A significant part of the definitions of the subject matter of economics goes back to the already classical definition of L. Robbins. According to the authors, the definition of the subject matter of economics according to Robbins is not entirely satisfactory. The norm is the allocation of the subject of science in the subject area. The selection of a subject of science by modus operandi violates the logic of constructing a disciplinary matrix of scientific knowledge.
We agree that the definition of economic science in terms of material goods is narrow and not entirely satisfactory. However, replacing it with a definition through modus operandi is not an extension of the ‘material’ approach to understanding values, but a transition to a completely different logical level.
We propose the following definitions: value –a rare utility (absolutely not necessarily material). An economic system is a system that can create and distribute values. Economics is a science that studies economic systems.
The choice of an individual between different types of activities, and / or the use of alternative types of resources, although it is an economic choice, but the study of such an ‘atomic’ system is not enough to understand the properties of economic systems. The subject of economics appears with the advent of society. The social structure that ensures this coordination of production and exchange is the structure of the economic system. At the same time, it is the subject of economic science.
The question of which aspect in the economic system is the main one — exchange or production — is the form of the question of what is the ontology of the economic universe: is it linear or non-linear? A complex non-linear system of the economy is made by two aspects: the use of durable assets in the production, as a result of which economic activity is ‘stretched' in time, and the great depth of the division of labor. Thus, the question of understanding the subject of economics is associated with a number of aspects that are significant for theory (and practice), ultimately –with the perception of the world –and the economic world as part of it.