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I still reserve the right to be wrong.

So, goods. Goody gumdrops. It's a good thing, in a blog about economics, to talk about goods. Hopefully I'll do a good job, because I'm running out of tired turns of phrase.


So, there's some stuff you can get as much of as you like ( I can download the pdf of Jeffrey Tucker's "It's a Jetsons World" ) and there's some stuff you can't. The latter would include computers. But let's use an easier example; that pdf is a digitised version of a book, and books in their hardcopy form are scarce, as opposed to the intangible text inside.

Air is another non-scarce resource.


Non-scarce goods are called goods because they can be consumed by humans. If they have their origin in human action or production they can also be called products (as per ECON 1a).

You can consume air, so air is a good. As regards produced goods, if they are infinitely reproducible, like a pdf file on a we site, then they are non-scarce, and so not subject economic decisions and analysis.

Conversation, religious blessings and prayers, goodwill, digitised books and podcasts; all these things are non-scarce because they are infinitely reproducible. You don't have to cut into anybody's pie to get a helping of any of these things. This naturally puts non-scarce goods outside the remit of economics, since economics is the science that studies how humans interact with each other and the physical world in order to steward scarce resources.

Take away scarcity and you don't need economics. Are doctors, nurses, anaesthetic chemicals, drugs, sterilisers, hospital buildings and ambulances available in infinite superabundance? No. But I'll get onto that later.


Capital goods are the real bits of capital/physical capital that you can use in the production process of making further goods. For example, I can use my laptop to write the html that makes a website and frames its contents. Capital goods are thus fabulous because they can sometimes both be consumed and turned toward production.

How do economists tote up PC sales, though? Are they consumption or investment? Is it based on the quantity ordered? Do bulk PC orders count as investment as they are assumed to be destined for an office or other value-adding setting? Comment below, let me know!

On the next Ecomony Blogtime; Matt gains a reader other than his girlfriend!


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