In his wonderful book [1], the first on our reading list, Tom Webb proposes new definitions of economy and economics. I place them below beside the definitions taken from a textbook in microeconomics.

Table 1. Definitions of economy and economics.

Mankiw, Kneebone, McKenzie [2]



The management of society’s resources (e.g., people, land, building, machinery)

Co-operative Economy

The complex set of relationships that people use to provide themselves with the goods and services they need to lead meaningful lives in their communities


The study of how society manages its scarce resources.

Co-operative Economics

Economics is the study of how effective the economy is at meeting human need in a manner that allows people meaningful happy lives as an integral part of a healthy planet.

The differences between the two approaches are evident from the very beginning. The co-operative definitions very well capture the person-orientation we keep on mentioning from the very beginning of the book. In the neoclassical view people are equalled to land, buildings and machinery. This explains why economy based on such assumptions can yield the tragedies described in the introduction to this project.

One of the reasons may be how we teach economics. Aronson [3] in his introduction to social psychology writes the same is true about teaching psychology. When a student asks what time it is, the professors start with explaining the time zones and then move to the construction of a watch. The student still does not know the most essential information he or she was looking for. I have heard students finishing their psychological studies, telling me that after several years of studies they have learnt a lot, but still do not know the things they started the studies for in the first place. Most authors, except some behavioural economists, are focussed on their beloved discipline and not on its application in everyday life. One of the victims of economics teaching are participative companies which are more psychological than economic entities.

In the next post I try in the most shortened way possible to see how the economic concepts fit into the participative company context. I am a psychologist not an economist, so the only guarantee I can give you is that the article was reviewed by an economist, and I did my best to incorporate her remarks in the text. Nevertheless, she found the text very simplifying. But there is no other way of reducing all economic knowledge to one entry. I propose to use agile learning. That is, like in agile programming you may start with this short very simplified, but functional version and then build-up your knowledge on it, by developing it in various directions. What you use to expand your knowledge is not irrelevant as economist, similarly to all other scientists make deterministic or non-deterministic assumptions without announcing it. I highly recommend expanding your systematic knowledge of economics by reading “Principles of Economics in Context” written by a team of authors lead by Neva Goodwin [4]. In the next post, I quote the definitions of the most elementary concepts (that you can test yourself on, in the questionnaire below).

As economic thinking has a great impact on our happiness, in return, we should know economics well in order to be able to defend ourselves. I encourage you to complete this questionnaire as it will test your knowledge of the main economic concepts.

Semantic violence

Short course of economics

[1] Webb, T. (2016). From Corporate Globalization to Global Co-operation: We Owe It to Our Grandchildren. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

[2] Mankiw, N.g., Kneebone, R. D., McKenzie, K. J. (2011). Principles of Microeconomics. 5Th Canadian Edition. Nelson Education.

[3] Aronson, E. (2003). The social animal. Macmillan.

[4] Goodwin, N., Harris, J. M., Nelson, J. A., Roach, B., & Torras, M. (2015). Principles of Economics in Context. Routledge.