Written over a span of 30 years, the essays in these volumes make significant contributions to the study of national accounting, demand theory, capital theory, public finance, the Canadian constitution, the subsidization of investment, equity and predatory behaviour.
The first volume is primarily concerned with national accounting issues such as how to design statistics of real income to reflect the welfare of the typical consumer, how to depict in one number a person’s annual consumption of many goods and services, how to determine, for example, the income one would require in the United Kingdom to be as well off as the typical person in Thailand, how to determine the income one would need today to be as well off as the typical Canadian 50 years ago, how to account for changes in life expectancy and hours of leisure, and how to measure real saving and real investment. The volume also includes papers on demand curves, capital theory and innovation.
The second volume contains papers on the marginal cost of public funds, tax evasion, migration, socialization, the subsidization of investment, economic aspects of the Canadian constitution and predatory behaviour in the public and private sectors of the economy. The papers on predatory behaviour drop the usual economist’s assumption that all property is secure, and examine the loss of potential output and the distribution of income among social classes when resources are diverted from the production of goods for use or sale to the taking of goods and to the defence of one’s goods from taking by others. The extreme of predatory behaviour in the public sector is examined in two papers on despotic societies where subjects are exploited by a ruling class.