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Plotting the Supply of Greebes

Economics class provided me with a wealth of new vocabulary. I learned countless vocabulary words, most of which vacated my thoughts soon after the class came to a close at the end of the semester. There is one major exception to this terrible learning pattern. When I was handed the mysterious economics worksheet “Plotting the supply of Greebes” I knew that I would remember the meaning of the word greebe until the end of my days. Greebes are a fictional product invented for illustrative purposes in basic economics worksheets. I first encountered greebes in an economics worksheet on demand curves. As I was reading the instructions and the fact situation presented to us for the exercise I was intrigued by this mysterious “greebe.” This enigma of a noun slowly began to consume my mind. Thoughts like “what does greebe mean?” and “what does a greebe look like?” occasionally plague me to this day. Fortunately I have come an understanding with the word. Greebes are important because they give us the ability to view economic principles in a purely hypothetical form free of the limits of a real product. They are not affected by any external factors because it is impossible for a real factor to apply to them. Since the purpose of their existence is pure theoretical analysis, it is important to maintain this separation from the tangible world. This property makes it difficult to concretely define what a greebe is.

a nice view of some greebe

To gain a better understanding of greebes, imagine that you are viewing a hypothetical chart on product sales. The chart is labeled with variables represented by letters x and y. The product in question is simply referred to as “Product A”. What an inhuman way to look at economic principles! Most people probably find this hard to relate to. Now imagine yourself in the same situation, except the chart is labeled with actual numbers and instead of the ambiguous “Product A” you have “Greebes”. Although you don’t know exactly what a greebe is, you can imagine a kid walking to Safeway and buying a pack of greebes, but you can’t imagine the kid buying a pack of “Product A”. The second chart is something people can relate to; the greebe has served its purpose. Greebe appears to be a simple nonsense noun but upon closer examination the word is like an onion, revealing a new face every time an opaque layer is removed. I hope that you will realize the importance of greebes in our lives. Greebes have greatly enhanced my understanding of economics. Your journey into understanding will not be easy, but once you have arrived at your destination you will be a better person for it.


I think this is a 'fake' term used in Economics similar to the use of the word widgets that many are familar with.