I came across an interesting article on GuruFocus.com putting economics in very simple terms; ie. our individual survival depends on accumulation of energy, that specialization allowed for more efficient energy collection, and that money represents stored energy:
People are creatures of the Earth. Like any other living organisms, we need to consume energy in order to survive. In a competitive world of survival, energy sources other than the sun don’t simply present themselves to us. So we must expend our energy in order to obtain more energy on which we survive. In early times, this meant expending energy for hunting and gathering. In more recent times, this meant expending energy in farming. It is only natural that we seek the most efficient expenditure of our energy to obtain more energy. Being that we are a cooperative species, this eventually led us to the idea of specialization.
Specialization allows for people to be experts in their respective tasks. This allows for dramatic improvements in quality and efficiency. Once people decided to specialize and cooperate by sharing ideas and trading with one another, a great wave of invention and innovation ensued, materializing in the agricultural, industrial and informational revolutions.
Read the whole thing. It’s an interesting explanation and take on things.