Economics: The Basics

Economics: The Basics

Economics: The Basics

Economics: The Basics

Synopsis

Economics: The Basicsprovides a fascinating introduction to the key issues in contemporary economics. With case studies ranging from the coffee plantations of El Salvador to the international oil industry and the economic slowdown in Japan, it addresses fundamental questions such as:*Must increasing wealth for some mean increasing poverty for others?*Does producing more food for humankind mean we drive other species to extinction?*Is it true that, if we buy less coffee, farm incomes from Brazil to Kenya take a beating?*Is granting people property rights the best way to preserve fish and wildlife stocks?*Do we really have to choose between low unemployment and low inflation?Comprehensive and easy to read, this accessible guidebook is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how economics works and why it is important.

Excerpt

Durham Cathedral soars above the centre of the old British market town as it has done for almost a thousand years. But just down the road from the Norman cathedral and the castle that defends it, a new coffee shop has recently opened. Amongst the cluster of shops and stalls which crowd Durham's market place, this newcomer has now opened its doors to tempt the passer-by with the pungent aroma of fresh-roasted coffee. (At least it has at the time of writing. By the time you read this yet another entrepreneur may well have taken over the business and be displaying fashion wear or computer games or some other such service, which attracts the buying public!)

There are few places on Earth that are not touched by the continual changes of market organisation. Humankind is a restless species and is always seeking out new and better ways to produce things, more and different goods and services to acquire. But by what mechanism is it decided what is produced where, and by whom? How is the organisation of society's economic affairs carried out?

A hot cup of coffee is a perishable commodity: how come coffee, milk, sugar, skilled labour, specific equipment and every other resource necessary all arrive from their separate origins to deliver a satisfying product to your hand just at the very moment you want it? We take it for granted but a simple cup of coffee represents in fact a complex coming together of a unique set of ingredients that makes up a distinctive and time-sensitive product. Any breakdown in the multiple chains of organisation that are involved in bringing

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