Economics 1 – Introduction & Definition   no comments

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Researcher: Jo Munson
Title: Can there ever be a “Cohesive Global Web”?
Disciplines: Economics, Ethnography (Cultural Anthropology)

Adam Smith
Adam Smith, coined the “father of modern economics”, associated with the theory of “Classical Economics”, discussed in “Economics 2 – Disciplinary approach, the Big Theories”

A very brief introduction to Economics

In my scouring of the web and relevant books, Economics has been defined in two ways:

the study of the production and consumption of goods, and the transfer of wealth to produce or obtain these goods.

and, more briefly:

the study of how people choose to use (scarce) resources.

I like both. The former gives a better overview of the systems in which Economics operate, whilst the latter pinpoints an area of key importance to the Economist: choice – where our desires may be infinite, but the availability of resources is finite.

With that unifying definition established, Economics is almost always split in to 2 subdisciplines (arguably 3):

  • Macroeconomics – considers the economy as a whole, covering areas such as inflation, unemployment, economic growth and international trade, usually from a government’s perspective.
  • Microeconomics – focuses on the decisions of the individual or individual firms. This includes such things as the demand and supply within a particular market and the factors affecting commodity prices or a firm’s share price.
  • (Econometrics) – uses economic theory, mathematics, and statistical inference to turns theoretical economic models into useful tools for economic policy making.

Economics also generally considers questions of two types, reflecting its basis in both science and social sciences:

  • Positive – objective, fact based statements that may not be correct, but can be proved or disproved.
  • Normative – subjective, opinion based statements that cannot be proved or disproved.

The majority of theories / statements in Economics will in fact be partially Positive and partially Normative.

Having dipped my toe in Economic waters, establishing a workable definition and some sub fields / ways of thinking about questions in Economics, I will next look at some of the big problems and theories in Economics.

Next time (and beyond)…

I’ve had a quick reshuffle of the order, but broadly, I will be covering the following in the proceeding weeks:

  • Can there ever be a “Cohesive Global Web”?
  • Ethnography 1 – Introduction & Definition
  • Ethnography 2 – Disciplinary Approach
  • Economics 1 – Introduction & Definition
  • Economics 2 – Disciplinary approach, the Big Theories
  • Ethnography 3 – Methodologies & Analysis
  • Economics 3 – Models & Methodologies
  • Ethnographic Approach to the “Cohesive Global Web”
  • Economic Approach to the “Cohesive Global Web”
  • Ethno-Economic Approach to the “Cohesive Global Web”


Investopedia. 2009. Economics Definition | Investopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Oct 2013]. 2013. Back to Basics Compilation. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28 Oct 2013].

Gillespie, A. 2007. Foundations of economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Written by Joanna Munson on October 30th, 2013

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