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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 flow variable
Siyanda Reply
a flow is a quantity that can be measured over a specific period of time
Abhishek
is economics a social science or a pure science
Hilda Reply
social science
Sammy
social science
Babarali
social Science as a Subject and Pure science as a study
Abhishek
How to compute National income by using the expenditure approach
Bridget Reply
Briefly explain whether the discipline of economics is a social science or pure science( normative or positive)
Okafor Reply
different between absolute advantage and comparative advantage
EDSON Reply
mathematical economics
masele Reply
show some questions under this topic
hassan
why met worth is added with libilitys in the balance sheet
bijoy Reply
what are the implications of inflation targeting?
Alinaitwe Reply
maximize profit
Murry
What happens to the goods and money market if the government cuts public spending?
Harman Reply
then the government will be punished by the public
soul
GDP, INFLATION, UNEMPLOYMENT & PRODUCTIVITY and then write a paragraph on the behavior of each variable after analyzing them graphically.
AWY
what is international trade
Stella Reply
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders.
Bilal
international trade is the exchange of goods and services across boundaries
Zamu
international trade is the exchange of goods and services of country and abroad
Uwase
international is the process of exchanges of value interm of goods and services along national frontier
Murry
Trade*
Murry
Increase knowdge and skill. it save time and cost. Increase high Efficiency of production .
betta Reply
List kinds of Elastcity of Demand
betta
Is a faster rate of economic growth always a good thing as compared to a slower rate? And why?
LIMPHO Reply
what is unemployment
Doctor Reply
it is a situation during which workers remain jobless.
Zeeshan
is situation where people are willing to work but job are no available
Uwase
what is inflation
Sheila Reply
Inflation is a major concern to global economists, and it affects people from all walks of life. It refers to the measure or rate by which the cost of goods and services rises and purchasing power declines. As prices increase, monetary value decreases—prompting consumers to spend less on goods and s
King
inflation is the persistence rise in price level
Zamu
Inflation is the situation during which too much money is required to purchase too few goods.
Zeeshan
inflation is continuous increase in general price level
Uwase
it is the process where too much money pursuing fewer goods
Murry
what is the law of diminishing marginal utility?.
inusa Reply
The utility drive from last commodity Is a marginal utility
IBRAHIM
The marginal utility declines as more of a particular good is consumed at a given time
Silumelume
hi
baloch
hi
Shaxboz
how are you
Shaxboz
How do we relate the tale of the two Koreans to GDP?
LIMPHO
fine
Athar
the utility which is derived from the one commodity by taking continuously can decrease the desire of the particular commodity .that's known as diminishing marginal utility . and we can calculate by using the following formula MU=TUn_TUn-1
Hema
The law of diminishing marginal utility explains that as a person consumes an item or a product, the satisfaction or utility that they derive from the product wanes as they consume more and more of that product. For example, an individual might buy a certain type of chocolate for a while.
Shadhab
tell me the introduction of microeconomics
baloch
hi
sparlay
the major in depth concept of macroeconomics
Hassan
Economic is the wealth
IBRAHIM
economic have major role to play in your daily life.
Hawa

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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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