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SCARCITY: A pervasive condition of human existence that exists because society has unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used for their satisfaction. In other words, while we all want a bunch of stuff, we can't have everything that we want. In slightly different words, this scarcity problem means: (1) that there's never enough resources to produce everything that everyone would like produced; (2) that some people will have to do without some of the stuff that they want or need; (3) that doing one thing, producing one good, performing one activity, forces society to give up something else; and (4) that the same resources can not be used to produce two different goods at the same time. We live in a big, bad world of scarcity. This big, bad world of scarcity is what the study of economics is all about. That's why we usually subtitle scarcity: THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM.

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MARSHALLIAN CROSS:

A diagram illustrating the market model, with price measured on the vertical axis and quantity measured on the horizontal axis, with the law of demand represented as a downward-sloping demand curve and the law of supply represented as an upward-sloping supply curve. The derivation of this name comes from the "Marshall" part of noted economist Alfred Marshall, and the intersection or "cross" of the demand and supply curves achieved at that market equilibrium.
Marshallian cross is a somewhat dated reference to the standard market model diagram. The name pays tribute to Alfred Marshall, the economist responsible for formally developing this analysis in the late 1800s. It also provides contrast with another fundamental economic diagram, the Keynesian cross.

The Marshallian Cross
This exhibit illustrates the basic Marshallian cross market model diagram. The vertical axis measures the price of the good. The horizontal axis measures the quantity of the good exchanged. The negatively-sloped demand curve, D, represents the law of demand. The positively-sloped supply curve, S, represents the law of supply.

The intersection of the demand curve and supply curve at price Po and quantity Qo is the market equilibrium. A shift in either curve, caused by changes in the demand or supply determinants, results in a new equilibrium at, in all likelihood, a new price and new quantity.

An interesting little twist to the Marshallian cross was added by Alfred Marshall. Conventional graphical analysis usually displays the independent variable (X) on the horizontal axis and the dependent variable (Y) on the vertical axis. This allows analytical types to manipulate the X-independent-variable and observe how the Y-dependent-variable changes. In the Marshallian cross, quantity would then be the X-independent variable and the price the Y-dependent variable.

However, this configuration contrasts with typical uses of the market. Economists generally view price as the independent variable and quantity as the dependent variable. That is, they are concerned with how the price affects the quantity. In this context, price would work better on the horizontal axis, with quantity on the vertical.

By convention and tradition, the placement of the two variables is reversed.

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MARSHALLIAN CROSS, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2021. [Accessed: November 29, 2021].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | market | market demand | market supply | price | quantity | voluntary exchange |


Or For A Little Background...

     | model | graphical analysis | variables | economic analysis | economic thinking |


And For Further Study...

     | comparative statics | competitive market | fourth rule of competition | cause and effect | exchange | involuntary exchange | pure market economy | elasticity | utility analysis | short-run production analysis |


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