Economics

A Definition of Economics

The economic is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources.

Here the concept of ‘resources’ is used in the broadest sense of that word, including in settings where resources were/are not instrumentalized or reduced to a means to other ends, including accruing exchange value. Although the domain of economics was only abstracted as a named area of social life and self-consciously practiced as a separate domain in the modern period, this definition allows the concept to be used across different places and times. Questions of power are ever-present in the economic domain in relation to contested outcomes over the use of resources. This brings questions of politics into contention. And as soon as we ask questions about the meaning of economic practices, discourses, and material expressions we have brought questions of culture into contention.

This has profound consequences for thinking about the economics of food. It means that economics is much more than production, and food is only reduced to a commodity at certain times within certain economic systems. Each of the aspects below were developed to describe the economic human condition in general. By addressing each and all of these aspects in relation to the economics of food, we begin to comprehend the complexity of all food systems.

Perspectives and Aspects of Economics

  1. Production and Resourcing
    1. Prosperity and Resilience
    2. Manufacture and Fabrication
    3. Extraction and Harvesting
    4. Art and Craft
    5. Design and Innovation
    6. Human and Physical Resources
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  2. Exchange and Transfer
    1. Reciprocity and Mutuality
    2. Goods and Services
    3. Finance and Taxes
    4. Trade and Tourism
    5. Aid and Remittances
    6. Debt and Liability
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  3. Accounting and Regulation
    1. Transparency and Fairness
    2. Finance and Money
    3. Goods and Services
    4. Land and Property
    5. Labour and Employment
    6. Taxes and Levies
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  4. Consumption and Use
    1. Appropriate Use and Re-use
    2. Food and Drink
    3. Goods and Services
    4. Water and Electricity
    5. Petroleum and Metals
    6. Promotion and Dissemination
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  5. Labour and Welfare
    1. Livelihoods and Work
    2. Connection and Vocation
    3. Participation and Equity
    4. Capacity and Productivity
    5. Health and Safety
    6. Care and Support
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  6. Technology and Infrastructure
    1. Appropriateness and Robustness
    2. Communications and Information
    3. Transport and Movement
    4. Construction and Building
    5. Education and Training
    6. Medicine and Health Treatment
    7. Monitoring and Reflection
  7. Wealth and Distribution
    1. Accumulation and Mobilization
    2. Social Wealth and Heritage
    3. Wages and Income
    4. Housing and Subsistence
    5. Equity and Inclusion
    6. Re-distribution and Apportionment
    7. Monitoring and Reflection

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