Economics for Social Workers: The Application of Economic Theory to Social Policy and the Human Services

Economics for Social Workers: The Application of Economic Theory to Social Policy and the Human Services

Economics for Social Workers: The Application of Economic Theory to Social Policy and the Human Services

Economics for Social Workers: The Application of Economic Theory to Social Policy and the Human Services

Synopsis

Economics for Social Workers: The Application of Economic Theory to Social Policy and the Human Services is designed to provide a working knowledge of economics with clarity and attention to the concerns of the social work profession. This primer for social work students introduces the general definitions and concepts of economic theory and uses case studies in social work to develop applied understanding. The case studies include stories of job training, substance abuse centers, counseling, therapy, child protective services, and services for the poor. The concluding chapters are devoted to topics directly related to social work: economics of poverty, health economics, household economics, the economics of labor, and government fiscal policy. The dominance of economics in social policy debates means that advocates of policies must demonstrate at least a basic understanding of the economic aspects of their proposals if they want to be considered credible participants. Economics for Social Workers is a unique resource that effectively meets this need.

Excerpt

Economics is one of the five main branches of social science, along with sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, and psychology. Social work is considered an applied profession rather than a social science. Social workers are probably more familiar with some of the other branches of social science than with economics, and it might be best to explain the novel by way of the familiar.

All social sciences study aspects of human behavior. One thing humans do is interact with one another to form social systems such as families, groups, organizations, communities, and nation-states. Sociology is the study of social systems. Another thing humans do is act according to systems of shared rules, values, and beliefs, known as cultures and subcultures. Cultural anthropology is the study of cultures and subcultures. Human beings also create formal systems of governance and authority called political systems. Political science is the study of political systems. In addition to creating social systems, behaving in accordance with cultural phenomena, and creating political systems, humans engage in a host of other types of behaviors. For example, they sleep, eat, make love, make war, and become depressed. Psychology studies human behavior in general.

Humans also interact in the marketplace. An oversimplified view of economics would describe it as the study of the marketplace, but economists define their own discipline more broadly. Economics is the study . . .

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