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Central Problems of an Economy

Let’s discuss the central problems of an economy. These central concerns must be confronted and addressed during high scarcity & demand for resources.

The core economic activities are the production, distribution, and disposition of products and services. During these activities, a community faces scarcity due to the scarcity of restricted resources and the greedy nature of human desires. The difference between supply and demand causes an economy’s basic problems to emerge.  

Central Problems of an Economy

There are three reasons behind the central problems of an economy:

  • What to Produce and in What Quantity? 

  • How to Produce? 

  • For Whom to Produce?

What to Produce and in What Quantity?

This issue is about making judgments about which commodities to produce and what quantities to produce. There is a scarcity of labour, land, machinery, capital, equipment, tools, and natural resources. As a result, it is impossible to meet society’s demands. As a result, it’s critical to determine what goods and services must be produced and in what quantities. For example, if Rita owns a plot of land, she must consider what crop she should grow on it. Let’s say she has the option of growing Jowar or wheat. Given the scarcity of natural resources, such as land, she must decide whether to use the land to grow Jowar, wheat, or both.

Aman must consider the quantity of the crop he wishes to produce as he has made his selection about the goods to be produced. Five quintals, ten quintals, or 100 quintals, for example. Almost everyone in society is confronted with the challenge of “what to produce and in what quantities to make.” In addition, an economy must decide whether it wants to employ its limited resources to produce consumer or producer goods. Also, what proportion of luxury items should be created versus producer products? In addition, the economy may be confronted with the issue of how many civilian and defence items must be produced.

How to produce?

Consumer theory is employed to explain market demand for products and services. The firm theory explains how products and services are distributed in the market. A firm is described as any group of people who buy labour, capital, and raw materials to manufacture goods and services sold to customers, governments, or other businesses. According to the firm’s theory, the firm’s fundamental goal is to maximise profits. Firms face two limits when maximising profits—consumer demand and production costs.

Factors of production that are both variable & fixed. Some of the elements of production that the firm requires are only available in fixed quantities in the short run. The scale of a company’s factory, machinery, and other capital equipment, for example, cannot be changed daily. The firm can modify the size of its factory and its usage of machinery and equipment in the long run, but the quantities of these production components are deemed fixed in the short run. The short-run is defined as when certain production characteristics cannot be changed. The long-run is defined as the time span during which all production factors can be changed.

Total and marginal products are two different things. To generate commodities or output, a company integrates its production components. The total output produced by the firm, or its total product, is determined by the quantities of factors purchased or employed by the firm. The marginal product of a factor of production is the change in the firm’s total product that occurs when that element is increased by one unit while all other factors are held constant.

For Whom to Produce?

This entails determining the final consumer of the goods or services produced. Because every product cannot satisfy all portions of society due to differences in consumer paying capacity, each is developed for a certain section of society. Inequality in the allocation of money can be seen throughout society, resulting in a disparity in the consumer’s paying capacity.

For example, graded rice is produced for those with a higher purchasing power, but non-graded rice is produced for those with a lesser purchasing power. Luxury goods and services are reserved for the wealthy. The revenue distribution among the factors of production is equivalent to the distribution of final goods and services (land, labour, capital, entrepreneurship). There are two dimensions to this:

Personal Distribution: This relates to how money is distributed across different groups of people in society.

Functional Distribution: The distribution of income among different production components is called functional distribution.


We have learnt that the central problem of an economy is three factors. It is vital to remember that, in addition to resource allocation, the central concerns of an economy also include efficient resource consumption and resource development. Thus, to understand an economy’s essential difficulties, one must go into its core, i.e., decisions about the limited resources available to optimise socio-economic usefulness.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the CBSE Class 11 Examination Preparation.

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