ECONOMIC GROWTH: Students will understand that: Investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and in the health, education, and training of people stimulates economic growth and can raise future standards of living.
Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Predict the consequences of investment decisions made by individuals, businesses, and governments.
Students should recognize that by saving and investing money today they can benefit in the future by being able to buy such things as a car, a compact disk player, a trip to an amusement park, or other things they want that cost more than what they can afford immediately. They will face similar trade-offs throughout their lives. As adults they will save for many things other than toys and vacations including housing, medical expenses, taxes, household and automobile repairs, their children's education, and their own retirement. Savings deposited in banks and other financial institutions earn interest because those savings are loaned to businesses that want to invest in capital goods, or to people who are willing to pay higher interest rates to purchase homes, cars, or other things now rather than later. The new physical capital will, in turn, increase production and promote faster economic growth.
Businesses, governments, and other organizations face decisions similar to those confronting individuals: future benefits that arise from saving and investing today make it worthwhile to sacrifice some current spending. Knowing this will help students understand the various investment and dividend programs adopted by different corporations, as well as public policies involving taxation, spending programs, and investment in infrastructure, education, and other things that will increase future standards of living. It will help them appreciate that a better life in the future often requires patience and sacrifice in the present. It will also help them understand the importance of personal investment in education and training, and of business investments.
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.