Economics is one type of social science. This branch of social science involves the matters regarding resource allocation, production, distribution and consumption of products and services. The subject deals with how the individuals, organizations, governments and countries make choices and decisions on resource allocation for satisfying the needs and wants of the people and to maximize the output in the most efficient manner. Hence, as satisfaction of needs and wants of people or consumer is a major factor in economics, it is associated with another important concept, namely scarcity.
In economics, the term ‘scarcity’ can be defined as limitations, which can occur for any type of goods or services, time, natural resources, factors of production etc. It is a fundamental economic problem. As the resources are mostly finite, the demand for the resources is quite infinite. It is a relative concept and not an absolute concept. For example, while water is less scarce in the rainforest regions, it is more scarce in the desert areas. Hence, to deal with scarcity, the society needs to make decisions and choices regarding efficient resource allocation with an aim to satisfy the basic as well as additional needs and wants. Resources that are not free, that is, have non zero cost have the characteristics of scarcity. Thus, scarcity arises when the means to satisfy the wants are limited as well as expensive. Natural resources, like, air is treated as a free resource and hence, it is considered as not scarce. On the other hand, where water is polluted and people need to pay for clean drinking water, then in those cases, water is scarce.
There are two branches of modern economics, positive and normative. Positive economic involves evaluation of economic events on the basis of real data and scientific evaluation methods and it focuses on describing the causes and effects of economic phenomena. On the other hand, normative economic is based on morality, values, ethics and principles. In other words, normative economics is concerned with the fairness of the economic events and these events or statements cannot be verified using real facts and figures, rather these are judged on the basis of ethics and principles. There are some essential differences between positive and normative economics and those are as follow:
The organization of the economic activities is divided between two categories, command economies and market economies. The major difference between the command and market economies lies in the division of labour or the division of the factors of production and the mechanisms which determine the prices. While the centralized government determines the prices in a command economy, the prices are solely determined by market forces of demand and supply in a free market economy.
The major differences between the command and market economies are as follows.
Thus, it can be said that the basic difference between the command and market economy is the division of labour and the ownership type. While the government has the total control on the resources and businesses in the command economy, the private individuals and the businesses control the resource ownership and economic activities under market economy.
l Government’s role in the economy is limited
l The economy is based on almost entirely on supply and demand
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