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VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE: The process of willingly trading one item for another. The emphasis here is on "willingly." Voluntary exchanges are the heart and soul of market transactions, and should be contrasted with the "involuntary" exchanges mandated by government taxes, laws, and regulations. While involuntary government-forced exchanges play an important role in a mixed economy, economists really, really like voluntary market exchanges because they promote economic efficiency.

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THEORY: A scientifically verified, interrelated body of general principles, axioms, and assumptions that is used to explain and understand real world phenomena. Theories are the cornerstone of the scientific method. They generate the hypotheses that are verified against real world data, which is the day-to-day process of doing science. The construction and refinement of theories, accomplished through the hypothesis verification process, is also the basic goal of doing science.

     See also | scientific method | phenomenon | hypothesis | principle | verification | axiom | world view | cause and effect | data | law of demand | economics | science | social science | physical science |


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TOTAL UTILITY CURVE

A curve illustrating the relation between the total utility obtained from consuming a good and the quantity of the good consumed. The shape of the total utility curve, increasing at a decreasing rate, reflects the law of diminishing marginal utility. The reason for this is that slope of the total utility curve is marginal utility, meaning the total utility curve can be use to derive the marginal utility curve.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time touring the new suburban shopping complex hoping to buy either a how-to book on home repairs or a large, stuffed kitty cat. Be on the lookout for telephone calls from former employers.
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The New York Stock Exchange was established by a group of investors in New York City in 1817 under a buttonwood tree at the end of a little road named Wall Street.
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