The subject of economics as a science in the modern sense did not immediately determined and was the result of a long historical development. In the course of the development of economics as a science, and changed her views on the subject, and here with a certain degree of conditionality can be divided into three main phases (period):
· Savings - as a set of knowledge on the organization of the economy;
· Political economy - as a reflection of the appearance of a systematic knowledge of the nature, purpose and objectives of the economic system;
· Economics - as the current stage of evolutionary development of economic science that takes into account changes in research methodology and approaches to the analysis of economic processes and phenomena. In the center of attention - the problem of limited resources people use to produce goods and services to meet their needs.
If we consider the evolution of approaches to the subject of economic theory in the various scientific fields and schools, you can see how they are diverse.
Representatives of mercantilism was considered the subject of economics national wealth, which they equated with money.
The representatives of classical bourgeois political economy, and in England and in France the subject of economics was also considered the nation's wealth, although its source seen in production, ie the subject of analysis was the sphere of production. However, within individual schools had their own peculiarities: for example, a source of wealth Physiocrats believed only work in agriculture.
The subject of the study of Marxist political economy, in accordance with the class approach to the analysis of society were only the relations of production (ie, the ratio of production, distribution, exchange, consumption), which were seen as a necessary part of social production.
The representatives of the historical school identified as the subject of a study on the economics of everyday human activities on the national or public sector.
Representatives of the Austrian school and the neo-classical economic thought, actively used the methodology of marginalism, the subject of economics was considered the behavior of individuals and social institutions (companies, groups, people, etc.), the ways and means to achieve their goals with limited resources.
Representatives of the Keynesian as a matter of economic theory have identified patterns of functioning of the national economy as a whole, focusing on the problems of development and implementation of economic policy.
Thus, we can conclude that in the course of the historical development of economic science formed different approaches to the understanding of its subject matter. Obviously, many of these are not mutually exclusive, specify and detail levels and areas of research. With the change of approach to the treatment of the subject of economics is a corresponding change of its name - from the economy to the political economy of political economy - to economics.
Despite the variety of approaches in contemporary Western literature can be traced relative consensus on the definition of the subject of the economy (economic theory) as a science.
In support of this we give definitions presented by P. Samuelson and K. McConnell and S. Brue.
"Economic theory is the science of what a rare productive resources, people and society over time, with money or without their participation, elect for the production of various goods and distribute them for consumption in the present and the future, between different people and groups in society" . (Samuelson, PA).
"The subject of economics - finding an effective use of scarce resources in the production of goods and services for the satisfaction of material needs." (K. McConnell, Brue C).
Thus, the subject of economic theory is the work of people using limited resources to produce goods and services to meet their needs.
Economic theory performs methodological, practical, cognitive, predictive, educational and ideological functions.
Methodological function allows you to define economics as the basis for the development of a number of other economic disciplines (marketing, statistics, management, pricing).
Expression of the practical function of economic theory is the development of economic policy. In general, the practical function is the scientific foundation of economic policy, to identify principles and practices of good housekeeping.
Cognitive function is to comprehensively examine the forms of economic phenomena and their inner self, allowing you to discover the laws by which develops the national economy. This study begins by examining the facts of mass economic data, the behavior of economic agents that Western economic literature by the term "descriptive science."
The predictive function of economic theory is to determine the prospects for socio-economic development in the future. This function is related to the development of promising criteria and indicators. It has a special significance in the development of plans and forecasts for the national economy.
Educational function is manifested in the formation of economic thinking.
Also highlight the ideological function, however, we must remember that excessive indoctrination may obstruct the establishment of the objective laws of economic development, but also lead to