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LAW: Generally accepted, verified, fundamental principle of nature. Laws have been tested and verified through the scientific method. As a house is constructed from concrete, lumber, and nails, a theory is constructed from laws. To be a fundamental law of nature, a principle must capture a cause-and-effect relationship about the workings of the world.

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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. 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, A Big Problem, 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, Resources, discusses the four basic categories of limited resources -- labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship -- which produce the goods that are used to satisfy unlimited wants and needs.
    • In the third unit, Opportunity Cost, 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, College Cost, to a simple example of the explicit and implicit costs of attending college.
    • The fifth and final unit, THE Big Problem, in this lesson then ponders why scarcity is considered THE economic problem and provides a little insight into why economists are grumpy.

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    PERFECT COMPETITION, LONG-RUN PRODUCTION ANALYSIS

    In the long run, a perfectly competitive firm adjusts plant size, or the quantity of capital, to maximize long-run profit. In addition, the entry and exit of firms into and out of a perfectly competitive market guarantees that each perfectly competitive firm earns nothing more or less than a normal profit. As a perfectly competitive industry reacts to changes in demand, it traces out positive, negative, or horizontal long-run supply curve due to increasing, decreasing, or constant cost.

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    APLS

    WHITE GULLIBON
    [What's This?]

    Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time strolling through a department store seeking to buy either a coffee cup commemorating the 1960 Presidential election or a how-to book on fixing your computer, with illustrations. Be on the lookout for door-to-door salesmen.
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    This isn't me! What am I?

    A lump of pure gold the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court!
    "The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those that fail. "

    -- Napoleon Hill, author

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    International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes
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