An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science by Lord Robbins (auth.)

By Lord Robbins (auth.)

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94-138. In his Economic Plannifl{l in SOJJid Ruuia, Professor Boris Brutzkus has well shown the way in which this difficulty has been exemplified in the various phases of the Russiau "XperimeDt. I THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF ECONOMICS 19 organisation of production must depend on the valuations of the final organiser, just as the organisation of a patriarchal estate unconnected with a money economy must depend on the valuations of the patriarch. But in the exchange economy the position is much more complicated.

But it is abundantly clear, as Professor Cannan's own practice has shown, that, so far from Economics having no light to throw on the successful prosecution of modern warfare, it is highly doubtful whether the organisers of war can possibly do without it. It is a curious paradox that Professor Cannan's pronouncement on this matter should occur in a work which, more than any other published in our language, uses the apparatus of economic analysis to illuminate many of the most urgent and the most intricate problems of a community organised for war.

Can we be content with the assumption that the phenomena with which such a theory has to deal are adequately described as pertaining to the more material side of human welfare? Wages, in the strict sense of. the term, are sums earned by the performance of work at stipulated rates under the supervision of an employer. In the looser sense in which the term is often used in general economic analysis, it stands for labour incomes other than profits. Now it is perfectly true that some wages are the price of work which may be described as conducive to material welfare-the wages of a sewage collector, for instance.

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