Is nature a ‘force’ ?

My brother read my statement of purpose and asks:

“Economic life is dominated by two forces…”

It seems to me there are at least three forces. You describe two social forces, but I feel that nature (the environment) is as dominant a force as the other two. I have to imagine resources play an important role in an economy. Re: pricing…isn’t supply (and i’m referring to real world supply/scarcity not that created through monopoly, etc.) an important factor?

Later you describe the environment as an effect of the two social forces (“I want to study the dynamic between these two forces….how can markets be used to protect the environment…”), when I’m saying it’s both a result and a cause…a circular reference if you will šŸ˜‰

I guess since you can’t really change the “natural force”, it may become viewed more as a result of practices put in place by the social forces. However, I still feel it is a dominant/governing force because the individual and the community need to act (maybe react is a better word) and make their economic decisions based on the limits/resources in their environment…making it a cause in every decision’s result.

My response:

I guess I’m making the implicit claim that while [main line] economic thought has been dominated by the “scarcity of (natural) resources” line of thought, I believe economic life is determined by the arrangement made between individuals and community. I’d contend, over all time, natural resources are NOT constrained… basically, we humans are only constrained by our creative use of resources (i.e. we rely on individual genius to invent new, more efficient, ways to use resources and social institutions to diffuse those inventions). Think of how much more gdp we produce today per ton of coal as compared to 100 years ago. This pov makes natural resources infinite.

Another way to see it… the economy is less and less built on resource extraction, but on services. Take a look at the gdp numbers for these industries.

So, I see the study of economics to be the study of the environment that fosters new/better ideas. This is an interaction between individuals and community.


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