Talk:Economics

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Former featured article Economics is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 3, 2004.
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References[edit]

Semi-protected edit request on 25 May 2015[edit]

In the Marxism section, the article included the text (quoted below) which is very disconnected to this section's main point about Marx's labor and surplus theory, also Marx's labor and surplus theory does not suggest that an economy should adopt central planning. The suggestion is to remove the following text.

"The U.S. Export-Import Bank defines a Marxist-Lenninist state as having a centrally planned economy.[133] They are now rare, examples can still be seen in Cuba, North Korea and Laos."

Andyli1757 (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

The sentence you would like removed does not say what a Marxist-Lenninist state is. It says what the U.S. Export-Import Bank says a Marxist-Lennist state is. Therefore, to argue to remove the sentence, you should show either a) this is not what the U.S. Export-Import Bank says or b) the U.S. Export-Import Bank is not a major economic agent. A third possibility is that the sentence belongs in the article, but should be moved to a different section. Rick Norwood (talk) 11:52, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

I also think the sentence is fine. The purpose is to give an example of Marxist-Leninist economies that still exist in the world. But it is not up to Wikipedia to deem an economy "Marxist-Leninist", so instead we rely upon the U.S. Export-Import Bank's perspective. Altamel (talk) 00:09, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
I think it is choice three. This section is about theory, whereas there is another section which talks about international economics and different types of economies. I have moved the paragraph to that section. Minimax Regret (talk) 08:17, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Economic inequality[edit]

I am planning to add a section on economic inequality with a short description of its implications, here and at Macroeconomics. Probably about 1-3 paragraphs. I am open to suggestions about what and what not to cover in such a high-level summary. EllenCT (talk) 16:18, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

The most important thing is to include a reliable reference for every statement. Rick Norwood (talk) 21:16, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
That's easier said than done. There are systemic biases towards supply side explanations which made sense before the telegraph. Things are improving though. EllenCT (talk) 09:45, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Worth discussing are arguments for and against the relevance of inequality. Wikiant (talk) 01:44, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Big mistake in a sentence[edit]

In the sentence Joseph Schumpeter described Aquinas as "coming nearer than any other group to being the 'founders' of scientific economics", referenced to the book "Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1954). History of Economic Analysis". What Schumpeter really does is calificate the scholastics as "coming nearer than any other group to being the 'founders' of scientific economics", no just Aquinas, but the whole scholastics, specially the late scholastics. Denorio (talk) 14:43, 6 October 2015 (UTC)Denorio [1]

Inappropriate claim in the lead[edit]

"The ultimate goal of economics is to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday life" This is a very normative and strong statement (an opinion so to speak of Paul Samuelson), which should not be in the lead of this important article. Or in the very least it should be mentioned that it is his point of view. 2A02:1811:8D05:7100:ED7C:437A:DD0F:A61C (talk) 11:27, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree. The article should mention the two views, economics as descriptive and economics as normative, and attribute them to major economists, not offer them as definitive. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:56, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

First sentence in lead.[edit]

Okay, I'm no economist, but I wonder if the first sentence, which presently reads:

"Economics is a social science that attempts to explain the choices people make when faced with unlimited desires but limited abilities."

is optimal for this article. Yes, I see that similar statements are made in economics textbooks, but is this the over-arching defining concept that we want to communicate? The concept of economics is elaborated upon in the second sentence. Perhaps a merging of these sentences? I might favor removing the first sentence altogether. Just wondering. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 16:07, 11 November 2015 (UTC)


I would imagine that the concept we want to communicate is the definition, which is what the sentence provides. The second sentence is not the definition of economics, it is a description of an application of economics. Wikiant (talk) 14:15, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Understood, but "unlimited desires"? This seems like an exaggeration, though I know that this is sometimes said. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:18, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I strongly agree with Isambard Kingdom. About 15% of economists are libertarian, and would agree that desires are unlimited. But about 85% of economists would disagree, and say that many desires are satisfied. This article should not side with the 15%, especially not in the lead. I think a better first sentence would reflect the dictionary definition, "The science of the production or consumption of goods and services." Many libertarians contribute regularly to Wikipedia, and try to have Wikipedia use their definitions and beliefs. I would support the idea that this article use the dictionary definition. Rick Norwood (talk) 21:16, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Incorrect. Unlimited desires have nothing to do with libertarians. Non-satiation is a standard assumption in microeconomic theory. If desires are satisfied, then exchange ceases and you no longer have economics at all. Wikiant (talk) 22:55, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
That seems kind of black and white. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 00:11, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean here. You've said that you're not an economist, and you've said that this definition matches definitions found elsewhere. If you want a definition for economics, this is it. If you want something other than a definition of economics, then write it, but don't precede it with, "Economics is..." because it isn't. PS: I notice that you are now commenting on my biography page. Yes, the page does rely heavily on articles written by the subject. That's what one would expect from a biography page is it not? Wikiant (talk) 13:50, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
The opening has been more or less the same for the past several years. This is an article about economics, and thus is a very broad topic. Trying to shoehorn neoclassical ideas of a certain type into the first sentence is POV. Rick Norwood is right. In the definitions section, Lionel Robbins definition that "Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses" is fine to put. But shoehorning this narrow view in the first sentence doesn't work. I have my own pet ideas of what economics means, as do others, and everyone could have a free for all trying to shoehorn their pet economic ideas in the first sentence. Or you can have a broad definition like we have now. These ideas would work fine at the top of say the Neoclassical economics page, or in the definition with Robbins, or in the neoclassical part of this articles history section, it does not belong in the first sentence, which is why it has not been there for the past several years. I'm not even sure what "limited abilities" means in the modern economy - billions of people download apps for free from mobile app stores, free software is ubiquitous as are so many other services, if anything, scarcity and limited abilities is disappearing in the modern economy. That's just my opinion though so I wouldn't make the case for it in the first sentence. The first paragraph should be a broad definition covering all of economics, as it has been for many years. In the definitions section you have Adam Smith's definition and John Stuart Mill's definition, and you could replace the top with those if you wish. Narrow definitions from one school of economic thought do not belong up top though - it hasn't for years past and it doesn't now. Minimax Regret (talk) 07:00, 18 November 2015 (UTC)