What’s entirely missing from your work is the primary purpose of spending.

You could argue that the entire passage you quoted does not resemble in the slightest current society, so as to render it irrelevant to the discussion — regardless whether Adam Smith wrote it or not.

That’s not to suggest he’s wrong, just that it doesn’t fit, especially in the example you give: food. If I buy a microwave or oven-ready meal — available in abundance — the scarcity of the base ingredients are unknown to me as a consumer, and could easily be changed without my knowledge. Food, or calories, aren’t scarce in the West, as is shown by our obesity epidemic. The consumer is so far removed from the ingredient, price based on perception of scarcity doesn’t exist. For many in the West, food choice is based on advertising and deception (deals, labeling, prominent supermarket siting etc.). This has come about because we are in a relative position of abundance. We’ve had to artificially create (food!) new mechanisms for price-determination. This is what — I believe — Mason is challenging in this article. It is entirely applicable to information, and will be indeed applicable to manufacturing too with the continued rise of additive manufacturing.

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