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Production may be defined as any activity involving the transformation of
raw materials into finished goods and the distribution and provision of goods
and services in order to satisfy human wants. From this definition, we can
establish that production involves creation of physical goods such as cars,
electronic products, etc and the provision of services such as services
rendered by medical doctors, banks, lecturers etc. it can equally be said that
production is the creation of utility the ability of any commodity or service
to satisfy human wants. Production is complete only when the goods and
service produced reach the final consumers or users.
Types of Good Produced
There are basically two types of goods and services produced to satisfy
human wants they are
a. Consumer goods

b. Capital goods

a. Consumer goods: - There are goods and services that can satisfy
consumers’ immediate wants. No further process(s) of production
is/are needed for their use by the consumer. Examples are soft drinks,
bread, biro, television. Consumer services involve service of a
teacher, lawyer, barber etc.

b. Capital goods:- Capital goods are meant for the production of further
goods and services. Example are machines used for the production of
goods cars and other vehicles used for production activities

Stages of production
Production can be described based on the source of raw material and the
stage of production activity. Economic activities involved in production are
so vast that production is divided into three broad stages primary production,
secondary production and tertiary production. They are discussed one after
the other.
i. Primary Production:- This involves all productive activities associated
with the extraction of raw materials from the soil or the sea. At this first
stage of production, the goods and services produced are known as raw
materials. Activities in this sector are said to be in the extracted industry.
Examples of these activities are farming fishing, mining of petroleum
resources and other minerals.

ii. Secondary Production:- At this stage of production, the raw materials

extracted from the soil and sea are processed and transformed into
finished goods or into a form that could still be used for further
production of goods and services. At this secondary stage, utility is
added to the raw materials of the primary production. Manufacturing and
constructive industries are involved in secondary production. Activities
at this stage include milling textile manufacturing and bewaring.

iii. Tertiary Production:- as noted earlier production is never complete until

the goods and services get to the final consumer. This is the stage where
all the goods and services production in the two stages above get to those
who need them. This stage completes the production process. Activities
at the tertiary stage include distribution, communication, banking,
insurance, teaching etc.

There are basically two types of production viz direct production and
indirect production
a. Direct production:- This is the production that takes places when a
family unit produces goods and services manly to satisfy all its needs
and not for sale. Direct production is common in a subsistence
economy where subsistence farming is predominant. Production here,
is not for exchange but for consumption by the producers and their

b. Indirect Production:- This form of production involves the production

of goods and services for exchange so as to use the money realised to
satisfy the producer’s other wants. In every modern society, nobody
can satisfy all his needs directly with his own goods and services.
There is a lot of inter – dependency. People satisfy their wants
indirectly by exchanging their surplus outputs with other producers or
selling their goods and services and using the proceeds to satisfy their
numerous wants.

Factors of Production
These are the resources both tangible and intangible that are used to produce
goods and service. They are otherwise known as agents or means of
production. They are all the factor inputs into production. There are four
factors or agents of production – land, labour, capital and entrepreneur. We
shall discuss them in detail.
a. Land

Land as a factor of production is a free gift of nature and it is fixed in

nature. It is the oldest factor of production because it has been in
existence before man. Land does not include only hard surface of the
earth but all other free gifts of nature like water, forest, mineral resource
etc. the reward of land is rent.
Attributes of Land
The following are the characteristics of lands these characteristics make
land different from other factor of production.
1. The supply of land is fixed in nature. Man cannot increase the volume
of natural resources like gold, diamonds, crude oil etc. in the short run
however; the quality or fertility of land can be increased by adding
fertilizers to it.

2. Land cannot easily be moved from one geographical location to


3. The reward for land is rent.

4. Land is relatively indestructible

5. The quality of land varies from one place to another for example a
plot of land in Lekki is costlier that a plot of land in Epe and a plot is
costlier than in Ijebu – Ode.

6. Land is a free gift of nature. It has no cost of production. Its

availability costs human beings nothing. The quality of land can only
be increased by the efforts of human beings.

7. Land is subjected of the land of diminishing returns


The law of diminishing returns states that @as more and were variable
factors of production such as capital and labour are combined with the fixed
factor of production such as land., production will increase up to a certain
point when decrease in total output will start as a result of continues addition
of variable factors while the fixed factor remained constant’ for instance
where a piece of land is used for agriculture at the initial stage, the continues
additions of workers and seeds (variable factors) will increase the output up
to a certain point when decrease in output will set in because of the
continuous increase in variable factors and land (fixed factor) remands
constant. The above explanation can be the illustrated in the table below.
Fixed factor Variable Total output Average Marginal
factor output output
1 1 25 25 -
1 2 60 30 35
1 3 120 40 60
1 4 220 55 70
1 5 190 38 30
1 6 180 30 10

From the above table, we can see that the law of diminishing returns sets in
as the total output, Average output and marginal output of products start
decreasing at appoint where 5 – 6 variable factors were added. There has
been on increasing returns in the early stages because of increasing amount
of the variable factor from 1 – 4.
Labour is the physical and mental efforts of man used in the production of
goods and services. Unlike land, labour is a variable factor of production.
Labour involves human beings who use their management, technical and
intellectual skills in the production of goods and service. The reward of
labour is wages. There are different types of labour varying form skilled,
semi – skilled and unskilled labour.
i. Skilled labour:- The labourer here, is required to have undergone
some kind of training or apprenticeship before he can be
employed. This is because skilled labour involves the use of
mental efforts in carrying out production activities. Workers in this
category of labour include engineers, accountants, lawyers,
economists etc.

ii. Semi – Skilled labour:- This type of labour depends on the nature of
the job. The labour must have acquired some skill either out of
constant practice or through some form of training. Unlike skilled
labour, no serious education and training is required for this kind
of labour. Example of workers in this category are clerical
workers, typists, hospital auxiliary staff mechanical attendants etc.
all these people may have a maximum of GCE or secondary level
of education.

iii. Unskilled labour:- Unskilled labour involves little or no education. It

requires the use of physical energy in production workers like,
cleaners, messengers, security man, and office assistant’s fall
under this category of labour.

Characteristics of Labour
1. Labour is mobile. A worker can decide to change job because of
location, marriage, childbirth etc.

2. Labour cannot be stored like capital

3. Unlike land labour is not fixed in nature. The quantity and quality 0f
labour can be increased through acquisition of skills and through
4. Labour cannot be separated from the labour i.e a human being cannot
be separated from his labour ability.

5. Labour is not predictable.

6. Labour is perishable (through death).

7. Labour has feelings and its consent must be sought before it is used
for production.

8. A labour sells his labour and not himself

Division of Labour
Every sector of the economy manifesting, educational, banking etc. is
involved in division of labours. It means dividing or splitting the production
process into it components parts. Then, different workers are assigned to
perform these parts of production of the basis of their specialization. In the
banking sector for example some workers handle opening of accounts for
customers, some are at the counter paying, some are entertain complaints
from customers etc. without division of labour, the whole production process
will be very slow and cumbersome. Another example is in a bakery where
the production process iis divided into stages such as mixing of flour,
grinding of flour, moulding and cutting into sizes, loading into the oven,
removal from pan and selling of the bread.
The theory of Division of labour was enunciated by Adam smith in 1776 in
his book ‘The wealth of Nations’ he visited a place where ins were made and
found out that there are eighteen (18) processes involved in pin making. He
also found out that only one man was co – ordination all there processes.
Because of this vigorous process only 20 pins were being produced per day.
Adam smith concluded that if there eighteen processes were hard led by
different individuals, more pins will be produced. This idea was bought and
as a result, 48,000 pins were produced per day. This is how the application
of division of labour came into existence.


1 It saves time: - Division of labour makes production process faster. Since
different stages are manned by different individual, the time and energy that
could have been dissipated in moving from one stage to another are saved.
2. Increase in the skill of workers: - The skill of workers increase as a result
of carrying out particular tasks often and often. Since practice makes perfect,
continuous handling of a production process increases the skill of workers.
3. Improvement in quality of goods produced: - Since the production
process is being handled by a skilled worker, the quality and standard of
gods. There will be less mistake and very wise utilization of resources.
4. Leads to specialization: Division of labour enables one to be a specialist
in the performance of a job because he/she sets better everytime that task is
5. Reduction in unit cost of product: - Division of labour increase
productivity thereby allowing total cost of the product to be spread over a
large output. Consequently, unit cost per output will be reduced. The effect
of this is increase in profit.
6. It creates employment opportunities: - Since each stage of the production
process is handling by a specialist the employment of specialist will
7. It makes the machine possible: - Division of labour bought the idea of
the use of machine for different stages of the production process.
NOTE: Read more on advantages of division of labour.


1. Monotonous of work: - Engaging in one type operation every time
makes the work monotonous uninteresting and dull.
2. Introduction of machines reduce employment: - machines are faster
and do more jobs than human beings perform majority of the job.
3. Immobility of labour: - A worker may find it difficult to change to
another type of work. He has been active and has stayed on a
particular jobs for a long times.
4. Interdependence among individual departments: - Absence of a
worker because of illness or death may disrupt the production process.
5. Lack of initiative: - Staying on a job for a long time will make the
worker streamlined to that particular job. He/she may end up knowing
little or nothing about other stages of the production process.

Having discussed labour, its merits and demerits, let us now go back
to other factors of production capital and Entrepreneur.

Capital, as a factor of production, could be defined as wealth reserved
for the production of further wealth it is a man –made factor of production. It
includes physical cash, machines, buildings, and other equipment and tools
used in production. Read or physical capital refers to capital in form of
physical goods like factors, commercial vehicles. Money capital on the other
hand means Naira and Kobo. It is capital in form of money and be used to
acquire physical or real capital. Like other factors of production, capital
plays a crucial role in the production of goods and services.

1. Capital is a man – made factor of production,
2. The reward of capital is interest.
3. Capital takes different forms like money, building, machinery etc.
4. It is subject to depreciation after long use.
5. Capital may be fixed in nature of machinery, building. It could also be
compact in nature e.g cash in hand.

The importance of capital in the production process can not be over-
emphasized. Some of these importance are highlighted below.
1. Capital makes production possible: - Without capital, the production
of goods and services would have been a dream that may not come
true. Capital aids production and increase the output per worker.
2. It facilitates the production of quality products: - Fixed capital likes
machinery are used in producing quality products. A man –made
product will definitely not be of the same good quality as that
produces by machinery.
3. It Increases Efficiency: - The use of machinery enhances the
efficiency of the whole production process.
4. Capital determines the location of industry: - Capital like fuel and raw
material determine to a large extent whole an industry will be located.
Sometimes it determines the industry and the nature of goods to be
Capital can be divided into the following types:
1. Circulating capital or working capital: - There are the materials that
are processed into finished goods. Three change their form in the process of
production. e.g. raw material.
2. Fixed capital: - There are in form of assets that can last for a long time
they do not change form in the process of production e.g machinery,
building etc
3. Current capital: - These are the resources need for the day to day running
of the business. Like circulating capital, they also change from one form
to another. Another name for current capital is liquid capital. E.g cash
used to purchase raw materials, cash used in paying salaries etc.
4. Social Capital: - Also knowing as social amentias, they are provided by
the government to facilitate production process. Examples are roads,
electricity, carports. They make production and distribution of goods and
services easy.

Entrepreneur is the factor of production that coordinates and
organized other factors of production I e land, capital and labour. The
entrepreneur administers the whole process of production. He is sometimes
referred tom as enterprise because he taken the risks by putting his capital
into the business. The aims of profit maximization and cost minimization are
achieved by the activities profit or loss.

ENTREPRENEUR AND LABOUR: -Why are they separated there has been
a controversial issue of why entrepreneur and labour are not referred as the
same since they are human factor of production. However, there are some
very vital roles performed by the entrepreneur which labour cannot perform.
These functions make the entrepreneur unique. They are
1. Decision making: - The decision of what to produce, quality to
produce, the quality to be supplied to the market, who to employ are
vested in the entrepreneur. Hence all decision that will lead to success
or future of the business is taken by the entrepreneur.
2. He provide the capital: - The entrepreneur provide the take off capital
for his business from this capital other factors, of production like
machinery, building, and labour are acquired, labour does not provide
3. He takes risk: - There is a lot of risk and uncertainty in business and
these are borne by the entrepreneur. Whether the business fails or
succeeds, it is the headache of the entrepreneur and he will bear the
effect of anything good or bad that happens to the business. Labour
cannot take these risks and can decide to care whenever there is
4. His co – ordinates other factors of production: - All other factors of
production are put into effective use by the entrepreneur. He measures
what level of input from there other factors of production that will be
optical for the production process.
5. Conduction of research: - The entrepreneur makes sure production
meets up with trends and developments in the society. This he does by
conduction researches into various areas where can be improvement
in the process and the quality of goods produced. He studies the
market to know what people need. He also trains his workers for
better productivity.
6. Other function: - The entrepreneur performs other numerous functions
to keep the business going. He determines the price to be placed on
goods and service, salaries to be paid to workers, payment of rents etc.


Meaning: - Also know as Production Possibility Boundary, production
possibility curve refers to a curve or graph that shows all the possible
continuation of gods that can be produced in an economy with the available
resources. Since the resources used to produce are scare, we have to put
them into different uses instead of using them to produce more of a
commodity the production of other commodity has to be sacrificed for
example, the society must decide how much land shall into food production,
housing, building of schooling and reduce the number of factories that will
produce drugs, books or food items. If the society decides to use all
resources on food production that means there want is other resources for
drugs and books.
Assuming Nigeria as an economy has only food and cloth to produce.
How will Nigeria utilize the resources at her disposal to produce these two
products? If the society divides to produce more of food, that means less
cloth will be produced and vice versa. If the society devised however that
she want to produce only food that means no cloth will be produced at all,
these are the two extreme possibilities that we have. Let us now consider a
schedule and graph for further explanation on production possibility curve.
Possibilities Food /month kg Cloth/month kg
A 2500 0
B 2100 300
C 1900 400
D 1500 900
E 1000 1300
F - 2000

X (Non – feasible region)

2000 B
Food 1500 D

1000 Y E

500 F
0 500 1000 1500 2000

From the above curve, points A to F indicate efficiency use of

resources. Point X indicate non- feasible region, i.e except some new
resources are discovered nothing can be achieved point Y (with in the curve)
indicates that resources were not efficiently utilized or there is
At the PPC slopes downward from left to right. This indicates the
concept of opportunity cost because to produce more of a particular product
certain amount of the other product has to be given up or sacrificed.
The economy may either be at full employment or underemployment.
There two conditions affect the position of the production possibility curve.

Full Employment of Resources

This is a situation where the society is making use of her scare
resources efficiently and is producing goods and services at full capacity. In
the graph above the points A to F indicates full employment of resources.

Unemployment of Resources
In this case, there are worker lands and factories it is not possible to
produce along the curve but inside the curve (point). The society is not
producing at full capacity because there is a waste of resources.


1. It explains the concept of scarcity of resources and choice.
2. It emphasizes the concept of opportunity cost.
3. It helps in solving the basic question of economic life such as what to
produce how to produce and for whom to produce.
4. It explains the fact that human wants are unlimited.