Economics for the Citizen
A Ten Part Series on Basic Economics Concepts

Economics for the Citizen - Part I Summary: During fall semesters, I typically teach our first-year Ph.D. microeconomics theory course. Out of a love for teaching, I've decided to not completely take off but deliver a few lectures on basic economic principles to my readership. We'll name the series "Economics for the Citizen."
Economics for the Citizen - Part II Summary: At the end of the previous article, you were left with this question: Which is the best method of resolving conflict over what's produced, how and when it's produced, and who's going to get it? Among the methods for doing so were the market mechanism, government fiat, gifts or violence. The answer is that economic theory can't answer normative questions.
Economics for the Citizen - Part III Summary: There are four classes of behavior that can be called economic behavior. They are: production, consumption, exchange and specialization. The discussion of specialization will be left to the next article.
Economics for the Citizen - Part IV Summary: In the last lecture, we discussed three of four kinds of behavior that can be called economic behavior: production, consumption and exchange. We'll turn our attention to the fourth -- specialization.
Economics for the Citizen - Part V Summary: Someone might have made you a gift of this newspaper. Does that mean reading this article is free? The answer is a big fat no. If you weren't reading the article, you might have watched television, talked to your wife or worked on your homework. The cost of having or doing something is what had to be sacrificed. While reading this article might have a zero price, it most assuredly doesn't have a zero cost.
Economics for the Citizen - Part VI Summary: My last article introduced the law of demand, which states, holding everything else constant, that the lower the price of something, the more people will take of it, and the higher the price, less will be taken. But there's a bit of complexity we must add. It's crucial to recognize that it's relative prices that determine choices, not absolute prices.
Economics for the Citizen - Part VII Summary: There's a reggae song that advises "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife." Mechanics have been accused of charging women higher prices for emergency road repairs. Airlines charge business travelers higher prices than tourists. Car rental companies and hotels often charge cheaper rates on weekends. Transportation companies often give senior citizen and student discounts. Prostitutes charge servicemen higher prices than their indigenous clientele. Gasoline stations on interstate highways charge higher prices than those off the interstate. What are we to make of all of this discrimination? Should somebody notify the U.S. attorney general?
Economics for the Citizen - Part VIII Economic theory is broadly applicable. However, a society's property-rights structure influences how the theory will manifest itself. It's the same with the theory of gravity. While it, too, is broadly applicable, attaching a parachute to a falling object affects how the law of gravity manifests itself. The parachute doesn't nullify the law of gravity. Likewise, the property-rights structure doesn't nullify the laws of demand and supply.
Economics for the Citizen - Part IX Summary: We're all grossly ignorant about most things that we use and encounter in our daily lives, but each of us is knowledgeable about tiny, relatively inconsequential things.
Economics for the Citizen - Part X Summary: In 10 short articles, there's no way to even scratch the surface of economic knowledge. I'll simply end the series with a discussion of a few popular sentiments that have high emotional worth but make little economic sense. I use some of these sentiments as a teaching device in my undergraduate classes.

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