NCERT Textbook - Introduction (Macroeconomics) Commerce Notes | EduRev

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Commerce : NCERT Textbook - Introduction (Macroeconomics) Commerce Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Chapter 1
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
You must have already been introduced to a study of basic
microeconomics. This chapter begins by giving you a
simplified account of how macroeconomics differs from the
microeconomics that you have known.
Those of you who will choose later to specialise in
economics, for your higher studies, will know about the
more complex analyses that are used by economists to
study macroeconomics today. But the basic questions of
the study of macroeconomics would remain the same and
you will find that these are actually the broad economic
questions that concern all citizens – Will the prices as a
whole rise or come down? Is the employment condition of
the country as a whole, or of some sectors of the economy,
getting better or is it worsening? What would be reasonable
indicators to show that the economy is better or worse?
What steps, if any, can the State take, or the people ask
for, in order to improve the state of the economy? These
are the kind of questions that make us think about the
health of the country’s economy as a whole. These
questions are dealt within macroeconomics at different
levels of complexity.
In this book you will be introduced to some of the basic
principles of macroeconomic analysis. The principles will
be stated, as far as possible, in simple language.
Sometimes elementary algebra will be used in the
treatment for introducing the reader to some rigour.
If we observe the economy of a country as a whole it will
appear that the output levels of all the goods and services
in the economy have a tendency to move together. For
example, if output of food grain is experiencing a growth, it
is generally accompanied by a rise in the output level of
industrial goods. Within the category of industrial goods
also output of different kinds of goods tend to rise or fall
simultaneously. Similarly, prices of different goods and
services generally have a tendency to rise or fall
simultaneously. We can also observe that the employment
level in different production units also goes up or down
together.
If aggregate output level, price level, or employment
level, in the different production units of an economy,
2020-21
Page 2


Chapter 1
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
You must have already been introduced to a study of basic
microeconomics. This chapter begins by giving you a
simplified account of how macroeconomics differs from the
microeconomics that you have known.
Those of you who will choose later to specialise in
economics, for your higher studies, will know about the
more complex analyses that are used by economists to
study macroeconomics today. But the basic questions of
the study of macroeconomics would remain the same and
you will find that these are actually the broad economic
questions that concern all citizens – Will the prices as a
whole rise or come down? Is the employment condition of
the country as a whole, or of some sectors of the economy,
getting better or is it worsening? What would be reasonable
indicators to show that the economy is better or worse?
What steps, if any, can the State take, or the people ask
for, in order to improve the state of the economy? These
are the kind of questions that make us think about the
health of the country’s economy as a whole. These
questions are dealt within macroeconomics at different
levels of complexity.
In this book you will be introduced to some of the basic
principles of macroeconomic analysis. The principles will
be stated, as far as possible, in simple language.
Sometimes elementary algebra will be used in the
treatment for introducing the reader to some rigour.
If we observe the economy of a country as a whole it will
appear that the output levels of all the goods and services
in the economy have a tendency to move together. For
example, if output of food grain is experiencing a growth, it
is generally accompanied by a rise in the output level of
industrial goods. Within the category of industrial goods
also output of different kinds of goods tend to rise or fall
simultaneously. Similarly, prices of different goods and
services generally have a tendency to rise or fall
simultaneously. We can also observe that the employment
level in different production units also goes up or down
together.
If aggregate output level, price level, or employment
level, in the different production units of an economy,
2020-21
2 2 2 2 2
Introductory Macroeconomics
bear close relationship to each other then the task of analysing the
entire economy becomes relatively easy. Instead of dealing with the
above mentioned variables at individual (disaggregated) levels, we
can think of a single good as the representative of all the goods and
services produced within the economy. This representative good will
have a level of production which will correspond to the average
production level of all the goods and services. Similarly, the price or
employment level of this representative good will reflect the general
price and employment level of the economy.
In macroeconomics we usually simplify the analysis of how the
country’s total production and the level of employment are related to
attributes (called ‘variables’) like prices, rate of interest, wage rates,
profits and so on, by focusing on a single imaginary commodity and
what happens to it. We are able to afford this simplification and thus
usefully abstain from studying what happens to the many real
commodities that actually are bought and sold in the market because
we generally see that what happens to the prices, interests, wages and
profits etc. for one commodity more or less also happens for the others.
Particularly, when these attributes start changing fast, like when prices
are going up (in what is called an inflation), or employment and
production levels are going down (heading for a depression), the general
directions of the movements of these variables for all the individual
commodities are usually of the same kind as are seen for the aggregates
for the economy as a whole.
We will see below why, sometimes, we also depart from this useful
simplification when we realise that the country’s economy as a whole
may best be seen as composed of distinct sectors. For certain purposes
the interdependence of (or even rivalry between) two sectors of the
economy (agriculture and industry, for example) or the relationships
between sectors (like the household sector, the business sector and
government in a democratic set-up) help us understand some things
happening to the country’s economy much better, than by only looking
at the economy as a whole.
While moving away from different goods and focusing on a
representative good may be convenient, in the process, we may be
overlooking some vital distinctive characteristics of individual goods.
For example, production conditions of agricultural and industrial
commodities are of a different nature. Or, if we treat a single category
of labour as a representative of all kinds of labours, we may be unable
to distinguish the labour of the manager of a firm from the labour of the
accountant of the firm. So, in many cases, instead of a single
representative category of good (or labour, or production technology),
we may take a handful of different kinds of goods. For example, three
general kinds of commodities may be taken as a representative of all
commodities being produced within the economy: agricultural goods,
industrial goods and services. These goods may have different production
technology and different prices. Macroeconomics also tries to analyse
how the individual output levels, prices, and employment levels of these
different goods gets determined.
From this discussion here, and your earlier reading of
microeconomics, you may have already begun to understand in what
2020-21
Page 3


Chapter 1
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
You must have already been introduced to a study of basic
microeconomics. This chapter begins by giving you a
simplified account of how macroeconomics differs from the
microeconomics that you have known.
Those of you who will choose later to specialise in
economics, for your higher studies, will know about the
more complex analyses that are used by economists to
study macroeconomics today. But the basic questions of
the study of macroeconomics would remain the same and
you will find that these are actually the broad economic
questions that concern all citizens – Will the prices as a
whole rise or come down? Is the employment condition of
the country as a whole, or of some sectors of the economy,
getting better or is it worsening? What would be reasonable
indicators to show that the economy is better or worse?
What steps, if any, can the State take, or the people ask
for, in order to improve the state of the economy? These
are the kind of questions that make us think about the
health of the country’s economy as a whole. These
questions are dealt within macroeconomics at different
levels of complexity.
In this book you will be introduced to some of the basic
principles of macroeconomic analysis. The principles will
be stated, as far as possible, in simple language.
Sometimes elementary algebra will be used in the
treatment for introducing the reader to some rigour.
If we observe the economy of a country as a whole it will
appear that the output levels of all the goods and services
in the economy have a tendency to move together. For
example, if output of food grain is experiencing a growth, it
is generally accompanied by a rise in the output level of
industrial goods. Within the category of industrial goods
also output of different kinds of goods tend to rise or fall
simultaneously. Similarly, prices of different goods and
services generally have a tendency to rise or fall
simultaneously. We can also observe that the employment
level in different production units also goes up or down
together.
If aggregate output level, price level, or employment
level, in the different production units of an economy,
2020-21
2 2 2 2 2
Introductory Macroeconomics
bear close relationship to each other then the task of analysing the
entire economy becomes relatively easy. Instead of dealing with the
above mentioned variables at individual (disaggregated) levels, we
can think of a single good as the representative of all the goods and
services produced within the economy. This representative good will
have a level of production which will correspond to the average
production level of all the goods and services. Similarly, the price or
employment level of this representative good will reflect the general
price and employment level of the economy.
In macroeconomics we usually simplify the analysis of how the
country’s total production and the level of employment are related to
attributes (called ‘variables’) like prices, rate of interest, wage rates,
profits and so on, by focusing on a single imaginary commodity and
what happens to it. We are able to afford this simplification and thus
usefully abstain from studying what happens to the many real
commodities that actually are bought and sold in the market because
we generally see that what happens to the prices, interests, wages and
profits etc. for one commodity more or less also happens for the others.
Particularly, when these attributes start changing fast, like when prices
are going up (in what is called an inflation), or employment and
production levels are going down (heading for a depression), the general
directions of the movements of these variables for all the individual
commodities are usually of the same kind as are seen for the aggregates
for the economy as a whole.
We will see below why, sometimes, we also depart from this useful
simplification when we realise that the country’s economy as a whole
may best be seen as composed of distinct sectors. For certain purposes
the interdependence of (or even rivalry between) two sectors of the
economy (agriculture and industry, for example) or the relationships
between sectors (like the household sector, the business sector and
government in a democratic set-up) help us understand some things
happening to the country’s economy much better, than by only looking
at the economy as a whole.
While moving away from different goods and focusing on a
representative good may be convenient, in the process, we may be
overlooking some vital distinctive characteristics of individual goods.
For example, production conditions of agricultural and industrial
commodities are of a different nature. Or, if we treat a single category
of labour as a representative of all kinds of labours, we may be unable
to distinguish the labour of the manager of a firm from the labour of the
accountant of the firm. So, in many cases, instead of a single
representative category of good (or labour, or production technology),
we may take a handful of different kinds of goods. For example, three
general kinds of commodities may be taken as a representative of all
commodities being produced within the economy: agricultural goods,
industrial goods and services. These goods may have different production
technology and different prices. Macroeconomics also tries to analyse
how the individual output levels, prices, and employment levels of these
different goods gets determined.
From this discussion here, and your earlier reading of
microeconomics, you may have already begun to understand in what
2020-21
3 3 3 3 3
Introduction
way macroeconomics differs from microeconomics. To recapitulate briefly,
in microeconomics, you came across individual ‘economic agents’ (see
box) and the nature of the motivations that drive them. They were
‘micro’ (meaning ‘small’) agents – consumers choosing their respective
optimum combinations of goods to buy, given their tastes and incomes;
and producers trying to make maximum profit out of producing their
goods keeping their costs as low as possible and selling at a price as
high as they could get in the markets. In other words, microeconomics
was a study of individual markets of demand and supply and the ‘players’,
or the decision-makers, were also individuals (buyers or sellers, even
companies) who were seen as trying to maximise their profits (as
producers or sellers) and their personal satisfaction or welfare levels
(as consumers). Even a large company was ‘micro’ in the sense that it
had to act in the interest of its own shareholders which was not
necessarily the interest of the country as a whole. For microeconomics
the ‘macro’ (meaning ‘large’) phenomena affecting the economy as a
whole, like inflation or unemployment, were either not mentioned or
were taken as given. These were not variables that individual buyers or
sellers could change. The nearest that microeconomics got to
macroeconomics was when it looked at General Equilibrium, meaning
the equilibrium of supply and demand in each market in the economy.
Macroeconomics tries to address situations facing the economy as a
whole. Adam Smith, the founding father of modern economics, had
suggested that if the buyers and sellers in each market take their
decisions following only their own self-interest, economists will not need
to think of the wealth and welfare of the country as a whole separately.
But economists gradually discovered that they had to look further.
Economists found that first, in some cases, the markets did not or
could not exist. Secondly, in some other cases, the markets existed
but failed to produce equilibrium of demand and supply. Thirdly, and
most importantly, in a large number of situations society (or the State,
or the people as a whole) had decided to pursue certain important
social goals unselfishly (in areas like employment, administration,
defence, education and health) for which some of the aggregate effects
of the microeconomic decisions made by the individual economic agents
needed to be modified. For these purposes macroeconomists had to
study the effects in the markets of taxation and other budgetary
policies, and policies for bringing about changes in money supply, the
rate of interest, wages, employment, and output. Macroeconomics has,
Economic Agents
By economic units or economic agents, we mean those individuals
or institutions which take economic decisions. They can be
consumers who decide what and how  much to consume. They may
be producers of goods and services who decide what and how much
to produce. They may be entities like the government, corporation,
banks which also take different economic decisions like how much
to spend, what interest rate to charge on the credits, how much to
tax, etc.
2020-21
Page 4


Chapter 1
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
You must have already been introduced to a study of basic
microeconomics. This chapter begins by giving you a
simplified account of how macroeconomics differs from the
microeconomics that you have known.
Those of you who will choose later to specialise in
economics, for your higher studies, will know about the
more complex analyses that are used by economists to
study macroeconomics today. But the basic questions of
the study of macroeconomics would remain the same and
you will find that these are actually the broad economic
questions that concern all citizens – Will the prices as a
whole rise or come down? Is the employment condition of
the country as a whole, or of some sectors of the economy,
getting better or is it worsening? What would be reasonable
indicators to show that the economy is better or worse?
What steps, if any, can the State take, or the people ask
for, in order to improve the state of the economy? These
are the kind of questions that make us think about the
health of the country’s economy as a whole. These
questions are dealt within macroeconomics at different
levels of complexity.
In this book you will be introduced to some of the basic
principles of macroeconomic analysis. The principles will
be stated, as far as possible, in simple language.
Sometimes elementary algebra will be used in the
treatment for introducing the reader to some rigour.
If we observe the economy of a country as a whole it will
appear that the output levels of all the goods and services
in the economy have a tendency to move together. For
example, if output of food grain is experiencing a growth, it
is generally accompanied by a rise in the output level of
industrial goods. Within the category of industrial goods
also output of different kinds of goods tend to rise or fall
simultaneously. Similarly, prices of different goods and
services generally have a tendency to rise or fall
simultaneously. We can also observe that the employment
level in different production units also goes up or down
together.
If aggregate output level, price level, or employment
level, in the different production units of an economy,
2020-21
2 2 2 2 2
Introductory Macroeconomics
bear close relationship to each other then the task of analysing the
entire economy becomes relatively easy. Instead of dealing with the
above mentioned variables at individual (disaggregated) levels, we
can think of a single good as the representative of all the goods and
services produced within the economy. This representative good will
have a level of production which will correspond to the average
production level of all the goods and services. Similarly, the price or
employment level of this representative good will reflect the general
price and employment level of the economy.
In macroeconomics we usually simplify the analysis of how the
country’s total production and the level of employment are related to
attributes (called ‘variables’) like prices, rate of interest, wage rates,
profits and so on, by focusing on a single imaginary commodity and
what happens to it. We are able to afford this simplification and thus
usefully abstain from studying what happens to the many real
commodities that actually are bought and sold in the market because
we generally see that what happens to the prices, interests, wages and
profits etc. for one commodity more or less also happens for the others.
Particularly, when these attributes start changing fast, like when prices
are going up (in what is called an inflation), or employment and
production levels are going down (heading for a depression), the general
directions of the movements of these variables for all the individual
commodities are usually of the same kind as are seen for the aggregates
for the economy as a whole.
We will see below why, sometimes, we also depart from this useful
simplification when we realise that the country’s economy as a whole
may best be seen as composed of distinct sectors. For certain purposes
the interdependence of (or even rivalry between) two sectors of the
economy (agriculture and industry, for example) or the relationships
between sectors (like the household sector, the business sector and
government in a democratic set-up) help us understand some things
happening to the country’s economy much better, than by only looking
at the economy as a whole.
While moving away from different goods and focusing on a
representative good may be convenient, in the process, we may be
overlooking some vital distinctive characteristics of individual goods.
For example, production conditions of agricultural and industrial
commodities are of a different nature. Or, if we treat a single category
of labour as a representative of all kinds of labours, we may be unable
to distinguish the labour of the manager of a firm from the labour of the
accountant of the firm. So, in many cases, instead of a single
representative category of good (or labour, or production technology),
we may take a handful of different kinds of goods. For example, three
general kinds of commodities may be taken as a representative of all
commodities being produced within the economy: agricultural goods,
industrial goods and services. These goods may have different production
technology and different prices. Macroeconomics also tries to analyse
how the individual output levels, prices, and employment levels of these
different goods gets determined.
From this discussion here, and your earlier reading of
microeconomics, you may have already begun to understand in what
2020-21
3 3 3 3 3
Introduction
way macroeconomics differs from microeconomics. To recapitulate briefly,
in microeconomics, you came across individual ‘economic agents’ (see
box) and the nature of the motivations that drive them. They were
‘micro’ (meaning ‘small’) agents – consumers choosing their respective
optimum combinations of goods to buy, given their tastes and incomes;
and producers trying to make maximum profit out of producing their
goods keeping their costs as low as possible and selling at a price as
high as they could get in the markets. In other words, microeconomics
was a study of individual markets of demand and supply and the ‘players’,
or the decision-makers, were also individuals (buyers or sellers, even
companies) who were seen as trying to maximise their profits (as
producers or sellers) and their personal satisfaction or welfare levels
(as consumers). Even a large company was ‘micro’ in the sense that it
had to act in the interest of its own shareholders which was not
necessarily the interest of the country as a whole. For microeconomics
the ‘macro’ (meaning ‘large’) phenomena affecting the economy as a
whole, like inflation or unemployment, were either not mentioned or
were taken as given. These were not variables that individual buyers or
sellers could change. The nearest that microeconomics got to
macroeconomics was when it looked at General Equilibrium, meaning
the equilibrium of supply and demand in each market in the economy.
Macroeconomics tries to address situations facing the economy as a
whole. Adam Smith, the founding father of modern economics, had
suggested that if the buyers and sellers in each market take their
decisions following only their own self-interest, economists will not need
to think of the wealth and welfare of the country as a whole separately.
But economists gradually discovered that they had to look further.
Economists found that first, in some cases, the markets did not or
could not exist. Secondly, in some other cases, the markets existed
but failed to produce equilibrium of demand and supply. Thirdly, and
most importantly, in a large number of situations society (or the State,
or the people as a whole) had decided to pursue certain important
social goals unselfishly (in areas like employment, administration,
defence, education and health) for which some of the aggregate effects
of the microeconomic decisions made by the individual economic agents
needed to be modified. For these purposes macroeconomists had to
study the effects in the markets of taxation and other budgetary
policies, and policies for bringing about changes in money supply, the
rate of interest, wages, employment, and output. Macroeconomics has,
Economic Agents
By economic units or economic agents, we mean those individuals
or institutions which take economic decisions. They can be
consumers who decide what and how  much to consume. They may
be producers of goods and services who decide what and how much
to produce. They may be entities like the government, corporation,
banks which also take different economic decisions like how much
to spend, what interest rate to charge on the credits, how much to
tax, etc.
2020-21
4 4 4 4 4
Introductory Macroeconomics
therefore, deep roots in microeconomics because it has to study the
aggregate effects of the forces of demand and supply in the markets.
However, in addition, it has to deal with policies aimed at also
modifying these forces, if necessary, to follow choices made by society
outside the markets. In a developing country like India such choices
have to be made to remove or reduce unemployment, to improve
access to education and primary health care for all, to provide for
good administration, to provide sufficiently for the defence of the
country and so on. Macroeconomics shows two simple characteristics
that are evident in dealing with the situations we have just listed.
These are briefly mentioned below.
First, who are the macroeconomic decision makers (or ‘players’)?
Macroeconomic policies are pursued by the State itself or statutory
bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange
Board of India (SEBI) and similar institutions. Typically, each such
body will have one or more public goals to pursue as defined by law
or the Constitution of India itself. These goals are not those of
individual economic agents maximising their private profit or welfare.
Thus the macroeconomic agents are basically different from the
individual decision-makers.
Secondly, what do the macroeconomic decision-makers try to do?
Obviously they often have to go beyond economic objectives and try
to direct the deployment of economic resources for such public needs
as we have listed above. Such activities are not aimed at serving
individual self-interests. They are pursued for the welfare of the
country and its people as a whole.
Adam Smith is regarded as the founding
father of modern economics (it was known
as political economy at that time). He was
a Scotsman and a professor at the
University of Glasgow. Philosopher by
training, his well known work An Enquiry
into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth
of Nations (1776) is regarded as the first
major comprehensive book on the subject.
The passage from the book. ‘It is not from
the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer,
of the baker, that we expect our dinner,
but from their regard to their own interest.
We address ourselves, not to their
humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own
necessities but of their advantage’ is often cited as an advocacy for
free market economy. The Physiocrats of France were prominent
thinkers of political economy before Smith.
Adam Smith
2020-21
Page 5


Chapter 1
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
You must have already been introduced to a study of basic
microeconomics. This chapter begins by giving you a
simplified account of how macroeconomics differs from the
microeconomics that you have known.
Those of you who will choose later to specialise in
economics, for your higher studies, will know about the
more complex analyses that are used by economists to
study macroeconomics today. But the basic questions of
the study of macroeconomics would remain the same and
you will find that these are actually the broad economic
questions that concern all citizens – Will the prices as a
whole rise or come down? Is the employment condition of
the country as a whole, or of some sectors of the economy,
getting better or is it worsening? What would be reasonable
indicators to show that the economy is better or worse?
What steps, if any, can the State take, or the people ask
for, in order to improve the state of the economy? These
are the kind of questions that make us think about the
health of the country’s economy as a whole. These
questions are dealt within macroeconomics at different
levels of complexity.
In this book you will be introduced to some of the basic
principles of macroeconomic analysis. The principles will
be stated, as far as possible, in simple language.
Sometimes elementary algebra will be used in the
treatment for introducing the reader to some rigour.
If we observe the economy of a country as a whole it will
appear that the output levels of all the goods and services
in the economy have a tendency to move together. For
example, if output of food grain is experiencing a growth, it
is generally accompanied by a rise in the output level of
industrial goods. Within the category of industrial goods
also output of different kinds of goods tend to rise or fall
simultaneously. Similarly, prices of different goods and
services generally have a tendency to rise or fall
simultaneously. We can also observe that the employment
level in different production units also goes up or down
together.
If aggregate output level, price level, or employment
level, in the different production units of an economy,
2020-21
2 2 2 2 2
Introductory Macroeconomics
bear close relationship to each other then the task of analysing the
entire economy becomes relatively easy. Instead of dealing with the
above mentioned variables at individual (disaggregated) levels, we
can think of a single good as the representative of all the goods and
services produced within the economy. This representative good will
have a level of production which will correspond to the average
production level of all the goods and services. Similarly, the price or
employment level of this representative good will reflect the general
price and employment level of the economy.
In macroeconomics we usually simplify the analysis of how the
country’s total production and the level of employment are related to
attributes (called ‘variables’) like prices, rate of interest, wage rates,
profits and so on, by focusing on a single imaginary commodity and
what happens to it. We are able to afford this simplification and thus
usefully abstain from studying what happens to the many real
commodities that actually are bought and sold in the market because
we generally see that what happens to the prices, interests, wages and
profits etc. for one commodity more or less also happens for the others.
Particularly, when these attributes start changing fast, like when prices
are going up (in what is called an inflation), or employment and
production levels are going down (heading for a depression), the general
directions of the movements of these variables for all the individual
commodities are usually of the same kind as are seen for the aggregates
for the economy as a whole.
We will see below why, sometimes, we also depart from this useful
simplification when we realise that the country’s economy as a whole
may best be seen as composed of distinct sectors. For certain purposes
the interdependence of (or even rivalry between) two sectors of the
economy (agriculture and industry, for example) or the relationships
between sectors (like the household sector, the business sector and
government in a democratic set-up) help us understand some things
happening to the country’s economy much better, than by only looking
at the economy as a whole.
While moving away from different goods and focusing on a
representative good may be convenient, in the process, we may be
overlooking some vital distinctive characteristics of individual goods.
For example, production conditions of agricultural and industrial
commodities are of a different nature. Or, if we treat a single category
of labour as a representative of all kinds of labours, we may be unable
to distinguish the labour of the manager of a firm from the labour of the
accountant of the firm. So, in many cases, instead of a single
representative category of good (or labour, or production technology),
we may take a handful of different kinds of goods. For example, three
general kinds of commodities may be taken as a representative of all
commodities being produced within the economy: agricultural goods,
industrial goods and services. These goods may have different production
technology and different prices. Macroeconomics also tries to analyse
how the individual output levels, prices, and employment levels of these
different goods gets determined.
From this discussion here, and your earlier reading of
microeconomics, you may have already begun to understand in what
2020-21
3 3 3 3 3
Introduction
way macroeconomics differs from microeconomics. To recapitulate briefly,
in microeconomics, you came across individual ‘economic agents’ (see
box) and the nature of the motivations that drive them. They were
‘micro’ (meaning ‘small’) agents – consumers choosing their respective
optimum combinations of goods to buy, given their tastes and incomes;
and producers trying to make maximum profit out of producing their
goods keeping their costs as low as possible and selling at a price as
high as they could get in the markets. In other words, microeconomics
was a study of individual markets of demand and supply and the ‘players’,
or the decision-makers, were also individuals (buyers or sellers, even
companies) who were seen as trying to maximise their profits (as
producers or sellers) and their personal satisfaction or welfare levels
(as consumers). Even a large company was ‘micro’ in the sense that it
had to act in the interest of its own shareholders which was not
necessarily the interest of the country as a whole. For microeconomics
the ‘macro’ (meaning ‘large’) phenomena affecting the economy as a
whole, like inflation or unemployment, were either not mentioned or
were taken as given. These were not variables that individual buyers or
sellers could change. The nearest that microeconomics got to
macroeconomics was when it looked at General Equilibrium, meaning
the equilibrium of supply and demand in each market in the economy.
Macroeconomics tries to address situations facing the economy as a
whole. Adam Smith, the founding father of modern economics, had
suggested that if the buyers and sellers in each market take their
decisions following only their own self-interest, economists will not need
to think of the wealth and welfare of the country as a whole separately.
But economists gradually discovered that they had to look further.
Economists found that first, in some cases, the markets did not or
could not exist. Secondly, in some other cases, the markets existed
but failed to produce equilibrium of demand and supply. Thirdly, and
most importantly, in a large number of situations society (or the State,
or the people as a whole) had decided to pursue certain important
social goals unselfishly (in areas like employment, administration,
defence, education and health) for which some of the aggregate effects
of the microeconomic decisions made by the individual economic agents
needed to be modified. For these purposes macroeconomists had to
study the effects in the markets of taxation and other budgetary
policies, and policies for bringing about changes in money supply, the
rate of interest, wages, employment, and output. Macroeconomics has,
Economic Agents
By economic units or economic agents, we mean those individuals
or institutions which take economic decisions. They can be
consumers who decide what and how  much to consume. They may
be producers of goods and services who decide what and how much
to produce. They may be entities like the government, corporation,
banks which also take different economic decisions like how much
to spend, what interest rate to charge on the credits, how much to
tax, etc.
2020-21
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Introductory Macroeconomics
therefore, deep roots in microeconomics because it has to study the
aggregate effects of the forces of demand and supply in the markets.
However, in addition, it has to deal with policies aimed at also
modifying these forces, if necessary, to follow choices made by society
outside the markets. In a developing country like India such choices
have to be made to remove or reduce unemployment, to improve
access to education and primary health care for all, to provide for
good administration, to provide sufficiently for the defence of the
country and so on. Macroeconomics shows two simple characteristics
that are evident in dealing with the situations we have just listed.
These are briefly mentioned below.
First, who are the macroeconomic decision makers (or ‘players’)?
Macroeconomic policies are pursued by the State itself or statutory
bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange
Board of India (SEBI) and similar institutions. Typically, each such
body will have one or more public goals to pursue as defined by law
or the Constitution of India itself. These goals are not those of
individual economic agents maximising their private profit or welfare.
Thus the macroeconomic agents are basically different from the
individual decision-makers.
Secondly, what do the macroeconomic decision-makers try to do?
Obviously they often have to go beyond economic objectives and try
to direct the deployment of economic resources for such public needs
as we have listed above. Such activities are not aimed at serving
individual self-interests. They are pursued for the welfare of the
country and its people as a whole.
Adam Smith is regarded as the founding
father of modern economics (it was known
as political economy at that time). He was
a Scotsman and a professor at the
University of Glasgow. Philosopher by
training, his well known work An Enquiry
into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth
of Nations (1776) is regarded as the first
major comprehensive book on the subject.
The passage from the book. ‘It is not from
the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer,
of the baker, that we expect our dinner,
but from their regard to their own interest.
We address ourselves, not to their
humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own
necessities but of their advantage’ is often cited as an advocacy for
free market economy. The Physiocrats of France were prominent
thinkers of political economy before Smith.
Adam Smith
2020-21
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Introduction
1.1 EMERGENCE OF MACROECONOMICS
Macroeconomics, as a separate branch of economics, emerged after the
British economist John Maynard Keynes published his celebrated book
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936. The
dominant thinking in economics before Keynes was that all the labourers
who are ready to work will find employment and all the factories will be
working at their full capacity. This school of thought is known as the
classical tradition.
However, the Great Depression of 1929 and the subsequent years
saw the output and employment levels in the countries of Europe
and North America fall by huge amounts. It affected other countries
of the world as well. Demand for goods in the market was low, many
factories were lying idle, workers were thrown out of jobs. In USA,
from 1929 to 1933, unemployment rate rose from 3 per cent to
25 per cent (unemployment rate may be defined as the number of
people who are not working and are looking for jobs divided by the
total number of people who are working or looking for jobs). Over the
same period aggregate output in USA fell by about 33 per cent. These
events made economists think about the functioning of the economy
in a new way. The fact that the economy may have long lasting
unemployment had to be theorised about and explained. Keynes’ book
was an attempt in this direction. Unlike his predecessors, his approach
was to examine the working of the economy in its entirety and examine
the interdependence of the different sectors. The subject of
macroeconomics was born.
John Maynard Keynes, British
economist, was born in 1883.
He was educated in King’s
College, Cambridge, United
Kingdom and later appointed
its Dean. Apart from being a
sharp intellectual he actively
involved in international
diplomacy during the years
following the First World War.
He prophesied the break down
of the peace agreement of the
War in the book The Economic
Consequences of the Peace
(1919). His book General
Theory of Employment,
Interest and Money (1936) is
regarded as one of the most
influential economics books of the twentieth century. He was
also a shrewd foreign currency speculator.
John Maynard Keynes
2020-21
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