When I tell people I am an economist (retired), they frequently presume that I have expertise in how stock markets operate, and how markets operate in general. This, I think, reflects a perception that economics is about “supply and demand” and the determination of prices. This perception derives from a broadly accepted definition of economics by Lionel Robbins in his 1932 work, Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. He wrote that economics is “the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”.

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