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1: Welcome to Economics!

  • Page ID
    4049
  • [ "article:topic-guide", "authorname:openstax" ]

    This leads us to the topic of this chapter, an introduction to the world of making decisions, processing information, and understanding behavior in markets —the world of economics. Each chapter in this book will start with a discussion about current (or sometimes past) events and revisit it at chapter’s end—to “bring home” the concepts in play.

    • 1.0: Prelude to Economics
      As you will see in this course, what happens in economics is affected by how well and how fast information is disseminated through a society, such as how quickly information travels through Facebook. “Economists love nothing better than when deep and liquid markets operate under conditions of perfect information,” says Jessica Irvine, National Economics Editor for News Corp Australia.
    • 1.1: What Economics Is and Why It's Important
      Economics is the study of how humans make decisions in the face of scarcity. These can be individual decisions, family decisions, business decisions or societal decisions. If you look around carefully, you will see that scarcity is a fact of life. Scarcity means that human wants for goods, services and resources exceed what is available. Resources, such as labor, tools, land, and raw materials are necessary to produce the goods and services we want but they exist in limited supply.
    • 1.2: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
      Microeconomics focuses on the actions of individual agents within the economy, like households, workers, and businesses; Macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole. It focuses on broad issues such as growth of production, the number of unemployed people, the inflationary increase in prices, government deficits, and levels of exports and imports. Microeconomics and macroeconomics are not separate subjects, but rather complementary perspectives on the overall subject of the economy.
    • 1.3: How Economists Use Theories and Models to Understand Economic Issues
      Economists analyze issues and problems with economic theories that are based on particular assumptions about human behavior, that are different than the assumptions an anthropologist or psychologist might use. A theory is a simplified representation of how two or more variables interact with each other. Sometimes economists use the term model instead of theory. Strictly speaking, a theory is a more abstract representation, while a model is more applied or empirical representation.
    • 1.4: How Economies Can Be Organized: An Overview of Economic Systems
      There are at least three ways societies have found to organize an economy. The first is the traditional economy, which is the oldest economic system and can be found in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. Command economies are very different. In a command economy, economic effort is devoted to goals passed down from a ruler or ruling class. Market economies have a very decentralized structure that brings together buyers and sellers of goods or services.
    • 1.E: Welcome to Economics (Exercises)