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MARGINAL PRODUCT: The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal product, usually abbreviated MP, is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input. Marginal product lies at the very foundation of the analysis of short-run production and the subsequent explanation of the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve, using the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: The Concept
  • A Definition
  • So What?
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: Resources
  • Factors
  • Working Together
  • Free or Scarce?
  • Comparisons
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Opportunity Cost
  • The Concept
  • Economic Cost
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: College Cost
  • Out of Pocket
  • What Else?
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: THE Problem
  • No Free Lunch
  • Solutions?
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Scarcity

    In this lesson you'll see why scarcity tends to make economists grumpy. You'll see that scarcity is a perpetual condition that exists because people have unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used to satisfy these wants and needs. You'll also see how this scarcity problem underlies the common notion of cost, which is integral to the study of economics. The five units contained in this lesson provide a tour through the economic problem of scarcity.

    • The first unit examines the fundamental concept of scarcity -- the combination of limited resources and unlimited wants and needs -- that is virtually synonymous with the study of economics.
    • The second unit discusses the four basic categories of limited resources --labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship -- that produce the goods that are used to satisfy unlimited wants and needs.
    • In the third unit, we take a look at the notion of opportunity cost and see how it is related to the scarcity problem.
    • We then turn out attention in the fourth unit to a simple example of the explicit and implicit costs of attending college.
    • The fifth and final unit in this lesson then ponders why scarcity is considered THE economic problem and providing a little insight into why economists are grump.

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    VALUE ADDED

    The increase in the value of a good at each stage of the production process. The "value" part of this phrase means the ability of a good to satisfy wants and needs either directly as a consumption good or indirectly as a capital good. The "added" part means that resources have transformed the good in the course of production, to make it more valuable. A good that provides greater satisfaction has greater value.

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    APLS

    BLUE PLACIDOLA
    [What's This?]

    Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time waiting for visits from door-to-door solicitors wanting to buy either yellow cotton balls or a set of steel-belted radial snow tires. Be on the lookout for the happiest person in the room.
    Your Complete Scope

    This isn't me! What am I?

    The average length of a "business lunch" is about 36 minutes.
    "When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all. "

    -- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US president

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