Production versus Consumption por George Reisman:
.. There are two fundamental views of economic life. One dominated the economic philosophy of the nineteenth century, under the influence of the British classical economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The other dominated the economic philosophy of the seventeenth century, under the influence of Mercantilism, and has returned to dominate the economic philosophy of the twentieth century, largely under the influence of Lord Keynes.
What distinguishes these two views is this: In the nineteenth century, economists identified the fundamental problem of economic life as how to expand production. Implicitly or explicitly, they perceived the base both of economic activity and economic theory in the fact that man's life and well-being depend on the production of wealth. Man's nature makes him need wealth; his most elementary judgments make him desire it; the problem, they held, is to produce it. Economic theory, therefore, could take for granted the desire to consume, and focus on the ways and means by which production might be increased.
In the twentieth century, economists have returned to the directly opposite view. Instead of the problem being understood as how continuously to expand production in the face of a limitless desire for wealth resulting from the limitless possibilities of improvement in the satisfaction of man's needs, the problem is erroneously believed to be how to expand the desire to consume so that consumption may be adequate to production. Economic theory in the twentieth century takes production for granted and focuses on the ways and means by which consumption may be increased. It proceeds as though the problem of economic life were not the production of wealth, but the production of consumption.
The consumptionist's advocacy of consumption by those who do not produce, to ensure the prosperity of those who do, is, the productionist argues, a pathological response to an economic world which the consumptionist imagines to be ruled by pathology. The consumptionist has always before him the pathology of the miser. His reasoning is dominated by the thought of cash hoarding ..
Hoarding is not the only phenomenon upon which the consumptionist seizes. Where nothing in reality will serve, the consumptionist is highly adept at bringing forth totally imaginary causes of economic catastrophe. Invariably, the solution advanced is consumption by those who have not produced, for the sake of those who have. Always, the goal is to demonstrate the necessity and beneficial effect of parasitism — to present parasitism as a source of general prosperity.