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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

What is an axiom in economics
Akerivaan Reply
And it examples
Akerivaan
Why is normal indifference curve convex to the origin? In which way does this convexity affect the marginal rate of substitution?
Alwyn Reply
What is Budget constraint
Veena Reply
Budget constraints is when government expenditure is greater than government revenue or when revenue is less than expenditure.
Jeremiah
thanks
fuh
join you to microeconomic
fuh
what is the deferent between quantity demand and quantity demanded
Affoh
what will happen to the budget constraints if the consumer income decline?
Maryam Reply
please what is the relationship between microeconomics and macroeconomics?
Maryam
Accordingly, Microeconomics focuses on the drivers of decision making, as well as the ways in which individuals' decisions affect the overall supply and demand and supply of particular goods and services, in an economy, and in turn their prices. Whereas Macroeconomics is the study of the big picture
Donia
Of the economy (retrieved from Google)
Donia
***quora.com/How-do-microeconomics-and-macroeconomics-interrelate
Donia
when consumer's income decline then purchasing power of consumer decreases .Budget line shifts inward.
Zeeshan
what is a deductive reasoning
tobi Reply
Deductive reasoning makes use of to arrive at the conclusion.That is, the premise must be real and put to rest .
Jeremiah
Deductive statement makes use of facts to arrive at the conclusion.That is ,the premise must be real and put to rest in order to produce the required results.
Jeremiah
what is scarcity
Agegnehu
scarcity is as a result of miss management and poor allocation of resources.
Jeremiah
what is monopoly in economics
Kenneth
price change in case of an inferior good
divya Reply
Search on Google
Harsh
the purchase of an inferior good decreases with increase in income and vice versa
Alwyn
what is frontier
Ebrima Reply
I want the answers
Gideon
What is the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics?
Krysstel Reply
what is demand
Chidex Reply
demand Is the quantity of goods a consumer is willing and able to produce at a given price and at a particular period of time.
inioluwa
fixed and variable factors of production
muqtaar Reply
James' income declines, and as a result, he buys more spinach. Is spinach an inferior or a normal good? What happens to James' demand curve for spinach?
Alwyn Reply
When the price floor is implemented, the equilibrium quantity will decrease. Is it true or wrong?
naim Reply
it's true
Nathaniel
what is elasticity
Chibuzor Reply
calculate the price elasticity of demand for Mr chibuzor (y) using both arc and price elasticity formulae
Chibuzor
The best way to understand elasticity is just looking to your behavior as a consumer. Just think about the basic need like food. We all know without, one end up dying if could not eat for a couple of days. It is a reason we say the demand is inelastic. It's impossible to survive without food.
busywork
On the other hand, the demand for luxury goods is elastic because it's sensitive to price changes as it is possible to survive without such good like expensive car. We say demand for such goods is elastic because as consumers, we have an option of not buying as it's possible to survive without them.
busywork
pls how do u calculate for the opportunity cost of two commodities when giving two commodities in question, and one is measured in tons and the other is measured in units
DBA Reply
what are tge factors that causes change in demand
emy Reply
change in income change in price change in taste and preference
Wahida
Change in price, ,availability of substitutes ,change in consumer preferences, changes in economic situation.
busywork
Qd=f(Y, P ,Ps ,F, T ,W , Pop)
Zeeshan
substitute goods taste preference income
Hermina
income increase and decrease is the most important reason of demand changing
Taufiq
Price variable : price This leads to a same direction change for certain luxury goods, and to an opposite direction change for the ordinary, normal, inferior... that's the remaining types of goods. As a result, the is a movement along the demand curve. We also have non price variables like income,
Jonas
We also have non price variables like income, that increases the willingness to pay of the consumers and thus increase the demande at any price, leading to a shift of the demand curve to the right if income increases or to the left of income decreases. A change in income also leads to
Jonas
A same direction change in demand for the normal good and for the opposite direction change for inferior goods.
Jonas
We also have other non price variables like taste, time horizon,...
Jonas

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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