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October 17, 2021 

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NEED: This is often thought of as a physiological or biological requirement for maintaining life, such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Satisfaction is achieved by fulfilling needs. Physiological needs should be contrasted with psychological wants that make life more enjoyable but are not necessary to stay alive. However, when push comes to shove, and the nitty gets down to the gritty, it matters very little to markets if people need goods or want goods, so long as they are motivated to satisfy them. This motivation is what drives economic activity.

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UNLIMITED WANTS AND NEEDS: A characteristic of people such that they are never totally satisfied with the quantity and variety of goods and services. This is one half of the fundamental problem of scarcity that has plagued humanity since the beginning of time. The other half of the scarcity problem is limited resources. Unlimited wants and needs essentially means that people never get "enough"--that there's always something else that they would want or need.

     See also | scarcity | limited resources | wants | needs | goods | services | opportunity cost | satisfaction | consumption |


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MARGINAL PROPENSITY TO CONSUME

The proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for consumption expenditures. The marginal propensity to consume (abbreviated MPC) is another term for the slope of the consumption line and is calculated as the change in consumption divided by the change in income. The MPC plays a central role in Keynesian economics. It quantifies the consumption-income relation and the fundamental psychological law. It is also a foundation for the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and is critical to the multiplier process. A related consumption measure is the average propensity to consume.

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