WELCOME TO ECONOMICS AND SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT Introduction Economics
WELCOME TO ECONOMICS AND SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT Introduction Economics Economics comes from the Greek word Oikonomia. Oikos(means a household) + Nomos(means management). So, it means household management. Aristotle described economics as a household management that means the problems of food, shelter, clothing, education,
treatment etc. for family members and the process of solving these problems by earning money. Definition of Economics by Adam Smit Adam Smith (1723 -1790), the founder of economics, described it as a body of knowledge which relates to wealth. Accordingly to him if a nation has larger amount of wealth, it can help in achieving its betterment. He defined economics as: The study of nature and causes of generating of wealth
of a nation. L. Robbins defined as-Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. This definition base on three basic characteristics of human life: 1. Unlimited wants (ends) 2. Limited resources (scarce means) 3. Alternative uses of resources Finally we can say that Economics is that branch of science, which deals with production, consumption and distribution of wealth.
Importance of Economics: Every economy has to solve the following five inter related problems: (1) What goods to be produce? (2) How to produce? (3) How to distribute the national income? (4) How to ensure growth? (5) How to flow to ration the limited supplies? These problems are now discussed in brief:
(i) What goods to be produce? The first function of the society is to decide which goods are to be produced and in how much quantity. Since the resources at the disposal of the society are scarce, it has to make a choice between guns or butter, or a choice between necessities and luxuries. The decision about the allocation of resources between consumer goods and capital goods; their quality and quantity is of utmost importance from the point of view of economic growth.
(ii) How to produce? There are various alternative methods or techniques of producing goods. The society has to choose the least cost combination of producing the goods. For instance, cloth can be produced with either handlooms (labor intensive technique) or power looms (capital intensive technique). The society, depending upon its resources and the state of technology available to it should use the most efficient method of production.
iii) How to distribute the national income? The distribution of national income among the members of the community is a burning issue both in the field of economics and politics. The socialists are of the view that all the people should get fair share by redistribution of national income. The other view is that, in a free enterprise economy, each individual should get his share from
the total output of goods according to the income available to him through his genuine efforts . (iv) How to ensure growth? The economic growth can be attained by (a) increasing the rate of investment (b) replacement of capital goods and (c) by improving the technical processes of production. A society, therefore, shall have to take timely decisions for allocating scarce resources for investment, replacement and technological progress.
In case a part of the resources are not diverted for capital accumulation and technological progress, the rate of growth will go down. The standard of living of the people will fall. (5) How to flow to ration the limited supplies? We thus conclude that economic problem arises because of scarcity of resources that people want for the satisfaction of goods. The scarcity of resources involves the problems of choice or allocation of resources among the
competing ends. Economics, in short, is a science of efficiency in the use of scarce resources. Scope of Economics: The scope of economics is the area or boundary of the study of economics. In scope of economics we answer and analyze the following two main questions: (i) What is the subject matter of economics? (ii) What is the nature of economics?
(i) Subject Matter of Economics: The subject matter of economics is divided into two: i) Micro economics ii) Macro economics Micro economics The word micro has been derived from Greek word Micros means small or little. Micro economics deals with the analysis of small individual units of economy such as buyers, sellers, individual farms, industrial units or a group of enterprises. According to Boulding Micro economics is the study of particular firms, particular
household, individual prices, wages, incomes, individual industries, and particular commodities. Macro economics The word macro is derived from the Greek word Makros means large or total and therefore macroeconomics deals with the economic activities in the large. According to Boulding Macroeconomics deals not with individual incomes but with national income,
not with individual prices but with price level; not with individual output but with the national output. Macro economics is concerned with the economic activity as a whole or in totality. For example total national product, income and employment generation, consumption and price level of the whole economy are within the orbit of macro economics. According to Samuelson Macro economics is the study of the behavior of the economy as a
whole. It examines the overall level of a nations output, employment and prices. (ii) Nature of Economics: The economists are also divided regarding the nature of economics. The following questions are generally covered in the nature of economics. (a) Is economics a science or an art? (b) Is it a positive science or a normative science? (iii)Economics as a Science or an Art:
Economics is both a science and an art. Economics is considered as a science because it is a systematic knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation. However, the degree of perfection of economics laws is less compared with the laws of pure sciences. An art is the practical application of knowledge for achieving definite ends. A science teaches us to know a phenomenon and an art teaches us to do a thing. For example, there is inflation in Bangladesh. This information is derived from positive science. The
government takes certain fiscal and monetary measures to bring down the general level of prices in the country. The study of these fiscal and monetary measures to bring down inflation makes the subject of economics as an art. After arriving at a conclusion that economics is both a science as well as an art. Here arises another controversy. Is economics a positive science or a normative science? (iv)Economics is Positive or Normative Science: There again difference of opinions among economists whether
economics is a positive or normative science. Lionel Robbins, Senior and Friedman have described economics as a positive science. They opined that economics is based on logic. It is a value theory only. It is, therefore, neutral between ends. Marshall, Pigou, Hawtrey, Keynes and many other economists regard economics as a normative science. According to them, the real function of the science is to increase the well-being of man. They have given suggestions in their works for promotion of human welfare. For example, Malthus has given suggestions of checking the rising population. M. Keynes has suggested measures to remove unemployment.
We agree with Mr. Frazer, that an economist who is only an economist is a poor pretty fish. An economist must come forward to give advice to the problems facing the human being like depression, unemployment, high prices, etc., for increasing his welfare. Finally, positive economics only explain what is (the population size of Bangladesh?) Normative Economics explain what ought to be (what should be the optimum population size for Bangladesh?) Economics, to conclude, has both theoretical as well as practical
side. In other words, it is both a positive and a normative science. Thank You All ANUP KUMAR MANDAL Lecturer Department of Economics & Sociology
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