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Economics: Principles in Action

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1 Economics: Principles in Action
C H A P T E R 2 Economic Systems © 2001 by Prentice Hall, Inc.

2 The Four Economic Questions
Every society must answer four questions: What goods and services should be produced? How should these goods and services be produced? Who produces these goods and services? For whom are the goods & services produced? 2 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 1

3 Societies answer the four economic questions based on their values.
Economic Goals Societies answer the four economic questions based on their values. Economic Goals Making the most of resources Economic efficiency Freedom from government intervention in the production and distribution of goods and services Economic freedom Assurance that goods and services will be available, payments will be made on time, and a safety net will protect individuals in times of economic disaster Economic security and predictability Fair distribution of wealth Economic equity Innovation leads to economic growth, and economic growth leads to a higher standard of living. Economic growth and innovation Societies pursue additional goals, such as environmental protection. Other goals 2 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 1

4 Four Economic Systems An economic system is the method used by a society to produce and distribute goods and services. 2 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 1

5 Why Do Markets Exist? Markets exist because none of us produce all the goods and services we require to satisfy our needs and wants. A market is an arrangement that allows buyers and sellers to exchange goods and services. Voluntary Exchange is when buyers & sellers are free to negotiate the conditions of a sale/purchase. Needed for markets to be free. 1 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 2

6 The Free Market Economy
In a free market economy, households and business firms use markets to exchange money and products. Households own the factors of production and consume goods and services. Households pay firms for goods and services. Product market Firms supply households with goods and services. Households supply firms with land, labor, and capital. Firms pay households for land, labor, and capital. Factor market 1 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 2

7 The Market’s Self-Regulating Nature The Ideas Of Adam Smith
In every transaction, the buyer and seller consider only their self- interest, or their own personal gain. Self-interest is the motivating force in the free market. Producers in a free market struggle for the dollars of consumers. This is known as competition, and is the regulating force of the free market. The interaction of buyers and sellers, motivated by self-interest and regulated by competition, all happens without a central plan. This phenomenon is called “the invisible hand of the marketplace.” Adam Smith advocated a “laissez faire” approach to economics, meaning that there was no need for government intervention in the economy since it was self regulating. Through specialization and a division of labor societies could maximize their resources. 1 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 2

8 Advantages of the Free Market
1 3 4 Chapter 2, Section 2

9 Characteristics of a Free Market
Competition & Self Interest Private Property Free Enterprise Freedom of Choice Laissez Faire

10 How Free Markets Answer the Four Questions
What? - answered by consumer sovereignty [when consumer wants dictate the types of products produced] and profit incentive. Who? - profit incentive and competition. How? - profit incentive…lowest possible cost with the maximum profit For Whom? - profits and income

11 Organization of Centrally Planned Economies
In a centrally planned economy, the government owns both land and capital. The government decides what to produce, how much to produce, and how much to charge. Socialism is a social and political philosophy based on the belief that democratic means should be used to distribute wealth evenly throughout a society. Communism is a political system characterized by a centrally planned economy with all economic and political power resting in the hands of the government. Originated with the ideas of Karl Marx. 1 2 4 Chapter 2, Section 3

12 Why Communism Failed in the Former Soviet Union
No Incentives Inefficient Decision Making Price controls Soviet Agriculture In the Soviet Union, the government created large state-owned farms and collectives for most of the country’s agricultural production. These farms were inefficient because people lacked incentives. Regardless of what people made the government took it. Experiments with allowing farmers keep a portion of their produce saw dramatic improvements in productivity. Soviet Industry Soviet planners favored heavy-industry production (such as steel and machinery), over the production of consumer goods. Communist Inefficiency also led to environmental disasters like the Aral Sea. 1 2 4 Chapter 2, Section 3

13 Problems of a Centrally Planned Economy
East German Trabant automobile Centrally planned economies face problems of poor- quality goods, shortages, and diminishing production. 1 2 4 Chapter 2, Section 3

14 The Rise of Mixed Economies
Market economies, with all their advantages, have certain drawbacks. Limits of Laissez Faire Laissez faire is the doctrine that government generally should not interfere in the marketplace. Governments create laws protecting property rights and enforcing contracts. They also encourage innovation through patent laws. 1 2 3 Chapter 2, Section 4

15 Government’s Role in a Mixed Economy
Product market the government purchases goods and services in the product market, and Factor market purchases land, labor, and capital from households in the factor market. 1 2 3 Chapter 2, Section 4

16 Comparing Mixed Economies
An economic system that permits the conduct of business with minimal government intervention is called free enterprise. The degree of government involvement in the economy varies among nations. Continuum of Mixed Economies Centrally planned Free market Source: 1999 Index of Economic Freedom, Bryan T. Johnson, Kim R. Holmes, and Melanie Kirkpatrick Iran North Korea Cuba China Russia Greece Peru United States South Africa France United Kingdom Botswana Canada Singapore Hong Kong 1 2 3 Chapter 2, Section 4

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