Theory of Utility; Production

  • R. D. Collison Black


Now, we take P.E. as the theory of utility, or the theory of efforts to supply human wants. But there is one very important law as regards the origin of utility and that is what has been called the law of subordination of wants. Any man may be considered to be a series of requirements felt with greater or less acuteness. They begin with the necessary and end with what we call the luxurious or simply ornamental. This point has been exceedingly well treated by Banficld,1 whose work is called lectures on the organisation of labour — he has written very little on the subject of P.E. He observes that the lower wants man experiences in common with the Brutes: the mere craving of thirst and hunger, effects of heat and cold. Experience shows, however, that privations of various kinds affect men differently in degree according to the circumstances in which they are placed. Some feel the privations of certain employments, not so felt by others. Some sacrifice all that others hold dear, for the gratification of longings that are incomprehensible to their neighbours. Then he makes this remark: “Upon the complex foundation of low’er wants and higher aspirations, the P. Est. has to build the theory of production and consumption.”2 In fact, he holds that this gives P.E. a scientific basis. And the first proposition of the theory of consumption is this: that the satisfaction of every lower want in the scale creates a desire of a higher character.


Oxford English Dictionary Wrong Place High Aspiration Accurate Word Complex Foundation 
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Copyright information

© R. D. Collison Black and Rosamond Könekamp 1977

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  • R. D. Collison Black

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