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NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT: A economic, international trade treaty between the three nations that occupy the North American continent -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States -- that was launch in 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly termed NAFTA, is designed to eliminate assorted trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including the reduction or elimination of many tariffs and nontariff barriers. While economic theory clearly indicates efficiency is enhanced by the reduction and elimination trade restrictions, NAFTA has been strongly opposed by those potentially harmed by more efficient trade, especially labor unions. However, NAFTA is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Maastricht Treaty.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 3: The Economy Page: 7 of 18

Topic: An Economy <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Because of the scarcity problem, we need a way to divide up what we have. This is accomplished by an economy.

An economy is a system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources, goods, and services that addresses the basic economic problem of scarcity and answers the three questions of allocation: What? How? For Whom?

Economies rely on markets and government to perform the allocation task.

The allocation processes involves the institutions of:

  • Markets allocate resources through voluntary choices made by people--buyers and sellers.
  • Government allocates resources through involuntary taxes, laws, restrictions, and regulations imposed on these people.
Both are important methods of allocation.

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OLIGOPOLY, CHARACTERISTICS

The three most important characteristics of oligopoly are: (1) an industry dominated by a small number of large firms, (2) firms sell either identical or differentiated products, and (3) the industry has significant barriers to entry.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a garage sale looking to buy either a green and yellow striped sweater vest or a Boston Red Sox baseball cap. Be on the lookout for the happiest person in the room.
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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.
"There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that idles than the one you are capable of living."

-- Nelson Mandela

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