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USA National Standards for Concept "Circular Flow"

NATIONAL STANDARD 9 - COMPETITION AND MARKET STRUCTURE: Students will understand that: Competition among sellers lowers costs and prices, and encourages producers to produce what consumers are willing and able to buy. Competition among buyers increases prices and allocates goods and services to those people who are willing and able to pay the most for them.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Explain how changes in the level of competition in different markets can affect them.

Fast-food restaurants that set prices too high, or give slow, unfriendly service, risk losing customers to competing restaurants that offer lower prices, higher-quality products, and better service. In this way, competition benefits consumers. Understanding the benefits of competition and the costs of limiting competition helps students evaluate public policies that affect the level of competition in various markets. It also helps students understand their own roles as producers and consumers in a market economy in terms of opportunities to compete with others and in terms of the limits that competition places on their incomes, career plans, and what they can buy and consume.

Competition improves productivity by forcing all suppliers to "be the best that they can be." Productivity improvements, in turn, foster economic growth, and a better quality of life for current and future generations. It is important for students to recognize that competition contributes in a positive way to economic growth and the quality of life.

You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 9 from the Council for Economic Education Website.

NATIONAL STANDARD 13 - INCOME: Students will understand that: Income for most people is determined by the market value of the productive resources they sell. What workers earn primarily depends on the market value of what they produce.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Predict future earnings based on their current plans for education, training, and career options.

In a market economy, wages and salaries the prices of labor services are determined just as other prices are, by the interaction of buyers and sellers. The buyers of labor services are employers. They are willing to pay higher wages and salaries to those employees who can produce more or better goods or services in a given amount of time. Students who understand this will appreciate the value of the skills they can acquire by completing high school, and perhaps college or a vocational training program.

Understanding the forces affecting wages and other sources of income will be increasingly important in the future, when workers may change employers and careers more often than in the past. Regardless of the occupations or industries in which today's students eventually work, they are likely to find that they will have to continue their education and training to maintain or increase their earnings.

You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 13 from the Council for Economic Education Website.

NATIONAL STANDARD 18 - ECONOMIC FLUCTUATIONS: Students will understand that: Fluctuations in a nation?s overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government agencies, and others in the economy. Recessions occur when overall levels of income and employment decline.

Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Interpret media reports about current economic conditions and explain how these conditions can influence decisions made by consumers, producers, and government policy makers.

Changes in national levels of spending, production, and income can seem rather abstract and remote to students, because individuals can do little or nothing to change overall levels of economic activity. However, these activity levels can have a profound effect on students' future welfare, their job opportunities, the level of their prospective earnings, and the prices they will pay for things they buy. It is important, therefore, for students to understand possible causes of changes in these levels and how such changes can produce problems (such as unemployment and inflation) or opportunities (such as increased employment). Understanding these macroeconomic forces equips students to anticipate and respond intelligently to economic developments. It also enables students to predict the economic consequences of proposed government policies and to make informed choices among alternative public policy proposals.

You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 18 from the Council for Economic Education Website.