In order to make a profit, people need to provide a good or service. In order to provide a good or service, they need resources. As you know, however, resources are not unlimited. As a result, businesses and individuals must compete for the resources they need. This competition eventually affects everyone, not just business owners. In time, it affects the prices we pay for the goods we want.I have to say that in all my years of teaching I don't think I've ever said any thing like this to my students. Oh, on the face of it, the words written here do sound a bit like economics, and I suppose they do sound a bit like things I have talked with my students about, especially in a course in microeconomic principles. But, there are aspects of what is written above that concern me.
One result of the competition for these resources is scarcity. Scarcity is the lack of a particular resource. When a resource becomes scarce, it is harder for producers to obtain. Products made with that resource also become more difficult to obtain. As a result, the prices for these items usually rise.
So, what do you think? Could the quotation above tend to encourage our middle school students to misunderstand the nature of the real world?
UPDATE 10-24: I like the comments by both Kari and Casey, and Casey comes close to my response when I read the quoted passage. The textbook is suggesting that competition leads to scarcity. Of course, this is not a lesson that comes from the study of economics. Scarcity is a given. As Casey points out, competition through the market process mitigates or lessens the impact of scarcity in our lives. So, the lesson told in this quote is pretty much just the opposite of the lessons learned from economics. In addition, if we look again at the first paragraph quoted, there is a suggestion that competition affects our individual lives. This is surely the case. But, when you look at both paragraphs together, this textbook seems to suggest that competition affects our lives in a bad way. This of course is not true. At least, it is not true if economists understand at least something about how the world works. Competition within the market process is one part of the explanation for the wonderful material prosperity we enjoy today, and as Casey suggests, without that material prosperity far, far fewer people would live on this earth today. Thus, I am concerned that the lessons suggested by this quotation may well encourage our middle school students to misunderstand the nature of the real world.