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Economics_Ch01 - 01(002-029 EMC Chap 01 4:02 PM Page 2...

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2 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Economics? C H A P T E R 2 Economic Systems and the Global Economy C H A P T E R 3 Free Enterprise
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Economics is a study of men as they live and move and think in the ordinary business of life. —A lfred M arshall 3
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Why It Matters S imple arithmetic is both useful and pow- erful. It is useful because almost every day you have some reason to add, subtract, multiply, or divide. Just think how much harder your life would be if you did not know simple arithmetic. Basic arithmetic is powerful because it is the springboard to higher mathematics and to deeper understanding. You could not learn algebra or geom- etry without knowing how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Without algebra and geometry, safe bridges could not be built and satellites could not be put into space. The economic concepts discussed in this chapter are similar to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. How are they similar? First, as with arith- metic, once you learn basic economics, you will be able to use these concepts con- tinually to get more of what you want out of life. Second, these concepts form the basis for the economics you will learn in later chapters. You will not be able to under- stand economic “algebra,” so to speak, without first learn- ing the fundamental eco- nomic concepts explained in this chapter. 4 These shoppers probably can’t afford to buy every- thing they would like, but their choices appear to have been satisfying. In this text you’ll learn how people make these sorts of choices.
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The following events occurred one day in November. 8:12 A.M. Jessica is a senior in high school; next year she hopes to enroll in a college that is very selective. Currently she is at home filling out one of the many college applications on her desk. The acceptance rate at this particular college is 14 per- cent. Jessica whispers under her breath, “Why such a low acceptance rate?” Why is it so hard to get into certain colleges? 8:33 A.M. Each morning on his way to work, George, 30 years old, drives through a senior citizen com- munity. It usually takes him longer to go one-half mile in the senior citizen community than to go one-half mile any- where else along his commute. George is currently going 15 mph in a 25 mph zone because the person driving in front of him is driving 15 mph. George is frustrated because he has no way to get around this slow driver. What economic reason might explain why, on average, senior citizens drive slower than 30-year- old drivers? 7:43 P.M. José, a junior in high school, is at home studying. José’s mother is surprised that he is home studying on a Saturday night. Usually he is out with his friends. She asks, “What are you doing home tonight? Do you have a big test next week?” José answers, “No, it’s just that Jimmy is sick and Tom is out of town.” What do José’s friends either being sick or out of town have to do with his studying on a Saturday night?
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