With the back to school sales in full frenzy, and the State Line county fair season winding down, despite the heat, it is time to contemplate the fundamental economic problem, as captured by Armen Alchian and William Allen in University Economics, and cited at Cafe Hayek.
Two villains – nature and other people – prevent us from having all we want.  Nature is niggardly: it provides fewer resources than we could use, and much of what is available is made useful only by hard work.  As for other people, the problem stems not from malevolence: their wants and ours simple exceed what is available.  Do not suppose that if they were less greedy, more would be within our grasp.  Greed impels them to produce more, not only for themselves, but, miraculously, more for us, too – provided that productivity-inducing arrangements exist.
Develop your intuition, emerging economists.  Master the fundamentals, and the bordered Hessians and equilibrium refinements will take care of themselves.

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