Economics is the study of how individuals and nations make choices about how to use scarce resources to fill their need and wants. A resource is any thing that people can use to make or obtain what they need or want. You may be asking yourself at this point how economics will help you, a student. Also may be wondering how scarce resources is the problem for a nation like the United State that has such abundant resources.
It may surprise you to know that many of the decisions you will face as a citizen deal with how the government should use its resources. Learning economic principles can help you make decisions about candidates for political office, political and social issues, and the goal of the government should set for itself, such as how to spend government revenues. Many people are familiar with the benefits of government programs such as job training and Medicare, but how many people are aware of the costs of programs? Economics can help you to understand both costs and benefits, therefore, help you to make better decisions.
Because economics examines facts in order to make choices, it can teach you some skills for making decisions. Being able to make reasoned, well-informed decisions will be important to as an employee, employer, saver, and investor, as well as a citizen. This unit introduces you to some economic issues.
The problem of scarcity
The need to make choices arises the fact that everything that exists is limited, even though some items may appear to be in overabundant supply. At any one moment in the United States, or anywhere, there is a fixed (limited, set at a certain amount), or set, amount of resources available. At the same time, people have different, competing uses for these resources. This is the problem of scarcity. It is the basic problem of economics. Scarcity means that people do not and cannot have enough income, time, or resources to satisfy their every desire. What you can buy with your income as a student is limited by the amount of income you have. In this case, your income is the scarce resources.
The problem of scarcity faces as well as individuals. Businesspeople must choose constantly among the possible uses for their resources .Decisions are made daily about what to produce now, what to produce later, and what to stop producing. These decisions in turn affect people’s income and their ability to buy. Nations, too, face the problems of choosing how to spend their scarce resources. The United States, for example, must decide each year how much to spend on defense, how much on Social Security benefits, and on aid to higher education. How people make these choices is the subject of economics.
Want and need
How many times have you said that you “need” something? How often do you think about what you “want”? The distinction, or difference, between wants and needs is not a clear one. Everyone needs certain basic things – enough food, clothing, and shelter to survive. People think there are certain basic needs for a nation, too, such a strong military defense. People also consider a certain number of years of public education and adequate health care as needs.
Everything other than these basic needs are called wants by economists. People want better and more clothing, bigger places to live, new cars, personal computers, and the like. Although more and more people have these items, this does not means that anyone actually needs them. For example, people entertained themselves and informed themselves of news long before the invention of the radio. But as the wonders of radio were advertised and more people bought radios, more people began to believe they need one. What began as a luxury, or want, became to many people a necessity. This cycle of wants and perceived needs is repeated over and over. In economics, however, there are only a few true needs, such as food and shelter. You may believe you need a videocassette recorder (VCR). But is it really a need or just a want?
Types of Resources
Traditionally, economists have classified resources into three types, depending on their economic use: 1. land 2. labor and 3. capital. The term land refers to natural resources, not just to surface land. Natural resources are all the things found in nature – on or in water and the earth – such as fish, animals, forest, and minerals as well as land and water. Among the most important natural resources in economic terms are land and mineral deposits such as iron ore. In economics, the location of land is also important. In the United States today, location is probably more important than the natural resources in establishing the value of land. Labor refers to the work that people do. It includes all kinds of jobs – bus driver, doctor, teacher, business executive, plumber, assembly – line worker, and so on. Anyone who works is a part of the labor resource. Capital is all property – machines, buildings, and tools – that people use to make other goods and services. For example, the machines used to make automobiles are capital. The cars themselves are produce services. Combining capital with land and labor resources increases the value of all three resources by increasing the productivity. Productivity is the ability to produce greater quantities of goods and services in better and faster ways.
Why is it important to you to study economics?
Why an economy is studied by both microeconomics and macroeconomics?
What macroeconomics means in international economics?
Why is the scarcity the basic problem in economics?
How do businesspeople face the problem of scarcity?
How do nations solve the problem of scarce resources?
What is the difference between needs and wants? Give two examples of each.
Read the text below and find the right word or phrase from the box to fill each of the gaps.
system competition firm price signal
efficiency methods lower-cost production profit
How things are produced is determined by the (1)……….. among different producers. The best way for producers to meet (2)……… competition and maximize profit is to keep costs at a minimum by adopting the most efficient (3)…….. of production. Producers are spurred on by the lure of(4)............ – the (5)………… method that is the cheapest at any one time will displace a more costly method. History is filled with examples of how more efficient and (6)……….. technologies replaced more expensive ones. Steam engines displaced horses because steam was cheaper per unit of useful. Diesel and electric locomotives replaced coal-driven ones because of the higher (7)……..of the new technologies. The price (8)…….. is society’s signaling device. By looking at price (9)…….., workers, (10)………. and other producers can choose the most appropriate technique of production.
Translate the following text into English paying special attention to standard use of terms and clarify of expression.
Hoạt động kinh tế
Các ngành nghề khu vực một hay kinh tế khu vực đầu tiên là ngành sản xuất các sản phẩm hoặc nguyên liệu thô bằng phương thức khai thác hay nông nghiệp. Khai thác là công tác thu nhặt và bảo quản tài nguyên thiên nhiên, trong khi đó nông nghiệp áp dụng các kỹ thuật nuôi trồng để tạo ra thu gặt thường xuyên và phong phú hơn từ thiên nhiên.
Ngành nghề khu vực hai, gồm các nghề sản xuất tiểu công nghiệp và các nghề sản xuất có tổ chức kỹ thuật xí nghiệp, nhà máy. Trong các nhà máy (hay phân xưởng) này, các khối lượng lớn sản phẩm hoàn chỉnh được cung ứng dưới dạng khác hẳn với trạng thái tự nhiên của nguyên liệu ban đầu đã góp phần làm phát triển văn minh nhân loại.
Ngành nghề khu vực ba, hay công nghiệp dịch vụ là nghành nghề chuyên sản xuất hoặc các nghề mà kết quả của nó không tạo ra sản hữu hình nào. Dịch vụ là hàng hóa vô hình mà biểu thị một nền văn minh cao.