Chapter 1: Understanding the Canadian Business System:
A business is an organization that produces or sells goods or services in an effort to make a
o It is an organized effort
To provide goods and services
Wants or needs
o Not all organized efforts are business
I.E. church, temple, mosque, sports leagues
o Provides something for someone
o Profit motive
People don’t start churches in order to make a profit
o Businesses are motivated by profits
What you pay is more than what they spent to make/provide the product
Therefore they make a profit
o Profit is the difference between:
$$$ in (revenues or sales) and $$$ out (costs and expenses)
o Profit is the fundamental reason for businesses to exist
Tries to make a profit -> even though they haven’t, they still are a
business because they are attempting to make a profit.
Lost 6 billion dollars last year
Other companies: Maple Leaf foods, Enron, Air Canada, Zoom Airlines
o Economics is the study of how best to produce things and distribute wealth.
Profit is what remains after a business’ expenses have been subtracted from its revenues.
Expenses are the money a business spends producing its goods and services and generally
running the business
Revenues are the money the business earns selling its products or services
An economic system is the way in which a nation allocated its resources among its citizens.
Factors of production are the resources used to produce goods and services.
There are 5 factors of production and they are:
o Labour which is the mental and physical training and talents of people; sometimes
called human resources.
o Capital which is the finds needed to operate an enterprise.
Revenue from the sale of products is a key and ongoing source of capital
once a business has opened its doors.
o Entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and manages labour, capital, and
natural resources, to produce goods and services to earn a profit, but who also runs
the risk of failure.
Examples: AOL by James Kimsey
o Natural resources are items used in the production of goods and services in their
natural state, including land, water, mineral deposits, and trees. o Information Resources are information such as market forecasts, economic data,
and specialized knowledge of employees that is useful to a business and that helps it
achieve its goals.
Types of Economic Systems:
Command economy is an economic system in which government controls all or most factors
of production and makes all or most production decisions
o Socialism is a kind of command economy in which the government owns and
operates the main industries, while individuals own and operate less crucial
o Communism is a type of command economy in which the government owns and
operates all industries.
Market economy is an economic system in which individuals control all or most factors of
production and make all or most production decisions.
A market is a mechanism for exchange between the buyers and sellers of a
particular good or service.
o Capitalism is a kind of market economy offering private ownership of the factors of
production and of profits from business activity.
Mixed market economy is an economic system with elements of both a
command economy and a market economy.
Privatization is the transfer of activities from the government to the public
In market economies, Deregulation occurs and it is the reduction in the
number of laws affecting business activity
Interaction between business and government:
Canada has a mixed economic system
The government as a customer:
o It buys thousands of different products and services from business firms.
o It is also the largest purchaser of advertising in Canada.
o Many businesses depends on the government purchasing
Government as competitor:
o They also complete with business through Crown corporations which are
accountable to a minister of parliament for their conduct.
o Crown corporations exist at provincial and federal levels
o They account for a significant and wide variety of economic activity in Canada
Government as a Regulator:
o Federal and provincial governments in Canada regulate businesses through many
administrative boards, tribunals, or commissions.
o The reason for regulating business activities are protecting competition, protecting
consumers, achieving social goals, and protecting the environment. Protecting Competition:
Do this to ensure that a healthy competition exists among business
Competition is crucial for a market economy
Competition policy tries to eliminate restrictive trade practices and
thereby stimulate maximum production, distribution, and
The federal government has initiated many programs that protect
Consumers are also protected by municipal bylaws
Achieving social goals:
Promotes the well-being of our society
Social goals include, universal access to health care, safe workplaces,
employment insurance, and decent pensions
Protecting the environment:
Example: the Canada Water Act which controls water quality in fresh
and marine waters.
Government as a Taxation Agent:
o Taxes are imposed and collected by federal, provincial and local governments
Revenue taxes are taxes whose main purpose is to fund government services
Progressive revenue taxes are taxes levied at a higher rate on higher-income
taxpayers and at a lower rate on lower-income taxpayers
Regressive revenue taxes are taxes that cause poorer people to pay a higher
percentage of income than richer people pay
Restrictive taxes are taxes levied to control certain activities that legislators
believe should be controlled.
Government as provider or incentives:
o Offer incentives that help stimulate economic development
o Also offer incentive through the many services they provide to business firms
through government organizations
Government as provider of essential services:
o All three levels of government facilitate business activity through the wide variety of
services they supply, the minting of money, the armed forces, and statistical data on
which to base business decisions.
o Tries to maintain stability through fiscal and monetary policy
o Provincial and municipal governments provide streets, sewage and sanitation
systems, police and fire departments, utilities, hospitals, and education.
The Canadian Market Economy:
Supply and Demand in a market economy: A market economy consists of many different markets
o Demand is the willingness and ability of buyers to purchase a product or service
o Supply is the willingness and ability of producers to offer a good or service for sale.
o Law of demand is the principle that buyers will purchase (demand) more of a
product as price drops
o Law of supply is the principle that producers will offer (supply) more of a product
as price rises.
o Demand and supply schedule is the assessment of the relationships between
different levels of demand and supply at different price levels.
o A demand curve is a graph showing how many units of a product will be demanded
(bought) at different prices
o A supply curve is a graph showing how many units of a product will be supplied
(offered for sale) at different prices
o Market price (or equilibrium price) is the profit-maximizing price at which the
quantity of goods demanded and the quantity of goods supplied are equal
o Surplus is the situation in which quantity supplied exceeds quantity demanded
o Shortage is the situation in which quantity demanded exceeds quantity supplied
When there are shortages of commodities, the price of the commodity rises
and there may be an increase in criminal behaviour
Private enterprise and competition in a market economy:
o Market economies rely on a private enterprise system
o A private enterprise is an economic system characterized by private property rights,
freedom of choice, profits and competition.
o Private property rights is idea that the ownership of the resources to create wealth
is in the hands of individuals
o Freedom of choice is the idea that you can sell your labour to any employer that you
choose and also choose which product your buy.
o Profits can lead some people to abandon the security of working for someone else
and to assume the risks of entrepreneurship.
o Competition is the vying among businesses in a particular market or industry to
best satisfy consumer demands and earn profits.
Degrees of competition:
o Perfect competition is a market or industry characterized by a very large number of
small firms producing an identical product so that none of the firms has any ability
to influence price.
For perfect competition to exist two conditions must be met:
All firms in an industry must be small
The number of firms in the industry must be large
o Monopolistic competition is a market of industry characterized by a large number of
firms supplying products that are similar but distinctive enough from one another
to give firms some ability to influence price.
Example: Coca Cola and Pepsi
All of these types of business can still enter or leave the market easily o Oligopoly is a market or industry characterized by a small number of very large
firms that have the power to influence the price of their products and/or resources.
o Monopoly is a market or industry with only one producer, who can set the price of
its product and/or resources
o Natural monopoly is a market or industry in which having only one producer is
most efficient because it can meet of the consumers’ demand for the product.
Two types of command (planned) economy
o Communist economies (N. Korea, Cuba): The government owns/controls almost all
of the factors of productions, makes almost 100% of the economic decisions
o Socialist economies (china): the government owns/controls the majority of the
factors of productions, including principal industries, make most of the economic
Market economies are economic systems where individuals own most of the factors of
production and make most of the decisions regarding the two key economic questions.
o 2 types of market economy
Mixed economy(Canada, USA, Britain): private individuals own/control the
majority of the factors o production, including principal industries, makes
most of the economic decisions
Capitalist economy: all factors of production owned by private individuals,
the state plays no role in making economic decisions.
How market economies work: a ma