Economic issues

What kinds and quantities of goods shall be produced, “how much and which of alternative goods and services shall be produced?
How shall goods be produced? whom and with what resources (using what technology)…?
For whom are the goods or services produced? Who benefits? Samuelson rephrased this question as “how is the total of the national product to be distributed among different individuals and families?
Economic systems solve these problems in several ways:”… by custom and instinct; by command and centralized control (in planned economies) and in mixed economies that “…uses both market signals and government directives to allocate goods and resources.The latter is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise…

Samuelson wrote in Economics, a “canonical textbook” of mainstream economic thought[5] that “the price mechanism, working through supply and demand in competitive markets, operates to (simultaneously) answer the three fundamental problems in a mixed private enterprise system… At competitive equilibrium, the value society places on a good is equivalent to the value of the resources given up to produce it (marginal benefit equals marginal cost). This ensures allocative efficiency-the additional value society places on another unit of the good is equal to what society must give up in resources to produce it.

The solution to these problems is important because of the “fundamental fact of economic institution life” that ..

“The economic problem, “the struggle for subsistence”, always has been hitherto primary, most pressing problem of the human race- not only of the human race, but of the whole of the biological kingdom from the beginnings of life in its most primitive forms.” -Samuelson, Economics, 11th ed., 1980

Categories: social issues

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