Economics, in the simplest definition, is the study of how economies function. Unfortunately, this social science is a lot more complicated than just seeing how economies work. In microeconomics, you have to worry about specific markets, market failure, production and costs, supply and demand, and game theory. In macroeconomics, you are more concerned with fiscal policy, inflation, growth and the business cycle. Economics is a broad discipline that goes in depth to analyze the production, distribution and consumption of products.
Economics has a surprisingly long history, with the earliest schools of thought dating all the way back to early Mesopotamian and East Asian civilizations. For as long as there were economies, there were thoughts and opinions on why and how they should work. Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776 that described how the economy contributes to a nationâ€™s wealth. On the other hand, Karl Marx believed that capitalist economies exploited the labor force with capital. There are countless other schools of thought, such as neoclassical economics and Keynesian economics, which try to explore the patterns and trends that occur in the production and consumption of goods.
Although on the surface, economics seems straight forward, it is a science that has its own set of theories, laws and patterns. Terms such as opportunity cost, production-possibility frontier, supply and demand, and marginal utility describe concepts that economist have to be quite familiar with.
Economics might seem boring to some people, but the intricacies of the stock market, monopolies and corporate markets make for some interesting issues. Here is a short list of documentaries that deal with the details of some aspect of economics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_economics_films):
- 25 Million Pounds (1996; TV documentary)
- The Big One (1996)
- Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
- Freakonomics: The Movie (2010)
- The Corporation (2003)
- Generation Zero (2010)
- Globalisation Is Good (2003; TV documentary film)
- Inside Job (2010)
- I.O.U.S.A. (2008)
- Let’s Make Money (2008)
- Life and Debt (2001)
- Maquilapolis: City of Factories (2006)
- Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (2007)
- Roger and Me (1989)
- Squeezed (2007)
- Startup.com (2001)
- Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)
- The Yes Men (2003)
- The Yes Men Fix the World (2008)
With thousands of years of theory and practice, economics is a social science that comes with a great deal of baggage. It is an intricate study of how we humans interact with each other, the goods we need and the goods we produce. Economics not applies to markets, but also to an extent how business, government, education, war, health and science are functioning in our society. This might be a lot to handle, so if you are struggling with the concepts of economics, or need help with some background reading for a sociology class, you can use the listing below to find a private tutor who knows economics inside out.
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