By J. E. Meade (auth.)
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Extra resources for Liberty, Equality and Efficiency: Apologia pro Agathotopia Mea
It is the outstanding example of a monocrop economy with 99 per cent of its exports and 40 to 50 per cent of its national output consisting of sugar. The big sugar factories and the greater part of the best land are owned by rich estate owners, mainly persons of French origin. The sugar estates are worked by comparatively poor workers mainly of Indian origin. In 1946-7 malaria was eliminated. The death rate fell from about 44 to 14 per thousand and the birth rate did not fall. The population began to grow at 3 per cent per annum.
As far as goods for immediate consumption are concerned (bread and shirts), the current market prices will measure their importance to consumers. e. at the expense of citizens in the future. Efficiency, Equality and the Ownership of Property 29 It remains only to ask whether some future citizen might not be made better off without any other being made worse off by altering the composition of today's output of capital goods. Suppose, for example, that one plough costs the same to produce as one loom and that one more plough and one less loom were produced today for future use.
Indeed, it is one of the main merits of this use of the price mechanism that it will not choose inefficient techniques in order to make work for work's sake. There can be little doubt that this principle is of the utmost relevance in an economy such as that of Mauritius. A few examples must suffice. In cane-fields weeding can be carried out either by hand, or else, in part at least, by the use of imported chemical herbicides. Which method it is profitable for the sugar estates to use depends essentially upon the wage and availability of labour.
Liberty, Equality and Efficiency: Apologia pro Agathotopia Mea by J. E. Meade (auth.)