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ACCOUNTING COST: The actual outlays or expenses incurred in production that shows up a firm's accounting statements or records. Accounting costs, while very important to accountants, company CEOs, shareholders, and the Internal Revenue Service, is only minimally important to economists. The reason is that economists are primarily interested in economic cost (also called opportunity cost). That fact is that accounting costs and economic costs aren't always the same. An opportunity or economic cost is the value of foregone production. Some economic costs, actually a lot of economic opportunity costs, never show up as accounting costs. Moreover, some accounting costs, while legal, bonified payments by a firm, are not associated with any sort of opportunity cost.

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Fact 3: Our Unfair Lives

Across the interstate from the Mega-Mart Discount Warehouse Super Center resides the Shady Valley Central Town Sprawling Hills Shopping Mall -- a prime example of our economy's climate-controlled, suburban shopping phenomenon. Our pedestrian's ramble through the economy would be totally inadequate if we did not spend at least one day strolling past the endless rows of stores with their displays of clothes, shoes, electronics, clothes, luggage, clothes, cheese pretzels, and of course clothes. Our pedestrian trip, however, is not concerned with the products exhibited beyond the stylish glass windows. No, our jumping off point is the gadzillions of people who pass us by, bump into us, get in our way, and generally make our shopping experience comparable to a commuter train during the rush hour.

Those who comprise the shopping crowd are short, tall, young, old, fat, thin, black, white, happy, and sad. More importantly for our present discussion, however, is that some are rich and some are not-so-rich. A few of the wealthier shoppers actually buy the products framed by the picturesque windows that line the air-conditioned quaint mid-way of Shady Valley Central Town Sprawling Hills Shopping Mall. Others must be content to ogle the prominently displayed products or perhaps buy an occasional cheese pretzel.
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time looking for the new strip mall out on the highway looking to buy either a birthday gift for your aunt or a pair of leather sandals that won't cause blisters. Be on the lookout for florescent light bulbs that hum folk songs from the sixties.
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Parker Brothers, the folks who produce the Monopoly board game, prints more Monopoly money each year than real currency printed by the U.S. government.
"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."

-- Henry Ford, automaker

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