Lesson 2: How Demand & Supply Works
THE LEMONADE STAND EXAMPLE/EXPERIMENT 1:
Think in terms of starting a lemonade stand (or set up your own local stand of some sort, such as lemonade).
How many people pass by your house on an average day? That is your base of possible customers.
The lemons and sugar are your investment and the signs and other marketing techniques you use is your attracting customers technique. Now estimate how many glasses of lemonade you'll be able to sell in a day or week and how much profit you could make.
This gives you your first idea of demand (possible buyers for lemonade) and supply (you - the maker of the lemonade) ... as you begin to explore how economics works in the real world.
Make as much money as you can in 30 days at your Lemonade Stand!
Another math game
The following are a few extracts from an excellent article that explains how demand and supply works. Note: Demand is the desire to buy something (by an individual or group) and supply refers to the availability of that something. Economists use graphs to analyse changes in demand and supply and as a means to determine price and how variable its price may be based on the types of demand and supply situations being faced by an economy.
All the following extracts are from investopedia's article on demand and supply (please read the original article with it's graphs carefully as they will be used to explain economics in future posts);
A. The Law of Demand
The law of demand states that, if all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of a good, the less people will demand that good. In other words, the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded. The amount of a good that buyers purchase at a higher price is less because as the price of a good goes up, so does the opportunity cost of buying that good. As a result, people will naturally avoid buying a product that will force them to forgo the consumption of something else they value more.
B. The Law of Supply
Like the law of demand, the law of supply demonstrates the quantities that will be sold at a certain price. But unlike the law of demand, the supply relationship shows an upward slope. This means that the higher the price, the higher the quantity supplied. Producers supply more at a higher price because selling a higher quantity at a higher price increases revenue.
Time and Supply
Unlike the demand relationship, however, the supply relationship is a factor of time. Time is important to supply because suppliers must, but cannot always, react quickly to a change in demand or price. So it is important to try and determine whether a price change that is caused by demand will be temporary or permanent.
Let's say there's a sudden increase in the demand and price for umbrellas in an unexpected rainy season; suppliers may simply accommodate demand by using their production equipment more intensively. If, however, there is a climate change, and the population will need umbrellas year-round, the change in demand and price will be expected to be long term; suppliers will have to change their equipment and production facilities in order to meet the long-term levels of demand.
C. Supply and Demand Relationship
Now that we know the laws of supply and demand, let's turn to an example to show how supply and demand affect price.
Imagine that a special edition CD of your favorite band is released for $20. Because the record company's previous analysis showed that consumers will not demand CDs at a price higher than $20, only ten CDs were released because the opportunity cost is too high for suppliers to produce more. If, however, the ten CDs are demanded by 20 people, the price will subsequently rise because, according to the demand relationship, as demand increases, so does the price. Consequently, the rise in price should prompt more CDs to be supplied as the supply relationship shows that the higher the price, the higher the quantity supplied.