The Important Position of Economics in Society

Why Economics?

Economics is simply one of many different disciplines within what is commonly called the "Social Sciences". Social Sciences themselves could be classified under the Humanities or Arts. These categories are simply a part of the larger picture of the many fields of study that exist, ranging from Mathematics to Agriculture and everything conceivably in between. The scope of potential jobs and employments allow for one to work in numerous different fields. Economics is only one of these fields.

Why Economics?

Pursuing a formal Economics education is one thing, but what about in one's own study or free time? One could make a personal educational voyage through the fields listed above and many more that the Universities omit or have not yet included in their programs. Books are nearly endless in topics and number, yet only a portion are devoted to economics. In the age of the Internet, one's own free time can be filled with a plethora of different activities, which are, for human purposes, infinite. The wealth of the modern age has allowed for man to spend more and more of his time in leisure. Economics is simply one of many different studies or  possible activities.

Why Economics?

A correct understanding of Economics is what allows for the other fields of thought to exist in the first place.

Some explanation is required here. What is the natural state of mankind? Destitution. In our natural state, man's standard of living is that of bare subsistence. The wealth existing in society that we are born into today is the product of years and centuries of progress. The end of this chain of progress is the wealth of today, and the start is the poverty of centuries past. Nature gives us nothing. Survival is not guaranteed.

While man is in this state of poverty, there is little advancement in fields other than that directly related to survival. Time is a scarce resource, and as such, must be rationed between different activities. Few people are likely to spend time thinking about art or science when these thoughts are competing with worries about whether or not your family will starve in the winter. This is not to say that there was no advancement at all in these fields in the Ancient and Middle Ages, but the contributions of these years pale in comparison to the leaps and bounds made in modern ages.

The study of how man rises from the state of impoverishment to the wealth of our day and age is the study of economics. Economics deals with, among other questions, the inquiry into how societies can become more wealthy and tame the indifferent cruelties of nature. It is only during this process that fields other than the few needed for survival can start to flourish. Arts and Sciences are now possible on large scales. The division of labor in society eventually reaches a point where only a small minority of the population is producing what we need to survive. The majority is involved in work and study in fields that would have been inconceivable to earlier generations.

Bad economic theory leads to bad economic policy, which leads to bad economic situations. One of the greatest myths of our day is that the wealth in our modern age is permanent. Not only is this myth false, but it is dangerously false. Economic policy is not of little consequence in our day. The standards of living that we all enjoy can be lost. If this occurs, man will be thrust backwards in his pursuit of greater luxuries and goods. If this regression continues, the backwards motion will lead us back into the state of subsistence, where our ancestors resided.

Economics holds in its hands the fates of not only the other disciplines of thought and study, but that of human society in general. It is sound economics that gave us the wonders of the modern age, and it is unsound economics that will take it away. I will not try and convince you that any particular economic theory is correct or not, but that the question itself is of the utmost importance. The results of good or bad economics are too great for anyone to dismiss the question flippantly.

Why Economics?

Because we can't afford to ignore the question.

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