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SCARCE: The general condition indicating that a good or resource is limited relative to the what people want. In terms of ALL resources and goods throughout society, the related term scarcity is used. Being scarce is what makes it possible to exchange goods and resources through markets, and most importantly, charge a price. If a good is not scarce, which means that the economy has more than enough to satisfy all available uses, then there is no way to sell it. Who would buy such an item, pay a price for it, give up something of value in exchange for it, when it is so abundant? Likewise, if a item is so abundant, using it to satisfy one use does not impose an opportunity cost on other uses.

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PERFECT COMPETITION, SHUTDOWN: A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to shutdown production and produce no output in the short run, if price is less than average variable cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and loss minimization (if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost).

     See also | perfect competition, profit maximization | perfect competition, loss minimization | perfect competition, short-run supply curve | short-run production alternatives | breakeven output |


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PERFECT COMPETITION, PROFIT MAXIMIZATION

A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to produce the quantity of output that maximizes economic profit--the difference between total revenue and total cost. This production decision can be analyzed directly with economic profit, by identifying the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost, or by the equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost.

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