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UNLIMITED LIABILITY: A condition in which owners are personally held responsible for any and all debts created by a business. Proprietorships and partnerships are the two kinds of businesses in which owners have unlimited liability. The primary problem with unlimited liability is that it limits the size of a business and prevents it from taking advantage of large scale production.

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Lesson 3: Scarcity | Unit 3: Opportunity Cost Page: 9 of 17

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With limited resources and unlimited wants and needs, a lot of opportunities are forgone, a lot of alternatives can't be pursued. This is the idea of opportunity cost.

A definition:

  • Opportunity cost is the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity.
Three points related to this definition:
  • Foregone Alternative: Opportunity cost means NOT doing something else, not producing another good. Using resources to satisfy one want or need means they can't be used to satisfy another.
  • Highest Valued: Opportunity cost is all about giving up the best alternative possible, the most satisfying. Any activity has many alternatives. Opportunity cost is not all of these alternatives, only the most preferred, the highest valued.
  • Pursuit of an Activity: Using resources to produce goods that are consumed to satisfy wants and needs. The key economic activities foregone are production and consumption.

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TOTAL UTILITY

The total satisfaction of wants and needs obtained from the use or consumption of a good or service. This is the cumulative amount of utility generated from consuming a good over a given time period. Total utility is most often used in consumer demand theory to indicate how much overall satisfaction someone obtains from a given activity. The primary behavioral motivation used in consumer demand theory is the goal of maximizing total utility. Total utility is also used to derive marginal utility.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time flipping through mail order catalogs looking to buy either a pair of red and purple designer socks or a T-shirt commemorating Thor Heyerdahl's Pacific crossing aboard the Kon-Tiki. Be on the lookout for slightly overweight pizza delivery guys.
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Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a champion of the scientific method, died when he caught a severe cold while attempting to preserve a chicken by filling it with snow.
"Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed."

-- Peter F. Drucker

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