Dr. 1. N. Keynes was not far wrong when he said that Political Economy is said to have strangled itself with definitions. There are, therefore. economists like Richard Jones and Comte who would do away with the definition altogether. Economists like Pareto. Myrdal and Hutchinson think that any search for a precise definition of Economics is a barren enterprise.Pareto thinks it a waste of time to investigate what it ( economic phenomenon) may be. According to Myrdal, Economics is the only term regarding the precise definition of which the economist need not be concerned. In Hutchinson’s opinion. The actual assignment of a definition to the word Economics does not appear to solve. or even help in the solution of any useful scientific problem whatsoever. That is why it is said that it is needless to waste words in defining Economics. It will be an exercise in futility.
Robbins. however, has stoutly denied that it is a waste of tirne to attempt a precise delimitation of the field of Economics. According to Macfie, lack or clear definition can prove harmful.
In our opinion, it is very essential for a student to have some definition in mind as a working basis. Besides. the discussion leading to a definition is very useful in giving a clear understanding of the subject. Let us, therefore, examine some of the definitions put forward from time to time.
examines that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and with the use of the 01. I rial revisits if ell heilig.
We call see that one thread seems to run through the definition given above, viz., that of material welfare. Beveridge speaks of meeting material need . Cannan of causes of material welfare and I hall of material requisites of well-being on to these economists, the aim of Economic I udj human activities which arc conducive to welfare in its material aspect. Wealth furnish man with material means of satisfying his an Ing his welfare. Economists, in so far cloth, can be legitimately regarded as of material welfare.
We can see that lnr halt definition emphasises on four points: ((I) Economics docs not re be-all and end all of economic sought for promoting human welf . I is relegated to a secondary po. ition. !.II) Economics is not concerned with alled in Economics economic man. i.c., a whose only motive is to acquire wealth for i sake and who is not influenced by hum n considerations in the pursuit of wealth. Rather. Economics deals with ordinary men and women who are swayed by love, affection and fellow-feelings 6. Marshall, A. Principles of Economics.
Economics is a social science-and not one which studies isolated individuals or Robinson Crusoes. We study persons living in society
influencing other people and being influenced them.
Economics studies only ‘material requisites of well-being’ or causes of material welfare. It has thus a materialistic aspect and ignores -oon-uncut aspects. Actually, however, as Robbins has shown. Economics embraces both material and non-material things.