The decade ahead is going to be dominated by economic issues. All signs point to continued Inflation, continued high levels of unemployment, cyclical troughs and declining peaks in the overall economy, energy shortages and Increasing financial pressures, particularly on those families living on minimal or below-poverty level budgets. Stresses In management of basic requirements for maintenance of health, housing, education and transportation %III burden middle income, blue collar and the working poor family. In this context, funding of social services will be tight, relative to need. It seems useful, for these reasons, to place our discussion within an economic framework, to view social work services as a commodity, and to consider hdw the anticipated market conditions of the 80's will affect this commodity, including how these conditions will Impact on the producers, the consumers and the distributors of these services.