Summary Of Naked Economics Chapter 2

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What is Economics?

Economics is the science of making decisions in a world of scarce resources. It is the study of how people and societies choose to allocate resources to produce goods and services that are needed or desired. In Naked Economics, author Charles Wheelan explains the fundamentals of economics in a straightforward and accessible way. The second chapter of the book sheds light on the core concepts of economics, including supply and demand, trade, and opportunity cost.

Supply and Demand

The concept of supply and demand is one of the most fundamental principles of economics. Supply is the amount of a good or service that is available to buyers. Demand is the amount of a good or service that people are willing to buy. When the supply and demand for an item are equal, the item is said to be in equilibrium. When the supply is greater than the demand, a surplus exists. When the demand is greater than the supply, a shortage exists. The interaction between supply and demand determines the price of a good or service.


Trade is the exchange of goods and services between two or more parties. Trade can be voluntary, such as two individuals exchanging goods or services, or it can be coerced, such as a government imposing a tariff or quota. Trade can also be international or domestic. International trade enables countries to access goods and services that may not be available domestically.

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is the cost of an action that is not taken. It is the cost associated with the next best alternative to the action that is taken. For example, if you choose to go to the movies instead of going to a concert, the opportunity cost is the cost of the concert ticket. Opportunity cost is an important concept in economics because it helps us to understand the trade-offs that are associated with any decision.


Incentives are rewards or penalties that motivate people to take certain actions. For example, a company may offer a bonus to employees who meet performance goals. Incentives can also be used to influence consumer behavior. For example, a company may offer discounts to encourage people to buy their product. Incentives are an important tool for influencing behavior and can be used to promote economic growth.

The Invisible Hand

The invisible hand is the concept that individuals, acting in their own self-interest, are guided by an unseen force that leads to the best possible outcome for society as a whole. This concept was popularized by the 18th-century economist Adam Smith. Smith argued that individuals making decisions in their own self-interest will lead to a greater good for society as a whole. The invisible hand is an important concept in economics because it suggests that markets are self-regulating and that government intervention is often unnecessary.


In Naked Economics Chapter 2, author Charles Wheelan introduces and explains the core concepts of economics, including supply and demand, trade, opportunity cost, incentives, and the invisible hand. Understanding these concepts is essential for anyone who wants to understand how economies work and how markets function.

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