Economics is the social science studying the decisions we make and why we make them. A nerdy economist looks at production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
It is a complex social science that spans from mathematics to psychology. At its most basic, however, economics considers how a society provides for its needs.
Looking at Maslows Hierarcy of Needs Our most basic need is survival; which requires food, clothing and shelter. Once those are covered, it can then look at more sophisticated commodities such as services, personal transport, entertainment, the list goes on. How do we satisfy these needs?
Supply and demand is perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts of economics and it is the backbone of a market economy. Demand refers to how much (quantity) of a product or service is desired by buyers. The quantity demanded is the amount of a product people are willing to buy at a certain price; the relationship between price and quantity demanded is known as the demand relationship. Supply represents how much the market can offer. The quantity supplied refers to the amount of a certain good producers are willing to supply when receiving a certain price. The correlation between price and how much of a good or service is supplied to the market is known as the supply relationship. Price, therefore, is a reflection of supply and demand.
Microeconomics is the study of decisions that people and businesses make regarding the allocation of resources and prices of goods and services. This means also taking into account taxes and regulations created by governments. Microeconomics focuses on supply and demand and other forces that determine the price levels seen in the economy. For example, microeconomics would look at how a specific company could maximize it's production and capacity so it could lower prices and better compete in its industry.
Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is the field of economics that studies the behavior of the economy as a whole and not just on specific companies, but entire industries and economies. This looks at economy-wide phenomena, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and how it is affected by changes in unemployment, national income, rate of growth, and price levels. For example, macroeconomics would look at how an increase/decrease in net exports would affect a nation's capital account or how GDP would be affected by unemployment rate.