By Edmond Conway
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Extra info for 50 Economics Ideas
Many economics books attempt to dispel such illusions. This is rather desperate and, frankly, not my style. The aim of this book is simply to explain how the economy works. The dirty little secret of economics is that it’s not really complicated at all – why should it be? It is the study of humanity, and as such its ideas are often little more than common sense. This book is not intended to be read as a continuous narrative: each of these 50 ideas should make sense on its own, though I have highlighted where you might benefit from looking at another chapter.
It was an analysis with which Karl Marx heartily agreed. In fact, it forms part of the basis for his Communist Manifesto, which forecast that workers would become so disenchanted that they would eventually rise up against employers who imposed such conditions on them. Nevertheless, the alienation engendered by the division of labour has to be set against the phenomenal gains it generates. The division of labour has informed the growth and development of modern economies to such an extent that it remains one of the most important and powerful pieces of economic logic.
The solid black line denotes the demand people have for Maria’s blankets; the broken grey the supply. When blankets are priced at zero, there is demand for 100 of them, but there is no supply (since they cost more than that to manufacture). When they are priced at $20 there is potential demand for 60 but Maria can only make 20 of them. The equilibrium price for blankets, according to the chart, is 30 dollars. This is when supply equals demand – as the graph shows. One can learn some elementary lessons about people from the price of certain goods.