Say, for sake of argument, I am an economist and you are a businessman producing widgets.

You employ me to answer the question:  How much do my workers need?  How much should I pay them?

So I approach the problem from a scientific perspective

I first get a guppy in a fish bowl.  I feed it two spoons of fish food everyday.  It lives for ten days, and then dies.  Then I go over to the nearest fish scientist, and ask him: what is the normal lifespan of a guppy?  He has done research on guppies who live free in the pond, where they can eat as much or as little as they want or need or desire, and from the results of his research I discover that guppies live on an average of 40 days (again, for sake of argument.)  I then give my new guppy three spoons of fish food a day, and find that it lives for 43 days.  I make a table like so:

Amount of fish food daily (spoonfuls) : Life span (days)

So now I know what a guppy needs

Then I get a cat.  And I do the same thing, only this time with cat food (guppies).  I end up with another table:

Amount of food (guppies):Life span (months)

Then having found what a cat needs, I can either get a dog, or a human.  Now you ask, what age of human?  I answer, of working age, of course.  So I have one table for 16 year old males, one for 16 year old females, one for 25 year old males, one for 25 year old females, and so on till my table for 60  year old males.  I give them a 200 sq ft house, rice, dal, and vegetables, then I measure how long they live (this data I can get from insurance companies).  I also measure each worker’s output of widgets.  I easily have my answer to how much a worker needs.  And I give him just that, because that is my profit maximizing level of costs.  I try and compress a worker’s consumption bundle, until the level at which widget production begins to suffer.

Thus have I answered your question and I can gratefully take my compensation (fee) for this from you.

<<From each according to his ability to each according to his needs>>


One Response to “Needs”

  1. HyperActiveX Says:

    It gets complex when humans are involved, because humans are not only more rational and intelligent agents but can also behave in non-scientific and irrational ways (which seems paradoxical but is true, as you might also concur). Besides, they are aware that they have choices. If guppies had choices and could exercise them, they might have. That said, a mass of humans of a certain ‘type’, however, may behave in predictable ways. The method you have outlined is not very different from a certain HR approach prevalent in the market these days – pay high enough to get them into the firm, and once they’re in, keep their salary just above the level below which they will leave. Humans also ‘want’ job satisfaction (other than salary), and in fact some humans ‘need’ it.

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