Just because these things are so interesting (or "interesting") a topic these days, and because everyone, not only professionals, are the ultimate benefactors or victims of the economy, here is a few words on that from this one little end-consumer.
Economy, οἰκονόμος (Greek), "managing a household", domaćinstvo, domaćin (in Serbian)... These days, good principles of managing households and economies, are widely being abandoned on so many levels and instances.
All the basic good principles that would make a household strong and healthy, should stand in a country's economy, regardless of the fact that, as they say, "the two are as different as a speed boat and an ocean liner".
Prudence, awareness of one's fragile position in the world, full knowledge that the food and other necessities as well as luxuries have to be produced, earned, or in other way acquired with effort and sweat.
That we don't just get them for free from other people, and when we do, then they are the product of others' effort and should be considered a present, not a right.
That we cannot consume more than we produce.
That we have to produce first, then consume.
That the resources at our disposal are limited and should be allocated with care and diligence. And if we really, really have to breach any of the principles, we should consider that an exception and handle it prudently, and even more, with fear, lest it become a habit.
The world is dealing with the monumental credit crisis, which has already become the confidence crisis. Why - because there is so much of imprudency, recklessness, arrogance - all the opposites of the good principles. Seems everyone has been spending money they didn't have. Not only governments, but everyone. Everyone was after "free lunch", to get "something for nothing", and "more of it".
There have been so many examples in the recent years (and explanations) of how ignoring this ultimately leads to crisis, personal, or obviously even on a global scale. We, who have lived in socialist countries, have experienced severe national crises for the very same reasons.
I am not implying, however, that liberal economy, (nowadays quite loudly represented by "Austrian School"), and especially not today's political systems in the West, are sole, or even firm keepers of these principles, as many do say. I also do not intend to say that socialism has no such prudent, sustainable principles (although I do think that socialism as we know it from practice, did have a systemic inclination for ignoring them).
In fact, having seen the same kind of amazing corruption of governments and capital both in socialist and capitalist countries throughout the world, I think the terms “capitalism” and “socialism” and the polarity between them have become anachronistic and do not represent reality well anymore. They should be used to describe only the past events, while today we are dealing more with the polarities such as "corruption" and "honesty", "transparency" and "secretiveness", and similar.