Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Search
Follow The Annenberg Learner on LinkedIn Follow The Annenberg Learner on Facebook Follow Annenberg Learner on Twitter

Unit 14 — Resources and Scarcity

Play Program

Purpose:

To illustrate how unlimited wants and scarce resources lead to trade-offs and choices, and to show how the economic cost of using resources to produce a good is the value of the goods that could have been produced with those same resources.

Objectives:

  1. The amount of goods and services available for consumption in an economy depends on the quality of the economy’s productive resources, how well those resources are used, and whether all resources can be kept employed.
  2. Productive resources include: land, labor, machinery, structures, and technical and managerial knowledge of various types and qualities. These resources are called “scarce” resources because they are never able to produce everything that everybody wants.
  3. Resources tend to be more suitable for producing one type of good than another. Therefore, as more and more of a nation’s resources are devoted to the production of a specific good, there will be diminishing marginal returns.
  4. The cost to society of producing a certain good (i.e., shifting productive resources into the production of that good) is the value of the goods that those resources could have otherwise produced.

Audio and Transcripts

Meet the Series Experts

GO >>
Eric Frumin

Eric Frumin

Director of Occupational Safety and Health for UNITE HERE, a union representing garment, textile, laundry, hotel, and restaurant workers.

See full bio
Leon Keyserling

Leon Keyserling

Economist and lawyer who drafted major pieces of New Deal legislation and served as head of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Harry S. Truman.

See full bio
Robert Nathan

Robert Nathan

Economist and lawyer, renowned for his work during the Depression and World War II and for his ability to explain complex economic theories in plain language.

See full bio
Douglas Scott

Douglas Scott

Policy Director for the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, and Conservation Director and Associate Executive Director for the Sierra Club for 17 years.

See full bio

Study Tools

Calculator

Calculator

Use this web-based calculator to aid in your studies.

WHAT’S YOUR
ECONOMICS IQ?

  1. Economics is probably BEST defined as the study of how...

    resources are apportioned to satisfy human wants.

    NEXT QUESTION
  2. Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, is often called the father of modern economics. Over the past 200 years Smith’s influence on current economic thinking is indisputable. Basically, Smith held that specialization...

    was essential to efficient use of resources.

    NEXT QUESTION
  3. Economic models are sometimes harder to validate than scientific models MAINLY because...

    the variables in economics are often beyond the economists’ control.

    NEXT QUESTION
  4. Which of the following statements is MOST accurate? Government regulation of industry in the American economy today is...

    the subject of much debate and controversy.

    NEXT QUESTION
  5. In order to achieve point M, the economy would need to...

    chart chart

    increase resources or expand technology.

    NEXT QUESTION
  6. Suppose that point J represents precisely the amount of food consumed by the economy, but 5% more tractors than the economy presently uses in producing its food. If the demand for food rises, and the society begins using the additional 5% of its tractors to produce this extra food, the output will...

    chart chart

    Move to an undetermined point on a new production possibilities curve. The tractors are an example of a capital resource that can be used to produce other goods—in this case, food. In other words, output sometimes creates its own resources. The most efficient use of resources in this case probably demands that all the tractors be used in producing food. This will put the new output combination at a point somewhere directly to the right of J on the graph—i.e., more food, same number of tractors. The point M represents a decrease in tractor production from J, so M cannot be the right answer. This new production point is not reflected on the current production possibilities curve.

    RESTART QUIZ

Glossary

GO >>

Key Terms

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy