The total utility obtained from consuming a commodity can be distinguished from the marginal utility of consuming one unit more or one unit less of it. “Total utility “refers to the entire amount of satisfaction derived from the consumption of a single good or service or any combination of goods and services per unit of time, while marginal utility refers to the extra satisfaction derived from the consumption of an additional unit of the commodity or service. For example,the total utility of consuming ten tubers of yam is the total satisfaction that those ten tubers provide. The marginal utility of the tenth tuber of yam consumed is the satisfaction gained by consuming that unit,or,in other words, the difference in total utility between consuming nine tubers of yam and consuming ten tubers. The total utility of any commodity will naturally increase with every addition to the consumption of the commodity. The total utility of water,for instance, is very great because we cannot do without it. However,its marginal utility may be little. The more cups of water that one drinks, the less the utility one derives from it. The economist attaches more importance to marginal utility than to total utility. This is because it is marginal utility that measures the capacity or intensity of our demand for a little more of a commodity.


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