Factors of Production: Capital and Labour

Factors of production are resources used by firms as inputs for a good or service to be produced. Factors of production are as follows: capital, labour, and natural resources.

In economic theory, the term "capital" refers to goods and money used to produce more goods and money. Classifications of capital vary with the purpose of the classification. The most general distinction is the one made between physical, financial, and human capital.

Physical capital is land, buildings, equipment, raw materials. Bonds, stocks, available bank balances are included in the financial capital. They both make a great contribution to production.

To group capital into fixed capital and circulating capital is common practice1. The former refers to means of production such as land, buildings, machinery and various equipment. They are durable, that is, they participate in the production process over several years. Circulating capital includes both non-renewable goods, such as raw materials and fuel, and the funds required to pay wages and other claims against2 the enterprise. Non-renewable goods are used up in one production cycle and their value is fully transferred to the final product.

Human capital is knowledge that contributes "know-how" to production. It is increased by research and disseminated through education. Investment in human capital results in new, technically improved, products and production processes which improve economic efficiency. Like physical capital, human capital is important enough to be an indicator of economic development of a nation.

It is common, in economics, to understand labour as an effort needed to satisfy human needs. It is one of the three leading elements of production. Labour has a variety of functions: production of raw materials, manufacturing of final products, transferring things from one place to another, management of production, and services like the ones rendered by physicians and teachers.

One can classify labour into productive and unproductive. The former produces physical objects having utility. The latter is useful but does not produce material wealth. Labour of the musician is an example.

Unlike other factors of production, for example capital, when workers are employed, their efficiency can vary greatly with organization of work and their motivation.

Demand for labour is influenced by the demand for goods produced by workers, the proportion of wages in total production costs, etc. The supply of labour depends upon the size of population, geographic mobility, skills, education level (human capital), etc. Workers supply labour either individually or through trade unions. If demand for and supply of labour are not in equilibrium, there is unemployment. The rate of unemployment is a percentage of the total labour force without a job. It is desirable for an economy to have the lowest possible unemployment rate and to achieve higher employment as neither full use of resources nor maximum level of output can be achieved in an economy having unemployment.

Factors of production are combined together in different proportions in order to produce output. It is assumed in economics that one should choose the combination of factors which minimizes the cost of production and increases profits.

The third factor of production, natural resources, poses too many economic problems3 to be discussed here. We will analyze them in the following unit.

1 is common practice – зд. общепринято

2 claims against – требования; претензии на что-л., права на что-л.

3 to pose problems – ставить проблемы

II. Студентам предоставляется возможность раскрыть тему «Теория предложения» в устном рассказе.

ВОПРОСЫ К ЗАЧЕТУ

  1. Особенности перевода слова one.
  2. Особенности перевода слова it.
  3. Грамматическая конструкция «инфинитив в функции подлежащего, обстоятельства цели и следствия». Инфинитивный оборот «for + существительное / местоимение + инфинитив».

КОНТРОЛЬНАЯ РАБОТА №2

Предлагаемаяконтрольная работасодержит 10 вариантов. Номер варианта определяется в соответствии с порядковым номером студента в журнале. Каждый вариант контрольной работы предполагает выполнение следующих семи заданий:

1. Прочитайте и переведите текст.

2. Выпишите из текста предложения, содержащие номинативную цепочку. Объясните особенности ее перевода.

3. Подчеркните в тексте все сказуемые и определите их видовременные формы.

4. Выпишите из текста сложносоставные предложения, содержащие определительные придаточные предложения, присоединенные к главному предложению бессоюзным способом. Объясните особенности перевода подобных предложений.

5. Выпишите из текста предложения, содержащие инфинитив в функции подлежащего или обстоятельства. Объясните особенности перевода подобных предложений.

6. Выпишите из текста предложения со словом one, объясните особенности его перевода в каждом случае.

7. Выпишите из текста предложения со словом it, объясните особенности его перевода в каждом случае.

Вариант 1

There are a large number of statistics produced regularly on the operation of the world's major economies. The UK's economy is no exception in this respect. You will probably have noticed that often the headlines in newspapers or important items on television news programmes relate to economic data and the implications for individuals and businesses. A prime example of this occurs when interest rates are increased: the media responds by highlighting the adverse effects on businesses with debts and householders with mortgages.

Data is provided on a wide range of aspects of the economy's operation. Statistics are available to show:

v the level of unemployment

v the level of inflation

v a country's trade balance with the rest of the world

v production volumes in key industries and the economy as a whole

v the level of wages

v raw material prices, and so forth.

The main statistics illustrating the economy's behaviour relate to the level of activity in the economy. That is, they tell us whether the economy is working at fall " capacity using all or nearly all, available resources of labour, machinery and other factors of production or whether these resources are being under-utilized.

The unemployment figures for the economy give an indicator of the level of activity. As the economy moves towards a recession and a lower level of prosperity it is likely that unemployment figures will rise. An alternative measure of the level of activity is national income statistics, which show the value of a nation's output during a year. Economists use the term Gross National Product to describe this data. Changes in the level or trends of such key data have great significance for businesses, as we shall see later.

There are numerous sources of data on the economy of which we can make use. The government publishes much through the Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry, the Bank of England and the Department of Employment. The Central Statistical Office, which was established during the Second World War, publishes about half of the government's economic data.

Much of this is contained in its annual publication, "The Annual Abstract of Statistics". It also publishes the equally valuable "Social Trends" annually. Additionally, private organizations, such as the banks, building societies and universities, publish figures on various aspects of the economy's performance.

Economic statistics are presented in many forms, the most common being graphs and tables. Although these statistics can be valuable in assisting managers, they should be treated with some caution when predicting the future trend of the economy and thus helping the business to take effective decisions.

Вариант 2

Economics is the study of how people choose to allocate scarce resources to satisfy their unlimited wants. The main problem in economics is the question of allocating scarce resources between competing uses. In this section three economic issues are discussed to show how society allocates its scarce resources between competing uses. In this connection the question what, how and for whom to produce is of great significance.

People usually respond to prices in this or that way. When the price of some commodity increases, consumers will try to use less of it but producers will want to sell more of it. These responses, guided by prices, are part of the process by which most Western societies determine what, how and for whom to produce.

Consider first how the economy produces goods and services. When, as in the 1970s, the price of oil increases six-fold, every firm will try to reduce its use of oil-based products. Chemical firms will develop artificial substitutes for petroleum inputs to their production processes; airlines will look for more fuel-efficient aircraft; electricity will be produced from more coal-fired generators. In general, higher oil prices make the economy produce in a way that uses less oil.

How does the oil price increase affect what is being produced? Firms and households reduce their use of oil-intensive products, which are now more expensive. Households switch to gas-fired central heating and buy smaller cars. Commuters form car-pools or move closer to the city. High prices not only choke off the demand for oil-related commodities; they also encourage consumers to purchase substitute commodities. Higher demand for these commodities bids up their price and encourages their production. Designers produce smaller cars, architects contemplate solar energy, and research laboratories develop alternatives to petroleum in chemical production. Throughout the economy, what is being produced reflects a shift away from expensive oil-using products towards less oil-intensive substitutes.

The «for whom» question in this example has a clear answer. OPEC revenues from oil sales increased from $35 billion in 1973 to nearly $300 billion in 1980. Much of this increased revenue was spent on goods produced in the industrialized Western nations. In contrast, oil-importing nations had to give up more of their own production in exchange for the oil imports that they required. In terms of goods as a whole, the rise in oil prices raised the buying power of OPEC and reduced the buying power of oil-importing countries such as Germany and Japan.

The world economy was producing more for OPEC and less for Germany and Japan. Although it is the most important single answer to the ‘for whom' question, the economy is an intricate, interconnected system and a disturbance anywhere ripples throughout the entire economy.

In answering the «what» and «how» questions, we have seen that some activities expanded and others contracted following the oil price shocks. Expanding industries may have to pay higher wages to attract the extra labour that they require. For example, in the British economy coal miners were able to use the renewed demand for coal to secure large wage increases. The opposite effects may have been expected if the 1986 oil price slump had persisted.

Вариант 3

Let's turn to the most important tool for an economist - the production possibility frontier. This frontier shows the maximum combinations of output that the economy can produce, if it uses all its available scarce resources.

The easiest way to explain it is to complete a figure. First, the vertical axis or line, is labelled «food output». The units of food output run from nought at the bottom to 25 at the top, entering the units of food output in fives: 0, 5, 10, etc. Along the horizontal axis (or the bottom line) we have units of film output. Let's enter in the units of film output in fives again, this time up to 30.

Suppose we have an economy with only food and film industries. Now, if we put all the workers into producing food, we shall produce 25 units of food, but no units of film. We can mark this on the diagram with point A - no film, 25 units of food. It means point A comes on the vertical line at the number 25. Now, at the other extreme, if the economy puts all its workers into producing film, it will produce 30 units, but it will not produce any food. So, the next point is on the bottom, horizontal line, at 30 units. Let's label it as point E.

These two points, A and E, are the two extreme points of the production possibility frontier. Let's put in three more points. Point В is where the economy is producing 22 units of food and 9 units of film. Point С is where the economy is producing 17 points of both film and food. And, finally, point D is where we have 10 units of food and 24 units of film. Now draw a line joining all these points together, from A to E. The line drawn is not a straight line, it's a concave curve. It is this concave curve that is called the production possibility frontier.

The production possibility frontier represents a trade-off. More of one commodity, food of film, means less of the other, and this is because of the law of diminishing returns. It states that if, in the production of a commodity, one factor of production is increased by stages while the other factors are kept unchanged, the stage will sooner or later be reached where each farther addition 1 to the increasing factor will produce a smaller and smaller increase in output.

Вариант 4

Normative economics is based on subjective value judgements, not on the search for any objective truth. The following statement combines positive and normative economics: "The elderly have very high medical expenses compared with the rest of the population, and the government should subsidize health bills of the aged." The first part of the proposition – the claim that the aged have relatively high medical bills – is a statement in positive economics, it is a statement about how the world works, and we can imagine a research programme that could determine whether or not it is correct. Broadly speaking, this assertion happens to be correct.

The second part of the proposition – the recommendation about what the government should do – could never be "proved" to be correct or false by any scientific research investigation. It is simply a subjective value judgement based on the feelings of the person making the statement. Many people might happen to share this subjective judgement, for example those people who believe that all '- citizens alive today should be able to purchase roughly equal amounts of luxury and recreational goods after paying for the necessities of life. But other people might reasonably disagree. You might believe that it is more important to devote society's scarce resources to improving the environment.

There is no way that economics can be used to show that one of these normative judgements is correct and the other is wrong. It all depends on the preferences or priorities of the individual or the society that has to make this choice. But that does not mean that economics can threw no light on normative issues. We can use positive economics to spell out the detailed implications of making the choice one way or the other. For example, we might be able to show that failure to subsidize the medical bills of the elderly leads middle-aged people to seek a lot of unnecessary medical check-ups in an attempt to detect diseases before their treatment becomes expensive. Society might have to devote a great deal of resources to providing check-up facilities, leaving less resources available than had been supposed to devote to improving the environment. Positive economics can be used to clarify the menu of options from which society must eventually make its normative choice.

Вариант 5

DIFFERENT KINDS OF MONEY

In prisoner-of-war camps, cigarettes served as money. In the 19th century money was mainly gold and silver coins. These are examples of commodity money, ordinary goods with industrial uses (gold) and consumption uses (cigarettes), which also serve as a medium of exchange. To use a commodity money, society must either cut back on other uses of that commodity or devote scarce resources to producing additional quantities of the commodity. But there are less expensive ways for society to produce money.

A token money is a means of payment whose value or purchasing power as money greatly exceeds its cost of production or value in uses other than as money.

A $10 note is worth far more as money than as a 3x6 inch piece of high-quality paper. Similarly, the monetary value of most coins exceeds the amount you would get by melting them down and selling off the metals they contain. By collectively agreeing to use token money, society economizes on the scarce resources required to produce money as a medium of exchange. Since the manufacturing rastoare tiny, why doesn't everyone make $10 notes?

The essential condition for the survival of token money is the restriction of the right to supply it. Private production is illegal.

Society enforces the use of token money by making it legal tender. The law says it must be accepted as a means of payment.

MONEY AND ITS FUNCTIONS

Although the crucial feature of money is its acceptance as the means of payment or medium of exchange, money has other functions. It serves as a standard of value, a unit of account, a store of value and as a standard of deferred payment. We discuss each of the functions of money in turn.

Вариант 6

OTHER FUNCTIONS OF MONEY

Money can also serve as a standard of value. Society considers it convenient to use a monetary unit to determine relative costs of different goods and services. In this function money appears as the unit of account, is the unit in which prices are quoted and accounts are kept.

In Russia prices are quoted in roubles; in Britain, in pounds sterling; in the USA, in US dollars; in France, in French francs. It is usually convenient to use the units in which the medium of exchange is measured as the unit of account as well. However there are exceptions. During the rapid German inflation of 1922-1923 when prices in marks were changing very quickly, German shopkeepers found it more convenient to use dollars as the unit of account. Prices were quoted in dollars even though payment was made in marks, the German medium of exchange.

The situation in Russia nowadays reminds of that in Germany.

Money is a store of value because it can be used to make purchases in the future.

To be accepted in exchange, money has to be a store of value. Nobody would accept money as payment for goods supplied today if the money was going to be worthless when they tried to buy goods with it tomorrow. But money is neither the only nor necessarily the best store of value. Houses, stamp collections, and interest-bearing bank accounts all serve as stores of value. Since money pays no interest and its real purchasing power is eroded by inflation, there are almost certainly better ways to store value.

Finally, money serves as a standard of deferred payment or a unit of account over time. When you borrow, the amount to be repaid next year is measured in pounds sterling or in some other hard currency. Although convenient, this is not an essential function of money. UK citizens can get bank loans specifying in dollars the amount that must be repaid next year. Thus the key feature of money is its use as a medium of exchange. For this, it must act as a store of value as well. And it is usually, though not invariably, convenient to make money the unit of account and standard of deferred payment as well.

Вариант 7

A commercial bank borrows money from the public, crediting them with a deposit. The deposit is a liability of the bank. It is money owed to depositors. In turn the bank lends money to firms, households or governments wishing to borrow.

Banks are not the only financial intermediaries. Insurance companies, pension funds, and building societies also take in money in order to relend it. The crucial feature of banks is that some of their liabilities are used as a means of payment, and are therefore part of the money stock.

Commercial banks are financial intermediaries with a government license to make loans and issue deposits, including deposits against, which cheques can be written.

Let's start by looking at the present-day UK banking system. Although the details vary from country to country, the general principle is much the same everywhere.

In the UK, the commercial banking system comprises about 600 registered banks, the National Girobank operating through post offices, and a dozen trustee saving banks. Much the most important single group is the London clearing banks. The clearing banks are so named because they have a central clearing house for handling payments by cheque.

A clearing system is a set of arrangements in which debts between banks are settled by adding up all the transactions in a given period and paying only the net amounts needed to balance inter-bank accounts.

Suppose you bank with Barclays but visit a supermarket that banks with Lloyds. To pay for your shopping you write a cheque against your deposit at Barclays. The supermarket pays this cheque into its account at Lloyds. In turn, Lloyds presents the cheque to Barclays, which will credit Lloyds' account at Barclays and debit your account at Barclays by an equivalent amount. Because you purchased goods from a supermarket using a different bank, a transfer of funds between the two banks is required. Crediting or debiting one bank's account at another bank is the simplest way to achieve this.

However on the same day someone else is probably writing a cheque on a Lloyds' deposit account to pay for some stereo equipment from a shop banking with Barclays. The stereo shop pays the cheque into its Barclays' account, increasing its deposit. Barclays then pays the cheque into its account at Lloyds where this person's account is simultaneously debited. Now the transfer flows from Lloyds to Barclays.

Although in both cases the cheque writer's account is debited and the cheque recipient's account is credited, it does not make sense for the two banks to make two separate inter-bank transactions between themselves. The clearing system calculates the net flows between the member clearing banks and these are the settlements that they make between themselves. Thus the system of clearing cheques represents another way society reduces the costs of making transactions.

Вариант 8

The change in interest rates has important implications for the stockmarket prices of bonds, which pay a fixed rate of interest: fixed-interest securities, of which the traditional gilt-edged securities issued by the government are the most familiar though companies also issue fixed-interest bonds. It works like this.

Gilt-edged securities are a form of IOU (I owe you) or promissory note issued by the government when it needs to borrow money. The government undertakes to pay so much a year in interest to the people who put up the money and who get the IOU in exchange. Normally the government agrees to redeem the stock at some date in the future, but to illustrate the interest rate mechanism it is easiest initially to take an irredeemable or undated stock, which does not have to be repaid.

The original investors who lend the money to the government do not have to hold on to the IOUs. They can sell them to other investors, who then become entitled to receive the interest from the government. Suppose the government needs to borrow money at a time when investors would expect an 11% yield on a gilt-edged security. It offers $11 a year interest for every $100 it borrows. The investor is prepared to pay $100 for the right to receive $11 a year interest, because this represents an 11% return on his outlay.

Then suppose that interest rates rise to a point where an investor would expect a 12,5% return if he bought a gut-edged security. He will no longer pay $100 for the right to $11 a year in income. He will only be prepared to pay a price that gives him a 12.5% return on his outlay. The "right" price in this case is $88, because if he pays only $88 to receive $11 a year in income, he is getting a 12.5% return on his investment. So in the stock market the price of the gut-edged security that pays $11 a year interest will have to fall to $88 before investors are prepared to buy it. The original investor who paid $100 thus sees the value of his investment fall because of the rise in interest rates. Conversely, the value of his investment would have risen if interest rates had fallen.

To summarize: If interest rates on securities go down, bond prices or prices for securities go up, and vise versa.

Вариант 9

The money market comprises the demand for money and the money supply. The equilibrium in the money market is such a state of balance when the demand for money from households and businesses is satisfied by the quantity of the money supplied. The equilibrium in the money market is reached by changing bond prices.

People can hold their wealth in various forms – money, bonds, equities, and property. For simplicity we assume that there are only two assets: money, the medium of exchange that pays no interest, and bonds, which we use to stand for all other interest-bearing assets that are not directly a means of payment. As people earn income, they ad to their wealth. As they spend, they deplete their wealth. How should people divide their wealth at any instant between money and bonds to gain the best profits possible and not to incur losses?

There is an obvious cost of holding money. The opportunity cost of holding money is the interest one would have gained if he (she) had held bonds. It naturally follows that people will hold money rather than bonds only if there is a benefit to offset this cost, only if holding money is more profitable than holding bonds. It may happen only when interest rates on bonds are too low to make it profitable to hold bonds.

Suppose the money market is in equilibrium when the interest rate on interest-bearing assets (e.g. Treasury bills and other securities) is 6% and the amount of money demanded is $200 mln. Now suppose the interest rate goes down, say, to 4%. In this case interest-bearing assets are no longer profitable as they can't earn a sufficient return. Hence the demand for money will rise and will lead to a temporary lack of money in the money market. If they lack money, households and businesses are likely to sell bonds they possess for cash. That will cause an increase in the bond supply, which lowers bond prices and rises interest rates on interest-bearing assets. With a higher interest rate the amount of money people are willing to have in hand will decrease again. Consequently, the money supply will adjust to a current demand to reflect a new higher interest rate.

Conversely, the increase in the money supply creates its temporary surplus, which results in the demand for bonds and bond prices going up. The interest rate falls thus restoring balance in the money market, but at a new lower interest rate.

Вариант 10

MARKETS AND INTEREST RATES

For each type of investment and for many of their derivatives there is a market. There is a market in money in London. It is not a physical marketplace: dealings take place over the telephone, and the price a borrower pays for the use of money is the interest rate. There are markets in commodities. And there is a market in government bonds and company shares: the stockmarket. The important thing is that no market is entirely independent of the others. The linking factor is the cost of money (or the return an investor can get on money). If interest rates rise or fall there is likely to be a ripple of movement through all the financial markets. Money will gravitate to where it earns the best return, commensurate with the risk the investor is prepared to take and the length of time for which he can tie up his money. This is the most important mechanism in the financial sphere. As a general rule:

v The more money you have to invest, the higher the return you can expect.

v The longer you are prepared to tie your money up, the higher the return you can expect.

v The more risk you are prepared to take, the higher the return you can expect if all goes well.

In either type of market, the buyers and the sellers may deal direct with each other or they may deal through a middleman known as a marketmaker. If they deal direct, each would-be buyer has to find a corresponding would-be seller. If there is a marketmaker, a seller will sell instead to the marketmaker, who buys on his own account in the hope that he will later be able to find a buyer to whom he can sell at a profit. Marketmakers make a book in shares or bonds. They are prepared to buy shares in the hope of finding somebody to sell to or sell shares (which they may not even have) in the expectation of finding somebody from whom they can buy to balance their books. Either way, they make their living on the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell. Marketmakers (in practice there will normally be a number of them competing with each other) lend liquidity – fluidity – to a market. A potential buyer can always buy without needing to wait until he can find a potential seller, securities can readily be turned into cash.

Семестр III