Economics has been defined by various economists in different ways. This is because ‘economics is an unfinished science’. With the passage of time, there has been significant development is theories of Economics. The various definitions of economics may be classified as under following topics:
Economics as the Science of Wealth
Adam Smith who is considered to be the father of economics wrote a book entitled’ “An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the wealth of the Nations”, in 1776.
Economics as the Science of Material Well Being
Alfred Marshall shifted the emphasis of economics from wealth to welfare. He formulated the definition of economics strictly in accordance with his ideas of human welfare. His definition is as follows:
Economics is the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life. It examines that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and with the use of material requisites of well being.
Economics as the Science of Choice Making or Scarcity definition
Robbins wrote a famous book” “An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science”, in 1932. He introduced the ‘Scarcity’ definition of economics in his book.
Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
Economics as the Science of Dynamic Growth and Development
Prof. Robbins has excluded from the purview of economics the problem of economic growth and has taken a more static view of an essentially dynamic problem. This inherent defect in Prof. Robbins definition has been sought to be removed by Prof. Samuelson’s definition. The definition is as follows:
Economics is the study of how men and society choose, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce productive resources which could have alternative uses, to produce various commodities over time and distribute them for consumption now and in the future amongst various people and groups of society.
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