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INDEX: A measure of the relative average of a group of items compared to a given base value. Index measures are commonly used in economics to combine and compare diverse measures. One common type of index measure is for prices, such as the Consumer Price Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average of corporate stock prices. Another noted type of index measure is to track macroeconomic activity, especially the index leading economic indicators. Indexes are usually weighted averages rather than simple arithmetic means that are measured relative to a base value or period. The Consumer Price Index, for example, measures the prices of consumer good, weighted by the quantities purchased. The value of a given period is then stated relative to a base year value, which generates a pure, "unitless" number in the range of 100 (give or take).

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Fact 1: Our Limited Pie

The first stop for any pedestrian on a leisurely stroll through the busy economic streets of Shady Valley is Scarcity Stan's Ye Olde Bakery Shoppe and Confectionery Palace. The most noted pastry on Scarcity Stan's list of delectables, wedged between his mouth-watering apple danishes and scrumptious jelly donuts, is economic pie. My mouth waters with the thought.

Economic pie isn't like other donuts, cakes, and confectioneries with their gobs of sweetness, but very little nutritional sustenance. In fact, given that it refers to the sum total of the economy's resources and productive activity, economic pie is filled to the brim with sustenance. Unfortunately, Scarcity Stan and the congregation of people we call society, has only one economic pie, and while it's pretty large, it's never quite as big as we would like.
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a garage sale hoping to buy either a package of blank rewritable CDs or yellow cotton balls. Be on the lookout for defective microphones.
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Much of the $15 million used by the United States to finance the Louisiana Purchase from France was borrowed from European banks.
"If things are not going well with you, begin your effort at correcting the situation by carefully examining the service you are rendering, and especially the spirit in which you are rendering it."

-- Roger Babson, statistician and columnist

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