Do your parents ever ask you to shovel the snow out of your driveway or mow the lawn? Have you ever thought that these jobs are a waste of your time? Perhaps you are right. If it takes you one hour to shovel snow from your driveway, you might reasonably wonder how long it might take if you had a snow-blower. If you spend two hours mowing your yard with a 21-inch cut walking lawn mower, how much more efficient could you be with a 48-inch cut garden tractor? Imagine what life must have been like 200 years ago. The most advanced mode of overland transportation was horse and buggy. Intercontinental travel was limited to wind-powered sailing vessels. Advanced communication meant receiving an outdated letter in the mail. Employment opportunities were limited to the agricultural sector. No indoor plumbing, no electricity, no television, no automobiles, no cellular phones, no overnight business meetings 1000 miles away, and the list goes on. Living standards in the United States have expanded at a very rapid rate over the past two centuries. Economists usually use the output of goods and services per person to measure a nation's standard of living. The level of per capita (per person) U.S. output in 1990 was nine times its size 120 years earlier. In the 1990s alone, the level of output per person in the United States has expanded by several thousand dollars. Inflation adjusted per capita output is now over $28,000. What accounts for this impressive rise in our living standards? Many observers suggest that the explanation of increased prosperity can be found in the productivity improvements of the New Economy.
The purpose of this lesson is to help you explore the relationship between education and income. Income is earned from one's resources. Those resources might be natural resources (oil field, farm land), capital resources (man-made resources that are used in the production of goods and services: computers, factories, sewing machines), entrepreneurship (the ability to organize the other factors to produce goods or services or labor.) Most people earn their income by selling their labor. The lesson will focus on the following question: "Why do some people earn more income from their labor than others?"
In this lesson you will define human capital and understand why it is necessary for economic growth. Also, you will explore how people can increase their personal level of human capital.
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Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History uses a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students.
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