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USA National Standards for Concept "Entrepreneurs"

NATIONAL STANDARD 1 - SCARCITY: Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people can not have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify what they gain and what they give up when they make choices.

Students face many choices every day. Is playing video games the best use of their time? Is working at a fast-food restaurant better than the best alternative job or some other use of their time? Identifying and systematically comparing alternatives enables people to make more informed decisions and to recognize often overlooked relevant consequences of choices they or others make.

Some students believe that they can have all the goods and services they want from their family or from the government because goods provided by family or by governments are free. But this view is mistaken. Resources have alternative uses, even if parents or governments own them. For example, if a city uses land to build a football stadium, the best alternative use of that land must be given up. If additional funds are budgeted for police patrols, less money is available to hire more teachers. Explicitly comparing the value of alternative opportunities that are sacrificed in any choice enables citizens and their political representatives to weigh the alternatives in order to make better economic decisions. This analysis also makes people aware of the consequences of their actions for themselves and others, and could lead to a heightened sense of responsibility and accountability.

You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 1 from the Council for Economic Education Website.

NATIONAL STANDARD 14 - ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Students will understand that: Entrepreneurs take on the calculated risk of starting new businesses, either by embarking on new ventures similar to existing ones or by introducing new innovations. Entrepreneurial innovation is an important source of economic growth.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify the risks, returns, and other characteristics of entrepreneurship that bear on its attractiveness as a career.

Starting a new business, such as a "drive thru" that sells fruit-freezes, is difficult and risky. Challenges abound: hiring and managing the workers to make and serve the freezes, ordering supplies and making sure they arrive on time, giving prompt and courteous service so customers will return, and earning enough money to pay workers, taxes, suppliers and everyone else involved in the production and sales process, while still leaving something for the owner.

Spending money and using resources to supply a product is risky, because costs are incurred before consumers decide whether they will purchase the product at a price sufficiently high to cover the costs. Starting a new business or producing an entirely new product is especially risky because in the case of a new product producers know even less about how consumers will react. Entrepreneurs accept the risks and organize productive resources to get products produced. Profits are the financial incentive and the income that entrepreneurs receive in return for their effort and risk if they are successful. If they aren't successful, losses are the financial incentives that tell entrepreneurs to stop using resources as they have been using them.

Understanding the roles of entrepreneurs, profits, and losses is important to workers, business owners, and consumers. Wages and employment opportunities at a business depend on the business' success in earning profits and avoiding losses. Similarly, public policies that affect the profitability of a business will influence not only the owners and employees of the business, but also the consumers who buy the products produced by the business.

You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 14 from the Council for Economic Education Website.