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Extra resources for AARP the Little Book of Economics. How the Economy Works in the Real World
A dollar invested for tomorrow is a dollar not available to spend on the pleasures of life today. Thus, investment requires saving. The more a society saves, whether it’s corporations or households (governments could save but are more likely to do the opposite), the more capital it accumulates. Capital, though, will only take a country so far. Just as your second cup of coffee will do less to wake you up than your first, each additional dollar invested provides a smaller boost to production. A farmer’s second tractor will help his productivity far less than his first.
Anti-immigrant sentiment could turn off the tap of young foreign workers while our schools, despite recent improvement, are global underperformers. The optimist would reply that the United States still has the building blocks of growth. Its population growth and fertility rate remain among the highest in the industrial world and far higher than China’s. Americans are jaded about finance but still like free enterprise. In April 2009, at the depths of the worst recession and bear market in memory, the Pew Research Center found that 90 percent of the people in this country said they admired people who get rich by working hard.
Such influence fades, however, once businesses restore inventories to comfortable levels. Numerous factors influence how businesses invest in buildings and equipment: stronger profits, higher stock prices, lower interest rates, and the potential profitability of the investment. In the early 2000s, many airlines were bankrupt yet went ahead and installed thousands of high-tech self-serve ticketing kiosks in airports around the world, because they issued tickets at 5 percent of the cost of using an agent.
AARP the Little Book of Economics. How the Economy Works in the Real World by Greg Ip