Economics definitions

Father of Economics

Definitions of economics:

1."Economics is an enquiry into the nature and causes of wealth of nations."- Adam Smith.

2. Economics is the science which treats of wealth. "-J.B. Say.

In the above definition wealth becomes the main focus of the study of Economics. The definition of Economics, as science of wealth, had some merits. The important ones are:

  • It highlighted an important problem faced by each and every nation of the world, namely creation of wealth.

  • Since the problems of poverty, unemployment etc. can be solved to a greater extent when wealth is produced and is distributed equitably; it goes to the credit of Adam Smith and his followers to have addressed to the problems of economic growth and increase in the production of wealth.

The study of Economics as a 'Science of Wealth' has been criticized on several grounds. The main criticisms leveled against this definition are;

  • Adam Smith and other classical economists concentrated only on material wealth. They totally ignored creation of immaterial wealth like services of doctors, chartered accountants etc.

  • The advocates of Economics as 'science of wealth' concentrated too much on the production of wealth and ignored social welfare. This makes their definition incomplete and inadequate.

3. "Economics is a 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 the material requisites of well-being. Thus, it is on the one side a study of wealth and on the other and more important side a part of the study of the man", Alfred Marshall

4. Robbins gave a more scientific definition of Economics. His definition is as follows:

"Economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses".

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