MicroeconomicsIndividualChoiceinCommunitiesIntroduction.pdf
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Department
Economics
Course
ECON 103
Professor
Alex Coram
Semester
Fall

Description
Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities Introduction ­ Economics is the study of social construction of the material side of life. ­ Focuses on the social organization of production and exchange. ­ Examines production as a social process where people work with each other (exchanging and sharing the products of their labor). ­ Two types of division of labor: 1. Detailed Division (in production) 2. Social Division (in exchange of different final products produced by different producers). ­ Production and material life require people to communicate w/each other. (very social) ­ Begins with division of labor. ­ Social institutions and rules governing them shape social interactions. ­ Also known as the “Queen of the Social Sciences”. (first and oldest social science). ­ Human consciousness is shaped by participation in material life. ­ Choice of economic theory = choice of politics ­ Economic processes are shaped by social institutions such as systems of taxation, political representation, law, and property. ­ Economic theory is central to contests over the justification for any social system. ­ How we view the economy = how we feel about distribution of wealth and power. ­ Battleground: two sides → 1. Distribution of wealth and power is fair b/c it distributes economic rewards according to merit. (encourages maximum output at minimum cost.) 2. Existing distribution is unfair b/c it grants rewards to chance, force, or other power. (discourages activity which would raise productivity.) ­ Conservatives base their economics in individual action. They view economic activity as a matter of individual behavior where individuals maximize their welfare subject to the constraints imposed by stingy nature. ­ Methodological individualism: Studies human behavior from the perspective of individuals and their
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