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ACTUAL INVESTMENT: Investment expenditures that the business sector actual undertakes during a given time period, including both planned investment and any unplanned inventory changes. This is a critical component of Keynesian economics and the analysis of macroeconomic equilibrium, which occurs when actual investment is equal to planned investment. The difference between planned and actual investment is unplanned investment, which is inventory changes caused by a difference between aggregate expenditures and aggregate output. Should actual and planned investment differ, then aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate output, and the macroeconomy is not in equilibrium.

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SCARCITY: A pervasive condition of human existence that exists because society has unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used for their satisfaction. In other words, while we all want a bunch of stuff, we can't have everything that we want. In slightly different words, this scarcity problem means: (1) that there's never enough resources to produce everything that everyone would like produced; (2) that some people will have to do without some of the stuff that they want or need; (3) that doing one thing, producing one good, performing one activity, forces society to give up something else; and (4) that the same resources can not be used to produce two different goods at the same time. We live in a big, bad world of scarcity. This big, bad world of scarcity is what the study of economics is all about. That's why we usually subtitle scarcity: THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM.

     See also | first rule of scarcity | unlimited wants and needs | limited resources | satisfaction | resources | wants | needs | production | consumption | economics | opportunity cost | scarce resource |


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AVERAGE VARIABLE COST

Total variable cost per unit of output, found by dividing total variable cost by the quantity of output. When compared with price (per unit revenue), average variable cost (AVC) indicates whether or not a profit-maximizing firm should shut down production in the short run. Average variable cost is one of three average cost concepts important to short-run production analysis. The other two are average total cost and average fixed cost. A related concept is marginal cost.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time visiting every yard sale in a 30-mile radius looking to buy either a wall poster commemorating the 2000 Presidential election or a rechargeable flashlight. Be on the lookout for the last item on a shelf.
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