Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
We start with a definition of economics: it is derived from the Greek oikos, meaning pertaining to the household, so economics is the study of household management Aristotle wrote of this in his Politics. Wise household management, even if the household comprises the entire state, is part of natural law. But for Aristotle, and those who followed his philosophical lead long into the medieval period, chrematistics, or producing and lending money for profit, was unnatural. Economic thought has changed a great deal since ancient and medieval times! Curiously ecology starts there too, although the ecologist’s household can often be much larger. If you think about economics in your day-to-day life, you are probably thinking about providing yourself with the necessities of life (and hopefully a few amenities), that is, the basic stuff you need to survive and, hopefully, be happy. Often you need to think about the trade-offs that exist between the choices you have, a hamburger and no movie vs. Ramen soup and a movie, tuition vs. rent or a vacation, or how to budget whatever financial resources that you have to meet your needs and wants. Many elderly people of limited means must consider the trade-off between food and health care. Hence in very basic perspective, economics is about choice: how much we have and how we should decide among alternatives. Of course, economics pays a lot of attention to money, and a basic starting point for economic thought is that almost everything of concern to humans has a price and can be bought or sold for money. A starting assumption of mainstream economics is that the value of something is represented by its price.
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Smith, Adam. 1923. An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, 14. New York: Modern Library.
Political economist Anwar Shaikh is also an amateur magician. When asked whether he believed in the magic of the market he said “certainly.” He then proceeded to make an egg disappear and pull it from the coat pocket of his enquirer. Professor Shaikh then went on to say that magic, like the market, is mostly illusion. What you see is not necessarily what is going on. What we see is the voluntary exchange between equals. What we don’t see is the hierarchy of production, the depletion of high quality resources, and the destruction of the environment.
Gowdy, John. 1998. Limited wants, unlimited means. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Notice the quotation marks around “Say’s Law.” This means we are highly skeptical of the term. For something to meet the criteria of a scientific law, three conditions must be met: the phenomenon always occurs, and there are no counterexamples. Any scientific law must be consistent with other scientific laws. Moreover, the law can be expressed mathematically. Examples that fit are the Ideal Gas Law, Newton’s Law of Gravity, and the Laws of Thermodynamics. The existence of periodic recessions and depressions is a counterexample to Say’s supposed law. In addition, the fact that the money on the top loop just equals the money on the bottom loop means no waste occurs in production. But the second law of thermodynamics states that some work is always turned into waste heat. Consequently “Say’s Law” is contrary to the basic laws of thermodynamics and doesn’t really represent a law in the scientific sense.
Goodwin, Neva, Jonathan Harris, Julie Nelson, Brian Roach, and Mariano Torras. 2014. Microeconomics in context. Armonk/New York: M.E. Sharpe.
Harrod, Roy. 1939. An essay in dynamic theory. Economic Journal 49: 14–33. CrossRef
Domar, Evsey. 1947. Expansion and employment. American Economic Review. 37 (1): 34–55.
Solow, Robert. 1956. A contribution to the theory of economic growth. Quarterly Journal of Economics 70 (1): 65–94. CrossRef
Douthwaite, Richard. 1999. The ecology of money. Devon: Green Bools Ltd..
Raskin, Paul, Tariq Banuri, Gilberto Gallopin, Pablo Gutman, and Al Hammond. 2002. The great transition. Stockholm: The Stockholm Environment Institute.
- How We Do Economics Today
Charles A. S. Hall
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