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May 19, 2024 

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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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OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL: Ownership means that you have legal "title" to a resource, good, or commodity. Control means that you have the ability to determine how a resource, good, or commodity is used. While it would seem as though these two always go together, such is not the case. People generally have ownership and control over their labor and personal property (clothing, furniture, canned goods, etc.). But in some circumstances ownership is absent of control and control exists without ownership.

     See also | resources | goods | corporate stock | information | asset | wealth | principal-agent problem | taxes | circular flow |


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PRICE INDEX

A measure of the average of a group of prices calculated as a ratio to prices in a given time period (that is, a base year). A price index is primarily used to compare relative prices, or changes in the group prices over time. Such an index is a handy indicator of overall price trends. Two common price indexes that surface in the study of macroeconomics are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the GDP price deflator. Both are used to indicate the macroeconomy's average price level and to estimate the inflation rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow), Standard & Poor's 500, and the NASDAQ are well-known indexes of stock market prices.

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Three-forths of the gold mined each year is used to manufacture jewelry.
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