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Nature And Scope Of Economics

Nature and Scope of Economics
The nature and scope of economics are related to the study of wealth or human behaviour or of scarce resources. The scope is very wide and includes the subject matter of economics whether economics is a science or an art or whether it is positive or normative science.

Wealth and Welfare Connotations

Wealth and Welfare connotations are segregated into the classical view of Adam Smith and Neo Classical View of Marshall. First, Let us discuss Classical view and the relating contemporaries.

The Classical View and Contemporaries -

The Classical Economist Adam Smith defines Economics as the science of Wealth. He defines as"nature and cause of wealth of nations" whereby it"proposes to enrich people and sovereign". The classical view is misleading and has serious defects. This view of conception of economics as a science of wealth which laid exclusive stress on material wealth. Material wealth is the object of desires of man. Wealth was considered to be the stop in itself. By stressing on the word"Material Wealth" Economist Adam Smith narrowed the scope of Economics by excluding all material activities which are related to the production of non-material goods and services such as Engineers, Accountants etc.

Now, after bearing in mind the classical view of Adam Smith, we are going to see the Neo Classical View by Economist Marshall and its Contemporaries.

Neo-Classical View and Contemporaries -

Alfred Marshall led neo-classical school which placed all the economists a reputable position among social science. He emphasised on a man's welfare. Wealth was observed as the basis of human welfare, not stop in itself but a means to a stop. According to Marshall"Political Economy or Economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life. It inspects that part of individual and social accomplishment which is most intimately associated with the achievement and with the use of the material conditions of well being. It is on the one side a study of riches and on the other and more significant side a part of study of man. The contemporaries are it excludes activities of socially disagreeable and non-standard persons like thieves, misers etc, non-economic activities and activities having dishonourable ends are excluded from the study of economics.

Scarcity Definition of Robbins

According to Robbins,"Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses." It was Lord Robbins, who exposed the rational discrepancy and insufficiencies of other economists' definitions.

Growth Oriented Definition

Modern Age is the age of economic development. Its key purpose is to enhance social wellbeing and progress the standard of living of the people by getting rid of poverty, redundancy, disparity of income and wealth, malnutrition etc. of the realm. Hence the financial development is the essential point of all economic policies.

Scope of Economics

The continuous growth in the subject matter of economics has led to divergent views about a scope of economics. It includes Subject matter of Economics, Economics is a science or an Art, or is it a Positive or Normative science.

Subject Matter of Economics

The subject matter of economics is the study of grounds of material interests or as the science of wealth. Men who are sensible beings and take action under the active social, legal and institutional group. It eliminates the performance, manners of socially objectionable and uncharacteristic persons like misers, thieves etc. It consists of the study of the exertion of consumption, production, exchange and distribution of wealth, as well as the fortitude of the values of goods and services the amount of employment and the determinants of fiscal development. Further it comprises the study of grounds of poverty, unemployment, under employment, inflation etc. and actions for their elimination.

Economics as a Science

Economics is a science since its laws have widespread soundness such as the law of diminishing returns, the law of diminishing marginal utility, the law of demand etc. It is called as a science since its self-remedial nature. It goes on amendments in the dawn of new specifics based on interpretations. Hence Economics is a science like any other science that has its own generalisations, theories or laws of economics which traces out a casual relationship between two or more phenomena.

Economics as an Art

The practical application of scientific techniques is the Art of Economics. Some economists consider economics as a science and art while few others as science and applied science. It is considered as newest of science and oldest of arts and the queen of all the social sciences.

Economics as a Positive Science
As per the nineteenth century experts, economics is a positive science. Since it seeks to explain what has actually happened but not what is ought to happen. According to J.N.Keynes, Positive science is defined as"A body of systematised knowledge concerning what ought to be and concerned with the ideal as distinguished from the actual."

Normative Economics

With contrast to the Positive Science, Normative Science deals with the"what is ought to happen" cases. That is predictions of future economic development with regards to the present conditions are discussed in this. The postulations on which economic laws, theories or principles are based relate to man and his problems. If we attempt to test and forecast fiscal actions on their basis the subjectivity elements always penetrates. Therefore, the laws of economics are at best propensities.


Economics is concerned with human well-being as well as ethical values. It is science and an art, since the scientific principles are applied practically. It is both positive and normative science since the actual happening and the future happenings are dealt. Hence the scope and nature of economics deals in with all the above as explained by the economists.

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