Today we will begin discussions on our new unit on Resources and Scarcity. Our statement on inquiry will be:

Scientific and technical innovation produce sustainability and equity of resources

What does the statement mean to you?
What issues are implied in the statement?
How do you think we will study these issues?

Part 1: We will play the resource game to explore how resources are exchanged and used between countries

Part 2: Questions:

What problems did you encounter in round 1?

  • Essentially scarcity vs. wants
  • Most resources in the world are scarce and there is an finite supply (e.g. oil, clean water and steel).
  • However humans wants are infinite. Even once we’ve got basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) we always want more.
  • The purpose of an economic activity is the production of good and services, with scarce resources, to best satisfy human needs and maximise people’s happiness (economic welfare).
  • It is assumed consumption increases economic welfare, although of course it also depletes natural resources which has it own problems.

What problems did you try to resolve before the 2nd round ? What did you do differently?

  • Who produces what: Who was best at making a specific thing?
  • What to produce: Should the US make more CDs than cars?
  • How to produce: How do we make the best use of our scarce resources?
  • For whom to produce: Whose needs are greatest (who will pay more) and how best distribute the goods and services to them?

But we are not in a prefect world and choices and trade-offs will have to be made. (what do we make, how and for who?) In Economics this is called opportunity cost; the cost of making that trade-off.

What did you need to do well in the game?

In economics, all resources are classified in 4 categories: (These would be different in Geography)

  • Land (including all natural resources)
  • Labour (size and education/expertise level)
  • Capital (human made resources: money, machines, robots, computers, etc)
  • Entrepreneurship (people who organize the factors of production, taking risks in the search for profit)

How did you organize yourselves in round 2?

  • Did one person take charge?
  • Was it a proper democracy?
  • Did anyone not like what they’d been given to do?

These are economic systems:

  • Command economy
  • Mixed Economy
  • Free Market Economy

Exercise:

In groups of 2, find one example in the news where economic exchanges, resource allocation, resource scarcity or trade has impacted the lives of people. Present your findings to the class, drawing parallels to the game.

  • Explain the economic interaction
  • Explain how it affected different stakeholders
  • Explain the game equivalent of the interaction
  • **When possible, try to use the vocabulary defined above.

 

Social cost of economic interactions