Suppose a small family farm produces grain. Grain is a final product, since it is consumed by the producers on the farm. Grain is a capital good, since it is used as feed for the farm’s draft animals. Grain is also a material input, since it is used as seed for the next season’s crop. The producers on the farm spend 2,000 hours per season harvesting grain, and 500 hours per season on non-labor activities, such as child rearing and leisure. It currently takes 5 hours to harvest 1 bushel of grain. The farm requires 25 bushels of grain for replacing the capital used in production, 15 bushels of grain for replacing the materials used up in production, and 100 bushels of grain for the consumption of the producers on the farm at their customary standard of living.
a) What is the total product of this farm?
b) What is the net product?
c) What is the necessary product?
d) What is the surplus product?
e) How would a reduction in consumption affect the necessary product and the net product? Use your own hypothetical figures.
f) Discuss one (1) way that the farm could increase the surplus product without changing the total product, using your own hypothetical figures.
g) Discuss one (1) way that the farm could increase the surplus product by increasing the total product, using your own hypothetical figures.
h) Discuss the class relationships, property rights, and use of the surplus product if this farm exists in an economic system of slavery.
i) Compare and contrast the characteristics of slavery to one (1) of the following alternative economic systems: communal equality, or feudalism.