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The Crabs are Running Out!

feisty_blue_crab_300Although out time in economics class had been short so far, it has been truly interesting. We began by talking about crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an important current event for crab fisherman, middle men, and crab eaters.  The problem is that there is a shortage of crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, and the fishermen are fishing them at a high rate. Soon the numbers will dwindle and the prices will skyrocket. There are many things to think about in this subject, from scarcity to cost and benefit to opportunity cost, a decision must be made.

We begin with the crab fishermen, who are having both positives and negatives. The positives are the price of their goods, or crab is going up, making them more money. However, many problems are occurring. The first problem is the scarcity of their goods. The crabs are running out. The fisherman must go further and further out in order to fish enough to make enough money, and must consider cost and benefit. The cost is a longer day with more gas or fuel wasted, while the benefit is more crabs, meaning more profit. The crab fishermen are also having trouble with the middle men, the people who buy crabs from the fishermen and sell it to the restaurant. As the prices in the market are going up, the middlemen must bend prices in order to make enough profit. They are having arguments with the fishermen about fatality rates of the crab, and the prices are changing for them. The middlemen have an opportunity cost with the crab fisherman. They are choosing to overcharge, perhaps ruining their ties with the fishermen. This is positive in the short term but perhaps damaging in the long term. Also, the restaurants are in a bind. They must compete with high crab prices, deciding whether or not to spend the money on the crab or not. Some customers are definitely going to eat crabs, while others are being cautious and deciding they don’t want to spend the money on them. The cost is just too high for some customers to continue eating them regularly, perhaps hurting the entire crab market.

The capitals of labor are also evident in this problem. The land, or the sea, is seeing declines in crab population. This shortage isFishermen_1 affecting everyone, and the fishermen must decide whether or not to make money in the short term and continue fishing heavily, or gain money in the long term a slow down to let the crab populations to recuperate. The labor is also evident, as the fishermen are doing labor by catching the crab, the middle men are doing labor by buying and selling the crab, and the restaurant owners are deciding how much crab to buy in order to make as much profit as possible. Capital is also evident, such as the boats and cages and other manmade objects. These factors of production are very evident in this topic, and are greatly influential over the entire problem.

The three economic questions are also being answered. The first, or ‘What goods and services should be produced?’ is answered by the crab fishermen, who decide how much crab to catch in order to not waste too much while still gaining as much profit as possible. The second- ‘How should these goods and services be produced is also answered by the fishermen, deciding how to catch the crabs without getting too small or not enough of them. The third is easily answered- ‘Who consumes the goods and services?’ The consumers are the people who go to the restaurants of course; however they are perhaps the most important. Without the price or quality being just right, the customers could easily stop eating the crab, disrupting the while market. They are the most important when answering the three key economic questions.

blue-crab-378-640x360Economics has taught me how our economies work, as well as other economies around us. From scarcity to opportunity cost, making decisions is tough but necessary, and economics class is helping to teach me to make the right decisions. Although the crab market is in trouble, it is up to the components of the market to make decisions to fix it.

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