Origin and meaning of economics

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Adam smith (1723-1790)

origin and meaning of economics

The word economics is derived in English language from the Greek word “Oeconomics” by Xenophon in 431 BC. which is a socratic dialogue principally about household management. The history of economics is as old as the history of mankind. The start of economics took place with Plato and Aristotle. Plato gave his economic ideas in his book, “The Republic” and Aristotle in “Politics and Ethics”. According to Aristotle, economics is the science of household management and an art of wealth-getting and wealth-spending.

Economics is a social science. it studies and explains human behavior. But it is a new social science as compared to other social sciences such as a political science, ethics, religion etc. Before 18th century, economics was treated as a part of political science, ethics and religion. The classical economists developed it as a separate social science in 18th century. Economics is a science in the sense that the economists aim to develop theories of human behavior and to test them against the facts.

Definition of Economics


it is customary to begin elementary economic th cry with a definition of economics. However, nothing is settled by definition. Economics is a wide subject which cannot be restricted to a boundary fixed by definition. According to Jacob Vainer “Economics is what economicsts do “. It means that economics extends to the subject covered and methods used by the economists.

also read : Critics of robbins definiton

There is no single universally acceptable definition. Various economists have defined it in many ways. As opined by Barbara Wotton, “Whenever Six economists are gathered, there are seven opinions.” But it is not true that economists never agree about anything. There are answers to many questions. The study of definition is necessary but not sufficient to understand this vast subject. in the opinion of David Beg and others , “Trying to understand what economics is about by studyinag definitions is like trying to learn to swim by reading an instruction manual
Different economists have given their totally different views regarding what economics is about. Mainly the definitions of economics given by Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall and Lionel Robbins are discussed in this chapter.

also read critics of marshall definiton

Wealth Definition :Adam Smith (Classical Definition)

Adam Smith (1723-1790), a citizen of Scotland, is popularly known as the father of economics as well as the leader of classical economists. Adam smith was the first economist to present a systematic analysis of economics. Therefore, he is regarded as the “Father of Economics.“ Adam Smith published his epoch-making book ”An Inquiry into Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nation” in 1776 AD. This book is popularly known as wealth of nation. it is considered as the Bible of the Science of Economics. From 1776 to 1850, several great economists such as JB Say, David Ricardo, T.R. Malthus, J.S.Mill etc had fully supported and followed the economic ideas of Adam Smith. They were of the view that economics concerned with production, consumption, exchange and distribution of wealth. it is obvious that Adam Smith considered his work to be an enquiry into the nature and Causes of wealth of nation. In other words, he treated economics as a science of wealth.

theroy of economics

According To J.B, “Economics is the science which treat of wealth” Similiarly, J.S Mill Defined economics as “the Practical Science of the production and Distribution of wealth”

Adam Smith Was concerned with the Broader aspects of wealth, The means by which the total volume of production could be increased. This has been a recent aim of economic policy. J.S Mills Defined the economics as “Economics is the practical science of production and distribution of wealth” These two factor influence the standard of living people According to J.B Say Economics is the body of knowledge which Relates to wealth.

The meaning of wealth as used by Adam Smith Relates to aundance money. It implies that economists are expected to suggests ways and means of increasing the wealth of a nation. Hence, Economics is the study of the activities of people involved in the production of wealth


adam smith free images

Adam smith (1723-1790)

Adam smith (1723-1790)

A citizen of scotland, is popularly  known as the father of economics as well as the leader of classical economists “Economics is a science of Wealth”

Publication/book : The Wealth of Nation, 1776

Follower: J.B say, David Ricardo, T.R Malths, J.S mill etc

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