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December 8, 2022 

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WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX: An index of the prices paid by retail stores for the products they would ultimately resell to consumers. The Wholesale Price Index, abbreviated WPI, was the forerunner of the modern Producer Price Index (PPI). The WPI was first published in 1902, and was one of the more important economic indicators available to policy makers until it was replaced by the PPI in 1978. The change to Producer Price Index in 1978 reflected, as much as a name change, a change in focus of this index away from the limited wholesaler-to-retailer transaction to encompass all stages of production. While the WPI is no longer available, the family of producer price indexes provides a close counterpart in the Finished Goods Price Index.

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FIRM OBJECTIVES

The standard economic assumption underlying the analysis of firms is profit maximization. Real world firms, however, might not, and many times do not, make decisions based on the profit-maximization objective, or at least exclusively on the profit-maximization objective. Other objectives include: (1) sales maximization, (2) pursuit of personal welfare, and (3) pursuit of social welfare.

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Fact 4: Our Monopolized Markets

Our pedestrian's jaunt through the economy is not, unfortunately, an unrestrained shopping spree for confectioneries, spark plug tools, and Houston, Texas. We have other important errands to run. At the moment we need to hike over to Shady Valley's exclusive provider of cable television services, the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television Company, Inc., to inquire about a mysterious fee that appeared last month's bill.

The good news is that the Merciless Monolithic Media Masters (the 4M people) Cable office is a mere 2 miles (3 kilometers for the metrically inclined) from the Shady Valley Central Town Sprawling Hills Shopping Mall. A hop, skip, and a moderately long jump later, our excursion through the economy takes us to the front door of the 4M Cable Television Company where I hope to discover why last month's cable bill included a $3,569 charge for something called "The Vacation Channel." I didn't even know I had a vacation channel. (But, I'm sure it's a great channel, and if I don't have it, then I will certainly subscribe. Please don't disconnect me.)

Of course, because this an afternoon workday, the doors of the 4M office are locked. I can almost make out, through the expensive stained glass windows, what appears to be several Merciless Monolithic Media Masters Cable Television employees, with champaign bottles in hand, dancing on expensive mahogany desks. Let's not disturb them. As they say in the cable business, an upset worker is a disconnected customer.
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BLUE PLACIDOLA
[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time watching the shopping channel hoping to buy either a black duffle bag with velcro closures or any book written by Isaac Asimov. Be on the lookout for mail order catalogs with hidden messages.
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The wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, was once removed from a London tram because he lacked the money needed for the fare.
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."

-- Lewis Carroll, writer

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