The Economy and a ‘cultural noise in the background of our minds’

The word economy can be traced back to the Greek word oikonomos meaning ‘one who manages a household.’ The first recorded todays’ meaning of  economy was traced in the work, although could not be proven but was very likely  composed in the year of  1440, referring to ‘the management of economic affairs,’ in this case, of a monastery.

cultural background noiseVery few would argue that a modern economy is customarily said to have begun with Adam Smith (1723–1790). Smith characterizes economy as three orders in society: those who live by the rent, by their labor, and by the profits. Therefore we could say that we have been caught under the Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, the economic paradigm, more than 250 hundred years ago. And it was modeled upon the prevailing ‘cultural background noise’ of that age. It was also very much ‘trapped’ by religion.
Joseph Schumpeter described economy also as three-folded namely, monetary, interests, and value theory within a natural-law perspective. And those two economists were not the only ones thinking it this way. It really looks like the economy is based on three main concepts. One does not need be an expert to deduct: a (free) market, which can by definition is something imaginary as a Holy Ghost; a (private) property, which equals to omnipotence – the God; and the third is labor, which can be linked to a sacrifice – Jesus Christ.

EconomyApart from ‘three-parts’ economy, there exists another, quiet different but very much employed, definition: “the economy is basically a social science. It analyzes and describes the consequences of choices made concerning scarce productive resources. It is a system or rather a range of economic activity in any country, region, community, or globally. It consists of the careful management of resources to avoid unnecessary expenditure or waste. It is also a study of how individuals and societies choose to employ resources: what goods and services will be produced, how they will be produced, and how they will be distributed among the members of society.”

Is the latter definition correct? Could be if applied widely and vigorously. But, I am not convinced that all around the world people consider and include the fact that our planet is unique and has limited resources when dealing with important economic decisions. We live in a world of plenty. We are able to make products that can last ‘forever.’ We can produce enough food for everybody. We know how to make safe and environmental-friendly products.  All of this is actually achievable. So, why don’t we do it? Lack of interest? Opposite interests? Or, is it the opportunity cost that prevails?
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