28. Many Bases Have Been Used in Attempting to Classify Expenditures

The early classifications of expenditures in Italy and France have been noted. These were based upon the objects for which the money was used, such as government and protection. Many other bases have been attempted with a varying degree of satisfaction as to results. Some have sought to divide expenditures into ordinary and extraordinary, while others have attempted to separate the necessary from the unnecessary or to make the classes the necessary, the desirable, and the superfluous. Some have tried to distinguish between money spent productively and that spent unproductively, while a merely historical evolution has sometimes been used. The United States Census Bureau has worked out a statistical and accounting classification based largely on functional activities. A classification, aside from a mechanical one, which is perhaps the most interesting, is based on the method of conferring benefits. It will be interesting to note some of the purposes and difficulties of these classifications.