Download Lesson 1 Basic Microeconomics

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts
no text concepts found
Introduction to Economics
Economic Choices: Goods and Bads
Economics is about making choices. You make economic choices every day. You make choices
about whether to get a sleep or study or even buy the latest iPhone model or save for the future.
You already know more about economics than you realize.
Economists talk about goods and bads. A good is anything that gives a person utility, or
satisfaction. Here is a partial list of some goods: a stable internet connection, ps5, friendship and
love. you will notice from the list that a good can either be tangible or intangible. On the other
hand, bad is something that gives a person disutility or dissatisfaction. If the constant nagging of
an acquaintance is something that gives you disutility or dissatisfaction, then it is bad.
1. In your life, what are some the common goods and bads that you knew?
2. Can something good for one person be bad to another person?
Goods do not just appear before us when we snap our fingers. It takes resources to produce
Land includes natural resources such as minerals, forests, water and unimproved land.
Labor consists of physical and mental talents that people contribute to the production
Capital consists of produced goods that can be used as inputs for further production
Enterprise/Entrepreneurship refers to the ability of people in organizing the resources
of land, labor and capital to produce goods, seek new business opportunities and develop
new ways of doing things.
Scarcity and a Definition of Economics
We are now ready to define a key concept in economics: scarcity. Scarcity is fundamental
concept of economics. It refers to the limitation of resources, particularly economic resources
such as land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. Throughout our lives, we experience the reality
of scarcity in various situations, particularly when availing of products and services. You have
noticed that certain fruits are only available during certain months. During “in season”, these fruits
are considered abundant; but during “off season”, they are considered scarce. You would also
love to go to your favorite band’s concert but there are only limited tickets. Scarcity results in
challenge with regard to properly allocating these resources to all sectors of the economy.
Economics refers to the effective management of scare resources to satisfy unlimited human
wants and needs. It is a social science that studies the means by which individuals, groups, and
societies produce, distribute, and consume products and services.
The origin of economics can be traced from Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes
of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. This started the idea of Economics as a separate source of
knowledge from Philosophy. Adam Smith outlined the thought that society is based on
Introduction to Economics
interdependence among people. The underlying interconnection, according to Smith, is the
movement of goods and services in relation to the needs and wants of people. Individuals have
needs and wants that they have to fulfill, and these ultimately influence their decisions and actions
as well as other aspects of human life, such as professions, lifestyles, and social interactions.
Unlimited Human Wants and Needs
The concept of scarcity is coupled with the fact that
human wants and needs are unlimited. Economics defines
needs as things that are desired which are essential for
human survival, while wants are those that are desired
but are not essential for survival.
Image from:
Scarcity’s Effects
Choices People have to make choices because of scarcity. Because our unlimited wants
are greater than our unlimited resources, some wants must go unsatisfied.
Need for a Rationing Device Rationing device means of who gets what of available
resources and goods. If people have infinite wants and if only limited resources are available to
produce the goods, then a rationing device is needed to decide who gets the available quantity
of goods.
Competition If there are enough resources to satisfy all our seemingly unlimited wants,
people would have not compete for the available but limited resources.
Opportunity Cost and Trade-off
One of the evident effects of scarcity is opportunity cost. This refers to the cost of giving up an
alternative by selecting the second-best choice. When resources are scarce or limited, consumers
are compelled to choose how to manage them efficiently and decide how much of their wants or
needs will be satisfied and hoe much of them will be left unsatisfied. Hence, when a particular
need is pursued, all the other alternatives are foregone. And the more we have of a particular
good, the more we sacrifice other things.
One example is when you buy a can of soda. The opportunity cost of buying corresponds to all
the items that can be bought with the same amount. Let us say that a can of soda costs 30 pesos.
With 30 pesos you can buy other equivalent products such as a can of fruit juice or a bottle of
mineral water. You can also buy a combination of other items whose price totals 30 pesos.
However, once you have made the decision to buy a can of soda, you have made the choice to
abandon all other options. Once the choice is made, you can no longer go back and undo such
Introduction to Economics
choices. This is called a trade-off. Trade-offs could result in either the satisfaction of needs or a
failure to meet them. For instance, you bought that can of soda and was immediately relived of
thirst upon drinking it. In this scenario, you consider your 30 pesos well-spent. However, if you
were to find the taste of the soda unsatisfactory, you would regret spending your 30 pesos and
wish that you could have made a different choice.
Image from:
Opportunity cost encourages us to be aware of the things that we give up as well as the
consequences of our choices in order to make good decisions when we purchase or avail of a
certain product or services.
Benefits and Costs
If we could eliminate air pollution completely, should we do it? If your answer is yes, then you
are probably focusing on the benefits of eliminating air pollution. For example, one benefit might
be healthier individuals. Certainly, individuals who do not breathe polluted air have fewer lung
disorders than people who do breathe polluted air.
But benefits rarely come without costs. The economist reminds us that although eliminating
pollution has its benefits, it has costs too. To illustrate, one way to eliminate all car pollution
tomorrow is to pass a law stating that anyone caught driving a car will go to prison for 40 years.
With such a law in place and enforced, very few people would drive cars, and all car pollution
would be a thing of the past. Presto! Cleaner air! However, many people would think that the cost
of obtaining that cleaner air is too high. Someone might say, "I want cleaner air, but not if I have
to completely give up driving my car. How will I get to work?"
What distinguishes the economist from the noneconomist is that the economist thinks in terms of
both costs and benefits. Often, the noneconomist thinks in terms of one or the other. Studying
has its benefits, but it has costs too. Coming to class has benefits, but it has costs too. Getting
up early each morning and exercising has its costs, but let's not forget that there are benefits too.
Decisions Made at the Margin
According to economists, for most decisions, you think in terms of additional or marginal costs
and benefits. nor total costs and benefits. That's because most decisions deal with making a
small, or additional, change.
Introduction to Economics
To illustrate, suppose you just finished eating a hamburger and drinking a soda for lunch. You
are still a little hungry and are considering whether to order another hamburger An economist
would say that in deciding whether to order another hamburger, you compare the additional
benefits of the second hamburger to its additional costs. In economics, the word marginal in a
synonym for additional, so we say that you compare the marginal benefits (MB) of the (next)
hamburger to its marginal costs (MC). If the marginal benefits are greater than the marginal coats,
you obviously expect net benefit to ordering the next hamburger, and therefore you order another,
If, however, the marginal benefits are less than the marginal costs, you obviously expect a net
cost to ordering the next hamburger, and therefore you do not order another.
MB of next hamburger> MC of next hamburger
MB of next hamburger< MC of next hamburger
Buy next hamburger
Do not buy next hamburger
What is the right amount of time to study for a test? In economics, the right amount of anything
is the primal or sufficient amount the amount for which the marginal benefits equal the marginal
cost. Stated differently, you have achieved efficiency when the marginal benefits equal the
marginal costs.
MB of studying = > MC of studying
Economics Is About Incentives and Exchange
An incentive is something that encourages or motivates a person to undertake an action. Often
what motivates a person to undertake an action is the belief that by taking that action she can
make herself better off. For example, if we say that Jane has an incentive to study for the
upcoming exam, we imply that by studying Jane can make herself better off, probably in terms
of receiving a higher grade on the exam than if she didn't study.
Incentives are closely related to benefits and costs. Individuals have an incentive to undertake
actions for which the benefits are greater than the costs or, stated differently, for which they
expect to receive net benefits (benefits greater than costs). Economists are interested in what
motivates behavior.
Exchange, or trade, is the giving up of one thing for something else. Economics is sometimes
called the science of exchange because so much that is discussed in economics has to do with
exchange. We start with a basic question: Why do people enter into exchanges? The answer is
that they do so to make themselves better off. When a person voluntarily trades $100 for a jacket,
she is saying, "I prefer to have the jacket instead of the $100. And, of course, when the seller of
the jacket voluntarily sells the jacket for $100, he is saying, "I prefer to have the $100 instead of
the jacket." In short, through trade or exchange, each person gives up something he values less
for something he values more. You can think of trade in terms of utility or satisfaction.
Arnold R. (2012). Principle of Economics. Pasig City, Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.
McEachern W. (2013). Economics. Quezon City. Abiva Publishing House, Inc.