Key Economic Questions Society Must Answer 9/15/16 Please
Capitalism answers the key economic question What and how to produce,
Who receives production, adapting to changing environment
II. Market system evaluated efficiency and freedom must be balanced with need for regulation and income inequality.
III. Other Economic Systems Socialism has government ownership and management of some means of production, Communism has equal distribution of production and wealth
20th Century U.S. Political Economy: an interaction of politics and economics edited by Walter Antoniotti
I. Capitalism answers the key economic questions
A. What to produce?
1. Which goods?
a. Those that can be sold at a profit, consumers vote with dollars
b. Accounting Profit: The amount by which total revenue exceeds accounting costs
(rents, wages, and interest) Note these are three of the four Factors of Production
c. Normal Profit
1. Amount received for enterprise
2. Considered by economists to be a cost
d. Economic Profits
1. The amount by which total revenues exceed all "Factor" costs. Some think of it as a surplus.
2. Expanding industries have economic profit.
a) Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has earned many billions of dollars.
b) So has Sam Walton of Wal-Mart
c. Lester C. Thurow Profits, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.
e. Difference between accounting economic and-normal
2. How many goods?
a. Level of demand and efficiency of supply determine output.
b. Society determines total demand (who works, how often and for how many years).
c. Success of economic system determines efficiency of supply.
B. How to produce?
1. Companies must be competitive
2. Competition is the "Invisible Hand" assuring
a. High quality goods are produced.
b. Efficient production methods are employed.
c. Prices and profits are reasonable.
d. For more read Adam Smith and the invisible hand by Helen Joyce of Plus magazine.
3. Technology and innovation are instrumental to success.
C. Who will receive production?
1. Those willing and able to pay
2 .Function of income, savings, and attitude toward debt financing
D. How will the economy adapt to changing environments?
1. Today's economic environment is changing rapidly because of the communication revolution.
2. Magnitude of change is similar to that which occurred in the last quarter of the 19th century.
See Economic Normality 1945-2015 and World Changed and Good Jobs Disappeared
3. Companies and individuals must "adapt or be gone."
4. Capitalism allows creative destruction to work.
5. Recently technology has changed rapidly and people are being adversely affected
a. Normally, political forces would attempt to slow creative destruction.
b. But, the 1990's was the decade of free enterprise so creative destructions moved on.
c. Perhaps the next recession will slow down the free market revolution.
E. Visit What is Capitalism? for a socialist view of economic questions and capitalism.
Economics is about
Who Will Receive Production
II. Market system evaluated
1. Resources allocated efficiently
2. Economic freedoms abound (freedom of enterprise and economic choice)
1. Too dependent upon competition which is often eroded by monopoly power. Waste and
inefficiency result because of monopoly power exercised by business, unions, governments,
and interest groups.
2. Inequitable distribution of income (economic survival of the fittest)
3. Market failure occurs
a. Not all costs (pollution) and benefits (public health) are properly accounted for.
b. Why? because measuring their cost and benefits in dollars is difficult and subjective.
4. Political process sometimes interferes with creative destruction.
C. Current Discussions
1. Basic Characteristics of Capitalism
2. Political process sometimes interferes with creative destruction affecting efficiency
3. Modern Capitalism has many new features
4. Criticism of Modern Capitalism Please
III. Other Economic Systems
Some Criticize Dramatically
Some Question his motives as
US Economic History