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VARIABLE INPUT: An input whose quantity can be changed in the time period under consideration. This should be immediately compared and contrasted with fixed input. The most common example of a variable input is labor. A variable input provides the extra inputs that a firm needs to expand short-run production. In contrast, a fixed input, like capital, provides the capacity constraint in production. As larger quantities of a variable input, like labor, are added to a fixed input like capital, the variable input becomes less productive. This is, by the way, the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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BARTER EXCHANGE: A method of trading goods, commodities, or services, directly for one another without the use of money. In a barter exchange one good is traded directly for another. This sort of exchange ultimately requires a double coincidence of wants, meaning that each trader has what the other trader wants and wants what the other has. Without a double coincidence of wants the exchange process can become exceedingly complex, requiring a great deal of resources to complete transactions, resources that can not be used for production. In fact, inefficient barter trading was the primary reason that money was invented. With money, more resources can be used for production and fewer are needed for trading. See market.

     See also | good | service | money | exchange | double coincidence of wants | resources | production | market |


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ACCOUNTING COST

An actual outlay or expenses incurred in the production of a good that shows up in a firm's accounting statements and records. Accounting cost is an explicit payment (that is, money changing hands) incurred by a firm. Accounting cost, 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 more interested in economic cost (also called opportunity cost), which is the value of foregone production.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time strolling through a department store wanting to buy either a remote controlled train set or a genuine down-filled snow parka. Be on the lookout for infected paper cuts.
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The word "fiscal" is derived from a Latin word meaning "moneybag."
"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself. "

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