Core Microeconomics by Gerald Stone

By Gerald Stone

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So, toss out half your stuff and move to an apartment half the size you are in today. Note that we have ignored a bunch of complementary impacts like reduced education, as well as reduced research and development, that are closely associated with lower incomes. These impacts probably would have reduced these numbers and our standard of living even further. If we were to conduct this little experiment going back to the beginning of the century rather than from 1930, we would likely have the standard of living of Mexico today.

FIGURE APX-2—The Relationship Between the Number of Strikes and Union Membership as a Percent of Total Employment 1950 400 1970 1955 350 Number of Strikes This scatter diagram plots the relationship between the number of strikes and union membership as a percent of total employment. The number of strikes increased as union membership became a larger percentage of those employed. Note that union membership as a percentage of those employed has fallen in the last half century. 0% This pie chart shows the relative importance of the components of the consumer price index, showing how typical urban households spend their income.

Markets bring buyers and sellers together. Competition for the consumer dollar forces firms to provide products at the lowest possible price, or some other firm will undercut their high price. New products enter the market and old products die out. Such is the dynamic characteristic of markets. Starbucks has made latte drinkers of us all, whereas just a short time ago, few of us could even spell the word. What drives and disciplines markets? Prices and profits are the keys. Profits drive entrepreneurs to provide new products (think of pharmaceutical firms or Apple) or existing 9 10 Chapter 1 products at lower prices (think of Wal-Mart).

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