Module 11: Summary

This module introduced five topics important to agricultural producers and consumers.  You will notice that many topics and the economic approaches we use to study issues are often related and interrelated.  This should not be surprising given that to make efficient decisions we must consider both sides of an argument including both winners and losers to determine net effects.  We also must consider what is driving decisions beyond economics and how values are related to political interests, society and communities, our health and safety, innovation and the results of science, concerns for the environment and sentient beings, all in the name of sustainability.

This is the last module for this course.  We began with an introduction to economics and recurring elements that help us to explore the world around us.  We also talked about sustainability and how economics can be used to evaluate decisions over time and beyond what is happening in business.  Throughout the course, we learned what motivates producers and consumers, how markets function, and what happens with they fail.  You also will note that government plays a critical role in the agriculture industry by regulating trade, ensuring food security, promoting health and welfare, providing public goods, and through subsidization and taxation.

I hope you have enjoyed the course and can see the value in economic thinking, and that you will continue to investigate the world around you using an economic lens.