What Are The Criticisms Of Lionel Robbins Definition Of Economics?


5 Answers

Tahir Mahmood Profile
Tahir Mahmood answered
According to Robbins, economics is a positive science but in reality it is not positive science deals with material things, the results of which are certain but economics deals with human behavior which is uncertain.  Only A Valuable Theory: Robbins has reduced economics merely to the valuation theory.  According to 'Frazer' economics is more than a valuation theory.    Robbins has widened the scope of economics extra ordinary. He has included number of matters in economics which are in fact not discussed in economics. According to Robbins, it covers the whole human life. For example, if you are to choose between the worship of God and that of Mammon (riches), it will be an economic problem while it is spiritual issue.    According to Robbins, economics has no normative aspect while it is incorrect. Normative science is that which deals with the matter of material well beings.    It is also pointed out that Robbins definition ignores the macro aspect like determination of national income and employment. But in reality this is very important work of economists.  It is also pointed out that Robbins definition has made economics colorless, abstract and difficult. It is in fact a definition of economics only for economists. A common man cannot get any utility from it.    Human Love Missing: Human love is entirely missing in Robbins definition of economics. He has not mentioned any thing about man's welfare.    According to Robbins, an economist is a neutral person. He has no concern whether the ends are good or bad. But in reality an economist cannot be neutral person. He must give views on the solution of actual economic problems.    Some writers point out that it fails to explain the problem of unemployment which is a main economic problem present time.    According to Robbins, means are always scarce. But in some countries, one of the economic means, i.e., labour is not scarce. It means Robbins definition is based on wrong assumption.    The theory of economic growth or economic development has become the important branch of economics. This definition ignores it. It means it should be discussed in economics that how does economy grow and which factors bring about increase in nation income and productive capacity of the economy.
Siddharth Singh Profile
Siddharth Singh answered
Lord Lionel C.Robbins,lived 1898-1984 A.D.,gave the definition, which has been criticised on several grounds:

1)Ethical aspect ignored: Robbins does not consider economics as a normative science. He overemphasised economics as a positive science. In his view, economics only says how man behaves and not how he should behave.

2)Too much stress on scarcity: Robbins lays too much stress on the scarcity aspect. He forgets that an economic problem may also out of abundance.

3)Imprecise scope: According to Robbins's definition,the scope of economics is either too wide or too narrow. In the wider sense, economics embraces almost the whole of man's life and in the narrow sense economics would be a science of price theory or market equilibrium.

4)Neglect of social aspects: Robbins's definition studies and deals with individual behaviour only. In fact, economics is a social science which deals with man's behaviour as a member of society as well.

5)No human touch: Robbin's defination lacs human touch. A satisfactory defination should be concerned not only with the adjustments of scarce resources to unlimited wants, but also with human welfare.

6)Static, not dynamic: Dynamic economics is concerned with growth or development. Robbins's definition takes a static view of the economic problem and therefore does not help us to solve the problem of development.

thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
Uc eventhough robbins emphasize to much on scarcity u must understand that his defnition is far more better than the defnition given by adam smith and others.......but if u c adam smith classified economics only on the basis of u might have studied air water are available in plenty but it cannot given a value.........bcause of its u can accept robbins defnition in which we can classify our value 4 scarce goods.
Uzma Shahzad Profile
Uzma Shahzad answered
The demerits of definition of Economics given by Robbins are as follows: Robbins has tried to make Economics a pure or positive science whereas it is a social science because it deals with the behaviour of the human being. In pure science whatever is stated today will definitely be true even two centuries later. But as far as human behaviour is concerned it keeps on changing from time to time. Moreover, there is no laboratory to test the human behaviour as it is in the case of matter in the physical sciences like physics and chemistry. Marshal defined Economics as and engine of social betterment. In this way, Marshall was more concerned with the welfare of the people.

Robbins on the other hand deals with ends, means and their alternatives uses. Thus, Robbins gave secondary importance to the crux of the subject. There is no touch of morality in Robbins definition of Economics. For example according to Robbins a society can produce anything which is required to satisfy human wants. But there is no justification for the production of drugs, alcoholic drinks and services of prostitutes because the use of these goods and services disrupts the whole social set up. Robbins says that resources are limited and therefore he overlooks the fact that limited resources can be increased.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Wants of people in a given society are unlimited. The satisfaction of one wants leads to the occurrence of other wants. Since these wants are unlimited,we have to choose between more urgent and less urgent wants .and in any nation four factors of production are limited. It is this fact that give rese to the science of economics.and the scarce means are to be adjusted to the multiple ends which secure maximum utility this means he indirectly considers material and being of the people.some economists think scarcity definition limits the scope of economics which is a social science. This definition converts economics into a pure science that formulates economic theory. So many economics into a pure sience that fourmulates economic theory. So many economists believe that economics is not only a tool maker but a tools user science .

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