The study of money-credit and banking is a division of the science of economics. Economics is the science which treats of the production, distribution, consumption and exchange of wealth. In other words, it is the science which deals with man in his business relations. Wealth is the general economic term used to include all things which satisfy human wants or which, as the economists say, have the quality of utility. In the production of wealth three primary factors are involved - land (including all natural resources), labor and capital. Economists now generally recognize a fourth factor, the entrepreneur or enterpriser, who brings together the other factors in the productive process.

The cooperation of these factors through the division of labor is a fundamental characteristic of modern industrial society. The progress of civilization, especially since the Industrial Revolution of the latter part of the eighteenth century with its introduction of machinery and power, has been marked by an ever increasing subdivision of labor and by greater specialization of employment. In a primitive society each family or community provided for itself the simple necessaries of life - food, clothing, shelter. But to-day it would be hard to find among civilized peoples either a family or a community that attempts to supply all its own needs. In earlier days the village shoemaker made with his hands and a few simple tools a complete pair of shoes, but now he buys shoes for himself and his family made in a factory where many machines, operated by scores of workmen, each performing a special operation, turn out several hundred pairs of shoes a day. Like subdivision of labor and specialization obtains in all lines of modern industry. Even the farmer, the most nearly self-sufficient of all producers, sells grain and buys flour, sells cattle and buys meat, and depends upon others to supply most of his needs. Indeed very few of the world's workers are engaged nowadays in producing things for their own use or consumption. Most of the wealth produced is intended to be exchanged. Our whole economic structure is based upon the exchange of goods and services. This process of exchange involves the economic phenomena of value, price, money, and the whole mechanism of exchange.