Provisioning treats economics as a social science. Economics as a study of provisioning includes the historical and philosophical foundations and context of economic behavior. The tradeoffs between the economic and noneconomic goals are considered. The interrelationships of economic life with justice, ethics, morality, creativity, security and aesthetic values are of concern. Human societies have attempted a broad array of alternative systems to deal with the problem of provisioning. Some have been more successful and other less so. Some systems have lasted for thousands of years with few changes. Other systems have come and gone quickly. In some cases environmental problems have cause the demise of societies. In other cases, the societies ended abruptly with social revolution. In other cases, the societies adapted to changing circumstances and evolved over time. Mayan, Egyptian, Roman, Incan are only a few of the societies that have come and
gone. Archeological studies continually find evidence of societies that flourished and ultimately failed. In some cases they were destroyed from outside forces: the Spanish ended the Aztec and Incan societies. In other cases, the causes were environmental: there is a hypothesis a drought is responsible for a dramatic change in the Mayan society.

Economics as a study of provisioning is concerned with the relationships among individuals, between individuals and the community, and between individuals, society and natural and built environments. Natural environment refers to the geographic (cultural and physical) and meteorological phenomena. The built environment consists of the infrastructure and knowledge that a society has inherited and created. It should be noted that
humans have the capacity to alter their natural environment in both positive and negative ways.