PRODUCTION (Lat. productionem, from producere, to produce), in general, the act of producing, or bringing forth. Produition, in contrast with distribution and consumption, is one of the great divisions which all treatises on economics make in dealing with the subject, and as such it is defined in every textbook and its elements and processes dealt with at length. J. R. Mi Culloch's definition may be given as one difficult to improve on : " by production, in the science of political economy, we arc not to understand the production of matter, for that is the exclusive attribute of Omnipotence, but the production of utility, and consequently of exchangeable value, by appropriating and modifying matter already in existence, so as to fit it to satisfy our wants, and to contribute to our enjoyments." W. S. Jevons says, " production is one of the very few happily chosen terms which the economist possesses. Etymologically the term implies that we draw wealth forth, and this is the correct idea of production." Though the mere definition of " production " as the creation of utilities is apparently simple enough, the treatment of the subject has varied from time to time in proportion to the changes which economic science has itself undergone; it has been said that the theory of production is based on unalterable natural facts, but even this cannot be too absolutely stated, for the organization of production changes with social growth. Much discussion has, during the growth of the science of economics, centred round what is and what is not productive or unproductive, and as to the relative importance of the functions of production and distribution.
See E. Canaan's History of the Theories of Production and Distribution (1893), and the standard treatises on economics. Also the articles, CAPITAL; VALUE; WEALTH.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)