This paper presents uplink power control in cellular radio systems from an economic point of view. A utility function is defined for each mobile user, which reflects the user's preference regarding the carrier-to-interference ratio (CIR) and the transmitter power. We observe that, on one hand, mobile users prefer to transmit at a lower power for a fixed CIR. On the other hand, for a given transmitter power, users prefer to obtain a better CIR. Based on this observation, we make two fundamental assumptions about the utility function. We formulate the uplink power control problem as a non-cooperative N-person game. Under the two assumptions that we make about the utility function, there exists a Nash equilibrium. To show the generality of the framework, we study one special case by defining the utility as a linear function. This model encompasses many of the widely studied power control problems. A more general case is also studied by defining utility as an exponential function. This paper establishes a general economic-based framework for studying resource management in wireless networks and points out new research directions.