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Economics : ウィキペディア英語版

Economics is the social science that aims to describe the factors that determine the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
The term ''economics'' comes from the Ancient Greek from (', "house") and (', "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house (hold for good management)". 'Political economy' was the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science" to establish itself as a separate discipline outside of political science and other social sciences.〔• Marshall, Alfred, and Mary Paley Marshall (1879). ''The Economics of Industry'', Macmillan, p. (2. )
         • Jevons, W. Stanley (1879). ''The Theory of Political Economy'', 2nd ed., Macmillan. p. (xiv ).〕
Economics focuses on the behavior and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Consistent with this focus, primary textbooks often distinguish between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics examines the behavior of basic elements in the economy, including individual agents and markets, their interactions, and the outcomes of interactions. Individual agents may include, for example, households, firms, buyers, and sellers. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy (meaning aggregated production, consumption, savings, and investment) and issues affecting it, including unemployment of resources (labor, capital, and land), inflation, economic growth, and the public policies that address these issues (monetary, fiscal, and other policies).
Other broad distinctions within economics include those between positive economics, describing "what is," and normative economics, advocating "what ought to be"; between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioral economics; and between mainstream economics (more "orthodox" and dealing with the "rationality-individualism-equilibrium nexus") and heterodox economics (more "radical" and dealing with the "institutions-history-social structure nexus").〔Andrew Caplin and Andrew Schotter, ''The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics'', Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-19-532831-0〕〔Davis, John B. (2006). "Heterodox Economics, the Fragmentation of the Mainstream, and Embedded Individual Analysis", in ''Future Directions in Heterodox Economics''. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.〕
Besides the traditional concern in production, distribution, and consumption in an economy, economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as ''in'' business, finance, health care, and government. Economic analyses may also be applied ''to'' such diverse subjects as crime,〔Friedman, David D. (2002). ("Crime," ) ''The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.'.' Retrieved October 21, 2007.〕 education,〔The World Bank (2007). ("Economics of Education." ). Retrieved October 21, 2007.〕 the family, law, politics, religion,〔Iannaccone, Laurence R. (1998). "Introduction to the Economics of Religion", ''Journal of Economic Literature'', 36(3), (pp. 1465–1495. ).〕 social institutions, war,〔Nordhaus, William D. (2002). "The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq", in ''War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives'', (pp. 51–85. ) American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Retrieved October 21, 2007.〕 science,〔Arthur M. Diamond, Jr. (2008). "science, economics of", ''The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics'', 2nd Edition, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pre-publication cached ccpy.]〕 and the environment. Education, for example, requires time, effort, and expenses, plus the foregone income and experience, yet these losses can be weighted against future benefits education may bring to the agent or the economy. At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.〔• Lazear, Edward P. (2000|. "Economic Imperialism", ''Quarterly Journal Economics'', 115(1)|, (p. 99 )–146. (Cached copy. ) (Pre-publication copy )(larger print.)
   • Becker, Gary S. (1976). ''The Economic Approach to Human Behavior''. (Links ) to arrow-page viewable chapter. University of Chicago Press.〕
The ultimate goal of economics is to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday life.〔By Paul Samuelson : ''Economics''〕

There are a variety of modern definitions of economics. Some of the differences may reflect evolving views of the subject or different views among economists.〔• Backhouse, Roger E., and Steven Medema (2008). "economics, definition of", ''The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics'', 2nd Edition, pp. 720–22. (Abstract. )
   • _____ (2009). "Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics", ''Journal of Economic Perspectives'', 23(1), pp. (221–33 ).〕 Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (1776) defined what was then called political economy as "an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations", in particular as:
:a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator (the twofold objectives of providing ) a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people ... () to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue for the publick services.〔Smith, Adam (1776). ''An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations'', and Book IV, as quoted in Peter Groenwegen (1987) ()), "'political economy' and 'economics'", ''The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics'', v. 3, pp. 904–07 (brief (link )).〕
J.-B. Say (1803), distinguishing the subject from its public-policy uses, defines it as the science ''of'' production, distribution, and consumption of wealth.〔Say, Jean-Baptiste (1803). ''A Treatise on Political Economy; or the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth'', trans. 1834, C. C. Biddle, ed., Grigg and Elliot.〕 On the satirical side, Thomas Carlyle (1849) coined "the dismal science" as an epithet for classical economics, in this context, commonly linked to the pessimistic analysis of Malthus (1798).〔• (Thomas ) (1849). "Occasional Discourse on the N() Question", ''Fraser's Magazine'', republished in ''Works of Thomas Carlyle'', 1904, v. 29, Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 348–383.
   • Malthus, Thomas (1798). ''An Essay on the Principle of Population.''
   • Persky, Joseph (1990). "Retrospectives: A Dismal Romantic", ''Journal of Economic Perspectives'', 4(4), pp. 166–169 .〕 John Stuart Mill (1844) defines the subject in a social context as:
:The science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other object.〔Mill, John Stuart (1844). "On the Definition of Political Economy; and on the Method of Investigation Proper to It", (Essay V ), in ''Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy'' (V39). (Accessed Nov 2011)〕
Alfred Marshall provides a still widely cited definition in his textbook ''Principles of Economics'' (1890) that extends analysis beyond wealth and from the societal to the microeconomic level:
:Economics is a study of man in the ordinary business of life. It enquires how he gets his income and how he uses it. Thus, it is on the one side, the study of wealth and on the other and more important side, a part of the study of man.〔Marshall, Alfred (1890 ()). ''Principles of Political Economy'', v. 1, pp. 1–2 (ed. ). London: Macmillan.〕
Lionel Robbins (1932) developed implications of what has been termed "()erhaps the most commonly accepted current definition of the subject":〔Backhouse, Roger E., and Steven Medema (2009). "Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics", ''Journal of Economic Perspectives'', 23(1), p. 225. . London: Macmillan. Links for (1932 HTML ) and 2nd ed., (1935 facsimile ).〕
Robbins describes the definition as not ''classificatory'' in "pick() out certain ''kinds'' of behaviour" but rather ''analytical'' in "focus() attention on a particular ''aspect'' of behaviour, the form imposed by the influence of scarcity."〔Robbins, Lionel (1932). ''An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science'', p. (16 ).〕 He affirmed that previous economist have usually centered their studies on the analysis of wealth: how wealth is created (production), distributed, and consumed; and how wealth can grow.〔Robbins, Lionel (1932), pp 4 to 7〕 But he said that economics can be used to study other things, such as war, that are outside its usual focus. This is because war has as the goal winning it (as a sought after end), generates both cost and benefits; and, resources (human life and other costs) are used to attain the goal. If the war is not winnable or if the expected costs outweigh the benefits, the deciding actors (assuming they are rational) may never go to war (a decision) but rather explore other alternatives. We cannot define economics as the science that studies wealth, war, crime, education, and any other field economic analysis can be applied to; but, as the science that studies a particular common aspect of each of those subjects (they all use scarce resources to attain a sought after end).
Some subsequent comments criticized the definition as overly broad in failing to limit its subject matter to analysis of markets. From the 1960s, however, such comments abated as the economic theory of maximizing behavior and rational-choice modeling expanded the domain of the subject to areas previously treated in other fields.〔• Backhouse, Roger E., and Steven G. Medema (2009). "Defining Economics: The Long Road to Acceptance of the Robbins Definition", ''Economica'', 76(302), (V. Economics Spreads Its Wings ).
   • Stigler, George J. (1984). "Economics—The Imperial Science?" ''Scandinavian Journal of Economics'', 86(3), pp. (301 )-313.〕 There are other criticisms as well, such as in scarcity not accounting for the macroeconomics of high unemployment.〔Blaug, Mark (2007). "The Social Sciences: Economics", ''The New Encyclopædia Britannica'', v. 27, p. 343 (343–52 ).〕
Gary Becker, a contributor to the expansion of economics into new areas, describes the approach he favors as "combin(the ) assumptions of maximizing behavior, stable preferences, and market equilibrium, used relentlessly and unflinchingly."〔Becker, Gary S. (1976). ''The Economic Approach to Human Behavior'', Chicago, (p. 5 ).〕 One commentary characterizes the remark as making economics an approach rather than a subject matter but with great specificity as to the "choice process and the type of social interaction that () analysis involves." The same source reviews a range of definitions included in principles of economics textbooks and concludes that the lack of agreement need not affect the subject-matter that the texts treat. Among economists more generally, it argues that a particular definition presented may reflect the direction toward which the author believes economics is evolving, or should evolve.〔Backhouse, Roger E., and Steven Medema (2009). "Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics", ''Journal of Economic Perspectives'', 23(1), p. 229, Introduction, and Conclusion [pp. [http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.23.1.221 221–33].〕

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