The concept of subsistence contrasts sharply with later notions of want, where the individual aspect dominates. This contrast establishes an opposition between the objective and subjective aspects of want, which become isolated one from the other. As a result, we must either treat want as a purely objective matter, having nothing to do with subjective deliberation and choice, or, as purely subjective, having its source in the individual taken on his or her own. As I have argued elsewhere (Levine 1988a: Chapter 1), isolating the two moments of want is the fundamental problem of political economy, and introduces the most damaging weaknesses into its understanding of economic life. To begin to develop a more effective concept of want , we must first overcome this tendency to set the two moments in opposition. As a beginning, I explore the original construction provided for us by the classical economists.