The Economics of Welfare
IN the preceding chapters it has been shown that economic welfare is liable to be affected in an important degree (1) through the size of the national dividend and (2) through the way in which it is distributed among the members of the community. If causes affecting the size of the dividend had no influence on its distribution, and causes affecting its distribution no influence on its size, the remaining stages of our inquiry would be simple. Each of these groups of causes would be examined in turn separately. As a fact, however, the same causes will often act along both of these channels, with the result that an entirely satisfactory method of exposition is difficult to devise. After weighing up the comparative advantages of different courses I propose to proceed as follows. In Parts II. and III., I shall study the way in which economic welfare is affected by certain causes that operate upon it through the size of the dividend. I do not propose to examine all the causes that might properly be brought under review in this connection. Inventions and discoveries, the opening up of extensive sources of foreign demand, improvements in the technique of marketing, and the growth of accumulated capital will scarcely be discussed at all. Part II. will be concerned with the way in which the productive resources of the community, looked at generally, are distributed among different uses, and Part III. with the organisation of labour in various aspects. These discussions having been completed, Part IV. is devoted to an inquiry as to how far in actual fact causes that affect economic welfare in one sense through the size of the dividend are liable to affect it in a different sense through the distribution of the dividend, and to a study of the problems that arise when this sort of disharmony is manifested.
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