Glossary Terms:

Trouble is Brewing in Boston - "Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak"

Glossary terms from:


One of many choices or courses of action that might be taken in a given situation.


Monetary or non-monetary gain received because of an action taken or a decision made.


A written order to a financial institution directing the financial institution to pay a stated amount of money, as instructed, from the customer's account.


Decision made or course of action taken when faced with a set of alternatives.


An amount that must be paid or spent to buy or obtain something. The effort, loss or sacrifice necessary to achieve or obtain something.

Decision Making

Reaching a conclusion after considering alternatives and their results.


The quantity of a good or service that buyers are willing and able to buy at all possible prices during a period of time.


The study of how people, firms and societies choose to allocate scarce resources with alternative uses.


Tangible objects that satisfy economic wants.


A piece of work usually done on order at an agreed-upon rate. Also a paid position of regular employment.


Anything that is generally accepted as final payment for goods and services; serves as a medium of exchange, a store of value and a standard of value. Characteristics of money are portability, stability in value, uniformity, durability and acceptance.

Opportunity Cost

The second-best alternative (or the value of that alternative) that must be given up when scarce resources are used for one purpose instead of another.


People and firms that use resources to make goods and services.


A good or service that can be used to satisfy a want.

Productive Resources

Natural resources, human resources, capital resources and entrepreneurship used to make goods and services.


The basic kinds of resources used to produce goods and services: land or natural resources, human resources (including labor and entrepreneurship), and capital.


The condition that exists because human wants exceed the capacity of available resources to satisfy those wants; also a situation in which a resource has more than one valuable use. The problem of scarcity faces all individuals and organizations, including firms and government agencies.


Activities performed by people, firms or government agencies to satisfy economic wants.


A situation in which people produce a narrower range of goods and services than they consume. Specialization increases productivity; it also requires trade and increases interdependence.


Use money now to buy goods and services.


Desires that can be satisfied by consuming or using a good or service. Economists do not differentiate between wants and needs.


Effort applied to achieve a purpose or result, often for pay; skills and knowledge put to use to get something done; employment at a job or in a position; occupation, profession, business, trade, craft, etc.