Economics’ emphasis on using well our relatively scarce human, natural, and produced resources (such as buildings and machines) aims to make people’s material lives better. To paraphrase the great British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), “Once we solve the economic problems, we can get on to the issues of living and loving.” He had it right—Economics is subservient to these more important aspects of human existence.
But subservient or not, Economics’ import can not be overstated, as Suzanne B. Kaplan observes: “Ethics mediates science, sociology modifies ethics, history shapes sociology, political science propels history, and Economics directs everything.”
Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. puts in perspective the questions that Economics addresses: “Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead the Indian economy to grow like Indonesia’s or Egypt’s? If so, what, exactly? If not, what is it about the ‘nature of India’ that makes it so? The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.”
Mark Ratkus, PhD.