First lecture

Basic Economics Introductions

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is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek for oikos (“house”) and nomos (“custom” or “law”), hence “rules of the house(hold).”[1] Current economic models developed out of the broader field of political economy in the late 19th century, owing to a desire to use an empirical approach more akin to the physical sciences.[2] A definition that captures much of modern economics is that of Lionel Robbins in a 1932 essay: "the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."[3] Scarcity means that available resources are insufficient to satisfy all wants and needs. Absent scarcity and alternative uses of available resources, there is no economic problem. The subject thus defined involves the study of choices as they are affected by incentives and resources.

(from the article Economics in  Wikipedia)

Two branches

Microeconomics: The study of the economic behaviour of individual consumers, firms, and industries and the distribution of production and income among them. It considers individuals and firms both as suppliers of labour and capital and as the ultimate consumers of the final product.

Macroeconomics: The study of the entire economy in terms of total amount of goods and services produced, total income earned, the level of employment of productive resources, and the general behaviour of prices. Macroeconomics can be used to analyse how best to influence policy goals such as economic growth, price stability, full employment and the attainment of a sustainable balance of payments.

Arne Eide,
Aug 30, 2008, 2:37 PM