EBF 200
Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics


Lesson 1 Overview


Did you complete the course orientation?

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Stop Consuming
Credit: Mantis - stop consuming: London graffiti by mermaid is licensed under CCBY-NC-ND 2.0

Before you begin this course, make sure you have completed the Course Orientation in Canvas.

An Overview of Lesson 1

Did you ever wonder why engineers typically earn more money than short-order cooks, or how the price of gasoline gets established? Why is it that so many Americans drive to work, but lots of people in Britain take the train, and many Dutch ride their bicycles? Speaking of cars, why do we have so many choices when we want to buy a car, but so few choices if we want to buy cable TV or home Internet service? And why is it that if I want to buy a car, I have to go to a dealership, but I can buy a computer directly from Dell (although I don't have to)? On a more personal note, do you ever stop and think about what you choose to spend your money on? Do you choose to spend more of your income on entertainment than, say, a nicer car? Why don't you do both?

These are all questions that can be answered (or, at least, better understood) by using economic analysis. In this lesson, we will talk about some of the basic underlying principles that guide economics as a way of looking at the world.

What will we learn?

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • list and describe the axioms that underlie the "economic way of thinking";
  • describe the economic definition of scarcity;
  • define what an "opportunity cost" is;
  • tell the difference between a positive and normative question;
  • list and describe what is contained in a property right.
  • explain what economists mean by the terms "utility" and "monetization".
  • What are Gregory Mankiw’s ten fundamental principles of economics?

What is due for Lesson 1?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to Canvas for specific timeframes and due dates. There are a number of required activities in this lesson. The chart below provides an overview of those activities that must be submitted for this lesson. For assignment details, refer to the lesson page noted.

Requirements and Submissions for Lesson 1
Requirements Submitting Your Work

Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 in Gwartney et al., OR Chapters 1 and 2 in Greenlaw et al.

Not submitted
Lesson Homework and Quiz This will be submitted via Canvas


If you have any questions, please post them to the online discussion forum in Canvas.