Utility

A cultivated mind - I do not mean that of a philosopher, but any mind to which the fountains of knowledge have been opened, and which has been taught, in any tolerable degree, to exercise its faculties - finds sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it; in the objects of nature, the achievements of art, the imaginations of poetry, the incidents of history, the ways of mankind, past and present, and their prospects in the future.
—  J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism
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page 361 - who the hell knocked over my cola beverage? Admittedly I do not remember flavours but the person who gave these to me told me it was a cola and I chose to believe them and I haven’t had anything like this in years and you know I’m going to be careful with it and then suddenly one of the cans is on its side and the regular damp floor now has a subtle stickiness to it. I am a careful person with a long awaited cola beverage.

Summer 1927, D3/12/3: 15; A4.4.xi

But later, having been advocated by Marx to beat the capitalists, it was necessary for the defenders of the present system to devise a new theory, the utility theory of value.

As to Ricardo, it should not be thought that he was consciously biassed in his theory, that he was the champion of the rising capitalist against the landlord. This accusation was raised in his face in parliament (see Cannan, Ricardo in Parliament, Ec. J. 1892) and he succesfully cleared it out [away] by showing that in fact his property mainly consisted of land. It is of course not necessary for an economist to belong to a given class, or to have private interests at stake bound with that class in order that he should be crossed. It is enough for him to believe that one is a progressive class, that its success will be in the interest of majori community as a whole to justify him.

As to Marx, the fact that the utility theory of value had been found several times before (by Cournot, Dupuit, Gossen) and had fallen flat, while when it was again almost simultaneousley published by Jevons, Menger and Walras in the years immediately following the publication of Vol I of Capital, found suddenly a large body of opinion prepared to accept it and support it, is significant enough (Ashley, Present Pos. of P. E., Ec. J. 1910?)

[Note that the later development of Marshall, which was thought to be quite as effective in pulling down the basis of Marx’s theory of value, is not at all incompatible with it]

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