Economics is the discipline that studies how people respond to scarcity, i.e., the observed fact that individuals desire more than they already possess, whether the object of their desire is wealth, health, education, security, or some other intangible good or service. An economy can be viewed as a mechanism that emerges when people cooperate with others in order to deal with the problem of scarcity. It is a vast social network of individuals who make, buy, and sell goods and services in order to achieve their ends.
Economic forces are at work anytime exchange occurs or resources are used. Economic principles are therefore essential for understanding phenomena such as prices, markets, commerce, employment, industrial output, and business fluctuations. The economic way of thinking is also very useful for the study of non-market phenomena such as elections, lobbying, and government decision making.
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