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By Marc; Sensat, Julius Linder

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Sample text

Lim ited resources. (23). H e m akes the distinction betw een econom ic and engineering efficiency; the form er apparently relates to w h eth er re ­ sources have been allocated so as to maximize production, while the latter refers to the choice of m ethods once the al­ location has taken place. But here again this approach fails to consider such historic chan ges in production as from handicrafts to manufacture to large-scale capitalist industry. And even within (say) the capitalist mode of production, changes in m ethods of production cannot be adequately ex p la in e d by th e se g ra p h s sin ce th ey p re su p p o se th e greatest possible consum ption as the end of all econom ic activity in all societies.

For our purposes here we may speak of three such societies— slave, feudal, and capitalist. Although all three share the existence of a pro­ ducing and a nonproducing (owning) class, the first two, unlike capitalism , are further characterized by production for the personal consum ption of the nonw orking class, and this consum ption is the goal of econom ic activity in these social structures. For the operation of the feudal econom y the needs of the exploited class are irrelevant; in fact, given a sufficiently abundant supply of slaves, even the minimum subsistence co n su m p tio n n eed s can be d isregard ed w ith im p u n ity.

Thus he says: "Everything has a p rice— ea ch com m od ity and se rv ice . ). In saying " e v e n ," S acknow ledges that there is som e­ thing special involved in the sale of labor, and he describes this m ore fully: "In terestin g ly enough, m ost of society's econom ic incom e cannot be capitalized into private proper­ ty. Since slavery was abolished, hum an earning power is forbidden by law to be capitalized. A man is not even free to sell him self: he m ust rent him self at a w ag e" (52).

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