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Second, workers who specialize in certain tasks often learn to produce more quickly and with higher quality. This pattern holds true for many workers, including assembly line laborers who build cars, stylists who cut hair, and doctors who perform heart surgery. In fact, specialized workers often know their jobs well enough to suggest innovative ways to do their work faster and better.

A similar pattern often operates within businesses. In many cases, a business that focuses on one or a few products (sometimes called its “ core competency ”) is more successful than firms that try to make a wide range of products.

Third, specialization allows businesses to take advantage of economies of scale    , which means that for many goods, as the level of production increases, the average cost of producing each individual unit declines. For example, if a factory produces only 100 cars per year, each car will be quite expensive to make on average. However, if a factory produces 50,000 cars each year, then it can set up an assembly line with huge machines and workers performing specialized tasks, and the average cost of production per car will be lower. The ultimate result of workers who can focus on their preferences and talents, learn to do their specialized jobs better, and work in larger organizations is that society as a whole can produce and consume far more than if each person tried to produce all of their own goods and services. The division and specialization of labor has been a force against the problem of scarcity.

Trade and markets

Specialization only makes sense, though, if workers can use the pay they receive for doing their jobs to purchase the other goods and services that they need. In short, specialization requires trade.

You do not have to know anything about electronics or sound systems to play music—you just buy an iPod or MP3 player, download the music and listen. You do not have to know anything about artificial fibers or the construction of sewing machines if you need a jacket—you just buy the jacket and wear it. You do not need to know anything about internal combustion engines to operate a car—you just get in and drive. Instead of trying to acquire all the knowledge and skills involved in producing all of the goods and services that you wish to consume, the market allows you to learn a specialized set of skills and then use the pay you receive to buy the goods and services you need or want. This is how our modern society has evolved into a strong economy.

Why study economics?

Now that we have gotten an overview on what economics studies, let’s quickly discuss why you are right to study it. Economics is not primarily a collection of facts to be memorized, though there are plenty of important concepts to be learned. Instead, economics is better thought of as a collection of questions to be answered or puzzles to be worked out. Most important, economics provides the tools to work out those puzzles. If you have yet to be been bitten by the economics “bug,” there are other reasons why you should study economics.

  • Virtually every major problem facing the world today, from global warming, to world poverty, to the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, has an economic dimension. If you are going to be part of solving those problems, you need to be able to understand them. Economics is crucial.
  • It is hard to overstate the importance of economics to good citizenship. You need to be able to vote intelligently on budgets, regulations, and laws in general. When the U.S. government came close to a standstill at the end of 2012 due to the “fiscal cliff,” what were the issues involved? Did you know?
  • A basic understanding of economics makes you a well-rounded thinker. When you read articles about economic issues, you will understand and be able to evaluate the writer’s argument. When you hear classmates, co-workers, or political candidates talking about economics, you will be able to distinguish between common sense and nonsense. You will find new ways of thinking about current events and about personal and business decisions, as well as current events and politics.

The study of economics does not dictate the answers, but it can illuminate the different choices.

Key concepts and summary

Economics seeks to solve the problem of scarcity, which is when human wants for goods and services exceed the available supply. A modern economy displays a division of labor, in which people earn income by specializing in what they produce and then use that income to purchase the products they need or want. The division of labor allows individuals and firms to specialize and to produce more for several reasons: a) It allows the agents to focus on areas of advantage due to natural factors and skill levels; b) It encourages the agents to learn and invent; c) It allows agents to take advantage of economies of scale. Division and specialization of labor only work when individuals can purchase what they do not produce in markets. Learning about economics helps you understand the major problems facing the world today, prepares you to be a good citizen, and helps you become a well-rounded thinker.

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. 2015. "The Employment Situation—February 2015." Accessed March 27, 2015. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

Williamson, Lisa. “US Labor Market in 2012.” Bureau of Labor Statistics . Accessed December 1, 2013. http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/03/art1full.pdf.

Questions & Answers

Can anybody provide Solow Growth Model?
Sakar Reply
compare and contrast the classical view and the Keynesian view of economic growth
idoko Reply
what are the objective of macroecnomics in shortrun and long run?
Kalpajyoti Reply
hmm to see how things wages and other economic i dicators adjust in short and long run
Amjad
What economic values calculate the rate of inflation?
Prabha
change in cpi
Amjad
Thank you
Prabha
'You can't compare apples to oranges' an old adage, yet GDP exactly does that, anyone please to show how?
Marvin Reply
2. Mention the change if any in supply or demand or both with drawing: 1. The effect of introduction of breathable nail polish in Islamic countries on the sales of ordinary nail polish. 2. The effect on subscription if OSN is offering free receivers for new subscribers. 3. The effect on sales o
Radwaaa Reply
list three possible ways of addressing and adverse balance of payment
Meribah Reply
when MPs is 0.3 and autonomous consumption is 30billion what is d consumption expenditure
queen Reply
what is macroeconomic?
Shahidul
Consumption expenditure becomes: C = 30b + 0.3Y without lump sum tax and C = 30b + 0.3Yd with lump sum tax
olumide
Macroeconomics deals with the study of the behavior of aggregate individuals, firms or government in an economy in relation to consumption patterns and decision making
olumide
If the government decrases spending by ksh. 500 billion what is the change in output given MPC is 0.75
Gichana Reply
375
Philip
how can policy makers strike the balance between inflation and unemployment?
Oreva Reply
I dunno
Azeez
c=800 + 0.75y i=500 G=900 compute the equilibrium level of national output
Omar Reply
y=c+I+g+(X-M) y=800+.75y+500+900+0 y-.75y=2200 .25y=2200 y=2200/.25 y=8800=national level of output
Anik
Please tell me the current crr, repo rate etc
Ranjeeta Reply
cash reserve ratio is the amount that is deposit by the commercial bank in Central bank.... n repo rate is a loan interest amount
Sahar
what is slr madam sahar
Rohit
jo amount bank reserve rakhti hai bank mai customers k liye jese ATM mai ya bank mai rakha hota hai, wo slr hota hai
Sahar
pakka sahi hai
Rohit
good joke
Rohit
Argentina Lose !!😭😭
MR.ASHIM
SLR refers to that portion of total deposits of a commercial bank which it has to keep with itself in the form of cash reserve
Ranjeeta
What is cash crop?
Ranjeeta Reply
commeciaal crops
Amal
So jowar is not cash crop?
Ranjeeta
anything which is plant inorder to sell in the market
Simeon
How demand deposits are different from savings?
Ranjeeta
can unemployment be a factor of inflation?
David Reply
yeah it has an impact on cost push inflation
Vincent
yes ,unemployment is a factor of inflation and it is cost push inflation
Silu
Is phillip curve still applicable in today's economy?
Jestony
what has changed?
Qiniso
statistics show that Philip curve doesn't reflect reality all the time
Or
which causes to be inflation and deflation?
li
yes it is a factor of inflation . low unemployment results in high inflation and high unemployment results in low unemployment
Rishav
Could you explain me more?
li
In your question you use the word " can" ... So this exist as a possibility...
karoline
who can explain more about phillip's curve?
Jestony
Philip's curve shows that to achieve low employment. there must be high rate of price and this can be achieved by govt. policy - fiscal and monetary policy.
orgbu
microeconomics is individual firms and macroeconomics is a large as a full
kendra Reply
That's true 👍
Kwibuka
word micro means small and tiny part. word macro means large and big part.
saddiq
Exactly
Emmanuel
is unemployment another cause of inflation?
David
can I say unemployment can cause inflation?
David
no. unemployment can possibly lead to deflation
Asdfghjkl
if their are no production am I correct to say inflation will occurs
David
one of the causes of inflation is excess demand. if there's no production there would be no demand so no inflation
Asdfghjkl
if we take a look at inflation, it occur because of low production. High price chasing few goods.
David
So are you saying demand creates supply?
David
to an extent because if s9mething is demanded, it's likely to be supplied
Asdfghjkl
OK am still confused, if there is unemployment low production, and employment high production, inflation high increase in price, how can production be high and we are faced with inflation? When inflation is referred to higher price chasing few goods.
David
if the demand is increased , what is the graphics on it?
Tadesse Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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