# Final Degree of Utility

**DOI:**https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_125

## Abstract

The expression used by Jevons for the degree of utility of the last increment of any commodity secured, or the next increment expected or desired. The increments being regarded as infinitesimal, the degree of utility is not supposed to vary from the last possessed to the next expected. It will be obvious, after a study of the article on Degree of Utility that it is the *final* degree of utility of various commodities that interests us commercially, not, for instance, their initial or average degrees of utility. That is to say (Fig. 1), if *a* is a small unit of the commodity *A*, and *b* a small unit of the commodity B, and *q*_{a} the quantity of A I possess, and *q*_{b} the quantity of B I possess, then, in considering the equivalence of *a* and *b* I do not ask whether A or B has the greater initial degree of utility, i.e. I do not compare the lines O*a* and O*b*, nor do I inquire which has the greater average degree of utility, i.e. I do not compare the height of the rectangle on base O*x* which shall equal the area *a*O*xa'*, with the height of the rectangle on base O*y* which shall equal the area *b*O*yb’*, but I compare the length *xa’* with the length *yb’*, and ask what are the relative rates at which increments of A and B will *now add* to my satisfaction. If *xa’* is twice the length of *yb’*, then (since *a* and *b* are supposed to be small units, throughout the consumption of which the decline in the curves *aa’ bb’* may be neglected) it is obvious that 2*b* will be equivalent to *a*, since either increment will yield an equal area of satisfaction.

### Bibliography

- Gossen, H.H. 1854.
*Entwicklung der Gesetze des menschlichen Verkehrs, und der daraus fliessenden Regeln für menschliches Handeln*. Braunschweig: Vieweg.Google Scholar - Jevons, W.S. 1888.
*1871. Theory of political economy. London. 3rd edn*. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar - Walras, L. 1886.
*Theórie de la monnaie*: Lausanne: Corbaz.Google Scholar