Surplus economics is the study of economics based upon the concept that economies operate on the basis of the production of a surplus over basic needs.
By economic surplus is meant all production which is not essential for the continuance of existence. That is to say, all production about which there is a choice as to whether or not it is produced. The economic surplus begins when an economy is first able to produce more than it needs to survive, a surplus to its essentials.
Alternative definitions are:
- The difference between the value of a society's annual product and its socially necessary cost of production. (Davis, p.1)
- The range of economic freedom at its [society's] disposal, extent able to engage in socially discretionary spending that satisfies more than the basic needs of its producers. (Dawson & Foster in Davis, p.45)
- Income minus essential consumption requirements. (Lippit in Davis p.81)
- The difference between what a society can produce and what a society must produce to reproduce itself. (Standfield in Davis, p.131)
- Monopoly capital: an essay on the American economic and social order, Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy
- The Economic surplus in advanced economies, John B. Davis (Ed)
- The economic surplus and neo-Marxism, Ron J. Stanfield