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Monday, 2 May 2011

Critically examine the Robbins definition

Prof. Robbins criticized the Marshall's definition and offered the most precise and scientific definition of economics.

" The science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."

Following are the main components of Robbin's definition.

1. UNLIMITED WANTS :-
Human wants are unlimited. it is not possible to find a person who may that his wants have been completely satisfied.

2. LIMITED MEANS :-
Our means and sources are limited to satisfy unlimited wants. If all the things were freely available then there would be no economic problem.

3. IMPORTANT AND LESS IMPORTANT WANTS :-
Some wants are more important while others are less important. If we choose one desire to fulfill then we will have to sacrifice the other one.

4. MEANS HAVE ALTERNATIVE USES :-
The scarce resources have alternative uses. A piece of land can be used for the factory or for the school but man has to choose the best way.

MERITS OF ROBBINS DEFINITION

1. WIDER SCOPE :-
According to this definition economics has much wider content. It takes into account all types of human wants, material or non-material, as well as all types of persons living in society or not.

2. MORE SCIENTIFIC :-
This definition of economics is more scientific and comprehensive as compared to other definitions of economics.

3. UNIVERSAL DEFINITION :-
Robbins laid down the foundation of this definition on some facts and realities which made it universal. Because scarcity problems is felt by every body at every time and at very place.

4. NO CHARGE OF SORDIDNESS :-
Now no charge of preaching me-monism cam be leveled against it.

5. POSITIVE SCIENCE :-
Robbins made economics positive science, while the earlier economists regarded it normative science . For example, our desires are unlimited.

6. NO RESPONSIBILITY OF SELECTING ENDS :-
It takes no responsibility for selecting ends. These may be good or bad economics is not concerned with it. Robbins has made economics natural between ends.

CRITICISM ON ROBBINS DEFINITION
This definition has been criticized on the following grounds by some recent writers :

1. NOT A PURE SCIENCE :-
Robbins definition makes economics pure science like physics and chemistry while in reality it is not true. Economics is related with the behavior of man.

2. ONLY A VALUATION THEORY :-
It is objected that Robbins has reduced economics merely to a theory of value, but it is more then value theory.

3. HUMAN LOVE MISSING :-
Human love is entirely missing in Robbins definition of economics.

4. IGNORES MACRO ASPECTS :-
Robbins definition has ignored macro aspects which is the important part of economics.

5. NO NORMATIVE ASPECT :-
According to Robbins economics has no normative aspects while it is not correct. Economists has also the duty to give its opinion about the matter.

6. DOES NOT COVER ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT :-
The theory of economic planning and development has recently become very important branch of economics, but this definition not cover the problems like inflation, unemployment and over population etc.

7. MUCH WIDER SCOPE :-
It covers the whole of human life. According to this definition, if you want to choose between the worship of GOD and that of Memon ( riches ), it will be an economic problem.

8. UNLIMITED LABOUR :-
According to Robbins all type of resources are limited. But in the third world countries, we find that labour is not limited because rate of unemployment is very high.

NOTE :-
No doubt his definition is not the last word on this subject but it is an important land mark in regard to the discussion of nature of economic science.

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