DEFINITION OF ECONOMICS BY LIONEL ROBBINS

DEFINITION OF ECONOMICS BY LIONEL ROBBINS


Lionel Robbins- definition of economics



Professor Lionel Robbins in his book, "Nature and significance of Economic Science" which was published in 1931, defined economics in the following words: 

"Economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends & scarce means which have alternative uses."

 This definition of Economics focuses its attention on a particular aspect of human behavior i.e., the behavior that concerns with the utilization of scarce resources to achieve unlimited ends.

Following three basic points are mentioned explicitly in this definition. 

A. UNLIMITED WANTS

Human wants are unlimited. The multiplicity of wants is the cause of unending cycle of economic activity. If wants had been limited, they would have been adequately satisfied and there would have been no economic problem. 

B. LIMITED RESOURCES

Economic resources are scarce in relation to human wants. Natural, human and artificial resources are not scarce in absolute term but they are scarce in relative term. So according to Robbins, unlimited wants, and scarce means provide a foundation to the field of economics. Due to this relationship between wants and means, 'Economic Problem' arises. If all the things were freely available to satisfy the -unlimited human wants, there would be no scarcity and there would be no economic Problem.

C. VARIOUS USES OF RESOURCES

The limited means available to satisfy human wants may be utilized alternatively. A particular mean is not fixed for a particular need. If particular means were fixed for the satisfaction of particular desires, no economic problem could have appeared. The above-mentioned three points are explicit in the definition of economics by Robbins but there is also an implicit point in this definition that is as follows: 

D. VARIOUS IMPORTANCES OF WANTS

This definition also points out implicitly that human wants are of various importance. Due to the difference in importance, a problem of choice appears. If all human wants are of the same importance then there will be no problem for the man because he can fulfill any of his desire with his limited resources.
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