Meaning of the Term “Production”

Define the term “Production”

Production-is any activities, which results in the creation of goods and services in order to satisfy human wants. In economics sense, production is for exchanging
In the general meaning production may mean the creation of goods and services for personal consumption. Production is not complete if there is no consumption
Therefore, production involves activities which facilitate transfer of goods and services from the areas where they are produced to where they are demanded for consumption Example of such activities which facilitate transfer of goods and services are:Transportation,communication,warehousing,banking,advertising,insurance,marketing
According to the modern classification there are five categories of activities:
  1. Primary
    activities: These involve extraction of raw materials directly from the
    earth or the sea. Example of primary activities: are farming, fishing,
    lumbering, mining etc
  2. Secondary activities: These involve
    changing the form of a commodity from a stage of raw materials to a
    stage of final goods. Example of secondary activities is manufacturing.
  3. Tertiary
    activities: These are activities that involve changing the situation of
    a commodity from where it is produced to a place where it is need for
    consumption. Tertiary activities are divided into two main activities.
    Which are:1) Commerce: involve trade and aids to trade. 2) Direct services:
    this involves activities which render services directly to consumers.
    Example of direct services is teaching, banking services, medical
    services, law etc.
  4. Quaternary activities: These involve
    provision of specialist information and expertise for all above sectors
    i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary industries. Example: computer
    programming, research, engineering etc.
  5. Quinary activities:
    These involve the services which include administration and supervision
    by the government, research and education.
There are two types of production
  1. Direct
    production: This is the production of goods and services for personal
    consumption. It is also known as subsistence production. For examples.
    When a farmer produces maize for his own use not for sale.
  2. Indirect production: This is when the producers produce goods for sale. for exampe,when a farmer produces maize for sale.
Different Types of Goods
Explain the different types of goods
Goods are classified under the following categories:
1) Free goods VS Economic goods
goods: These are the goods which are provided freely by nature. They
are available without using any resources, for example, air is free
Features of Free goods
  • They are not scarce, that is, they are abundant.
  • They are not produced by human effort.
  • They are not transferable in terms of ownership.
  • They
    lack exchange value.Economic goods: These are goods that are produced
    by paying for resources, for example, computers.They are goods produced
    by human efforts and possess the following qualities:
  • They have utility (ability to satisfy wants)
  • They have exchange value. That is, they can be bought and sold
  • They can be transferable in terms of ownership.
Economics is concerned with economic goods, not free goods because
production in economics is for exchange and economic goods have exchange
2. Consumer goods VS Producer goods.
goods: These are the goods produced for final consumption or use.
Examples of consumer goods are foodstuffs, clothes, furniture and the
goods: These are the goods that are produced for further processing to
assist the production of other goods. They are also known as capital
goods. Examples of producer goods are machinery, workshops, buildings,
roads and railways.
3. Perishable goods vs. Durable goods.
goods: These are the goods which can easily be destroyed or decayed.
like food stuffs e.g. milk,meat,fruits,vegetables etc
goods: These are the goods which can stay for a long period of time
without being destroyed.eg building, machinery, furniture etc
4. Private goods vs. Public goods.
Private goods: These are goods owned exclusively by individuals or family.
Public goods: These are the goods owned and enjoyed collectively.foe example defense, roads etc
Features of Public goods
  • Non
    divisibility: public goods are provided in totality to the public. For
    example, defence is provided in totality to all the citizens.
  • Non
    rivalry: There is no competition in consumption; one person can consume
    an extra unit without reducing consumption of others.
  • There is
    free rider problem in consuming public goods: there are some individuals
    who may enjoy public goods without paying for them.
5. Intermediate goods vs. final goods
Intermediate goods are the goods in progress while final goods are the goods that are ready for consumption.
Different Factors of Production
Identify the different factors of production
are the economic resources which assist the process of production.
Factor of production are also known as inputs, tools of production and
agents of production.
  1. Land
  2. Labour
  3. Capital
  4. Entrepreneurship/organization
a) LAND-includes all kinds of natural resources; that is, things which are not made by human being.
Features of land
  • It
    is a gift of nature. It has been provided freely by god. it is not made
    artificially; that is, human being had nothing to bring land into
    existence; unlike other factors such as capital, which is accumulated or
    made by human being.
  • Land is limited in quantity or fixed in supply so that even in the long run its supply cannot increase.
  • Location of land is fixed
  • Each plot of land has unique natural characteristic.
  • Demand of land is derived demand.
The reward of land is RENT.
Importance of land
  • Land provides site/space where production can take place.e.g construction of building, schools, roads etc
  • It is a source of most of raw materials that are used in production
  • It is a source of power e.g. hydro- electric power and oil.
LABOUR-means any mental and physical efforts of human being in the
process of production or any mental or physical efforts of human beings
for any benefitial productive activity.
Characteristics of Labour:
Labour has the following peculiarities which are explained as under:
  1. Labour is Perishable:
    Labour is more perishable than other factors of production. It means
    labour cannot be stored. The labour of an unemployed worker is lost
    forever for that day when he does not work. Labour can neither be
    postponed nor accumulated for the next day. It will perish. Once time is
    lost, it is lost forever.
  2. Labour cannot be separated from the Labourer:
    Land and capital can be separated from their owner, but labour cannot
    he separated from a labourer. Labour and labourer are indispensable for
    each other. For example, it is not possible to bring the ability of a
    teacher to teach in the school, leaving the teacher at home. The labour
    of a teacher can work only if he himself is present in the class.
    Therefore, labour and labourer cannot be separated from each other.
  3. Less Mobility of Labour:
    As compared to capital and other goods, labour is less mobile. Capital
    can be easily transported from one place to other, but labour cannot be
    transported easily from its present place to other places. A labourer is
    not ready to go too far off places leaving his native place. Therefore,
    labour has less mobility.
  4. Weak Bargaining Power of Labour:
    The ability of the buyer to purchase goods at the lowest price and the
    ability of the seller to sell his goods at the highest possible price is
    called the bargaining power. A labourer sells his labour for wages and
    an employer purchases labour by paying wages. Labourers have a very weak
    bargaining power, because their labour cannot be stored and they are
    poor, ignorant and less organised. Moreover, labour as a class does not
    have reserves to fall back upon when either there is no work or the wage
    rate is so low that it is not worth working. Poor labourers have to
    work for their subsistence. Therefore, the labourers have a weak
    bargaining power as compared to the employers.
  5. Inelastic Supply of labour:
    The supply of labour is inelastic in a country at a particular time. It
    means their supply can neither be increased nor decreased if the need
    demands so. For example, if a country has a scarcity of a particular
    type of workers, their supply cannot be increased within a day, month or
    year. Labourers cannot be ‘made to order’ like other goods. The supply
    of labour can be increased to a limited extent by importing labour from
    other countries in the short period. The supply of labour depends upon
    the size of population. Population cannot be increased or decreased
    quickly. Therefore, the supply of labour is inelastic to a great extent.
    It cannot be increased or decreased immediately.
  6. Labourer is a Human being and not a Machine:
    Every labourer has his own tastes, habits and feelings. Therefore,
    labourers cannot be made to work like machines. Labourers cannot work
    round the clock like machines. After continuous work for a few hours,
    leisure is essential for them.
  7. A Labourer sells his Labour and not Himself:
    A labourer sells his labour for wages and not himself. ‘The worker
    sells work but he himself remains his own property’. For example, when
    we purchase an animal, we become owners of the services as well as the
    body of that animal. But we cannot become the owner of a labourer in
    this sense.
  8. Increase in Wages may reduce the Supply of Labour:
    The supply of goods increases, when their prices increase, but the
    supply of labourers decreases, when their wages are increased. For
    example, when wages are low, all men, women and children in a labourer’s
    family have to work to earn their livelihood. But when wage rates are
    increased, the labourer may work alone and his wife and children may
    stop working. In this way, the increase in wage rates decreases the
    supply of labourers. Labourers also work for less hours when they are
    paid more and hence again their supply decreases.
  9. Labour is both the Beginning and the End of Production:
    The presence of land and capital alone cannot make production.
    Production can be started only with the help of labour. It means labour
    is the beginning of production. Goods are produced to satisfy human
    wants. When we consume them, production comes to an end. Therefore,
    labour is both the beginning and the end of production.
  10. Differences in the Efficiency of Labour:
    Labourer differs in efficiency. Some labourers are more efficient due
    to their ability, training and skill, whereas others are less efficient
    on account of their illiteracy, ignorance, etc.
  11. Indirect Demand for Labour:
    The consumer goods like bread, vegetables, fruit, milk, etc. have
    direct demand as they satisfy our wants directly. But the demand for
    labourers is not direct, it is indirect. They are demanded so as to
    produce other goods, which satisfy our wants. So the demand for
    labourers depends upon the demand for goods which they help to produce.
    Therefore, the demand for labourers arises because of their productive
    capacity to produce other goods.
  12. Difficult to find out the Cost of Production of Labour:
    We can easily calculate the cost of production of a machine. But it is
    not easy to calculate the cost of production of a labourer i.e., of an
    advocate, teacher, doctor, etc. If a person becomes an engineer at the
    age of twenty, it is difficult to find out the total cost on his
    education, food, clothes, etc. Therefore, it is difficult to calculate
    the cost of production of a labourer.
  13. Labour creates Capital:
    Capital, which is considered as a separate factor of production is, in
    fact, the result of the reward for labour. Labour earns wealth by way of
    production. We know that capital is that portion of wealth which is
    used to earn income. Therefore, capital is formulated and accumulated by
    labour. It is evident that labour is more important in the process of
    production than capital because capital is the result of the working of
  14. Labour is an Active Factor of Production:
    Land and capital are considered as the passive factors of production,
    because they alone cannot start the production process. Production from
    land and capital starts only when a man makes efforts. Production begins
    with the active participation of man. Therefore, labour is an active
    factor of production.
refers to a division of work into a number of separate processes. Each
process is performed by a single person or a group of persons. For example a work of producing office pins, in this type of production
division of labour will be as follows:
  1. process-1 man-drawing the wire
  2. process-2 man-straightening the wire
  3. process-3 man-cutting the wire into piece.
  4. process-4 man-sharpening the ends.
  5. process-5 man-making the heads.
  6. process-6 man-whitening the pins.
  7. process-7 man-parking the pins
  • Right Man in the Right Place:
    Under division of labour, the chances are that each man will get the
    job for which he is best fitted. There will be no round pegs in square
    holes. The work will be better done. On the other hand, just imagine an
    interchange of work between a farmer and his wife—he doing the cooking,
    and she ploughing the field. You can guess the result.
  • Improvement in Skill:
    Practice makes a man perfect. When a man does a certain work over and
    over again, he is bound to improve. He will be able to turn out better
    goods. There is an increase in his skill and dexterity. The worker
    benefits. He produces better results in less time.
  • Less Strain:
    Division of labour makes it possible for heavy work to be passed on to
    machinery. Only light work is done by men so that there is less strain
    on their muscles.
  • Less Training Required: As
    the worker has to do only a part of the job, he need learn only that
    much. Long and costly training is rendered unnecessary. The shortening
    of the period of training for a worker is a great gain. Besides these
    benefits to labour, there are advantages to the industrial system and to
    society as a whole from the introduction of division of labour.
  • Inventions:
    When a man is doing the same work over and over again, some new ideas
    are bound to occur. This leads to inventions. These inventions make for
    economic progress.
  • Introduction of Machinery:
    By division of labour, the work is reduced to a few simple movements.
    Sooner or later, some machinery is brought in to take over these
    mechanical movements.
  • Cheaper Things: On
    account of mass production made possible by division of labour and the
    use of machinery, cheaper things are turned out. Eyen poor persons can
    enjoy them. This is beneficial to society. Standard of living improves.
  • Economy of Tools:
    It is not necessary to provide each worker with a complete set of
    tools. He needs a few tools only for the job he has to do. These tools
    are kept continuously employed. This proves very economical.
  • Saving in Time:
    The worker has no longer to move from one process to another. He is
    employed on the same process. He, therefore, goes oil working without
    loss of time. Continuity in work means more production.
  • Rise of Entrepreneurs:
    As work is divided, somebody is needed to co-ordinate the work. This
    leads to the rise of entrepreneurs who specialise in the work of
    organisation. This has contributed to the productive efficiency of the
    community and economic progress.
Division of labour has proved harmful to the individual workers in certain ways:
  • Monotony:Doing
    the same work over and over again without any change produces mental
    fatigue. Work becomes irksome and monotonous there is no pleasure in the
    job. The worker cannot be expected to take any interest. The quality of
    work must suffer.
  • Kills Creative Instinct:Since
    many men contribute to the making of an article, none can claim the
    credit of making it. Man’s creative instinct is not satisfied. The work
    gives him no pride and no pleasure, since no worker can claim the
    product as his own creation.
  • Loss of Skill:The
    worker deteriorates in technical skill: Instead of making the whole
    article, the worker is required just to repeat a few simple movements.
    The skill with which the artisan once made the artistic products
    gradually dies out. He simply becomes a machine tender. The weaver of
    Dacca muslin fame is gone.
  • Checks Mobility:The
    worker is doing only a part of the job. He knows only that much, and no
    more. It may not be easy for him to find exactly the same job elsewhere,
    if he desires a change. In this way, the worker loses mobility.
  • Risk of Unemployment: If
    the worker is dismissed from one factory, he may have to search far and
    wide before he secures a job in which he has specialized. He may be
    making only legs of a chair. It is doubtful if he can get the same job
    elsewhere. On the other hand, if he knew how to make the complete chair,
    his chance of getting a job elsewhere would be brighter.
  • Checks Development of Personality:It
    is said that if a man has been making an eighteenth part of a pin, he
    becomes eighteenth part of a man. A man grows in body and mind to the
    extent that his faculties are exercised in his job. A narrow sphere of
    work must check proper physical and mental development of the worker.
    His outlook is cramped and initiative killed, and he is reduced to the
    level of a machine.
  • Loss of Sense of Responsibility:None
    can be held responsible for bad production because none makes the whole
    article. When the result is bad, everybody tries to shift the
    responsibility to somebody else. This adds to the difficulties of
    administration. Besides proving detrimental to the worker, the system of
    division of labour has produced many social evils.
  • Evils of Factory System:Division of labour gives rise to the factory system which is full of evils. It spoils the beauty of the place.
Different Types of Costs of Production
Explain the different types of costs of production
the money used to buy the factors of production. Meaning that it is the
expense incurred in running a business or producing a commodity. Also
the cost of production includes the opportunity cost of producing a
commodity. It means foregone benefits which the business could get by
using its resources in the production of other commodities. All cost
associated with production is known as cost of production
The costs of production are divided into two categories:
are the benefits/gains sacrificed by a firm by not engaging in the
production of other commodities. It means a firm, when employing its
resources in the production of a particular commodity; it sacrifices
other benefits that it could hence obtained by employing the same
resources in the production of other commodities.
This is the money that is actually used in buying the factors of production.
Cost of production=implicit cost explicit cost
  • Varible cost
  • Fixed cost
Variable cost: these are cost which varies according level of production.e.g cost of raw materials, labour etc
Fixed cost/supplementary cost/overhead cost: These are cost which do not change with production.e.g rent, insurance etc
How Division of Labour and Specialization Affect Production
Explain how division of labour and specialization affect production
Division of labour can be divided into the following types:
  1. Division
    of labour by process-this is a type of division of labour where by a
    worker is divided into separate process each of the process is performed
    by different persons.
  2. Division of labour by sex-this is a type of division of labour where by work is done by people according to their sex.
  3. Division
    of labour by age-this is a type of labour where by the work is being
    done by people by people according to age of person.
  4. Division of labour by territory/country-this is where by countries specialize in production of certain commodity.
  5. Division
    of labour by product/region-this is where by different regions of a
    country has specialized in the production of various commodities.
  6. Division of labour by profession-this is where by people do work depending on their professional or type of skills they have.
  • Small
    extent of the market-when the extent of the market is small, division
    of labour will be meaningless because division of labour leads to an
    increase in output which needs a large extent of the market.
  • Poor
    exchange and distribution facilities-production is for exchange; if
    exchange facilities such as banking and transport are weak, and then
    exchange of large output resulting from division of labour will be
  • Nature of goods and services: some goods or
    services by their nature cannot be produced by division of labour.for
    example, shoe shining, hair dressing etc
  • Size of labour force
    and capital: an entrepreneur faced with limited number of labour force
    will face difficulties in dividing his/her work into many separate
CAPITAL-is any wealth that is used to produce other wealth. Capital
includes all types of producer goods. Example: machinery, money.
Characteristics of Capital:
has its own peculiarities which distinguish it from other factors of
production. Capital possesses the following main characteristics:
  1. Man Produces Capital:
    Capital is that wealth which is used in the production of goods.
    Capital is the result of human labour. Thus, every type of capital such
    as roads, machines, buildings and factories etc. are produced by man. It
    is a produced factor of production.
  2. Capital is a Passive Factor of Production:
    Capital cannot produce without the help of the active services of
    labour. To produce with machines, labour is required. Thus, labour is an
    active, whereas capital is a passive factor of production. Capital on
    its own cannot produce anything until labour works on it.
  3. Capital is a Produced Means of Production:
    The composition or supply of capital is not automatic, but it is
    produced with the joint efforts of labour and land. Therefore, capital
    is a produced means of production.
  4. Capital is Variable:
    The total supply of land cannot be changed, whereas the supply of
    capital can be increased or decreased. If the residents of a country
    produce more or save more from their income, and these savings are
    invested in factories or capital goods, it increases the supply of
  5. Capital is more Mobile than other Factors of Production:
    Of all the factors of production, capital is the most mobile. Land is
    perfectly immobile. Labour and entrepreneur also lack mobility. Capital
    can be easily transported from one place to another.
  6. Capital Depreciates:
    As we go on using capital, the value of capital goes on depreciating.
    When machines are used continuously for some time, these depreciate and
    their value falls.
  7. Capital is Stored-up Labour:
    Scholars like Marx admit that capital is stored-up labour. By putting
    in his labour man earns wealth. A part of this wealth is spent on
    consumption goods and the rest of it is saved. When saving is invested,
    it becomes capital. In other words, capital is the result of
    accumulation of savings of a man. Therefore, capital is stored-up
  8. Capital is Destructible: All capital
    goods are destructible and are not permanent. Because of the continuous
    use, machines and tools become useless with the passage of time.
Types of capital
Public and private capital (social capital)
  • Private capital:
    All the physical assets (other than land), as well as investments,
    which bring income to an individual are called private capital.
  • Social capital:
    All the assets owned by a community as a whole in the form of
    non-commercial assets are called social capital e.g. roads, public
    parks, hospitals, etc
Fixed capital and circulating capital.
  • Fixed capital:
    It refers to durable capital goods which are used in production again
    and again till they wear out. Machinery, tools, means of transport,
    factory building, etc are fixed capital. Fixed capital does not mean
    fixed in location. Since the money invested in such capital goods is
    fixed for a long period, it is called Fixed Capital.
  • Circulating capital:
    this is the type or form of capital used in the running of the day to
    day production activities or in running a business. For example raw
    materials, fuels and money.
The reward of capital is INTEREST
d) Entrepreneurship/organization.
entrepreneur is the owner of a business. It is a factor of production,
which organizes other factors of production in the production process,
and establishes a business.
Functions of entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur has the following functions;
  • To start the business-an entrepreneur is responsible for starting the business.
  • To employ and organize other factors of production in the production process.
  • To
    forecast the demand for the products by doing market research for those
    product; that is, finding whether the commodities would be demanded by
    the customer or not.
  • Entrepreneur bears the risks of the
    business.Hence, responsible for all the risks that cannot be insured.
    For example, the risk of a fall in the demand for the commodity and
    decline in the profit of the business. When the business makes profit,
    it would be rewarded to the entrepreneur, and if the business incurs
    loss,it has to be borne by the entrepreneur.
The reward of entrepreneurship is PROFIT OR LOSS.
Importance of Production
Discuss the importance of production
  • Satisfaction
    of human wants and needs: Human wants refers to all the human desires
    or things that must be satisfied by using certain needs. Examples of
    wants such as hunger, thirst, education and health. Human needs are the
    goods and services which are used to satisfy human wants.examples of
    human needs are foods, shelter, books, electricity etc
  • Increase
    the welfare of the people: goods and services which are produced are
    aimed at improving the welfare of the people. The welfare of the people
    increase as they consume more goods and services. The capacity to
    consume more goods and services is a result of the improvement in the
    income generated from their production activities.
  • Increase the size of wealth of both personal and national income.
  • Creation
    of employment: production creates employment to various factor of
    production which are engaged in the production process.
Production in its Branches and Main Occupations
Classify production in its branches and main occupations
This is concerned with extraction of natural resources and changes
their form so that they can be used by people. Industries are classified
into three categories according to the different stages of production
in which they are involved.
  • Extractive industries: this deals with natural resources such as farming, hunting, lumbering, fishing, mining etc
  • Constructive
    industries;these are industries that assemble manufactured goods into
    finished goods.e.g assembly furniture. Construction of roads, bridges,
    house etc
  • Manufacturing industries;these involves changing of
    raw materials into finished goods by using machine or hand.e.g cotton
    pring, cigarette making, pot making etc
DIRECT SERVICES: these provide services directly to the consumer. For example doctor, lawyer, hotel etc.
COMMERCE: Involves trade and aids to trade.
Exercise 1
  1. What is the difference between production and commerce?
  2. What commercial activities do you see being carried out in your own area?
  3. Discuss the factors of production and their characteristics.
  4. Relationships between Production Branches
  5. Show the relationships between production branches

Activity 1

Show the relationships between production branches


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