Characteristics of Welfare Definition

Economics notes Grade Xi

Notes before than this Read Part 1 ( Origin and meaning of economics )

Characteristics of Welfare Definition:

According to this Definition, Economics studies only those activities of a common man, who is concerned with the promotion if economic value that fulfills human desires and needs comes within the subject matters of economics. Marshall put emphasis and enhancement of material welfare.

Study of ordinary human beings

Welfare Definition of economics has highly stressed on the study of ordinary human being rather than economic man of wealth definition. According to Marshall, ordinary human being are those who get involved not only i accumulation of wealth but also try to experience love, sympathy, good will , respect, honor to make their social life more meaningful. That means economic studies about the rational man and ignores the activities of irrational man like sadhu or sanyasi in Hindu Religion (an isolated person)

Primary concern to man:

According to Marshall, Economics is the study of mankind in relation to wealth. He explains how a man in the ordinary business of life earns wealth and utilizes his income to achieve maximum satisfaction. He further added that wealth is made for benefit of human being but human being is not for wealth. He also suggested that primary importance should be given to human beings and the secondary importance to wealth.

Economic as a social Welfare

According to Marshall, Economic is a social science . It studies the economic problems of those individuals who live in an organized society. Man like Robinson cruose living outside the human society does not fall under the study off economics.

Normative Science

According to Welfare Definition, Economics is a normative science since it studies what ought to be done to promote the material welfare of man and what should not be done . Similarly, It must be the job of an Economist to provide valuable judgement over the economic phenomenona rather than to express the fact only.

Criticism o Welfare Definition

The Welfare Definitions was accepted as a correct definition until the arrival of modern economist- Lionel Robbins . This Definitions  has been strongly criticized by Lionel Robbins on the following Grounds:

Classificatory Definition:

Marshall Classified human activities  into material and non- material welfare, economic and non economic goods but he could not distinguish between these terms clearly . Therefore, this definition is classificatory rather than analytical in nature.

narrow scope:

Marshall includes only material thing within the study of economics and exclude  all  non-material things. but there are so many non-material activities that come under the subject matter of economics, which fulfill human wants and needs. for example, the services of human being such as teachers,doctors,engineers,lawyers are non-material in nature because they work not only for earning wealth but also for fulfilling social needs. The services in some cases would relate to ethical and social value. Therefore, this definition has narrowed the scope of economics.

Welfare cannot be quantitatively measured:

According to Welfare definition, money has taken as an instrument for the measurement  of welfare. But money  though though may be a rough measure of welfare cannot be a satisfactory measure. It is Because the rich and poor persons derive different level of satisfactory from equal amount of money. The concept of welfare is psychological Phenomenon . IT Varies From individual to individual. There fore, it is unscientific to define economics in terms of welfare.

Pure social science

According to welfare definition, economics is a pure social science. IT means that economics does not study the men living outside society. But this is not true because even an isolated man such as Robinson Crusoe is subject to law of economics such as law of  diminishing  marginal utility etc. Hence, Economics should be taken more as human science than a social welfare.

Connection between economics and welfare

The welfare definition tried to establish connection between economics and welfare. How ever, economics studies several activities not related to human welfare such as production of wines, cigarettes. etc as their incomes are included in national income. Production of those  creates wealth but doesn’t  increase welfare in the society.







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