TRADE: Students will understand that: Voluntary exchange occurs only when all participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade among individuals or organizations within a nation, and among individuals or organizations in different nations.
Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Negotiate exchanges and identify the gains to themselves and others. Compare the benefits and costs of policies that alter trade barriers between nations, such as tariffs and quotas.
SPECIALIZATION: Students will understand that: When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase.
Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Explain how they can benefit themselves and others by developing special skills and strengths.
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND MARKET FAILURE: Students will understand that: There is an economic role for government in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also have direct or indirect effects on peoples? incomes.
Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify and evaluate the benefits and costs of alternative public policies, and assess who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs.
Why does government pay private construction firms to build roads and highways? Why do the firms that build the roads not own them themselves and charge tolls to users? All kinds of goods and services are produced and distributed through private markets, so why not roads and highways, too? In flipping through the pages of the telephone directory, we observe a vast array of businesses and government agencies. Why do markets work well to supply much of what we want, while failing to produce other things we want?
Citizens should understand the limitations and shortcomings of markets and how some government policies attempt to compensate for market failures. Learning the economic as well as the political and social reasons for public sector services helps citizens make better choices about the appropriate size and scope of markets and government. It is also important that students be able to evaluate redistributive effects of government programs.