Superiority of Robbins

Robbins demolished the old structure of Economics based on material welfare and raised a new one with two foundation-stones,multiplicity of wants and scarcity of means.

Robbins claims that his definition is superior to the earlier definitions:

(a) It is more scientific, since it is not based on artificial classification of wants, as material and non-material. It is independent of such classification.

(b) As defined by Robbins, Economics has a much wider content. It takes into account all types of human wants, material or non-material, as well as of all types of persons whether living in society or not:

(c) Robbins greatly widened the scope of Economics. Marshall had restricted it to wealth and activities which related to the material welfare-of man only.

(d) Robbins raised Econ~mics to the level of a science whereas earlier economists regard it as both, a science and an art. As an art, it could only be an imperfect art to Robbins belonged the credit of elevating Economics to the perfection of a science.

(e) Robbins made Economics a positive science whereas earlier economists regarded it also as a nonnative science. Economics was thus freed from the responsibility of making value judgments. It had only to enunciate general economic principles. It was no longer its function to examine the right or wrong of an economic activity. Right and wrong are relative terms,

(f) According to Robbins, Economics transcends the narrow boundaries within which the materialist definition confined Economics. It lays down a maxim which is true of all times and places. As Wick steed puts it, Its laws are like the laws of life and are applicable to fields that have no connection whatsoever with the business or production of wealth.

(g) Moreover, when Economics is defined; as Robbins does, no charge or sordidness or preaching of Mormonism can be levelled against it. It can no longer be called a dismal science, because it takes no responsibility for selecting the ends, They may be good or bad, Economics is not concerned. Wherever the ends are many and the means arc scarce, Economics is directly.

Thus, Robbins’ definition is superior both to the early definition (science of wealth), and Marshall’s Definition (science of material  rare).

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