Economics, according to a classical definition, is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Greek oikonomia ("management of a household, administration") from oikos ("house") and nomos ("custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".
For the Austrian school, Economics deals in general with the action of men to satisfy their desires, and, specifically, with the process of exchange of goods as a means for each individual to “produce” satisfactions for his desires. These goods may be tangible commodities or they may be intangible personal services. The principles of supply and demand, of price determination, are exactly the same for any good, whether it is in one category or the other.
Economics and ethics
Economics is a value-free, theoretical science and as such avoids any judgment of value. It is not its task to tell people what ends they should aim at. It is a science of the means to be applied for the attainment of ends chosen, not a science of the choosing of ends. Ultimate decisions, the valuations and the choosing of ends, are beyond the scope of any science. Science never tells a man how he should act; it merely shows how a man must act if he wants to attain definite ends.
- Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary - Economy", referenced 2009-04-26.
- Murray N. Rothbard "11. Types of Exchangeable Goods", Man, Economy and State, online edition, referenced 2009-04-26.
- Ludwig von Mises. "3. Economic Theory and the Practice of Human Action", Human Action online edition, referenced 2009-04-26.