chapter  20
8 Pages

THE PROBLEM OF ATTRIBUTION OF YIELDS

In order to direct production systematically, the producer must be able to judge in any given case the extent to which the yield is the result of any one of the many jointly active productive means that have been used. He must be able to apportion the joint product among the cooperating factors. Practical production is constantly engaged in this task. There is no doubt that it can perform the task with any degree of accuracy that may suit its purpose. Great industries with a world market have precise methods that facilitate such calculation. It is not necessary that such large scale endeavor be involved in order to ascertain what every laborer, machine and new plant brings in. Ever since there has been such a thing as an econ-

112 S O C I A L E C O N O M I C S

omy, the problem of the attribution of yields has been presented and has been solved in an appropriate manner. We cannot conceive of its being absent in the economy of a Crusoe. There are traces of a consciousness of this problem in the development of the most primitive races of hunters and fishes. If the future ever witnesses the rise of a socialistic economy, the problem will be equally present. The solution will have to proceed along the same line of trial and error which has characterized the method of a Crusoe or of an early race of hunters and fishers.