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Economic and management sciences

Grade 8

The economic cycle

Module 2

Trade and the economic problem

Assessment standard 1.2:

Trade and the economic problem

When you have completed this MODULE, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO INDICATE HOW TRADE (IMPORTS AND EXPORTS) ADDRESSES THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM (OF CHOICE AND OPPORTUNITY COST), AS WELL AS THE ROLE OF BANKS IN ENCOURAGING INVESTMENT IN THE ECONOMY.

THE CENTRAL PROBLEM OF THE ECONOMY:

The most basic feature of human existence is the MULTIPLICITY OF HUMAN NEEDS and the contrasting SHORTAGE OF MEANS to satisfy these needs. In spite of enormous technological and scientific progress over a number of decades, which has led to considerable increases in production, the NEEDS of people remain GREATER than the MEANS to satisfy those needs. As there will always be needs that remain unsatisfied, people will always have to EXERCISE CHOICES with regard to the needs that have to be satisfied and those that will have to remain unsatisfied. Compare your own situation regarding pocket money: your pocket money definitely does not allow you to buy everything that you want. Therefore you continually have to CHOOSE between satisfying your needs or your desires (wants).

In the same way, the businessman, government and every private individual have to exercise a multiplicity of choices every day to ensure that THE GREATEST DEGREE OF SATISFACTION is achieved.

Activity 1

NEEDS

SELF:

Compile a list of things that you experience as a need at present and that you will also experience as such in the future:

Activity 2

CLASSIFICATION OF NEEDS

GROUP:

Compare the lists of needs of the different learners in the group and classify them under the following headings:

Natural

Essential

Luxury

Protection

Cultural

Spiritual

GROUP:

Identify the FOUR/FIVE most basic needs of people from the above – i.e. things without which people would not be able to exist (provide examples of each):

It is evident from the above that people / enterprises are unable to satisfy all their needs. If one need is satisfied, it means that another need might have to remain unsatisfied or be sacrificed. The SACRIFICE THAT IS MADE illustrates the principle of OPPORTUNITY COST. It reflects the sacrifice that you had to make to satisfy your greatest need; the usefulness in comparison with the satisfaction that you would have had if you had chosen to satisfy the other need. In economic terms, the satisfaction of need/usefulness that is derived from a product, is know as the utility that is derived from the particular product that was selected. The utility (or cost) of the satisfaction of your need is therefore equal to the utility (or cost) of the product that you have sacrificed. This is known as OPPORTUNITY COST.

Activity 3

OPPORTUNITY COST

SELF:

Indicate which of the products listed below you as a learner would choose if you were given a single opportunity to select one of them in each instance. (This means that you have to

decide which of the products you would choose and which you would manage without at this particular time in your life with your current needs.)

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Economic and management sciences grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11040/1.1
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