Verbal definition of economics

Economics, or political economy, may be defined, briefly, as the study of men earning a living; or, more fully, as the study of the material world and of the activities and mutual relations of men, so far as all these are the objective conditions to gratifying desires. To define, means to mark off the limits of a subject, to tell what questions are or are not included within it. The ideas of most persons on this subject are vague, yet it would be very desirable if the student could approach this study with an exact understanding of the nature of the questions with which it deals. Until a subject has been studied, however, a definition in mere words cannot greatly aid in marking it off clearly in our thought. The essential thing for the student is to see clearly the central purpose of the study, not to decide at once all of the puzzling cases.
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