It is known that economic activity scope is the satisfaction of human needs.
In its configuration as a Science, throughout history, Economy has been evolved through different conceptions. As it have been defined by Marshall in his Principles of Economics (1930) “the Economy is the study of humanity in the ordinary occupations of life; it examines part of the individual and social action that may have the closest connection with obtaining and using resources necessary for well-being”. Those ordinary occupations are subject, however, constantly to the principle of scarcity of resources, paradox that open the door to the interpretation subject to that principle, that is, the Economy is a science seeking to offer well-being compatible with the limitation of the available resources.
Latter in the Economic Science evolution, it was added a new contribution that on the situation of limited resources it is possible to choice and to do different uses among its. The most advantageous one must be chosen. Also a simple purpose can be achieved by several resource use options and it is necessary to choose the most convenient. Robbins conclude in his Essay on the nature and significance of Economic Science (1935) that “Economics comprises human behavior as a relation between goals and scarce resources with alternative uses”.
In order to model this human behavior, the neoclassical school of economics used the concept of homo oeconomicus as a theoretical representation of the rational behavior of people face of any economic stimuli, in view of his ability to adequately process the information he knows, and to act accordingly. This, the homo oeconomicus has been the sustaining element and key pillar of the developments of our standard interpretation and economic modeling in the last more than eighty years ago.
However, since de XXI Century started, a new current of thought started linked to the called Economy of Human civilisation, not to the homo oeconomicus Economy. Currently it is developing an impactful extent that understanding it will be the first step to right understand the New Economy, Circular economy among other theories.
We have come in “the epoch in which humans and our societies have become a global geophysical force” (Crutzen & Stoermer, 2000; Steffen et.al., 2007; Steffen et.al., 2011). It is under this premise that the pressure on the relationship between humanity and the global environment is most remarkable and visible.
As a response of this new framework and as the impact of this new context on the economic discipline, we have to consider the evolution of the Economic Science. The main change will be on the economic analyse where the main element should be the “human oeconomicus” instead of the traditional “homo oeconomicus”. Also we need to start to work over a collective challenge for optimizing occupations that we do on the ordinary life and on the use we made of resources and the way we use its. All that today as a more pressing measure for a sustainable future of our economy, our planet and our humanity.
But, how to learn and work on a practical way about this collective challenge?
In response to this question, mathematics has always been a great tool for the Economics Science in its deductive processes. But as the Nobel Prize of the economy on 1979 T.W. Schultz “we must study economics with mathematics but not like mathematics”, because in the homo oeconomicus behaviour, undoubtedly, will intervene more factors, countless factors ones, such as psychological, moral, legal, environmental aspects…
In this sense, nowadays Circular Economy is very focused on cities, the centers of greatest concentration of humanity in the coming years. In cities the daily occupation of life (resource consumption, actions on the environment, industrial production, urban agriculture, water use or energy consumption) can be optimized from a greater extent, or better, with a greater impact.
For this reason, the behaviors of the collectivity must be analyzed and modeled in order to have the capacity to transform the conventional habits of people to those requirements by the society, and the planet.
As a better solution, although not unique and independent of others, the “Smart” phenomenon and the so-called Smart Cities that will have tools for the knowledge and reaction of the human being oeconomicus will be the best answer. Among other tools, we can mention Big Data, Digitalization, IoT (“Internet of Things”), Robotics, Sensors, Geolocation and Industry 4.0, technologies based on mathematics that require also a parallel development of new society Governance principles and methods. So that, both aspects should be developed closely in a new city system compatible with a coming positive impact on the economic model. An economic model that must not forget the ultimate end of the economic activity: the satisfaction of needs, now, of right human needs.