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Chapter 2. Resource Utilization. The Central Fact of Economics: SCARCITY. Scarcity Resources are the things society uses to produce goods and services These resources are scarce (limited) The economic problem

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Chapter 2

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chapter 2

Chapter 2

Resource Utilization

the central fact of economics scarcity
The Central Fact of Economics: SCARCITY
  • Scarcity
    • Resources are the things society uses to produce goods and services
      • These resources are scarce (limited)
  • The economic problem
    • There are never enough resources to produce all of the goods and services that people want
four economic resources
Four Economic Resources
  • Land
  • Labor
  • Capital
  • Entrepreneurial ability
  • Land (a broader meaning than our normal understanding of the word)
    • Includes natural resources such as timber, oil, coal, iron ore, soil, water, as well as the ground in which these resources are found
    • Is used for the extraction of minerals and farming
    • Provides the site for factories, office buildings, shopping centers, homes, etc.
    • Produces “rent”
  • Labor
    • The work and time for which one is paid is what economists call “labor”
    • Money received for one’s labor is called wages and/or salaries
    • About two-thirds of the total resource cost is the cost of labor
  • Capital
    • Man-made goods used to produce other goods or services is what economists call “capital”
      • Examples are office buildings, stores, and factories
    • The money owners of “capital” receive is called “interest”
    • Capital is the MOST important of the four economic resources
entrepreneurial ability
  • The entrepreneur
    • Sets up a business
    • Assembles the needed resources
    • Risks his/her own (or borrowed) money
    • Makes a “profit” or incurs a “loss”
  • Is central to the American economy
    • 23 million businesses are virtually all entrepreneurs
      • The vast majority work for themselves or have one or two employees
our economic problem revisited
Our Economic Problem Revisited
  • Limited resources versus unlimited wants
  • There are NOT enough resources to produce everything that everyone wants
  • Therefore, CHOICES must BE MADE!
  • Every choice has an “opportunity cost” associated with it!
opportunity cost an important fundamental concept in economics
Opportunity Cost: An Important, Fundamental Concept in Economics
  • Because we cannot have everything we want, we must make choices
  • The thing we give up (our second-best choice) is called the opportunity cost of our choice
    • This is the foregone value of the next best alternative
  • In the economic world, “both” is not an admissible answer to a choice of “which one”
inherit 40 000
Bought the car

(Paid $40,000)

Can’t go to college

Inherit $40,000

Two choices – buy a car or go to college

College graduate (lifetime earnings) $1,300,000

High School graduate (lifetime earnings) 800,000

Opportunity Cost

$ 500,000

underemployment of resources
Underemployment of Resources
  • An unemployment rate greater than 5%
  • A capacity utilization rate less than 85%
the production possibilities curve
The Production Possibilities Curve
  • Represents our economy at
    • Full employment
    • Full production

As we shift from butter to guns, we have to give up increasing units of butter for each additional unit of guns

Production Possibilities Curve

Hypothetical Production Schedule

Point Units of Butter Units of Guns A 15 0 B 14 1 C 12 2 D 9 3 E 5 4 F 0 5

This is known as the “law of increasing cost.” As the output of one good expands, the opportunity cost of producing additional units of this good increases.


Points Inside and Outside the Production Possibilities Curve Frontier

Point W represents output at more than full employment and full production and is currently unattainable

Where we usually are

A Recession

A Depression

Every point on the curve represents output at Full Employment and Full Production

Every point inside the curve represents output at less than Full employment and less than Full Production

productive efficiency
Productive Efficiency
  • Is attained when the maximum possible output of one good is produced, given the output of other goods
    • Productive efficiency occurs only when we are operating on the production possibilities curve
    • Productivity efficiency means that the output of one good cannot be attained without reducing the output of some other good
economic growth
Economic Growth
  • Best available technology
  • Expansion of labor
    • More or better trained labor
  • Expansion of capital
    • More or improved plant and equipment
production possibilities curves
Production Possibilities Curves

A move from PPC to PPC to PPC represents economic growth




production possibilities curves over time
Production Possibilities Curves Over Time

Country B

Country A

Country A represents slower economic growth than Country B

Country B represents much faster economic growth than Country A

Country A capital goods is 3.8 units

Country B capital goods is 7.0 units