- Mises.org -
The jurisdiction of economics extends far beyond the study of production and consumption of goods and services. The science of economics consists of the study of human action, interaction, and cooperation. Even if you accept the mainstream division of micro- and macroeconomics, at the most basic levels economics deals with how market agents make decisions and how these decisions affect interactions between individuals. Even the broadest of market trends, usually condemned to the realm of "macroeconomics," boils down to interactions between individual market agents.
How individuals interact in tandem, forming the economic system as studied in modern macroeconomics, is simply fascinating. Even the most complex economies, such as today's global market, are made up of individual human actors, each seemingly unaware of the others' intentions and goals. Economics is the science that studies these individual agents of the market and how they coordinate through the price mechanism to create, not just what the mainstream considers "the market," but society as a whole, all without the necessity of a central planner or authority. The fact that human civilization is the product of billions of individuals, each acting to accomplish certain self-serving ends, is truly mind blowing.
What economists call "political economy," or modern economics, did not come into being until the mid-18th century. Since then the study of economics has not been one of linear progress; neither has it been free of controversy. Even before the birth of political economy, the study of economics was done by competing schools of thought; for example, the French mercantilists and the French liberals. Following the Smithian movement and despite the development of Marxism in the mid-19th century, economics was largely unified by the marginal revolution. However, the marginal revolution was followed by the birth of several distinct schools of economic thought. Some of the most well-known include the Neoclassical, Austrian, and Keynesian Schools, which interestingly all enjoy the same foundations in the marginal revolution.