By Lord Robbins (auth.)
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Additional info for An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science
1938, 48, 396-7. A. Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, London, 1978. R. Hicks, "The Foundations of Welfare Economics", Econ. , Dec. 1939, 49, 696-712. David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, Vol. II, London, 1882. --'Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, London, 1875. WilliamS. D. , Harmondsworth, 1970. N. Kaldor, "Welfare Propositions of Economics and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility", Econ. , Sept. 1939, 49, 549-51. , Paris, 1892 ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL ECONOMY xxxiii Lionel Robbins, Political Economy: Past and Present, London, 1976.
The theory of wages in its entirety is covered by our present definition. So, too, is the political economy of war. The waging of war necessarily involves the withdrawal of scarce goods and services from other uses, if it is to be satisfactorily achieved. It has therefore an economic aspect. The economist studies the disposal of scarce means. He is interested in the way different degrees of scarcity of different goods give rise to different ratios of valuation between them, and he is interested in the way in which changes in conditions of scarcity, whether coming from changes in ends or changes in means-from the demand side or the supply side--affect these ratios.
Fourthly, it may be presumed that, save in most exceptional cases, his want for the different constituents of real income and leisure will be different. Therefore he has to choose. He has to economise. The disposition of his time and his resources has a relationship to his system of wants. It has an economic aspect. This example is typical of the whole field of economic studies. From the point of view of the economist, the conditions of human existence exhibit four fundamental characteristics. The ends are various.