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DISINTERMEDIATION: A general deterioration in the profitability of a bank because it pays high interest rates on short-term borrowing, but earns relatively low interest rates on long-term lending. This was a big, BIG problem for savings and loans (S&Ls) during the 1970s and ultimately caused many of them to fail in the 1980s. S&Ls were designed (by law) to make long-term (30-year) home loans to consumers, but to get the funds for these loans using standard savings accounts. When inflation and interest rates shot up in the 1970s, S&Ls found it necessary to pay savers higher rates to get the funds. But, they still had a bunch of home loans--with low interest rates--that were 15, 20, or 25 years from being repaid. For several years, S&Ls received 6 percent on many of their loans, but paid out something like 12 percent. This gradually eroded their profitability until many were forced to close their doors.

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OPPORTUNITY COST, PRODUCTION POSSIBILITIES: The production possibilities analysis, which is the alternative combinations of two goods that an economy can produce with given resources and technology, can be used to illustrate opportunity cost--the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity.

     See also | production possibilities | production possibilities schedule | law of increasing opportunity cost | opportunity cost, production possibilities | full employment, production possibilities | unemployment, production possibilities | investment, production possibilities | derivation, production possibilities curve | assumptions, production possibilities |


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ASSUMPTIONS, CLASSICAL ECONOMICS

Classical economics, especially as directed toward macroeconomics, relies on three key assumptions--flexible prices, Say's law, and saving-investment equality. Flexible prices ensure that markets adjust to equilibrium and eliminate shortages and surpluses. Say's law states that supply creates its own demand and means that enough income is generated by production to purchase the resulting production. The saving-investment equality ensures that any income leaked from consumption into saving is replaced by an equal amount of investment. Although of questionable realism, these three assumptions imply that the economy would operate at full employment.

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