Skip to main content


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!

Popular posts from this blog

So I was reading a piece on The Outline about identity politics when the author, Sean McElwee, brought up a survey he had penned and collated to establish how positions on economic and racial issues align;
Could Democrats win over racially conservative whites with economic populism? It’s unlikely, because people who oppose racial justice also tend to oppose liberal economic policies.  To test this, I created scales of economic and racial liberalism, using two questions that have been on the American National Election Studies surveys since 1972. One question asks respondents to place themselves on a one-to-seven point scale on government aid to black Americans, the other on a one-to-seven scale on guaranteeing jobs and income for all Americans. In 1972, only 54 percent of white Americans who took the racially liberal position (supporting aid to black Americans) also took the economically liberal position (guaranteeing jobs and income).  By 2016, 74 percent did. And in 1972, 77 perce…

What Lingos Are Most Similar to English, Though?

Commentaryism - The Death Toll of Capitalism

How many people have died because capitalism exists? How many would still be alive if it had never existed? Let's dig in!

We will take two approaches over the course of this blog post by looking at the the death tolls attributed to the word in its broad popular definition - everything socialists don't like - versus the toll that fits the definition offered previously on this blog.

By the same token I will not lay any outsized figures at any other mode of production's door except where that mode of production demonstrably caused the problem that killed people. It's political ideologies that really matter here, and this is where the first big problem with even trying to lay a specific body count before capitalism runs into problems - there is no political ideology called capitalism.

Now then, Alfonso Gutierrez says in a comment thread that "capitalism and free-markets have murdered billions of people" which is a risky claim at the …