A definition that captures much of modern economics is that of LionelRobbinsin a1932 essay: "the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."
Scarcitymeans thatavailableresourcesare insufficient to satisfy all wants and needs. Absent scarcity andalternative uses of available resources, there is noeconomic problem. The subject thusdefined involves the study of choicesas they are affected by incentives and resources.Areas of economics may be divided or classified into various types, including:
fields and broader categorieswithin economics.One of the uses of economics is to explain howeconomies,as economic systems, work and what the relations are between economic players (agents) in the larger society.
Methods of economic analysis have been increasingly applied to fields that involve people (officials included) making choices in a social context, such as crime,
), generally regarded asinitiatingmodern economics.Although discussions about production and distribution have a long history, economics inits modern sense as a separate discipline is conventionally dated from the publication of Adam Smith's
There Smith describes the subject inthese practical and exacting terms:Political economy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to supply a plentiful revenue or product for the people, or, more properly, to enable them to provide such arevenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to supply the state or