Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII: On What Depends the Degree of Productiveness of Productive Agents - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II - The Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (Books I-II)
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CHAPTER VII: On What Depends the Degree of Productiveness of Productive Agents - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II - The Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (Books I-II) 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II - The Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (Books I-II), ed. John M. Robson, introduction by V.W. Bladen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965).
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On What Depends the Degree of Productiveness of Productive Agents
§ 1. [Land, labour, and capital, are of different productiveness at different times and places] We have concluded our general survey of the requisites of production. We have found that they may be reduced to three: labour, capital, and the materials and motive forces afforded by nature. Of these, labour and the raw material of the globe are primary and indispensable. Natural motive powers may be called in to the assistance of labour, and are a help, but not an essential, of production. The remaining requisite, capital, is itself the product of labour: its instrumentality in production is therefore, in reality, that of labour in an indirect shape. It does not the less require to be specified separately. A previous application of labour to produce the capital required for consumption during the work, is no less essential than the application of labour to the work itself. Of capital, again, one, and by far the largest, portion, conduces to production only by sustaining in existence the labour which produces: the remainder, namely the instruments and materials, contribute to it directly, in the same manner with natural agents, and the materials supplied by nature.
We now advance to the second great question in political economy; on what the degree of productiveness of these agents depends. For it is evident that their productive efficacy varies greatly at various times and places. With the same population and extent of territory, some countries have a much larger amount of production than others, and the same country at one time a greater amount than itself at another. Compare England either with a similar extent of territory in Russia, or with an equal population of Russians. Compare England now with England in the Middle Ages; Sicily, Northern Africa, or Syria at present, with the same countries aata the time of their greatest prosperity, before the Roman Conquest. Some of the causes which contribute to this difference of productiveness are obvious; others not so much so. We proceed to specify several of them.
§ 2. [Causes of superior productiveness. Natural advantages] The most evident cause of superior productiveness is what are called natural advantages. These are various. Fertility of soil is one of the principal. In this there are great varieties, from the deserts of Arabia to the alluvial plains of the Ganges, the Niger, and the Mississippi. A favourable climate is even more important than a rich soil. There are countries capable of being inhabited, but too cold to be compatible with agriculture. Their inhabitants cannot pass beyond the nomadic state; they must live, like the Laplanders, by the domestication of the rein-deer, if not by hunting or fishing, like the miserable Esquimaux. There are countries where oats will ripen, but not wheat, such as the North of Scotland; others where wheat can be grown, but from excess of moisture and want of sunshine, affords but a precarious crop; as in parts of Ireland. With each advance towards the asoutha , or, in the European temperate region, towards the east, some new branch of agriculture becomes first possible, then advantageous; the vine, maize, bsilk, figs, olivesb , rice, dates, successively present themselves, until we come to the sugar, coffee, cotton, spices, &c. of climates which also afford, of the more common agricultural products, and with only a slight degree of cultivation, two or even three harvests in a year. Nor is it in agriculture alone that differences of climate are important. Their influence is felt in many other branches of production: in the durability of all work which is exposed to the air; of buildings, for example. If the temples of Karnac and Luxor had not been injured by men, they might have subsisted in their original perfection almost for ever, for the inscriptions on some of them, though anterior to all authentic history, are fresher than is in our climate an inscription fifty years old: while at St. Petersburg, the most massive works, solidly executed in granite hardly a generation ago, are already, as travellers tell us, almost in a state to require reconstruction, from calternate exposure toc summer heat and intense frost. The superiority of the woven fabrics of Southern Europe over those of England in the richness and clearness of many of their colours, is ascribed to the superior quality of the atmosphere, for which neither the knowledge of chemists nor the skill of dyers has been able to provide, in our hazy and damp climate, a complete equivalent.
Another part of the influence of climate consists in lessening the physical requirements of the producers. In hot regions, mankind can exist in comfort with less perfect housing, less clothing; fuel, that dabsoluted necessary of life in cold climates, they can almost dispense with, except for industrial usese. They alsoe require less aliment; as experience had proved, long before theory had accounted for it by ascertaining that most of what we consume as food is not required for the actual nutrition of the organs, but for keeping up the animal heat, and for supplying the necessary stimulus to the vital functions, which in hot climates is almost sufficiently supplied by air and sunshine. Much, therefore, of the labour elsewhere expended to procure the mere necessaries of life, not being required, more remains disposable for its higher uses and its enjoyments; if the character of the inhabitants does not rather induce them to use up these advantages in over-population, or in the indulgence of repose.
Among natural advantages, besides soil and climate, must be mentioned abundance of mineral productions, in convenient situations, and capable of being worked with moderate labour. Such are the coal-fields of Great Britain, which do so much to compensate its inhabitants for the disadvantages of climate; and the scarcely inferior fresourcef possessed by this country and the United States, in a copious supply of an easily reduced iron ore, at no great depth below the earth’s surface, and in close proximity to coal deposits available for working it. In mountain and hill districts, the abundance of natural water-power makes considerable amends for the usually inferior fertility of those regions. But perhaps a greater advantage than all these is a maritime situation, especially when accompanied with good natural harbours; and, next to it, great navigable rivers. These advantages consist indeed wholly in saving of cost of carriage. But few who have not considered the subject, have any adequate notion how great an extent of economical advantage this comprises; nor, without having considered the influence exercised on production by exchanges, and by what is called the division of labour, can it be fully estimated. So important is it, that it often does more than counterbalance sterility of soil, and almost every other natural inferiority; especially in that early stage of industry in which labour and science have not yet provided artificial means of communication capable of rivalling the natural. In the ancient world, and in the Middle Ages, the most prosperous communities were not those which had the largest territory, or the most fertile soil, but rather those which had been forced by natural sterility to make the utmost g use of a convenient maritime situation; as Athens, Tyre, Marseilles, Venice, the free cities on the Baltic, and the like.
§ 3. [Causes of superior productiveness. Greater energy of labour] So much for natural advantages; the value of which, cæteris paribus, is too obvious to be ever underrated. But experience testifies that natural advantages scarcely ever do for a community, no more than fortune and station do for an individual, anything like what it lies in their nature, or in their capacity, to do. a Neither now nor in former ages have the nations possessing the best climate and soil, been either the richest or the most powerful; but (in so far as regards the mass of the people) generally among the poorest, though, in the midst of poverty, probably on the whole the most enjoying. Human life in those countries can be supported on so little, that the poor seldom suffer from anxiety, and in climates in which mere existence is a pleasure, the luxury which they prefer is that of repose. Energy, at the call of passion, they possess in abundance, but not that which is manifested in sustained and persevering labour: and as they seldom concern themselves enough about remote objects to establish good political institutions, the incentives to industry are further weakened by imperfect protection of its fruits. Successful production, like most other kinds of success, depends more on the qualities of the human agents, than on the circumstances in which they work: and it is difficulties, not facilities, that nourish bodily and mental energy. Accordingly the tribes of mankind who have overrun and conquered others, and compelled them to labour for their benefit, have been mostly reared amidst hardship. They have either been bred in the forests of northern climates, or the deficiency of natural hardships has been supplied, as among the Greeks and Romans, by the artificial ones of a rigid military discipline. bFrom the time whenb the circumstances of modern society c permitted the discontinuance of that discipline, the South has no longer produced conquering nations; military vigour, as well as speculative thought and industrial energy, have all had their principal seats in the less favoured North.
As the second, therefore, of the causes of superior productiveness, we may rank the greater energy of labour. By this is not to be understood occasional, but regular and habitual energy. No one undergoes, without murmuring, a greater amount of occasional fatigue and hardship, or has his dbodily powers, and such faculties of mind as he possesses,d kept longer at their utmost stretch, than the North American Indian; yet his indolence is proverbial, whenever he has a brief respite from the pressure of present wants. Individuals, or enationse , do not differ so much in the efforts they are able and willing to make under strong immediate incentives, as in their capacity of present exertion for a distant object; and in the thoroughness of their application to work on ordinary occasions. fSome amount of these qualities isf a necessary condition of any great improvement among mankind. g To civilize a savage, he must be inspired with new wants and desires, even if not of a very elevated kind, provided that their gratification can be a motive to hsteady and regularh bodily and mental exertion. If the negroes of Jamaica and Demerara, after their emancipation, had contented themselves, as it was predicted they would do, with the necessaries of life, and abandoned all labour beyond the little which in a tropical climate, with a thin population and i abundance of the richest land, is sufficient to support existence, they would have sunk into a condition more barbarous, though fless unhappyf , than their previous state of slavery. The motive which was most relied on for inducing them to work was their love of fine clothes and personal ornaments. No one will stand up for this taste as k worthy of being cultivated, and in most societies its indulgence tends to impoverish rather than to enrich; but in the state of mind of the negroes it lmightl have been the only incentive that could make them voluntarily undergo systematic labour, and so acquire or maintain habits of mvoluntarym industry which may be converted to more valuable ends. nIn Englandn , it is not the desire of wealth that needs to be taught, but the use of wealth, and appreciation of the objects of desire which wealth cannot purchase, or for attaining which it is not required. Every real improvement in the character of the Englisho , whether it consist in giving them higher aspirations, or only pa juster estimate of the value of their present objects of desire, must necessarily moderate the ardour of their devotion to the pursuit of wealth.p There is no need, however, that it should diminish qtheq strenuous and businesslike application to the matter in hand, which ris found in the best English workmen, and is their most valuable quality.r
s The desirable medium is one which mankind have not often known how to hit: when they t labour, to do it with all their might, and especially with all their mind; but to devote to labour, for mere pecuniary gain, fewer hours in the day, fewer days in the year, and fewer years of life.
§ 4. [Causes of superior productiveness. Superior skill and knowledge] The third element which determines the productiveness of the labour of a community, is the skill and knowledge therein existing; whether it be the skill and knowledge of the labourers themselves, or of those who direct their labour. No illustration is requisite to show how the efficacy of industry is promoted by the manual dexterity of those who perform mere routine processes; by the intelligence of those engaged in operations in which the mind has a considerable part; and by the amount of knowledge of natural powers and aofa the properties of objects, which is turned to the purposes of industry. That the productiveness of the labour of a people is limited by their knowledge of the arts of life, is self-evident; and that any progress in those arts, any improved application of the objects or powers of nature to industrial uses, enables the same quantity and intensity of labour to raise a greater produce.
One principal department of these improvements consists in the invention and use of tools and machinery. The manner in which these serve to increase production and to economize labour, needs not be specially detailed in a work like the present: it will be found explained and exemplified, in a manner at once scientific and popular, in Mr. Babbage’s wellknown “Economy of Machinery and Manufactures.” An entire chapter of Mr. Babbage’s book is composed of instances of the efficacy of machinery in “exerting forces too great for human power, and executing operations too delicate for human touch.”[*] But to find examples of work which could not be performed at all by unassisted labour, we need not go so far. Without pumps, worked by steam-engines or otherwise, the water which collects in mines could not in many situations be got rid of at all, and the mines, after being worked to a little depth, must be abandoned: without ships or boats the sea could never have been crossed; without tools of some sort, trees could not be cut down, nor rocks excavated; a plough, or at least a bhoeb , is necessary to any tillage of the ground. Very simple and rude instruments, however, are sufficient to render literally possible most works hitherto executed by cmankindc ; and subsequent inventions have chiefly served to enable the work to be performed in greater perfection, and, above all, with a greatly diminished quantity of labour: the labour thus saved becoming disposable for other demploymentsd .
The use of machinery is far from being the only mode in which the effects of knowledge in aiding production are exemplified. In agriculture and horticulture, machinery eis only now beginning to show that it can do anythinge of importance, beyond the invention and progressive improvement of the plough and a few other simple instruments. The greatest agricultural inventions have consisted in the direct application of more judicious processes to the land itself, and ftof the plants growing on it: such as rotation of crops, to avoid the necessity of gleaving the land uncultivatedg for one season in every two or three; improved manures, to renovate its fertility when exhausted by cropping; hploughing and draining the subsoil as well as the surface;h conversion i of bogs and marshes into cultivable land; such modes of pruning, and of training and propping up plants and trees, as experience has shown to deserve the preference; in the case of the more expensive cultures, planting the jroots or seedsj further apart, and more completely pulverizing the soil in which they are placed, &c. In manufactures and commerce, some of the most important improvements consist in economizing time; in making the return follow more speedily upon the labour and outlay. There are others of which the advantage consists in economy of material.
§ 5. [Causes of superior productiveness. Superiority of intelligence and trustworthiness in the community generally] But the effects of the increased knowledge of a community in increasing its wealth, need the less illustration as they have become familiar to the most uneducated, from such conspicuous instances as railways and steam-ships. A thing not yet a so well understood and recognised, is the economical value of the general diffusion of intelligence among the people. The number of persons fitted to direct and superintend any industrial enterprise, or even to execute any process which cannot be reduced almost to an affair of memory and routine, is always far short of the demand; as is evident from the enormous difference between the salaries paid to such persons, and the wages of ordinary labour. The deficiency of practical good sense, which renders the majority of the labouring class b such bad calculators—which makes, for instance, their domestic economy so improvident, lax, and irregular—must disqualify them for any but a low grade of intelligent labour, and render their industry far less productive than with equal energy it otherwise might be. The importance, even in this limited aspect, of popular education, is well worthy of the attention of politicians, especially in England; since competent observers, accustomed to employ labourers of various nations, testify that in the workmen of other countries they often find great intelligence wholly apart from instruction, but that if an English labourer is anything but a hewer of wood and cac drawer of water, he is indebted dfor it to education, which in his case is almost always self-education.d Mr. Escher, of Zurich (an engineer and cotton manufacturer employing nearly two thousand working men of many different nations), in his evidence annexed to the Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, in 1840, on the training of pauper children, gives a character of English as contrasted with Continental workmen, which all persons of similar experience will, I believe, confirm.
“The Italians’ quickness of perception is shown in rapidly comprehending any new descriptions of labour put into their handse, in a powere of quickly comprehending the meaning of their employer, of adapting themselves to new circumstances, much beyond what any other classes have. The French workmen have the like natural characteristics, only in a somewhat lower degree. The English, Swiss, German, and Dutch workmen, we find, have all much slower natural comprehension. As workmen only, the preference is undoubtedly due to the English; because, as we find them, they are all trained to special branches, on which they have had comparatively superior training, and have concentrated all their thoughts. As men of business or of general usefulness, and as men with whom an employer would best like to be surrounded, I should, however, decidedly prefer the Saxons and the Swiss, but more especially the Saxons, because they have had a very careful general education, which has extended their capacities beyond any special employment, and rendered them fit to take up, after a short preparation, any employment to which they may be called. If I have an English workman engaged in the erection of a steam-engine, he will understand that, and nothing else; and for other circumstances or other branches of mechanics, however closely allied, he will be comparatively helpless to adapt himself to all the circumstances that may arise, to make arrangements for them, and give sound advice or write clear statements and letters on his work in the various related branches of mechanics.”
On the connexion between mental cultivation and moral trustworthiness in the labouring class, the same witness says, “The better educated workmen, we find, are distinguished by superior moral habits in every respect. In the first place, they are entirely sober; they are discreet in their enjoyments, which are of a more rational and refined kind; they have a taste for much better society, which they approach respectfully, and consequently find much readier admittance to it; they cultivate music; they read; they enjoy the pleasures of scenery, and make parties for excursions into the country; they are economical, and their economy extends beyond their own purse to the stock of their master; they are, consequently, honest and trustworthy.” And in answer to a question respecting the English workmen, “Whilst in respect to the work to which they have been specially trained they are the most skilful, they are in conduct the most disorderly, debauched, and unruly, and least respectable and trustworthy of any nation whatsoever whom we have employed; and in saying this, I express the experience of every manufacturer on the Continent to whom I have spoken, and especially of the English manufacturers, who make the loudest complaints. These characteristics of depravity do not apply to the English workmen who have received an education, but attach to the others in the degree in which they are in want of it. When the uneducated English workmen are released from the bonds of iron discipline in which they have been restrained by their employers in England, and are treated with the urbanity and friendly feeling which the more educated workmen on the Continent expect and receive from their employers, they, the English workmen, completely lose their balance: they do not understand their position, and after a certain time become totally unmanageable and useless.”*fThis result of observation is borne out by experience in England itself. As soon as any idea of equality enters the mind of anguneducatedg English working man, his head is turned by it. When he ceases to be servile, he becomes insolent.f
The moral qualities of the labourers are fully as important to the efficiency and worth of their labour, as the intellectual. Independently of the effects of intemperance upon their bodily and mental faculties, and of flighty, unsteady habits upon the energy and continuity of their work (points so easily understood as not to require being insisted upon), it is well worthy of meditation, how much of the aggregate effect of their labour depends on their trustworthiness. All the labour hnowh expended in watching that they fulfil their engagement, or in verifying that they have fulfilled it, is so much withdrawn from the real business of production, ito be devotedi to a subsidiary function rendered needful not by the necessity of things, but by the dishonesty of men. Nor are the greatest outward precautions jmore than very imperfectly efficacious, where, as is now almost invariably the case with hired labourers, the slightest relaxation of vigilance is an opportunity eagerly seized for eluding performance of their contract. The advantage to mankind of beingj able to trust one another, penetrates into every crevice and cranny of human life: the economical is perhaps the smallest part of it, yet even this is incalculable. To consider only the kmost obvious part of thek waste of wealth occasioned to society by human improbity; there is in all rich communities a predatory population, who live l by pillaging or overreaching other people; their numbers cannot be authentically ascertained, but on the lowest estimate, in a country like England, it is mvery largem . The support of these persons is a direct burthen on the national industry. The police, and the whole apparatus of punishment, and of criminal and partly of civil justice, are a second burthen rendered necessary by the first. The nexorbitantly-paidn profession of lawyerso, so far as their work is not created by defects in the law, of their own contriving,o are required and supported principally by the dishonesty of mankind. As the standard of integrity in a community prises higher, all these expenses becomep less. But this positive saving qwould beq far outweighed rby the immense increase in the produce of all kinds of labour, and saving of time and expenditure, which would be obtained if the labourers honestly performed what they undertake; andr by the increased spirit, the feeling of power and confidence, with which works of all sorts swould bes planned and carried on by those who tfeltt that all whose aid uwasu required vwouldv do their part faithfully according to their contracts. Conjoint action is possible just in proportion as human beings can rely on each other. There are countries in Europe, of first-rate industrial capabilities, where the most serious impediment to conducting business concerns on a large scale, is the rarity of persons who are supposed fit to be trusted with the receipt and expenditure of large sums of money. There are nations whose commodities are looked shily upon by merchants, because they cannot depend on finding the quality of the article conformable to that of the sample. Such short-sighted frauds are far from unexampled w in English exports. Every one has heard of “devil’s dust:” and among other instances given by Mr. Babbage, is one in which a branch of export trade was for a long time actually stopped by the forgeries and frauds which had occurred in it. On the other hand, the substantial advantage derived in business transactions from proved trustworthiness, is not less remarkably exemplified in the same work. “At one of our largest towns, sales and purchases on a very extensive scale are made daily in the course of business without any of the parties ever exchanging a written document.”[*] Spread over a x year’s transactions, how great a return, in saving of time, trouble, and expense, is brought in to the producers and dealers of such a town from their own integrity. “The influence of established character in producing confidence operated in a very remarkable manner at the time of the exclusion of British manufactures from the Continent during the last war. One of our largest establishments had been in the habit of doing extensive business with a house in the centre of Germany; but on the closing of the Continental ports against our manufactures, heavy penalties were inflicted on all those who contravened the Berlin and Milan decrees. The English manufacturer continued, nevertheless, to receive orders, with directions how to consign them, and appointments for the time and mode of payment, in letters, the handwriting of which was known to him, but which were never signed except by the Christian name of one of the firm, and even in some instances they were without any signature at all. These orders were executed, and in no instance was there the least irregularity in the payments.”*y
§ 6. [Causes of superior productiveness. Superior security] Among the secondary causes which determine the productiveness of productive agents, the most important is Security. By security I mean the completeness of the protection which society affords to its members. This consists of protection by the government, and protection against the government. The latter is the more important. Where a person known to possess anything worth taking away, can expect nothing but to have it torn from him, with every circumstance of tyrannical violence, by the agents of a rapacious government, it is not likely that many will exert themselves to produce much more than necessaries. This is the acknowledged explanation of the poverty of many fertile tracts of Asia, which were once prosperous and populous. From this to the degree of security enjoyed in the best governed parts of Europe, there are numerous gradations. In amany provinces ofa France, before the Revolution, a vicious system of taxation on the land, and still more the absence of redress against the arbitrary exactions which were made under colour of the taxes, rendered it the interest of every cultivator to appear poor, and therefore to cultivate badly. The only insecurity which is altogether paralysing to the active energies of producers, is that arising from the government, or from persons invested with its authority. Against all other depredators there is a hope of defending oneself. Greece and the Greek colonies in the ancient world, Flanders and Italy in the Middle Ages, by no means enjoyed what any one with modern ideas would call security: the state of society was most unsettled and turbulent; person and property were exposed to a thousand dangers. But they were free countries; they were bin generalb neither arbitrarily oppressed, nor systematically plundered by their governments. Against other enemies the individual energy which their institutions called forth, enabled them to make successful resistance: their labour, therefore, was eminently productive, and their riches, while they remained free, cwerec constantly on the increase. The Roman despotism, putting an end to wars and internal conflicts throughout the empire, relieved the subject population from much of the former insecurity: but because it left them under the grinding yoke of its own rapacity, they became enervated and impoverished, until they were an easy prey to barbarous but free invaders. They would neither fight nor labour, because they were no longer suffered to enjoy that for which they fought and laboured.
Much of the security dofd person and property in modern nations is the effect of manners and opinion rather than of law. There aree, or lately were,e countries in Europe where the monarch fwasf nominally absolute, but where, from the restraints imposed by established usage, no subject gfeltg practically in the smallest danger of having his possessions arbitrarily seized or a contribution levied on them by the government. There must, however, be in such governments much petty plunder and other tyranny by subordinate agents, for which redress is not obtained, owing to the want of publicity which is the ordinary character of absolute governments. In England the people are tolerably well protected, both by institutions and manners, against the agents of government; but, for the security they enjoy against other evil-doers, they are very little indebted to their institutions. The laws cannot be said to afford protection to property, when they afford it only at such a cost as renders submission to injury in general the better calculation. The security of property in England is owing (except as regards open violence) to opinion, and the fear of exposure, much more than to hthe direct operation ofh the law and the courts of justice.i
Independently of all imperfection in the bulwarks which society purposely throws round what it recognises as property, there are various other modes in which defective institutions impede the employment of the productive resources of a country to the best advantage. We shall have occasion for noticing many of these in the progress of our subject. It is sufficient here to remark, that the efficiency of industry may be expected to be great, in proportion as the fruits of industry are insured to the person exerting it: and that all social arrangements are conducive to useful exertion, according as they provide that the reward of every one for his labour shall be proportioned as much as possible to the benefit which it produces. All laws or usages which favour one class or sort of persons to the disadvantage of others; which chain up the efforts of any part of the community in pursuit of their own good, or stand between those efforts and their natural fruits—are (independently of all other grounds of condemnation) violations of the fundamental principles of economical policy; jtendingj to make the aggregate productive powers of the community productive in a less degree than they would otherwise be.
[a-a]MS, 48, 49 in
[b-b]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57, 62, 65 figs, olives, silk
[c-c]MS the alternations to which they have been exposed between
[d-d]MS, 48, 49 essential
[e-e]MS ; & they
[f-f]MS, 48, 49, 52 resources
[g]MS, 48 possible
[a]MS The greatest advantages gratuitously bestowed, generally become disadvantages. To be able to live in ease & enjoyment with little labour, is almost more unfavourable to the active faculties than the extremity of hardship.] 48, 49 as MS . . . disadvantages. Neither . . . as 71
[d-d]MS faculties of mind & body
[e-e]MS, 48, 49 races
[f-f]MS In this last quality, the English, and perhaps the Anglo-Americans, appear at present to surpass every other people. This efficiency of labour is connected with their whole character; with their defects, as much as with their good qualities. The majority of Englishmen and Americans have no life but in their work; that alone stands between them and ennui. Either from original temperament, climate, or want of development, they are too deficient in senses to enjoy mere existence in repose; and scarcely any pleasure or amusement is pleasure or amusement to them. Except, therefore, those who are alive to some of the nobler interests of humanity (a small minority in all countries), they have little to distract their attention from work, or to divide the dominion over them with the one propensity which is the passion of those who have no other, and the satisfaction of which comprises all that they imagine of success in life—the desire of growing richer, and getting on in the world. This last characteristic applies chiefly to those who are in a condition superior to day labourers; but the absence of any taste for amusement, or enjoyment of repose, is characteristic of all classes. Whether this or anything else be the cause, the same steadiness and persistency of labour is common to the most improvident of the English working classes—those who never think of saving, or improving their condition. It has become the habit of the country; and life in England is more governed by habit, and less by personal inclination and will, than in any other country, except perhaps China or Japan. The effect is, that where hard labour is the thing required, there are no labourers like the English; though in natural intelligence, and even in manual dexterity, they have many superiors.
[g]MS A state of mere indolence is the most fruitless & hopeless condition of a human being. It is the most obstinate of hindrances to improvement; almost any means are good for getting rid of it.
[h-h]+57, 62, 65, 71
[i]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57 an
[j-j]52, 57 happier
[k]MS, 48, 49 in itself
[l-l]MS, 48, 49 may
[m-m]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[n-n]MS, 48, 49 As much as the industrial spirit required to be stimulated in their case, so much does it require to be moderated in such countries as England and the United States. There
[o]MS, 48, 49 or Americans
[p-p]MS, 48, 49 more numerous and better pleasures, must necessarily moderate the all-engrossing torment of their industrialism; must diminish, therefore, so far as it depends on that cause alone, the aggregate productiveness of their labour.] 52 as MS . . . industrialism. There . . . as 71
[q-q]MS, 48, 49 that
[r-r]MS, 48, 49 is one of their most precious characteristics. “Whoever” (says Mr. Laing*) “looks into the social economy of an English or Scotch manufacturing district, in which the population has become thoroughly imbued with the spirit of productiveness, will observe that it is not merely the expertness, despatch, and skill of the operative himself, that are concerned in the prodigious amount of his production in a given time, but the labourer who wheels coal to his fire, the girl who makes ready his breakfast, the whole population, in short, from the potboy who brings his beer, to the banker who keeps his employer’s cash, are inspired with the same alert spirit, are in fact working to his hand with the same quickness and punctuality as he works himself. English workmen taken to the Continent always complain that they cannot get on with their work as at home, because of the slow, unpunctual, pipe-in-mouth working habits of those who have to work to their hands, and on whom their own activity and productiveness mainly depend.”
[s]MS, 48, 49 [no paragraph]
[t]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57, 62 do
[a-a]+48, 49, 52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[[*] ]Babbage, Charles. On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures. 3rd ed. London: Knight, 1832 (1833?). The passage quoted is the title of chapter vii.
[b-b]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57, 62 spade
[c-c]MS, 48, 49 man
[d-d]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57, 62 employment
[e-e]MS, 48, 49 has done little
[f-f]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[g-g]MS letting the land rest
[i]MS , by drainage,
[j-j]MS, 48 seeds or roots
[a]MS, 48, 49 , perhaps,
[b]MS, 48, 49 , in this and many other countries,
[c-c]+62, 65, 71
[e-e]+48, 49, 52, 57, 62, 65, 71 [not in Source]
[* ][MS, 48, 49 in text] The whole [MS I strongly recommend to attention the entire] 48, 49 The entire] evidence of this [MS this very] intelligent and experienced employer of labour is deserving of attention; as well as [MS employer of labour, & much] much testimony on similar points by other witnesses, contained in the same volume. [“Report to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, from the Poor Law Commissioners, on the Training of Pauper Children,” House of Lords Sessional Papers, 1841, XXXIII. The passages are from pp. 16, 16-7, 19.]
[f-f]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[g-g]52, 57, 62 ordinary
[h-h]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[i-i]+48, 49, 52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[j-j]MS, 48, 49 comparable in efficacy to the monitor within. The advantage that it is to mankind to be
[k-k]MS direst] 48, 49 direct
[n-n]MS, 48, 49 highly paid
[o-o]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[p-p]MS, 48, 49 is higher, so are all these expenses
[q-q]MS, 48, 49 is
[r-r]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[s-s]MS, 48, 49 are
[t-t]MS, 48, 49 feel
[u-u]MS, 48, 49 is
[v-v]MS, 48, 49 will
[w]MS, 48, 49 even
[[*] ]Babbage, pp. 219-20.
[x]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57, 62 whole
[* ]Some minor instances noticed by Mr. Babbage may be cited in further illustration of the waste occasioned to society through the inability of its members to trust one another.
[y]MS [paragraph] In a book recently published, “De la Liberté du Travail,” [ou simple exposé des conditions dans lesquelles les forces humaines s’exercent avec le plus de puissance. 3 vols. Paris: Guillaumin, 1845] by a distinguished member of the administrative body in France, M. Charles Dunoyer, a comprehensive survey is taken of all the great branches of industry, for the express object of pointing out the personal qualities, moral, intellectual, and practical, which must exist in individuals, or be diffused through society, to enable each particular branch to be carried on with success. It would swell unreasonably the bulk of the present treatise were I to illustrate minutely one half of the principles I introduce, & I am glad when, as in this case, I can direct the reader to another work in which what is here left undone, has been done so amply that if I had room to spare I should only have to transcribe or abridge. In M. Dunoyer’s work will be found, what we in general vainly seek from political economists, a clear view of the relation between the political economy of any society & its state of general intelligence & of moral & social improvement; nor am I aware of any other work in which this important relation is traced out in anything like similar detail.
[a-a]+49, 52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[b-b]+52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[e-e]+49, 52, 57, 62, 65, 71
[f-f]MS, 48 is
[g-g]MS, 48 feels
[i]MS, 48, 49 Of late, indeed, law has thrown a part of its weight into the other scale, by a course of legislation on the subject of insolvent debtors, which is almost a direct encouragement to repudiation of engagements.
[j-j]MS, 48, 49, 52, 57 and tend
[*]Extracts from the evidence of Mr. Escher, of Zurich, (an engineer and cotton manufacturer employing nearly two thousand working men of many different nations), annexed to the Report of the Poor Law Commissioners in 1840, on the training of pauper children.“The Italians’ . . . as text of 71 . . . [109.25] useless. The educated English workmen in a short time comprehend their position, and adopt an appropriate behaviour.”