Island vacation spots for MACKENZIE GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY subsidies 809 subsistence theory THE WORD SUBSISTENCE refers to the basic needs of a human being: food, water, clothing, and shelter. The concept of subsistence has been used in various economic theories dating back to the writings of Thomas MALTHUS, David RICARDO, John Stuart MILL and Karl MARX. In the 20th century, Arthur Lewis has utilized this concept of subsistence to propose his two-sector growth model. Ricardo initiated the discussion by exploring the value of commodities produced, and hence the value of labor and the wages paid to labor. He presented the argument for a subsistence theory of wages that pointed to the fact that wages paid to a worker will equal the amount needed to sustain the worker and his or her family. The necessity to sustain a family is predicated by the creation of future workers by the family. Ricardo makes a distinction between the natural price of labor and the market price of labor. Island vacation spots 2016.