I was reading my econ textbook (Case & Fair, Principles of Microeconomics, 7th ed., 2004) and found myself staring in disbelief at some of the words defined.
You ready? Some of these are truly pathetic.
I think the scariest thing about this one is that they thought we got to college without learning that definition.
Descriptive economics: The compilation of data that describe theories and facts
No, really? I thought descriptive economics was about making baseless claims. You mean the point is to describe an economic system?
Variable: A measure that can change from time to time or from observation to observation
Again, they thought we got to college without knowing this.
Empirical economics: The collection and use of data to test economic theories
We need empirical evidence to back up empirical claims? That’s just messed up, right there.
Efficiency: …produc[ing] what people want at the least possible cost
I thought efficiency was about being wasteful. No? All right, then, moving on…
The third one on the list that makes it for the sheer “How stupid do you think we are?” factor.
Economic growth: An increase in the total output of an economy
…You aren’t supposed to use the word you’re describing in the definition of that word.
Also, self-descriptive terms FTW.
And that was just the first chapter: Introduction.
Let’s see if chapter 2 is any better.
Doesn’t look like it.
Factors of production (or factors): The inputs in the process of production
Outputs: Usable products
Production: The process that transforms scarce resources into usable goods and services
They define opportunity cost again.
Consumer goods: Goods prepared for immediate consumption
Production efficiency: A mix of outputs is produced at least cost.
How I imagine the discussion over this went:
Case: Production proceeds efficiently? We need a special name for that, something easy to remember…I know! Production efficiency!
Fair: Do you really think eliminating that one word will make it easier to remember?
Case: Look at what we put in the first chapter! And we’re in the 7th edition!
Fair: True. And it will make it thicker, so we can sell it for more!
Case: I knew there was a reason we teamed up!
I don’t actually know them. Honestly. Take the above with a grain of salt. Actually, make that a Dead Sea’s worth.
Man, they really like comparing Kansas and Ohio’s wheat and corn production.
Just hit the third time they compared KS and Ohio’s respective crops.
And the second time they define economic growth.
Funny quote: “Give a man a shovel and he can dig a bigger hole; give him a steam shovel and wow.” (pg. 32)
Definitions of different economic systems. Again, they thought we got through high school without knowing them?
Wage rates: The prices of various kinds of labor
Income: The amount a household earns each year
And that is chapter two.
Please note, I left out a lot of definitions because the definitions made sense and didn’t insult the intelligence of the student who were forced to buy the book for class. Also, this was meant lightheartedly and sarcastically, not as an attack on Case, Fair, or anyone else involved in the production of the book.
All of these were found in the first 37 pages. 20 odd definitions and repeated examples in less than 40 pages.
When I recover from this attack of my faith in humanity, I’ll read the next three chapters for the test Thursday/Friday (haven’t decided when I’m gonna take it yet. Leaning towards Thursday.)