March 23, 2018 

AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy!

AmosWEBWEB*pediaGLOSS*aramaECON*worldCLASS*portalQUIZ*tasticPED GuideXtra CrediteTutorA*PLS
ZERO COUPON BOND: Also termed a zero bond, a bond that does not pay interest, in which the return is generated by the difference between the purchase price and the face value paid at maturity. Because they do not pay interest, zero coupon bonds are sold at a discount. For example, a $10,000 zero coupon bond that matures in one year, would generate a 10% return if it sold at a discount of $9,000.

Visit the GLOSS*arama


The logical fallacy of arguing that what is true for the parts is also true for the whole. In the study of economics, this takes the form of assuming that what works for parts of the economy, such as households or businesses, also works for the aggregate, or macroeconomy. The contrasting fallacy is the fallacy of division.
The fallacy of composition is important to the study of macroeconomics. Many, otherwise intelligent-looking folks, commit this fallacy when the subject of macroeconomic policies arise. The macroeconomy, for instance, is not a business, it is not a household, it is not a family, it is NOT a microeconomic entity. It is THE ECONOMY. It has its own set of principles, its own set of rules, its own theories. Treating the macroeconomy like a business or household commonly leads to the fallacy of composition.

A common macroeconomic argument that makes use of the fallacy of composition is to treat the economy as if it were a household or a profit-minded business. An offshoot of this argument is to operate the Federal government (the "caretaker" of the aggregate economy) as a household or a profit-minded business. Some folks are prone to argue that economic ailments would vanish if only government operated like a business.

For example, during economic bad times (recession), the appropriate action of a profit-minded business is to lay off workers and reduce production. The reasonable action by a household is to reduce spending and set aside, or save, some income for the turbulence to come. Both of these actions, if undertaken by the macroeconomy, or promoted by government policies, would likely turn a modest recession into a devastating depression.

The macroeconomy is a complex system comprised of smaller components. An analogy is the human body. Individuals and firms make up the macroeconomy like cells and molecules make up the human body. Rules that apply to cells do not apply to the entire body. Rules that apply to firms do not apply to the entire macroeconomy.

What is true at the microeconomic level is not necessarily true at the macroeconomic level. What is true for the parts is not necessarily true for the whole.


Recommended Citation:

FALLACY OF COMPOSITION, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: March 23, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | fallacies | fallacy of false cause | fallacy of personal attack | fallacy of mass appeal | fallacy of false authority | fallacy of division |

Or For A Little Background...

     | scientific method | economic thinking | political views | government functions |

And For Further Study...

     | seven economic rules | four estates | macroeconomics | microeconomics | sixth rule of ignorance | seventh rule of complexity | normative economics | economic science |

Search Again?

Back to the WEB*pedia


[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a flea market wanting to buy either a how-to book on home remodeling or a tall storage cabinet with five shelves and a secure lock. Be on the lookout for a thesaurus filled with typos.
Your Complete Scope

This isn't me! What am I?

Two and a half gallons of oil are needed to produce one automobile tire.
"It is not the straining for great things that is most effective; it is the doing of the little things, the common duties, a little better and better."

-- Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Writer

A PEDestrian's Guide
Xtra Credit
Tell us what you think about AmosWEB. Like what you see? Have suggestions for improvements? Let us know. Click the User Feedback link.

User Feedback

| AmosWEB | WEB*pedia | GLOSS*arama | ECON*world | CLASS*portal | QUIZ*tastic | PED Guide | Xtra Credit | eTutor | A*PLS |
| About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement |

Thanks for visiting AmosWEB
Copyright ©2000-2018 AmosWEB*LLC
Send comments or questions to: WebMaster