The student majoring in economics will acquire a set of analytical tools and a way of thinking that will help him or her to better understand and predict the behavior of individuals, groups, and societies. Learning economics does for the undergraduate student what corrective lenses do for the person with impaired eyesight: it brings the world into focus. Things that were invisible become visible, the complex and hard-tounderstand become simple and easily understood. Economics is the study of human behavior as it relates to the condition of scarcity: that is, the condition where resources are limited in relation to human wants. An important part of economics is the study of how individuals, groups, and societies deal with scarcity through markets or exchange-like institutions.
Economic theory is sufficiently powerful to explain many varieties of exchange relationships. This is evident in the number of fields in which economic analysis is currently utilized, such as business, history, law, psychology, political science, and sociology. Economics has always been a highly respected field of study, but in the past three decades its reputation has soared. There are perhaps three major reasons for this change. First, many people have come to realize that economics plays an important role in their everyday lives. Recession, inflation, the exchange value of the dollar, the savings rate, interest rates, taxes, mergers, government expenditures, and economic growth all matter. These economic factors touch lives; they affect dreams. Second, economists have developed better tools and more refined methods of analysis: they have successfully extended their analytical apparatus and the economic way of thinking beyond the traditional confines of the science. Third, the one language that is becoming increasingly more universal is the language of economics. The American business person may not speak Japanese, and the Japanese business person may not speak English, but both of them know the language of supply and demand, profits, production, costs, international trade, and competition. Both of them know the language of economics.
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