Marshall pointed out that for economics, wealth is not an end in itself but it is only a means to an end; the end being the promotion of human welfare. Thus, according to Marshall, wealth is only a secondary thing; it is man and his ordinary business of life which is the primary object of economic study. In fact, Marshall tried to make the study of economics an engine of social betterment.
With this end in view Marshall gave the following definition of economics “Political Economy or economics is the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life; if examines that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and with the use of the material requisites of well-being.”
Marshall, at another place writes “Economics is a study of man’s action in the ordinary business of life; it enquires how lie gets his income and how he uses it.”
Thus, we see that through his definition of Economics, Marshall has given preference to man over wealth. According to him, the main and fundamental aim of Economics is to promote human welfare. As such Economics acquired a great social importance and it no more remained as a “Dismal Science’ or the “Science of Selfishness’.