How Archaeologists study human history
· Describe how Archaeologists study human history
· Define “social construct” and give examples of how science (including social science like anthropology) is determined by culture
· Define “social evolutionism” and describe how it extended notions from the scientific theory of evolution to the realm of human culture
· Describe how the myths of “progress” and “development” have been used to justify existing power relations throughout the globe
Discussion 2- Microeconomics (250 words)
This week we began to examine the supply side of the market by looking at firms’ costs of production in Chapter 13. There are a slew of different costs measures that economists look at when studying firm behavior. This week’s discussion will help cement these concepts.
In 250 words answer the following two questions:
1. Pick a real world firm and identify an example of its variable costs and fixed costs. Explain the examples you selected.
2. The shape (or more simply, the behavior) of firms’ costs is important to understanding some of the choices they make. Explain why a firm’s marginal costs are always rising, and why average total costs have a U-shape.
Discussion 3 (continuation of discussion 2) (75-100 words each)
Reply to the following posts from the classmates (Make sure your reply demonstrates understanding of the topic based on real information)
Post 1 (first student reply to Discussion 2)
1. I will pick the firm I know best — a newspaper. It’s a volatile business where ad revenues and subscriptions dictate how the paper can operate. This industry has the usual costs that all businesses have — rent, utilities and salaries for workers as fixed costs and equipment, shipping/mailing expenses and gasoline for delivery vehicles as variable costs.
But there are some costs exclusive to this business. The biggest fixed cost is the printing press. A good four-color offset press can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are variable costs that would go along with the press as well. The fluctuating price of paper, ink and printing plates make a printing press not only the most crucial part of the newspaper industry but also the most expensive
2. Marginal cost is “the increase in total cost that arises from producing an additional unit of output.” These costs are always rising because even producing just one more item increases the cost of producing it. Firms add extra workers to make the item(s). Those workers have to be paid. More workers means more wear and tear on equipment. All of this leads to higher costs with every extra item produced.
Average total costs (ATC) are “the cost of a typical unit of output if total cost is divided evenly over all the units produced.” When mapping this on a graph, it makes a U-shaped curve. The reason is because ATCs take into account average fixed (AF) costs and average variable (AV) costs. AF and AV costs are usually at odds with each other — when one is up, the other is down — and that produces the U-shaped curve. The bottom of the curve is where AF and AV balance for the lowest average total cost. This is known as the efficiency scale.
Post 2 (second student reply to Discussion 2)
Companies will have fixed costs and variable costs across the board. Some will have more or less than others depending on their operation but both none-the-less. Keurig Green Mountain is no exception. Some of their fixed costs are depreciation on plant assets, supervisory salaries for production lines, and factory rent. These costs will not vary based on changes in activity (manufacturing) for fixed overhead costs. Some of their variable costs are direct materials (raw materials essential for production), commissions, and piece rate labor (if a production worker is paid on a “per piece” produced pay scale). These costs will vary based on volume produced and also is influenced by sales volume.
Marginal cost is the “cost of one additional unit of output”. This will incorporate many costs during the production process such as raw material, labor, time usage on a machine, etc. Many manufacturers use this number as a basis to maximize profits to find the least amount it costs to produce the maximum numbers of products. The idea of “Marginal Cost” helps companies to understand the law of diminishing marginal returns. Marginal costs will always rise because there is always more than one cost associated with producing more outputs which have an effect on other costs in the production process. The “U” shape on the graph of average total costs can be explained by understanding that ATC balances average fixed and average variable costs. These will off-set one another. As your output raises the average fixed costs decline because they are spread out over a greater number of units. The average variable cost will increase as output increases due to diminishing marginal product.
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