The Business and economics Portal
In the social sciences
is the study of human choice
behavior and the methodology used to make associated investment and production decisions; in particular, though not limited to, how those choices and decisions determine the allocation of scarce resources and their effect on production
, and consumption
. The word "economics" is from the Greek
], meaning "family, household, estate", and νόμος [nomos
], or "custom, law", and hence literally means "household management" or "management of the state". An economist
is a person using economic concepts and data in the course of employment, or someone who has earned a university degree
in the subject. Economics undergraduate courses always cover at least the two main branches:
- Microeconomics studies the behavior of individual households and firms in making decisions on the allocation of limited resources. Microeconomics applies to markets where goods or services are bought and sold. It examines how decisions and behaviors affect the supply and demand for goods and services, which determines prices, and how prices, in turn, determine the quantity supplied and quantity demanded of goods and services.
- Macroeconomics deals with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole, rather than individual markets. This includes national, regional, and global economies.
However, there are also others sub-field of economics (see JEL classification codes).
In economics, economic systems is the study and analysis of organizing production, distribution, consumption and investment and the study of optimal resource allocation and institutional design. Traditionally the study of economic systems was based on a dichotomy between market economies and planned economies, but contemporary studies compare and contrast a number of different variables, such as ownership structure (Public, Private or Collective), economic coordination (planning, markets or mixed), management structure (Hierarchy versus adhocracy), the incentive system, and the level of centralization in decision-making. A business, also known as an enterprise or a firm, is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are prevalent in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and provide goods and services to customers in exchange of other goods, services, or money. Businesses may also be not-for-profit or state-owned. Management in business and organizations is the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization or initiative to accomplish a goal. Management is also an academic discipline, and is traditionally taught at business schools. An economy can be analyzed in terms of its economic sectors, the classic breakdown being into primary, secondary and tertiary. Economic policy refers to the actions that governments take in the economic field. It covers the systems for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the labor market regulations, national ownership, trade policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, regulatory policy, anti-trust policy and industrial policy. In economics, sustainable development refers to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
During the Khrushchev era, from 1956 through 1962, the Soviet Union attempted to implement major wage reforms intended to move Soviet industrial workers away from the mindset of overfulfilling quotas that had characterised the Soviet economy during the preceding Stalinist period and toward a more efficient financial incentive.
Throughout the Stalinist period, most Soviet workers had been paid for their work based on a piece-rate system. Thus their individual wages were directly tied to the amount of work they produced. This policy was intended to encourage workers to toil and therefore increase production as much as possible. The piece-rate system led to the growth of bureaucracy and contributed to significant inefficiencies in Soviet industry. In addition, factory managers frequently manipulated the personal production quotas given to workers to prevent workers' wages from falling too low.
"Man cannot create material things. In the mental and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas; but when he is said to produce material things, he really only produces utilities; or in other words, his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better for the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in the physical world is either to readjust matter so as to make it more useful, as when he makes a log of wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being made more useful by nature, as when he puts seed where the forces of nature will make it burst out into life.
It is sometimes said that traders do not produce: that while the cabinet-maker produces furniture, the furniture-dealer merely sells what is already produced. But there is no scientific foundation for this distinction. They both produce utilities, and neither of them can do more: the furniture-dealer moves and rearranges matter so as to make it more serviceable than it was before, and the carpenter does nothing more. The sailor or the railway-man who carries coal above ground produces it, just as much as the miner who carries it underground; the dealer in fish helps to move on fish from where it is of comparatively little use to where it is of greater use, and the fisherman does no more. It is true that there are often more traders than are necessary; and that, whenever that is the case, there is a waste. But there is also waste if there are two men to a plough which can be well worked by one man; in both cases all those who are at work produce, though they may produce but little. Some writers have revived the mediæval attacks on trade on the ground that it does not produce. But they have not aimed at the right mark. They should have attacked the imperfect organization of trade, particularly of retail trade."
- —Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1890
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