility.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time searching for rummage sales looking to buy either a rotisserie oven that can also toast bread or a flower arrangement in a coffee cup for your father. Be on the lookout for empty parking spaces that appear to be near the entrance to a store.
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