These abstractions are presented as models, analogies or metaphors. These models may be presented as narrative stories, mathematical systems [or equations], graphs or other representations of relationships among the relevant elements in the social and economic systems.
There are three fundamental reasons that economic behavior may be studied. First, as an academic discipline there is a desire to understand, describe and explain the world in which we live. Second, as a practical matter there is the desire to predict and control economic processes and their outcomes. Third, the method selected to describe, explain and predict economic processes shapes the perceptions and values that individuals in societies hold about those processes.
Therefore, the values held by the members of society can be influenced by the theories, models or “stories” we believe and use. What we learn, teach and accept is the nature of our culture. Story telling is a mechanism for transmitting values and civilization. Economists are storytellers; their theories and models are stories that contribute to the character of society.
The process of integrating individual behavior has three important elements, all of which require the collection, interpretation and communication of information;
• the identification of objectives of the individual(s) and society,
• identification all possible alternatives that are feasible given the finite resources, social institutions and the current state of technical knowledge (technology),
• criteria to evaluate each possible alternative