A LEVEL ECONOMICS NOTES FORM 5 AND 6

A LEVEL ECONOMICS NOTES FORM 5 AND 6

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A LEVEL ECONOMICS NOTES FORM 5 AND 6

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FORM FIVE

FORM SIX




A LEVEL ECONOMICS NOTES FORM 5 AND 6

There are a variety of modern definitions of economics; some reflect evolving views of the subject or different views among economists. Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (1776) defined what was then called political economy as “an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations”, in particular as:

a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator [with the twofold objectives of providing] a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people … [and] to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue for the publick services.




Jean-Baptiste Say (1803), distinguishing the subject from its public-policy uses, defined it as the science of production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. On the satirical side, Thomas Carlyle (1849) coined “the dismal science” as an epithet for classical economics, in this context, commonly linked to the pessimistic analysis of Malthus (1798). John Stuart Mill (1844) defined the subject in a social context as:

The science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other object.

A LEVEL ECONOMICS NOTES FORM 5 AND 6




Alfred Marshall provided a still widely cited definition in his textbook Principles of Economics (1890) that extended analysis beyond wealth and from the societal to the microeconomic level:

Economics is a study of man in the ordinary business of life. It enquires how he gets his income and how he uses it. Thus, it is on the one side, the study of wealth and on the other and more important side, a part of the study of man.

Lionel Robbins (1932) developed implications of what has been termed “[p]erhaps the most commonly accepted current definition of the subject”:

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




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