… is from page 181 of Douglas Irwin’s vital 1996 volume, Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade (footnote and citation information deleted):
Of course, material wealth via productive efficiency was not an end unto itself. “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production,” [Adam] Smith declared. And [John Stuart] Mill put it only slightly differently in stating that the ultimate aim of production is to produce utility for those who purchase and consume such goods.
DBx: People who deny this truth nearly always fancy themselves to have a richer and more complete understanding of human nature than is the understanding allegedly possessed by economists. But in reality people who deny this truth don’t understand economists’ point on this matter – which is, to put it summarily, that for Jones to really produce anything – for Jones to be genuinely productive – requires that the goods or services that are the products of Jones’s efforts be useful, when consumed, either to himself or to others. If Jones exerts great amounts of time and energy rearranging matter without much regard to how the results will enhance consumption, that which he ‘produces’ will be just as worthless, both to himself and to anyone else, as would be that which he ‘produces’ if he spends only a few seconds and very little energy rearranging matter without much regard to how the results will enhance consumption.