What is economics?

We have reproduced this quote (above) to show the need that, in the abstract process, not to overlook what is essential in terms of research purpose. "The concept is the element of "unit"* of thinking, according to theory concepts, they are equivalent philosophical theory of the atom. Concepts (...) are not given in experience, but must be thought through analysis."[1]

Using "axial principle" (paragraph 1.1.), we can create different conceptualizations of the same reality, which is of particular importance in understanding our course. Thus, society can be conceptualized by the concepts related to "axis disciplinary perspective" in the economy, social, ecological, political, moral, dimensions etc. On one "axis" there are "civil society" and "political society," on other one we elaborate the types of agrarian society, industrial and postindustrial, and finally other "axis" will lead us to the primitive, feudal, capitalist, socialist, etc. societies. Taking these examples as "exemplary cases," we can divide the economy on various criteria ("axis") obtaining different ways of analysis.

On the type of work axis we get the economy (the three in classical analysis, five in the theory developed by Daniel Bell).[2] On the satisfying human needs axis we can study natural economies, based on the exchange (market). On the work type axis we analyze agrarian economies, industrial and postindustrial. On the individual-community perspective ratio axis we have macro and microeconomics. On the level of generality of research axis will study economics (general economy) and other subjects at the first level of generality (history of economic thought, economic statistics, then economies "branch" and then we can talk meta economics and economy, on two types of approaches to economics, etc.

We see, therefore, that macro and microeconomics are two related perspectives of the economy that are not identified with the general (policy).

Macro and microeconomics are on the same level of generality with political economy (without identifying with it).

What is essential in understanding our book also refers on how to develop and explore concepts. Each concept of the whole economy and each conceptual structure part[3] shall be developed within a given theory. The concept consists in a perceptible sensory "aspect" (a sign) such as: name by word or ideograms and, a meaning (significance). The meaning of concepts is revealed by the given definitions and expressions in which it is used. It is possible that in two economic theories to have some common (conceptual) words but the meanings they are used to be different.

The analysis of economic concepts, seen not as series of terms taken as such, but as constituent units of a theory[4] is a methodological requirement of primary importance. Even the way of defining the concept depends on the theoretical position. A concept refers to a certain reality; it has a "designated" one (even imaginary, such as the "unicorn") and involves a number of its properties. The classical theories talk about the "sphere" of nations (the reality of reference, e.g. humans, animals) and the "content" of concepts (the properties of the elements making up the sphere). It is considered that, as we refer to a wider "sphere," it will increase the number of properties covered by the "sphere" (i.e. properties of 'animal' are more numerous than the term "man"). In other semantic systems, the situation is reversed. As the extension of the notion reference domain is greater, the more its intension (properties) is lower. Arguments depend on the theory in which these concepts are developed.

  • [1] Bunge, Mario (1967), Scientific Research, Vol. I, New York, Berlin, Springer Verlag, 47 (x-is what the methodology calls "research unit," the elementary aspect of analysis, such as family, business, etc.).
  • [2] Bell, Daniel, op. cit, 117.
  • [3] Macroeconomics' own conceptual structure is different from that of microeconomic and political economy.
  • [4] The "unity" term is the one used by Bunge.
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