Welcome to What is Economics Anyway?
Economics pre-empts the headlines. It bears on everyone's life, anxieties and, if more rarely, satisfactions. Its subject matter - more precisely, the circumstances with which it deals - is in a state of rapid change, one that, all too obviously, has left the statesmen and their advisers who apply its solutions well behind. This must be so; were it otherwise, they couldn't promise an end to inflation, an end to unemployment and then often achieve an increase in both.
Winston Churchill said he could understand almost anything else but could not get his mind around economics. And yet obviously it is very important. What is Economics exactly? Churchill said he couldn't get his mind around economics, but he did know that shooting Montagu Norman would be a good thing. Montagu Norman was then the head of the Bank of England.
Alfred Marshall, the great Cambridge economist who dominated the accepted British - and American - economic teaching from the 1880?s to the 90?s, said that economics is merely the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life. We would now add a reference to organization - to the study of the way people are organized for economic tasks by corporations, by trade unions and by government. Also of how and when and to what extent organizations serve their own purposes as opposed to those of the people at large. And of how the public purposes can be made to prevail.
This website seeks to give the man on the 96 bus a working understanding of economics, and how the decisions made by the authorities on our behalf affect our day to day lives. Hopefully, you will gain an insight into how complex global economics can be, and why there are few absolute right and wrong answers to the hard questions, and that the science of economics is about trying to create balance rather than change.
The design of a system that reconciles the various claimants on income and devises a workable - and equitable - alternative to the market will be greatly exciting.
The battles will be wonderful, the distress of the comfortable extreme.
It will be good for political economists; even those who are most contented with their computers, their models of competitive market behaviour and their loving wives may be stirred to thought We know also from the experience of the last hundred years, and especially of the last half century, that the system lends itself to an infinite amount of improvisation... see: The New Reality