  Tuesday  September 27, 2022
 AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy! ABSTRACTION: Simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details while doing economic analysis. Abstraction is often criticized because it's, well, it's JUST NOT REALISTIC. However, when done correctly (ignoring things that JUST DON'T MATTER), then the pursuit of knowledge is greatly enhanced by abstraction. For example, when travelling cross country along a high-speed interstate highway, a paper road map is a handy tool. It shows towns and cities along the way, the major intersections, rest stop locations, and other important points of interest. However, it ignores unimportant details. It doesn't realistically show the location of every tree, bush, or blade of grass. Why bother? This information won't enhance your road trip.                              TOTAL-MARGINAL RELATION:

A mathematical connection between a marginal value and the corresponding total value stating that the marginal IS the slope of the total curve. This mathematical relation between total and marginal surfaces throughout the study of economics, especially utility (total utility and marginal utility), production (total product and marginal product), cost (total cost and marginal cost), and revenue (total revenue and marginal revenue). A related mathematical relation exists between a marginal value and the corresponding average value.
The mathematical relation between total and marginal means that the slope of a total curve is the marginal value. If the total curve has a positive slope (that is, is upward sloping), then the marginal is positive. If the total curve has a negative slope (downward sloping), then the marginal is negative. If the total curve has a zero slope (horizontal), then marginal is zero. Moreover, if the total curve has an increasing slope (becoming steeper), then the marginal is rising. If the total curve has a decreasing slope (becoming flatter), then the marginal is falling.

To see the connection between a marginal and the slope of a given total, consider this general formula for calculating a marginal from a total:

 marginal = change in totalchange in quantity

Now consider the general forum for calculating the slope of a total curve.

 slope = riserun = change in totalchange in quantity

Is this an illusion, or are these two formulas the same? A quick check with an optometrist and psychiatrist suggests a firm grip on reality. The only possible conclusion is that these two formulas are, in fact, the same. And this means that the slope of a total is, in fact, the corresponding marginal.

To put this another way, the term "marginal" is really just another way of saying "slope." The two are really one and the same. The only conceivable difference is that slope is used when an actual graph is under discussion, whereas marginal is used when attention is turned to a mathematical equation. But, the underlying concept is the same, whether it is presented in the form of a graph or a mathematical equation--marginal is slope.

This total-marginal relation surfaces throughout the study of economics. Four of the more important total-marginal relations encountered are total utility and marginal utility, total product and marginal product, total cost and marginal cost, and total revenue and marginal revenue.

 <= TOTAL FIXED COST CURVE TOTAL PHYSICAL PRODUCT => Recommended Citation:

TOTAL-MARGINAL RELATION, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: September 27, 2022].

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