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Learn economics - simplified

Benshapiro
Posts: 3,963
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5/8/2015 10:10:32 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I wanted to create this forum for those interested in learning economics without the jargon. The most effective way to learn anything is to explain something in simple terms to make it more easily understood. I'm hoping that responsibly irresponsible will help contribute to this topic because he's obviously very knowledgeable on the subject. All I ask - for anyone contributing - is that you define every term that is used.

I have a BS in Economics. That said, I was a poor student. I'd like to use this forum as an opportunity to teach but help myself learn at the same time. My education made me aware of just how much I don't know and I still have many questions. I'll start from the beginning and explain in my own words.

First, what is the study of economics?

Economics is the study of how we economize things. The most fundamental tenet of economics is the realization that everything is scarce. "Scarcity" just means that every resource on planet earth is in limited supply. Since everything is scarce, economics is the study of how we distribute - or economize - our limited resources.

What do you think of that definition? Was that helpful? Accurate? Feel free to contribute and ask questions.
drawnablank
Posts: 4
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5/8/2015 3:40:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I really like the concept, actually. :)

One thought I might add in is that specific examples help a lot. My main difficulty understanding these things has always been a need to concretize them, imagine a principle in action. So that might help. :)
Chang29
Posts: 732
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5/8/2015 10:38:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Great idea to talk about scarcity.

Scarcity question, if a product's scarcity is only limited by distribution, that is only a few distributors with this product, yet in unlimited amounts created on demand. What would the effects be?
A free market anti-capitalist

If it can be de-centralized, it will be de-centralized.
Cowboy0108
Posts: 420
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5/11/2015 10:35:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Economics-the study of value and incentive
value-the relationship between scarcity and utility
incentive-the factors that encourage people to make certain decisions
scarcity-how common the good or service is
utility-how useful the good it; how much happiness the good brings to you

These are some core definitions. If you have any concept that you would like explained, I will happily explain them.
brunoalley
Posts: 15
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5/14/2015 3:32:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I've been doing something similar lately: re-examining economics while actually questioning many of its assumptions-- especially those that smuggle in normative judgments or tendentiously focus on certain aspects to the exclusion of others.

So too with "scarcity." It seems that one decent definition of economics is that it concerns the production and distribution of scarcities, and the relationship of that production and distribution to other conditions.

However, I think the assertion that "everything is scarce" might smuggle in too much, in that while both love and automobile parts might be "scarce," their scarcity operates in a significantly different manner. For this reason, the definition of economics as the study of "value and incentive" seems too broad-- broad enough to include any ethical project.

I would maybe tack it down-- and this is just a sketch, please criticize-- to something like: the study of the "production and exchange of producible and exchangeable scarcities." And again, I would include the relationship of this to other conditions-- social, cultural, legal, historical, etc..
Cowboy0108
Posts: 420
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5/15/2015 6:14:43 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/14/2015 3:32:20 AM, brunoalley wrote:
I've been doing something similar lately: re-examining economics while actually questioning many of its assumptions-- especially those that smuggle in normative judgments or tendentiously focus on certain aspects to the exclusion of others.

So too with "scarcity." It seems that one decent definition of economics is that it concerns the production and distribution of scarcities, and the relationship of that production and distribution to other conditions.

However, I think the assertion that "everything is scarce" might smuggle in too much, in that while both love and automobile parts might be "scarce," their scarcity operates in a significantly different manner. For this reason, the definition of economics as the study of "value and incentive" seems too broad-- broad enough to include any ethical project.

I would maybe tack it down-- and this is just a sketch, please criticize-- to something like: the study of the "production and exchange of producible and exchangeable scarcities." And again, I would include the relationship of this to other conditions-- social, cultural, legal, historical, etc..

The thing about my definition is that it is broad enough to cover the entire field of economics. Not all economists study the relationship between producers and consumers and how it relates to scarcity. Certainly, some do. However, people like Steven Levitt from the University of Chicago specialize in crime. This has little to do with your definition, yet he is considered one of the most profound young economists.

Furthermore, I prefer to boil everything down to value. Value is the relationship between utility and scarcity. This encompasses the scarcity aspect that many economists know and love, however, it also includes how much people NEED that good.

Then, of course, I used the term incentive. Yes, many economists like to focus on economic incentives. However, there are also moral, social, and emotional incentives. Many economists study more than just the economic incentives because humans naturally place some incentives over others and convert one incentive to another. To focus solely on economic incentives would be to close economics range of vision to a few select cases without interpreting WHY.

I believe that the best part of economics is that people who know the field can branch over into any other field, process data, draw conclusions, and make a meaningful difference without having to know anything about the particular field that they are analyzing.