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May 21, 2022 

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ECONOMY: The system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services that a society uses to address the problem of scarcity. The essential task of an economy is to transform resources into useful goods and services (the act of production), then distribute or allocate these products to useful ends (the act of consumption). Virtually all economies accomplish this task through a combination of decisions made through voluntary market exchanges and involuntary government rules and regulations.

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SPECIALIZATION:

The condition in which resources are primarily devoted to specific production tasks. This is one of THE most important and most fundamental notions in the study of economics. Civilized human beings have long recognized that limited resources can be more effectively used in the production of the goods and services that satisfy unlimited wants and needs if those resources specialize.
Specialization is closely related to the concept of labor',500,400)">division of labor. To the extent that specific production tasks are divided among different workers, each worker is able to specialize. If every worker performs every task, then specialization is not possible.

Hot Fudge Sundaes

Suppose, for example, that three workers are involved in the production of hot fudge sundaes. Total hot fudge sundae production can be greater through specialization. One worker retrieves the dish, another scoops the ice cream, and a third adds the hot fudge topping. By devoting their energies to learning how to do their respective tasks really, really well, these three workers can produce more hot fudge sundaes than if each performed all required tasks.

More than Labor

Examples of labor specialization are prevalent throughout the economy. However, specialization works for all resources--labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship.
  • Consider the case of capital. Different tools, machinery, equipment, buildings, factories, and other structures are typically designed for specific purposes. A hammer, for example, is well-suited for driving nails into wood, but it is not well-suited for removing spark plugs from automobile engines. A socket wrench works much better. Special tools work best for specific tasks.

  • Land also tends to be more productive when it specializes. Flat land, in a temperate climate, with abundant sunshine, and periodic rainfall works quite well in agricultural production. However, if it does not contain petroleum reserves or mineral deposits, it does not function well in the mining industry. By contrast, a steep mountain slope atop a rich supply of copper ore is a productive input in the mining industry, but is not well-suited for agricultural production.

Seeking Specialization

When resources, especially labor, specialize in particular production tasks, they tend to become more productive. This can be achieved either naturally or through modification, especially the education and training of workers.
  • Harold "Hair Doo" Dueterman, for example, is a naturally talented and gifted athlete, who specializes in playing center field for the Shady Valley Primadonnas baseball team. He has the natural speed, agility, strength, and hand-eye coordination needed to hit a baseball approaching him at ninety miles an hour. However, his specialization has been enhanced by years of practice and training.

  • The medical building used by Dr. Dowrimple T. Bedside was originally (that is, naturally) constructed for use as medical offices. However, over the years, Dr. Bedside has remodeled his offices to function even more effectively in the provision of medical care.

<= SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPSSTABILITY =>


Recommended Citation:

SPECIALIZATION, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: May 21, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | division of labor |


Or For A Little Background...

     | economics | scarcity | efficiency | contributive standard | free enterprise |


And For Further Study...

     | three questions of allocation | seven economic rules | economic analysis | economic goals | economic thinking | ownership and control | returns to scale | marginal returns |


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