FACTS OF ROBBIN’S DEFINITION.
According to Robbin’s and his follower Samuelson.
- Human wants are unlimited.
- Human wants have alternatives.
- Resources are scarce.
- Resources have different importance.
The unlimited wants and the scarcity of the resources give rise to the problem of choice.
Choice refers to the process of making selections among multiple or several alternatives.
CRITICISM OF ROBBIN’S DEFINITION
- The difference between means and ends is not clear. This definition uses two terms, means and ends which have not been clearly distinguished.
- Neutral towards ends.
The definition regards economics is neutral towards ends if it is occupied then used. The study or economics would be of no use of which it would not remain a fruitfully science. Thus economist is a tool maker as well as toll users.
- Reduced merely to valuation theory.
Robbins definition has reduced Economics merely to evaluation theory. This does not taken into account. The problem of macro economics and growth.
- Problem of abundance.
All economic problems do not arise from scarcity. Some of them may also arise from abundance, such as the problem of over production etc.
Hence in simple words we can say Economics is a science that studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
- i) Wealth Definition
Adam smith (1723 -1790), in his book “An Inquiry into Nature and Causes
of Wealth of Nations” (1776) defined economics as the science of wealth. He
explained how a nation’s wealth is created. He considered that the individual in
the society wants to promote only his own gain and in this, he is led by an
“invisible hand” to promote the interests of the society though he has no real
intention to promote the society’s interests.
Criticism:Smith defined economics only in terms of wealth and not in terms of
human welfare. Ruskin and Carlyle condemned economics as a ‘dismal science’,
as it taught selfishness which was against ethics. However, now, wealth is
considered only to be a mean to end, the end being the human welfare. Hence,
wealth definition was rejected and the emphasis was shifted from ‘wealth’ to
‘welfare’.ii) Growth Definition
Paul Samuelson defined economics as “the study of how men and
society choose, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce productive
resources which could have alternative uses, to produce various commodities
over time, and distribute them for consumption, now and in the future among
various people and groups of society”.
The major implications of this definition are as follows:
a) Samuelson has made his definition dynamic by including the element of
time in it. Therefore, it covers the theory of economic growth.
b) Samuelson stressed the problem of scarcity of means in relation to
unlimited ends. Not only the means are scarce, but they could also be put to
c) The definition covers various aspects like production, distribution and
Of all the definitions discussed above, the ‘growth’ definition stated by
Samuelson appears to be the most satisfactory. However, in modern economics,
the subject matter of economics is divided into main parts, viz., i) Micro
Economics and ii) Macro Economics.
Economics is, therefore, rightly considered as the study of allocation of
scarce resources (in relation to unlimited ends) and of determinants of income,
output, employment and economic growth.
GENERAL MEANING OF ECONOMICS.
Is a social science which studies how societies allocate scarce resources in production of goods and services to satisfy their needs.
IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING ECONOMICS.
- It helps to build up a body of principle and furnish the economist with lots of economic analyzing that will enable students to understand current economic problem and to see the economics consequence of perusing a particular time of policy.
- It helps in interpreting economic issues rising from government and non-government policies.
- It helps in managing personal life and that of the society.
- It helps to distinguish various economic systems such as capitalist, socialist and mixed economy.
- It explains economic theories and shows how they apply to a particular economy. Economic theories are simplified representation of the real word that we use to understand, explain and predict economic phenomena in the real world. They can be inform of statements or graphs.
- Helps in discussion and analysis of international economic issues and dealing.
- It helps students to use the terminologies, language and symbolism of the subject clearly and communicate economic ideals.