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Natural resources


Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan

The factors of production, which in the United States are controlled by individuals, fall into four major categories: natural resources, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship.

Natural resources, which come directly from the land, air, and sea, can satisfy people’s wants directly (for example, beautiful mountain scenery or a clear lake used for fishing and swimming), or they can be used to produce goods and services that satisfy wants (such as a forest used to make lumber and furniture). The United States has many natural resources. They include vast areas of fertile land for growing crops, extensive coastlines with many natural harbors, and several large navigable rivers and lakes on which large ships and barges carry products to and from most regions of the nation. The United States has a generally moderate climate, and an incredible diversity of landscapes, plants, and wildlife.

Labor refers to the routine work that people do in their jobs, whether it is performing manual labor, managing employees, or providing skilled professional services. Manual labor usually refers to physical work that requires little formal education or training, such as shoveling dirt or moving furniture. Managers include those who supervise other workers. Examples of skilled professionals include doctors, lawyers, and dentists. Of the 295 million people living in the United States in 2005, more than 150 million adults were working full-time or part-time jobs. This is the nation’s labor force, which includes those who work for wages and salaries and those who file government tax forms for income earned through self-employment.

It does not include homemakers or others who perform unpaid labor in the home, such as raising, caring for, and educating children; preparing meals and maintaining the home; and caring for family members who are ill. Nor, of course, does it count those who do not report income to avoid paying taxes, in some cases because their work involves illegal activities.

Capital


Capital includes buildings, equipment, and other intermediate products that businesses use to make other goods or services. For example, an automobile company builds factories and buys machines to stamp out parts for cars; those buildings and machines are capital. Roughly half of the capital goods used by private businesses is equipment and the other half buildings or other structures. Businesses have additional capital investments in their inventories of finished products, raw materials, and partially completed goods. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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