Surplus economics

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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.

Economic Surplus[edit]

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:

  1. The difference between the value of a society's annual product and its socially necessary cost of production. (Davis, p.1)
  2. 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)
  3. Income minus essential consumption requirements. (Lippit in Davis p.81)
  4. The difference between what a society can produce and what a society must produce to reproduce itself. (Standfield in Davis, p.131)

See also[edit]


  • 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

Further reading[edit]