Factors of production

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In economics, factors of production, resources, or inputs are what is used in the production process to produce output—that is, finished goods and services. The utilized amounts of the various inputs determine the quantity of output according to the relationship called the production function. There are three basic resources or factors of production: land, labor, and capital. The factors are also frequently labeled "producer goods or services" to distinguish them from the goods or services purchased by consumers, which are frequently labeled "consumer goods".

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Output in economics is the "quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period, by a firm, industry, or country", whether consumed or used for further production. The concept of national output is essential in the field of macroeconomics. It is national output that makes a country rich, not large amounts of money.

Production function physical output of a production process to physical inputs or factors of production

In economics, a production function gives the technological relation between quantities of physical inputs and quantities of output of goods. The production function is one of the key concepts of mainstream neoclassical theories, used to define marginal product and to distinguish allocative efficiency, a key focus of economics. One important purpose of the production function is to address allocative efficiency in the use of factor inputs in production and the resulting distribution of income to those factors, while abstracting away from the technological problems of achieving technical efficiency, as an engineer or professional manager might understand it.

Contents

There are two types of factors: primary and secondary. The previously mentioned primary factors are land, labor, and capital goods. Materials and energy are considered secondary factors in classical economics because they are obtained from land, labour, and capital. The primary factors facilitate production but neither becomes part of the product (as with raw materials) nor becomes significantly transformed by the production process (as with fuel used to power machinery). Land includes not only the site of production but also natural resources above or below the soil. Recent usage has distinguished human capital (the stock of knowledge in the labor force) from labor. [1] Entrepreneurship is also sometimes considered a factor of production. [2] Sometimes the overall state of technology is described as a factor of production. [3] The number and definition of factors vary, depending on theoretical purpose, empirical emphasis, or school of economics. [4]

In economics, land comprises all naturally occurring resources as well as geographic land. Examples include particular geographical locations, mineral deposits, forests, fish stocks, atmospheric quality, geostationary orbits, and portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Supply of these resources is fixed.

Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labour.

In economics, capital consists of assets that can enhance one's power to perform economically useful work. For example, in a fundamental sense a stone or an arrow is capital for a caveman who can use it as a hunting instrument, while roads are capital for inhabitants of a city.

Historical schools and factors

In the interpretation of the currently dominant view of classical economic theory developed by neoclassical economists, the term "factors" did not exist until after the classical period and is not to be found in any of the literature of that time. [5]

Differences are most stark when it comes to deciding which factor is the most important.

Physiocracy

Physiocracy (from the Greek for "government of nature") is an economic theory developed by a group of 18th century Enlightenment French economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of "land agriculture" or "land development" and that agricultural products should be highly priced

Physiocracy

Physiocracy is an economic theory developed by a group of 18th-century Enlightenment French economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of "land agriculture" or "land development" and that agricultural products should be highly priced. Their theories originated in France and were most popular during the second half of the 18th century. Physiocracy is one of the first well-developed theories of economics.

Classical

An advertisement for labor from Sabah and Sarawak seen in Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur Sabah Sarawak labour advert Kuala Lumpur.JPG
An advertisement for labor from Sabah and Sarawak seen in Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur

The classical economics of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and their followers focus on physical resources in defining its factors of production and discuss the distribution of cost and value among these factors. Adam Smith and David Ricardo referred to the "component parts of price" [6] as the costs of using:

Classical economics or classical political economy is a school of thought in economics that flourished, primarily in Britain, in the late 18th and early-to-mid 19th century. Its main thinkers are held to be Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, and John Stuart Mill. These economists produced a theory of market economies as largely self-regulating systems, governed by natural laws of production and exchange.

Adam Smith 18th-century Scottish moral philosopher and political economist

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

David Ricardo British political economist, broker and politician

David Ricardo was a British political economist, one of the most influential of the classical economists along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith and James Mill.

Natural resource Resources that exist without actions of humankind

Natural resources are resources that exist without actions of humankind. This includes all valued characteristics such as magnetic, gravitational, electrical properties and forces etc. On Earth it includes sunlight, atmosphere, water, land along with all vegetation, crops and animal life that naturally subsists upon or within the heretofore identified characteristics and substances.

Renting agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another

Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership. An example of renting is equipment rental. Renting can be an example of the sharing economy.

The classical economists also employed the word "capital" in reference to money. Money, however, was not considered to be a factor of production in the sense of capital stock since it is not used to directly produce any good. The return to loaned money or to loaned stock was styled as interest while the return to the actual proprietor of capital stock (tools, etc.) was styled as profit. See also returns.

Marxism

Marx considered the "elementary factors of the labor-process" or "productive forces" to be:

The "subject of labor" refers to natural resources and raw materials, including land. The "instruments of labor" are tools, in the broadest sense. They include factory buildings, infrastructure, and other human-made objects that facilitate labor's production of goods and services.

This view seems similar to the classical perspective described above. But unlike the classical school and many economists today, Marx made a clear distinction between labor actually done and an individual's "labor power" or ability to work. Labor done is often referred to nowadays as "effort" or "labor services." Labor-power might be seen as a stock which can produce a flow of labor.

Labor, not labor power, is the key factor of production for Marx and the basis for Marx's labor theory of value. The hiring of labor power only results in the production of goods or services ("use-values") when organized and regulated (often by the "management"). How much labor is actually done depends on the importance of conflict or tensions within the labor process.

Neoclassical economics

Neoclassical economics, one of the branches of mainstream economics, started with the classical factors of production of land, labor, and capital. However, it developed an alternative theory of value and distribution. Many of its practitioners have added various further factors of production (see below).

Further distinctions from classical and neoclassical microeconomics include the following:

Ecological economics

Ecological economics is an alternative to neoclassical economics). It integrates, amongst other things, the first and second laws of thermodynamics (see: Laws of thermodynamics) to formulate more realistic economic systems that adhere to fundamental physical limitations. In addition to the neoclassical focus on efficient allocation, ecological economics emphasizes sustainability of scale and just distribution. Ecological economics also differ from neoclassical theories in its definitions of factors of production, replacing them with the following: [9] [10]

Integral to ecological economics is the following notion: at the maximum rates of sustainable matter and energy uptake, the only way to increase productivity would be through an increase in design intelligence. This provides the basis for a core tenet of ecological economics, namely that infinite growth is impossible. [9]

A fourth factor?

As mentioned, recent authors have added to the classical list. For example, J. B. Clark saw the co-ordinating function in production and distribution as being served by entrepreneurs; Frank Knight introduced managers who co-ordinate using their own money (financial capital) and the financial capital of others. In contrast, many economists today consider "human capital" (skills and education) as the fourth factor of production, with entrepreneurship as a form of human capital. Yet others refer to intellectual capital. More recently, many have begun to see "social capital" as a factor, as contributing to production of goods and services.

Entrepreneurship

In markets, entrepreneurs combine the other factors of production, land, labor, and capital, to make a profit. Often these entrepreneurs are seen as innovators, developing new ways to produce and new products. In a planned economy, central planners decide how land, labor, and capital should be used to provide for maximum benefit for all citizens. Just as with market entrepreneurs, the benefits may mostly accrue to the entrepreneurs themselves.

The sociologist C. Wright Mills refers to "new entrepreneurs" who work within and between corporate and government bureaucracies in new and different ways. [11] Others (such as those practicing public choice theory) refer to "political entrepreneurs", i.e., politicians and other actors.

Much controversy rages about the benefits produced by entrepreneurship. But the real issue is about how well institutions they operate in (markets, planning, bureaucracies, government) serve the public. This concerns such issues as the relative importance of market failure and government failure.

In the book Accounting of Ideas, "intequity", a neologism, is abstracted from equity to add a newly researched production factor of the capitalist system. Equity, which is regarded as part of capital, was divided into equity and intequity. Entrepreneurship was divided into network-related matters and creating-related matters. Network-related matters function in the sphere of equity, and creating-related matters in spheres of intequities. [12]

Natural resources

Ayres and Warr (2010) are among the economists who criticize orthodox economics for overlooking the role of natural resources and the effects of declining resource capital. [8] See also: Natural resource economics

Energy

Exercise can be seen as individual factor of production, with an elastication larger than labor. [13] A cointegration analysis support results derived from linear exponential (LINEX) production functions. [14]

Cultural heritage

C. H. Douglas disagreed with classical economists who recognized only three factors of production. While Douglas did not deny the role of these factors in production, he considered the “Cultural heritage” as the primary factor. He defined cultural inheritance as the knowledge, techniques, and processes that have accrued to us incrementally from the origins of civilization (i.e., progress). Consequently, mankind does not have to keep "reinventing the wheel". "We are merely the administrators of that cultural inheritance, and to that extent, the cultural inheritance is the property of all of us, without exception. [15] Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx claimed that labor creates all value. While Douglas did not deny that all costs ultimately relate to labour charges of some sort (past or present), he denied that the present labour of the world creates all wealth. Douglas carefully distinguished between value, costs and prices. He claimed that one of the factors resulting in a misdirection of thought in terms of the nature and function of money was economists' near-obsession about values and their relation to prices and incomes. [16] While Douglas recognized "value in use" as a legitimate theory of values, he also considered values as subjective and not capable of being measured in an objective manner.

Peter Kropotkin argued for the common ownership of all intellectual and useful property due to the collective work that went into creating it. Kropotkin does not argue that the product of a worker's labor should belong to the worker. Instead, Kropotkin asserts that every individual product is essentially the work of everyone since every individual relies on the intellectual and physical labor of those who came before them as well as those who built the world around them. Because of this, Kropotkin proclaims that every human deserves an essential right to well-being because every human contributes to the collective social product: [17] Kropotkin goes on to say that the central obstacle preventing humanity from claiming this right is the state's violent protection of private property. Kropotkin compares this relationship to feudalism, saying that even if the forms have changed, the essential relationship between the propertied and the landless is the same as the relationship between a feudal lord and their serfs. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

The labor theory of value (LTV) is a heterodox theory of value that argues that the economic value of a good or service is determined by the total amount of "socially necessary labor" required to produce it.

Neoclassical economics is an approach to economics focusing on the determination of goods, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand. This determination is often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits by firms facing production costs and employing available information and factors of production, in accordance with rational choice theory, a theory that has come under considerable question in recent years.

In economics and sociology, the means of production are physical and non-financial inputs used in the production of economic value. These include raw materials, facilities, machinery and tools used in the production of goods and services. In the terminology of classical economics, the means of production are the "factors of production" minus financial and human capital.

Commodity marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs

In economics, a commodity is an economic good or service that has full or substantial fungibility: that is, the market treats instances of the good as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who produced them.

This aims to be a complete article list of economics topics:

Private property legal designation of the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities

Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities. Private property can be either personal property or capital goods. Private property is a legal concept defined and enforced by a country's political system.

Price quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for goods or services

A price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for one unit of goods or services.. A price is influenced by both production costs and demand for the product. A price may be determined by a monopolist or may be imposed on the firm by market conditions.

Use value or value in use is a concept in classical political economy and Marxian economics. It refers to the tangible features of a commodity which can satisfy some human requirement, want or need, or which serves a useful purpose. In Karl Marx's critique of political economy, any product has a labor-value and a use-value, and if it is traded as a commodity in markets, it additionally has an exchange value, most often expressed as a money-price.

A theory of value is any economic theory that attempts to explain the exchange value or price of goods and services. Key questions in economic theory include why goods and services are priced as they are, how the value of goods and services comes about, and—for normative value theories—how to calculate the correct price of goods and services.

Productive and unproductive labour are concepts that were used in classical political economy mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries, which survive today to some extent in modern management discussions, economic sociology and Marxist or Marxian economic analysis. The concepts strongly influenced the construction of national accounts in the Soviet Union and other Soviet-type societies.

Economic value is a measure of the benefit provided by a good or service to an economic agent. It is generally measured relative to units of currency, and the interpretation is therefore "what is the maximum amount of money a specific actor is willing and able to pay for the good or service"?

In economics, distribution is the way total output, income, or wealth is distributed among individuals or among the factors of production. In general theory and the national income and product accounts, each unit of output corresponds to a unit of income. One use of national accounts is for classifying factor incomes and measuring their respective shares, as in national Income. But, where focus is on income of persons or households, adjustments to the national accounts or other data sources are frequently used. Here, interest is often on the fraction of income going to the top x percent of households, the next x percent, and so forth, and on the factors that might affect them.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to economics:

Criticisms of the labor theory of value affect the historical concept of labor theory of value (LTV) which spans classical economics, liberal economics, Marxian economics, neo-Marxian economics, and anarchist economics. As an economic theory of value LTV is central to Marxist social-political-economic theory and later gave birth to the ideologically motivated concepts of exploitation of labour and surplus value. LTV criticisms therefore often appear in the context of economic criticism, not only for the microeconomic theory of Marx, but also for Marxism, according to which the working class was exploited under capitalism.

Throughout modern history, a variety of perspectives on capitalism have evolved based on different schools of thought.

The Cambridge capital controversy, sometimes called "the capital controversy" or "the two Cambridges debate", was a dispute between proponents of two differing theoretical and mathematical positions in economics that started in the 1950s and lasted well into the 1960s. The debate concerned the nature and role of capital goods and a critique of the neoclassical vision of aggregate production and distribution. The name arises from the location of the principals involved in the controversy: the debate was largely between economists such as Joan Robinson and Piero Sraffa at the University of Cambridge in England and economists such as Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Constant capital one of the forms of capital invested in production

Constant capital (c), is a concept created by Karl Marx and used in Marxian political economy. It refers to one of the forms of capital invested in production, which contrasts with variable capital (v). The distinction between constant and variable refers to an aspect of the economic role of factors of production in creating a new value.

Marxian economics school of economic thought

Marxian economics, or the Marxian school of economics, is a heterodox school of economic thought. Its foundations can be traced back to the critique of classical political economy in the research by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxian economics comprises several different theories and includes multiple schools of thought, which are sometimes opposed to each other, and in many cases Marxian analysis is used to complement or supplement other economic approaches. Because one does not necessarily have to be politically Marxist to be economically Marxian, the two adjectives coexist in usage rather than being synonymous. They share a semantic field while also allowing connotative and denotative differences.

References

  1. Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus (2004). Economics , 18th ed., "Factors of production", "Capital", Human capital", and "Land" under Glossary of Terms.
  2. O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 4. ISBN   978-0-13-063085-8.
  3. Michael Parkin; Gerardo Esquivel (1999). Macroeconomía (in Spanish) (5th ed.). Mexico: Addison Wesley. p. 160. ISBN   968-444-441-9.
  4. Milton Friedman (2007). Price Theory. Transaction Publishers. p. 201. ISBN   978-0-202-30969-9.
  5. Classical price theory follows "costs of reproduction" and does not allow for "factor" gains. The great questions of Rent, Wages, and Profits must be explained by the proportions in which the whole produce is divided between landlords, capitalists, and laborers, and which are not essentially connected with the doctrine of value. (Ricardo Johnson, David, 1820; 1951, "The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo", edited by Piero Sraffa, 10 Volumes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1951–1955, VIII, p. 197.
  6. Adam Smith (1776), The Wealth of Nations , B.I, Ch. 6, Of the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities in paragraph I.6.9.
  7. "Das Kapital", chapter 7, section 1.
  8. 1 2 Robert U. Ayres; Benjamin Warr (2009). The Economic Growth Engine: How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN   978-1-84844-182-8.
  9. 1 2 Eric Zencey (2012). The Other Road to Serfdom & the Path to Sustainable Democracy. U of New England. ISBN   978-1-58465-961-7.
  10. Herman Daly; Joshua Farley (2011). Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications. Washington: Island. ISBN   978-1-59726-681-9.
  11. "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," 1956. Oxford: Galaxy Books, pp. 94–100.
  12. Pienaar, M.D. (2014). Intequisms: Accounting of ideas, chap. 6. Centurion: Africahead, 2nd edition, Kindle eBook, Amazon.com.
  13. R. Kümmel: The Productive Power of Energy and its Taxation, 4th European Congress Economy and Managers of Energy in Industry, Porto, Portugal, 27.-30. Nov. 2007.
  14. R. Stresing; D. Lindenberger; R. Kümmel (2008). "Cointegration of Output, Capital, Labor, and Energy" (PDF). European Physical Journal B. 66 (2): 279–287.
  15. Douglas, C.H. (22 January 1934). "The Monopolistic Idea" address at Melbourne Town Hall, Australia. The Australian League of Rights: Melbourne. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  16. Douglas, C.H. (1973). Social Credit (PDF). New York: Gordon Press. p. 60. ISBN   0-9501126-1-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2010.
  17. 1 2 Kropotkin, Petr Alekseevich (2015). The Conquest of Bread. Priestland, David (This edition, using the 1913 text, first published in Penguin Classics in 2015 ed.). London: Penguin Classics. ISBN   9780141396118. OCLC   913790063.

Further reading