Front Page Titles (by Subject) STATEMENT OF THE FOUR ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS OF THE SCIENCE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY. - Political Economy
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STATEMENT OF THE FOUR ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS OF THE SCIENCE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY. - Nassau William Senior, Political Economy 
Political Economy (London: Richard Griffin and Co. 3rd ed. 1854).
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STATEMENT OF THE FOUR ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS OF THE SCIENCE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY.
We have already stated that the general facts on which the Science of Political Economy rests, are comprised in a few general Propositions, the result of observation or consciousness. The Propositions to which we then alluded are these:—
The first of these Propositions is a matter of consciousness, the three others are matter of observation. As the first and second involve little use of the peculiar abstractions of Political Economy, except those implied in the term Wealth, and may therefore be explained with little recourse to its peculiar nomenclature, we shall consider them immediately; leaving the third and fourth for discussion in a subsequent part of this Treatise. They are, however, so nearly self-evident, that we will venture in the mean time to assume their truth. No one who reflects on the difference between the unassisted force of man, and the more than gigantic powers of capital and machinery, can doubt the former proposition; and, to convince ourselves of the other, it is necessary only to recollect that, if it were false, no land except the very best could ever be cultivated: since if the return from a single farm were to increase in full proportion to any amount of increased labour bestowed on it, the produce of that one farm might feed the whole population of England.
Development of the First Elementary Proposition of the Science, namely, that on
The General Desire for Wealth.
In stating that every man desires to obtain additional wealth with as little sacrifice as possible, we must not be supposed to mean, that every body, or indeed any body, wishes for an indefinite quantity of every thing; still less as stating that wealth, though the universal, either is, or ought to be, the principal object of human desire. What we mean to state is, that no person feels his whole wants to be adequately supplied: that every person has some unsatisfied desires which he believes that additional wealth would gratify. The nature and the urgency of each individual’s wants are as various as the differences in individual character. Some may wish for power, others for distinction, and others for leisure; some require bodily, and others mental amusement; some are anxious to produce important advantage to the public; and there are few, perhaps there are none, who, if it could be done by a wish, would not benefit their acquaintances and friends. Money seems to be the only object for which the desire is universal; and it is so, because money is abstract wealth. Its possessor may satisfy at will his ambition, or vanity, or indolence, his public spirit or his private benevolence; may multiply the means of obtaining bodily pleasure, or of avoiding bodily evil, or the still more expensive amusements of the mind. Any one of these pursuits would exhaust the largest fortune within the limits of individual acquisition; and as all men would engage in some of them, and many in all, the desire for wealth must be insatiable, though the modes in which different individuals would employ it are infinitely diversified.
An equal diversity exists in the amount and the kind of the sacrifices which different individuals, or even the same individual, will encounter in the pursuit of wealth. And not only is the same sacrifice more severe to one than to another, as some will not give up ease or leisure for study, others good air and a country life, and others recreation and society, but the absolute desire for wealth on the one hand, and the absolute will to encounter toils or privations in its pursuit on the other, are stronger in some men than in others. These differences form some of the principal distinctions in individual and national character. Experience however, shows, and indeed it might have been predicted? priori, that the greatest and longest continued sacrifices will be made in those Countries in which property is most secure, and the road to social eminence is the most open. The inhabitants of Holland and of Great Britain, and of the Countries that have derived their institutions from Great Britain, the nations which up to the present time have best enjoyed those advantages, have up to the present time been the most ardent and the most successful in the pursuit of opulence. But even the Indians of Mexico, though their indolence makes them submit to poverty under which an Englishman would feel life a burden, would willingly be rich if it cost them no trouble.
It may be necessary, however, to explain our motives for dwelling on so much that is self-evident. Our first reason is, that the proposition in question, though we are not aware that any one has thought that it required to be formally stated, is assumed in almost every process of economical reasoning. It is the corner-stone of the doctrine of wages and profits, and, generally speaking, of exchange. In short, it is in Political Economy what gravitation is in Physics, or the dictum de omni et nullo in Logic: the ultimate fact beyond which reasoning cannot go, and of which almost every other proposition is merely an illustration. In an attempt to state the evidence on which the Science rests, it appeared to us improper to omit its foundation, though at the hazard of appearing to take up our reader’s time in defending what it may be supposed that nobody ever thought of questioning.
But, in the second place, this proposition, apparently self-evident, has been impliedly questioned. It is directly opposed to a doctrine of considerable popularity, and supported by great names,—we mean the doctrine of over-production or universal glut.
By the word glut is meant the production of a given commodity in an abundance, either absolutely beyond the desires of its intended consumers, or beyond the amount for which they are able and willing to offer in exchange equivalents sufficient to induce the producer to continue his operations. Books are, perhaps, the commodities most subject to gluts. The proportionate expenses of printing and advertising increase so rapidly, if the number of copies printed be much reduced, and authors are so little subject to underrate the probable demand for their labours, that scarcely any edition consists of less than two hundred and fifty copies, and very few of less than five hundred. But we have seen calculations showing that not in one case out of two hundred are all the copies sold off at the price at which they originally came out. In ordinary cases, from fifty to one hundred are sold in the first year, and thirty or forty in the second; by the end of which time the book has been forgotten, and the unsold copies are put up to sale at periodical auctions among the booksellers. The best that can happen to them is to be purchased on this occasion in order to be again offered to the public; but the majority of Works are found to be worth purchase, not as books, but as paper. They are unsold at the trade sales, and find their way
We have selected books as affording an illustration of a glut arising from a miscalculation not of the ability, but of the willingness of purchasers. The opening of a new trade is generally followed by gluts occasioned by miscalculations of both. Every one must recollect, when Brazil and Spanish America first became accessible, our exports of skates, and fire-irons, and warming pans to the tropics. And, until their real poverty was known, we continued to fill their warehouses with cargoes, adapted indeed to their wants, but far beyond their means. Miscalculations of this kind must obviously be of frequent occurrence; and perhaps what ought to excite our surprise is, not the extent to which they prevail, but the degree in which they are avoided. But it appears clear that they can arise only from one or the other of two causes: either from the articles of wealth, with respect to which the glut exists, having been prepared for persons who do not want them, or from those persons not being provided with other articles of wealth, suited to the desires of the producers of the first-mentioned articles of wealth, to offer in exchange for them. Partial gluts, occasioned by the one or the other of these causes, are among the most ordinary commercial occurrences. But the opinion to which our doctrine is opposed is that which admits the possibility not only of partial but of universal gluts, which supposes it possible that there may be at the same time a glut of services and commodities in general,—that we may have too much of everything; a doctrine not only of frequent occurrence in conversations on commercial subjects, but even maintained by some distinguished writers. Now as by the assumed hypothesis of a universal glut all the articles of wealth exist not only in abundance, but in superabundance, an absolute deficiency of equivalents cannot be one of its causes. And it can scarcely be supposed that there can be such a general state of commercial cross-purposes as to prevent, in the majority of cases, the proper sellers and purchasers from meeting. It can scarcely be supposed that when A has what B wants, and B what A wants, A and B should, in the majority of instances, instead of finding out and exchanging with one another, offer their respective commodities to Y and Z, who, having also each reciprocal wants and supplies, neither wish to purchase from A or B, nor have discovered the means of exchanging with one another. But if it be absurd to suppose that a general glut could be occasioned by such an universal spirit of blundering as this, the only remaining hypothesis on which the existence of a general glut can be supposed, is that of a general satiety, that all men may be so fully provided with the precise articles which they desire as to afford no market for each other’s superfluities. And this doctrine is opposed to the proposition with which we set out, that every man desires to obtain additional wealth.
Development of the Second Elementary Proposition of the Science, namely, that on
The Causes which Limit Population.
Having explained the sense in which we use the word wealth, and stated, or rather recalled to the recollection of our readers, the general desire to obtain additional wealth with the least possible sacrifice, we now proceed to consider the second of the four elementary propositions on which the Science of Political Economy is founded; namely, that the population of the world, or, in other words, the number of persons inhabiting it, is limited only by moral or physical evil, or by fear of the deficiency of those articles of wealth which the habits of the individuals of each class of its inhabitants lead them to require.
It is now generally admitted, indeed it is strange that it should ever have required to be pointed out, that every species of plant or animal which is capable of increase, either by generation or by seed, must be capable of a constantly increasing increase; every addition to its numbers being capable of affording a source of still further additions; or, in other words, that wherever there is a capacity of increase, it must be a capacity of increase not by mere addition, but by multiplication; or, to use the short form in which the proposition is usually stated, not in an arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio. The rate at which any species of plant or animal is capable of increasing, must depend on the average power of reproduction, and the average period of existence of the individuals of which it is constituted. Wheat, we know, is an annual, and its average power of reproduction, perhaps, about six for one; on that supposition, the produce of a single acre might cover the globe in fourteen years. The rate at which the human race is capable of increasing has been determined by observation. It has been ascertained that, for considerable periods and in extensive districts, under temperate climates, it has doubled every twenty-five years.
The power of reproduction in the human race must, under similar climates, be always the same. We say, under similar climates, because the acceleration of puberty, which has been sometimes observed in tropical climates, unless checked, as is probably the case, by an earlier cessation of child-bearing, would occasion increased fecundity. Now, the United States of America, the districts in which the rate of increase which we have mentioned has been most clearly ascertained, are not remarkable for the longevity of their inhabitants. We may infer, therefore, that such is the average power of reproduction and average duration of life in the individuals constituting the human species, that their number may double every twenty-five years. At this rate the inhabitants of every Country would, in the course of every five centuries, increase to above a million times their previous number. At this rate the population of England would, in five hundred years, exceed fifteen million millions: a population which would not allow them standing room. Such being the human powers of increase, the question is, By what checks is their expansion controlled? How comes it that the population of the world, instead of being now a million times as great as it was five hundred years ago, apparently has not doubled within that time, and certainly has not quadrupled?
Mr. Malthus has divided the checks to population into the preventive and the positive. The first are those which limit fecundity, the second those which decrease longevity. The first diminish the number of births, the second increase that of deaths. And as fecundity and longevity are the only elements of the calculation, it is clear that Mr. Malthus’s division is exhaustive. The positive check to population is physical evil. The preventive checks are promiscuous intercourse and abstinence from marriage. The first is moral evil; the second is, with a very few exceptions, so few indeed that they do not affect the result, founded on an apprehended deficiency of some of the things to which we have given the general appellation of wealth. All the preventive and positive checks may therefore be distributed under prudence, moral evil, and physical evil. We will first consider the positive check.
We have seen that this check includes all the causes which tend, in any way, prematurely to shorten the duration of human existence; such as unwholesome occupations, severe labour, or exposure to the seasons, bad or insufficient food or clothing, bad nursing of children, excesses of all kinds, the corruption of the air from natural causes, or from large towns, wars, infanticide, plague, and famine. Of these, some arise from the laws of nature, and others from the crimes and follies of man: all are directly and immediately felt in the form of physical evil, though many of them are the result, more or less remotely, of moral evil.
The final and irresistible mode in which physical evil operates is the want of the necessaries of existence: death produced by hardship or starvation. This is almost the only check to the increase of the irrational animals; and as man descends towards their condition, he falls more and more under its influence. In the lowest savage state it is the principal and obvious check; in a high state of civilization it is almost imperceptible; but is unperceived only in consequence of the operation of its substitutes.
We have already stated that, as a general rule, additional labour employed in the cultivation of the land, within a given district, produces a less proportionate return. And it has appeared that such is the power of reproduction and duration of life in mankind, that the population of a given district is capable of doubling itself at least every twenty-five years. It is clear, therefore, that the rate at which the production of food is capable of being increased, and that at which population, if unchecked, would increase, are totally different. Every addition made to the quantity of food periodically produced, makes in general a further periodical addition more difficult. Every addition to the existing population diffuses wider the means of still further addition. If neither evil, nor the fear of evil, checked the population of England, it would amount in a century to above two hundred millions. Suppose it possible that we might be able to raise or to import the subsistence of two hundred millions of people; is it possible that one hundred and twenty-five years hence we should be able to support four hundred millions? or, in one hundred and fifty years, eight hundred millions? It is clear, however, that long before the first century had elapsed, long before the period at which, if unchecked, we should have attained two hundred millions, no excellence in our institutions, or salubrity of climate, or unremitting industry, could have saved us from being arrested in our progress by a constantly increasing want of subsistence. If all other moral and physical checks could be got rid of, if we had neither wars nor libertinism, if our habitations, and employments, and habits were all wholesome, and no fears of indigence or loss of station prevented or retarded our marriages, famine would soon exercise her prerogative of controlling, in the last resort, the multiplication of mankind.
But though it be certain that the absence of all other checks would only give room for the irresistible influence of famine, it is equally certain that such a state of things never has existed and never will exist.
In the first place the absence of all the other moral and physical evils which retard population implies a degree of civilization not only high, but higher than mankind have as yet enjoyed. Such a society cannot be supposed to want sagacity sufficient to foresee the evils of a too rapidly increasing population, and prudence sufficient to avoid them. In such a state the preventive check would be in full operation, and its force is quite sufficient to render unnecessary even the approach of any positive check.
And, secondly, it is impossible that a positive check, so goading and so remorseless as famine, should prevail without bringing in her train all the others. Pestilence is her uniform companion, and murder and war are her followers. Whole bodies of men will not tamely lie down to die, and witness, while they are perishing, their wives, and children, and parents, starving around them. Where there is a diversity of fortunes, famine generally produces that worst form of civil war, the insurrection of the poor against the rich. Among uncivilized nations it produces those tremendous hostile migrations, in which a whole people throws itself across a neighbouring frontier, and either perishes in the attempt to obtain a larger or more fertile territory, or destroys the former possessors, or drives them out to be themselves aggressors in turn.
In fact, almost all the positive checks, by their mutual reaction, have a tendency to create and aggravate one another; and the destruction of those who perish immediately by one, may generally be found to have been remotely occasioned or promoted by one or more of the others. Among nations imperfectly civilized, the widest and the most wasting of the positive checks is predatory war. A district exposed to it is likely to suffer all the others. Mere fear of invasion must generally keep the great body of its inhabitants pent up in crowded and consequently unwholesome towns; it must confine their cultivation to the fields in the immediate neighbourhood of those towns, and, if it does not destroy, must so much impede their commerce as to render it useless as a source of subsistence; and when the invasion does come, it is often followed by the complete extirpation of the invaded community. This is the check which has kept Africa, and the central parts of Asia, in their comparatively unpeopled state.
In his journey from Abyssinia to Sennaar, Bruce crossed the territory of Atbara, subject to the incursions of the Daveina Arabs. The whole seems to have been a scene of desolation. He passed a night at Garigara, a village, of which they had destroyed the crops a year before. The inhabitants had all perished with hunger, and their remains were unburied and scattered over the ground where the village had stood. The travellers encamped among the bones: no space could be found free from them. His next stage was Teawa. “Its consequence,” he observes, “was to remain only till the Daveina should resolve to attack it, when its corn fields being burnt and destroyed in a night by a multitude of horsemen, the bones of its inhabitants scattered upon the earth would be all its remains, like those of the miserable village of Garigara.”
Among the positive checks to the population of uncivilized, or partially civilized, nations, the next in importance to war is famine. When a people depends principally on that subsistence which is most easily obtained, and such is the case among the nations in question, the mere variations of the seasons must, from time to time, produce destructive want. Where society is better constituted, the evil of these variations is mitigated, partly from the superfluity of the more opulent classes, partly by importation, and principally by a recurrence to a less expensive diet; but in a barbarous, and consequently a poor and non-commercial people, they are among the most frightful forms of national calamity. The histories which we possess of such Countries always particularize periods of dearth as among the most memorable events recorded. They seem in a constant oscillation between the want endured by a population that has increased to the utmost limits of subsistence, and the plenty enjoyed by the survivors after that population has been thinned by war, pestilence, or famine. The remainder of the positive checks, such as infanticide and unwholesomeness of climate, habits, or situation, appear rather to facilitate early marriages than to produce any actual diminution, or prevent any actual increase of population. Infanticide has been supposed to be rather favourable to population, by opposing to the prudential check to marriage a mode of disposing of its offspring, which may appear easy in contemplation, but from which the feelings of the parents eventually recoil. The unwholesomeness of some districts is unquestionably such as to keep them totally unpeopled, or inhabited by strangers, whose numbers must be constantly recruited. Such, for instance, appears to be the case in the most unhealthy parts of Italy. Such is the case with large manufacturing towns even in the most favourable climates, unless great skill and great care are directed towards their cleanliness and ventilation. And in a newly colonized Country like the back settlements of America, where the abundance of land and the constantly increasing means of subsistence would render any preventive check unnecessary, any cause diminishing longevity must retard increase. But with these exceptions, unhealthiness rather causes the successive generations to pass more rapidly away, than diminishes the actual number of inhabitants. In some of the healthiest districts of Switzerland, the average annual mortality does not exceed one in forty-eight. In many of the marshy villages of Holland it exceeds one in twenty-three. But it would be rash to expect the population of the former to be more dense or to increase more rapidly than that of the latter. The case is, in fact, the reverse. In the Swiss villages of which we have been speaking, the births are as rare as the deaths; the population is thin and stationary. Among the Dutch the births somewhat exceed the deaths; the population is dense and is increasing. It is obvious, indeed, that the proportion of annual births to the whole number of people being given, the rate of increase must depend on the proportion borne by the annual deaths. And again, the proportion of deaths to the whole number of people being given, it must depend on the proportion borne by the births; or, to use a shorter form of expression—given the longevity, it must depend on the fecundity; and given the fecundity, it must depend on the longevity. If both are given, the rate of increase may be calculated; but from only one, the conclusion must be in the disjunctive. If the annual births bear a large proportion to the existing number of people, we may conclude either that the population is rapidly increasing, or that the positive checks are in powerful operation. On the other hand, from a small proportion of annual deaths may be inferred either a rapid increase of numbers, or a strong influence of the preventive checks. The average duration of life in England is greater than in the United States of America; but so much greater is the force of the preventive checks, that the rate of increase in America is about double that in England. Again, the average duration of life in the Swiss villages to which we have referred, is the same as it is in England; but the preventive check in England, strong as it appears when compared with its force in America, is so much weaker than it is in some districts in Switzerland, that, with the same annual mortality, the population is in the one Country stationary, in the other rapidly progressive.
But although the average longevity in a Country affords no decisive evidence as to the increasing or stationary number of its inhabitants, it is among the least deceitful tests of their prosperity; far less so than that on which legislators formerly relied, the number of births. There is not an evil, moral or physical, which has not a tendency, directly or indirectly, to shorten life, but there are many which have a direct tendency to increase fecundity. The extraordinary duration of life in Great Britain, exceeding, as it does, the average of any other equally populous district, is a convincing proof of the general excellence of our climate, our institutions, and our habits.
We now proceed to consider the preventive checks to the increase of population. We have seen that they are Promiscuous Intercourse and Abstinence from Marriage.
The first does not appear to be of sufficient importance to require much consideration. It is said to produce some effect in checking the increase of the higher classes in some of the South Sea Islands; and it appears to have produced the same effect to a considerable extent among the West Indian negroes. But the nobility of the South Seas scarcely deserve to be separately considered. And, while the other forms of moral and physical evil were accumulated, as they were among the West Indian slaves, it is probable that the removal of this evil alone would have done little to promote the increase of their population.
But, with these exceptions, there are scarcely any females whose fecundity is prevented or diminished by promiscuous intercourse, except those unhappy individuals whose only trade is prostitution. And they form so small a proportion of the population of the whole world, that the check to population, occasioned by their unfruitfulness may safely be disregarded.
The only remaining check is Abstinence from Marriage. Our readers are of course aware that, by the word “marriage,” we mean to express not the peculiar and permanent connection which alone, in a Christian Country, is entitled to that name, but any agreement between a man and woman to cohabit under circumstances likely to occasion the birth of progeny. We have already observed that abstinence from marriage is almost uniformly founded on the apprehension of a deficiency of some of the things which we have denominated by the general term Wealth, or, in other words, on prudence. Some cases certainly occur in which men remain unmarried, although their fortunes are so ample that the expenses of a family would be unperceived. But the number of persons so situated is so small, that they create an exception which would scarcely deserve attention, even if this conduct were as common among them as it is, in fact, rare.
We shall scarcely, therefore, be led into error, if, in considering the preventive checks, we confine our attention to Prudence, and assume that, as nothing but physical evil directly and immediately diminishes the longevity of mankind, nothing but an apprehended deficiency of some of the articles of wealth prevents their fecundity.
But though an apprehended deficiency of some of the articles of wealth is substantially the only preventive check to the increase of population, it is obvious that fear of the want of different articles operates, with all men, very differently; and even that an apprehended want of the same article will affect differently the minds of the individuals of different classes. An apprehended want of corn would produce on the minds of all Englishmen a very different effect from an apprehended want of silk. An apprehended want of butcher’s meat would affect very differently the minds of Englishmen of different classes. It appears to us, therefore, convenient to divide, for this purpose, the articles of wealth into the three great classes of Necessaries, Decencies, and Luxuries, and to explain the different effects produced by the fear of the want of the articles of wealth falling under each class. We must begin, however, by stating, as precisely as we can, what we mean by the words Necessaries, Decencies, and Luxuries; terms which have been used ever since the Moral Sciences first attracted attention, but with little attention to precision or to consistent use.
It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that these are relative terms, and that some person must always be assigned with reference to whom a given commodity or service is a Luxury, a Decency, or a Necessary.
By Necessaries, then, we express those things, the use of which is requisite to keep a given individual in the health and strength essential to his going through his habitual occupations.
By Decencies, we express those things which a given individual must use in order to preserve his existing rank in society.
Every thing else of which a given individual makes use, or, in other words, all that portion of his consumption which is not essential to his health and strength, or to the preservation of his existing rank in society, we term Luxury.
It is obvious that when consumed by the inhabitants of different Countries, or even by different individuals in the same Country, the same things may be either luxuries, decencies, or necessaries.
Shoes are necessaries to all the inhabitants of England. Our habits are such that there is not an individual whose health would not suffer from the want of them. To the lowest class of the inhabitants of Scotland they are luxuries: custom enables them to go barefoot without inconvenience and without degradation. When a Scotchman rises from the lowest to the middling classes of society, they become to him decencies. He wears them to preserve, not his feet, but his station in life. To the highest class, who have been accustomed to them from infancy, they are as much necessaries as they are to all classes in England. To the higher classes in Turkey wine is a luxury and tobacco a decency. In Europe it is the reverse. The Turk drinks and the European smokes, not in obedience, but in opposition both to the rules of health and to the forms of society. But wine in Europe and the pipe in Turkey are among the refreshments to which a guest is entitled, and which it would be as indecent to refuse in the one Country as to offer in the other.
It has been said that the coal-heavers and lightermen, and some others among the hardworking London labourers, could not support their toils without the stimulus of porter. If this be true, porter is to them a necessary. To all others it is a luxury. A carriage is a Decency to a woman of fashion, a Necessary to a physician, and a Luxury to a tradesmen.
The question, whether a given commodity is to be considered as a decency or a luxury, is obviously one to which no answer can be given, unless the place, the time, and the rank of the individual using it be specified. The dress which in England was only decent a hundred years ago, would be almost extravagant now, while the house and furniture which now would afford merely decent accommodation to a gentleman, would then have been luxurious for a peer. The causes which entitle a commodity to be called a necessary are more permanent and more general. They depend partly upon the habits in which the individual in question has been brought up, partly on the nature of his occupation, on the lightness or the severity of the labours and hardships that he has to undergo, and partly on the climate in which he lives.
Of these causes we have illustrated the two first by the familiar examples of shoes and porter. But the principal cause is climate. The fuel, shelter, and raiment, which are essential to a Laplander’s existence, would be worse than useless under the Tropics. And as habits and occupations are very slowly changed, and climate suffers scarcely any alteration, the commodities which are necessary to the different classes of the inhabitants of a given district may, and generally do, remain for centuries unchanged, while their decencies and luxuries are continually varying.
Among all classes the check imposed by an apprehended deficiency of mere luxuries is but slight. The motives, perhaps we might say the instincts, that prompt the human race to marriage, are too powerful to be much restrained by the fear of losing conveniences unconnected with health or station in society. Nor is population much retarded by the fear of wanting mere necessaries. In comparatively uncivilized Countries, in which alone, as we have already seen, that want is of a familiar occurrence, the preventive check has little operation. They see the danger, but want prudence and self-denial to be influenced by it. On the other hand, among nations so far advanced in civilization as to be able to act on such a motive, the danger that any given person or his future family shall actually perish from indigence, appears too remote to afford any general rule of conduct.
The great preventive check is the fear of losing decencies, or, what is nearly the same, the hope to acquire, by the accumulation of a longer celibacy, the means of purchasing the decencies which give a higher social rank. When an Englishman stands hesitating between love and prudence, a family actually starving is not among his terrors; against actual want he knows that he has the fence of the poor-laws.
But however humble his desires, he cannot contemplate without anxiety a probability that the income which supported his social rank, while single, may be insufficient to maintain it when he is married; that he may be unable to give to his children the advantages of education which he enjoyed himself; in short that he may lose his caste. Men of more enterprise are induced to postpone marriage, not merely by the fear of sinking, but also by the hope that in an unincumbered state they may rise. As they mount, the horizon of their ambition keeps receding, until sometimes the time has passed for realizing those plans of domestic happiness which probably every man has formed in his youth.
It is by this desire of decencies, as distinguished from necessaries, that long-settled civilized Countries are preserved from the evils of a population greatly exceeding the means of comfortable subsistence. There are few triter subjects of declamation than the contrast between ancient simplicity and modern luxury. Few virtues, however useful, have received more applause than the contented and dignified poverty, the indifference to display, and the abstinence from unnecessary expense, which all refined nations attribute to their ancestors. Few vices, however mischievous, have been more censured than the ostentatious expenditure which every succeeding generation seems to consider its own characteristic.
It certainly seems at first sight that habits of unnecessary expenditure, as they have a tendency to diminish the wealth of an individual, must have the same effect on the wealth of a nation. And, separately considered, it appears clear that each act of unproductive consumption, whatever gratification it may afford to the consumer, must, pro tanto, impoverish the community. It is so much taken from the common stock and destroyed. And as the national capital is formed from the aggregate savings of individuals, it is certain that if each individual were to expend to the utmost extent of his means, the whole capital of the Country would be gradually wasted away, and general misery would be the result. But it appears equally certain that if each individual were to confine his expenditure to mere necessaries, the result would be misery quite as general and as intense.
We have seen that the powers of population, if not restrained by prudence, must inevitably produce almost every form of moral and physical evil. In the case which we are supposing, the wants of society would be confined to the food, raiment, and shelter essential to the support of existence; and they would all consist of the cheapest materials. At present, among civilized nations, the cultivation of the land employs only a portion of its inhabitants, and, generally speaking, as a nation increases in wealth, a smaller and smaller proportion; in England not one third; and a great part of the labourers so employed are producers of luxuries. Indeed, as potatoes afford a food five or six times as abundant as corn, and more than twenty times as abundant as meat, and, as far as can be judged by the appearance and powers of the lower Irish, quite as wholesome, meat and corn may be considered luxuries, to the extent in which they are more expensive than potatoes. Nor, consistently with the existence of private property, and of the desire of wealth, can the mode of cultivation be directed to the obtaining the largest possible return. The object is to obtain the largest return that is consistent with profitable farming; but, in the pursuit of this object, quantity of produce must often be sacrificed to economy of labour or time.
If there were no desire for any thing beyond necessaries, both the existing partition of the land, and the existing division of labour, would be varied. No family would wish to occupy more land than the small plot necessary to afford them potatoes and milk. Supposing them to give to it the utmost nicety of garden cultivation, its management would still leave them time to produce the coarse manufactures necessary for their own use. The whole of the population would be agricultural. 761,348 families so employed at present in England, although their labour is far from being directed to the production of the greatest possible amount, provide, without much assistance from importation, subsistence for the whole of our 2,745,336 families. If all were so employed, and if quantity of produce were their sole object, it is probable that in ordinary seasons the soil of England, instead of fifteen millions, could feed at least sixty millions of people; and that of Europe, instead of two hundred, eight hundred millions. And that, in the absence of any checks more powerful than those experienced in the United States of America, the population of Europe might in fifty years amount to eight hundred millions. Indeed it is probable that, under the circumstances which we are supposing, the increase in Europe would be for a considerable time rather more rapid than that which has taken place in America. Preventive checks would not exist; marriages could not be hindered or even delayed by prudence, since there could be no reason to anticipate want; the habit of early marriages would put an end to profligacy; and, as all our habits would be eminently healthy, the positive checks would be reduced to their minimum.
So far the picture is rather pleasing; it exhibits a state of society, not rich certainly, nor refined, but supporting a very numerous population in health and strength, and in the full enjoyment of the many sources of happiness connected with early marriage. But it is obvious that this could not last for ever; it could not last indeed for two hundred and fifty years. By that time the population of Europe would amount to above three million millions, a number which the wildest imagination cannot conceive capable of existing simultaneously in the whole earth.
Sooner or later, therefore, the increase must be checked; and we have seen that prudence is the only check that does not involve vice or misery. But such is the force of the passions which prompt to marriage, and such is each man’s reliance on his own good conduct and good fortune, that the evils, whatever they may be, the apprehension of which forms the prudential check, are frequently incurred. Where that evil is the loss of luxuries, or even of decencies, it is trifling in the first case, and bearable in the second. But in the case which we are supposing, the only prudential check would be an apprehended deficiency of necessaries; and that deficiency, in the many instances in which it would actually be incurred, would be the positive check in its most frightful form. It would be incurred not only in consequence of that miscalculation of chances to which all men are subject, and certainly those not the least so who are anxious to marry, but through accidents against which no human prudence can guard. A single bad harvest may be provided against, but a succession of unfavourable seasons (and such successions do occur) must reduce such a people to absolute famine. When such seasons affect a nation indulging in considerable superfluous expenditure, they are relieved by a temporary sacrifice of that superfluity. The grain consumed in ordinary years by our breweries and distilleries is a store always at hand to supply a scarcity, and the same may be said of the large quantity of food raised for the support of domestic animals, but applicable to human subsistence. To these resources may be added the importation from abroad of necessaries instead of luxuries and the materials of luxury, of corn, for instance, instead of wine.
It may be said, however, and indeed it has been said, that while the globe remains in its present irregularly occupied and irregularly cultivated state, emigration affords to all comparatively thickly-peopled nations a resource so ample and so easy as to render every prudential check to population unnecessary.
It is obvious that if capital and skill equal to those bestowed on the best parts of Flanders, or of the Scotch Lowlands, could be applied to the whole habitable world, a population ten times, perhaps one hundred times, perhaps even five hundred times as large, could be maintained, as well, perhaps far better, than the one thousand millions now supposed to exist on its surface. It is possible, we will not say even that it is improbable, that in the course of centuries, or rather of hundreds of centuries, these splendid visions may be realized. But all experience shows, that no numerous and civilized nation, surrounded by other civilized nations, can venture to rely on emigration as a permanent and adequate check to population. We say no numerous and civilized nation surrounded by other civilized nations; for we are aware that the hordes of Central Asia and of the Northern parts of Europe, and the surplus inhabitants of some small communities, such as the petty States of ancient Greece and Ph?nicia, appear to have found, the one in colonization, the others in armed migrations, a periodical outlet; and that the Americans of European descent have enjoyed for centuries, and for centuries to come may enjoy, in the immense continent behind them, room for as rapid an increase of their numbers as the most unchecked propagation can supply. But these are not examples which Europe, as now constituted, can imitate. When all the land frontier is appropriated,—when invasion for the purpose of settlement is impossible, and the solitary traveller is repelled by a different language, different laws, different arts, and often a different religion,—when the other alternative is an expensive and distant voyage, and either an unsettled, and therefore in general an unwholesome country, or equal obstacles from variations of laws, language, religion, and arts, in a previously settled district,—when these are the difficulties to be encountered, no extensive and systematic emigration will be persisted in. Even the different parts of the same empire afford little assistance to one another, if difference of language, or habits, or considerable distance be interposed. The Austrian dominions contain some of the most thinly and some of the most thickly-peopled portions of Europe; but Hungary is not colonized from the plains of Lombardy. If any European nation could hope to make emigration a complete substitute for prudence, that hope might be entertained by the inhabitants of the British Islands. We have the command of unoccupied continents in each hemisphere, the largest navy that the world ever saw to convey us to them, the largest capital that ever has been accumulated, to defray the expense, and a population remarkable not merely for enterprise, but for enterprise of this particular description. These advantages we have enjoyed for centuries; almost from the times of the Tudors we have possessed a large outskirt of empire far exceeding in extent our European possessions. And yet during this long period how little effect has emigration produced on our numbers! The swarms which we have sent out, and which we now send out, seem to be instantaneously replaced. We have founded one empire, and probably shall found many; but, after once a colony has been planted, its principal increase arises, not from the comparatively scanty recruits whom it receives from home, but from the unrepressed force of human fecundity.
In a future portion of this Treatise we shall explain with more detail the causes which impede emigration; at present we shall only repeat that all experience shows its inability to keep down the population of any large, well peopled, and tolerably civilized Country, such as Europe, China, or Hindostan. It appears, therefore, that habits of prudence in contracting marriage, and of considerable superfluous expenditure, afford the only permanent protection against a population pressing so closely on the means of subsistence as to be continually incurring the misery of the positive checks. And as the former habits exist only in a civilized, and the latter only in an opulent society, it appears equally clear that, as a nation advances in civilization and opulence, the positive checks are likely to be superseded by the preventive. If this be true, the evil of a redundant population, or, to speak more intelligibly, of a population too numerous to be adequately and regularly supplied with necessaries, is likely to diminish in the progress of improvement. As wealth increases, what were the luxuries of one generation become the decencies of their successors. Not only a taste for additional comfort and convenience, but a feeling of degradation in their absence, becomes more and more widely diffused. The increase in many respects of the productive powers of labour must enable increased comforts to be enjoyed by increased numbers; and as it is the more beneficial, so it appears to be the more natural course of events that increased comfort should not only accompany but rather precede increase of numbers.
But although we believe that, as civilization advances, the pressure of population on subsistence is a decreasing evil, we are far from denying the prevalence of this pressure in all long-settled Countries; indeed in all Countries except those which are the seats of colonies applying the knowledge of an old Country to an unoccupied territory. We believe that there are few portions of Europe the inhabitants of which would not now be richer if their numbers were fewer, and would not be richer hereafter if they were now to retard the rate at which their population is increasing. No plan for social improvement can be complete unless it embrace the means both of increasing the production of wealth and of preventing population from making a proportionate advance. The former is to be effected by legislative, the latter by individual prudence and forethought. The former must be brought about by the governing classes of society; the latter depends almost entirely on the lower. As a means of improvement, the latter is, on the whole, more efficient. It may be acted upon or neglected by almost every one. But, in the present state of public opinion and of commercial and fiscal policy in Europe, perhaps a greater progress may be made by insisting on the former. The statesman who neglects either considers only a portion of the subject.
But we must admit that ours are not the received opinions; or perhaps we ought to say, that our statement is opposed, on the one side or on the other, to the language used by almost every writer who has directly treated the subject of population. Almost every Economist will be found, in that part of his writings in which what has been called the principle of population is the immediate and principal question considered, to range himself under one of two hostile banners, each opposed not only to the other, but also to the doctrines which we have endeavoured to explain. On one side are those who believe that an increase of numbers is necessarily accompanied, not merely by a positive, but by a relative increase of productive power; that density of population is the cause and the test of prosperity; and that, “were every nation under the sun to be released from all the natural and artificial checks on their increase, and to start off breeding at the fastest possible rate, many, very many generations must elapse before any necessary pressure could be felt.”14
On the other side are those who maintain that population has a tendency (using the word tendency to express likelihood or probability) to increase beyond the means of subsistence; or, in other words, that, whatever be the existing means of subsistence, population is likely fully to come up to them, and even to struggle to pass beyond them, and is kept back principally by the vice and misery which that struggle must produce.
The whole of our previous remarks afford an answer to the first-mentioned class of writers. We shall not therefore recur to them. The opinions of the other class we shall consider at some length; and we will begin by the following quotations from Mr. M’Culloch, Mr. Mill, and Mr. Malthus.
Among the valuable notes which Mr. M’Culloch has appended to his edition of the Wealth of Nations, one of the most interesting treats of population; and one of the objects of that note is to show that the population of the United States of America cannot continue to increase for any very considerable period at the rate at which it has increased during the last hundred years. We are perfectly convinced of the correctness of this anticipation; and we make the following extract, not with any intention to oppose Mr. M’Culloch’s opinions as to America, but because we are anxious to express our dissent to the form in which he lays down the general doctrine of population.
“It may be said, perhaps,” says Mr. M’Culloch, “that allowance must be made for the effects of the improvements which may be supposed to take place in agricultural science in the progress of society, or the possible introduction, at some future period, of new and more prolific species of crops. But it is easy to see that the influence of such improvements and changes must, supposing them to be realized in the fullest manner, be of very temporary duration; and that it cannot affect the truth of the principle, that the power of increase in the human species must always, in the long run, prove an overmatch for the increase in the means of subsistence. Suppose by some extraordinary improvement the quantity of food and other articles required for the subsistence and accommodation of man annually produced in Great Britain were suddenly doubled; the condition of all classes being in consequence signally improved, there would be less occasion for the exercise of moral restraint; the period of marriage would therefore be accelerated, and such a powerful stimulus would be given to the principle of increase, that in a very short period the population would be again on a level with the means of subsistence; and there would also, owing to the change that must have been made in the habits of the people with respect to marriage, during the period that the population was rising to the level of the increased supply of food, be an extreme risk lest it should become too abundant, and produce an increased rate of mortality. Although, therefore, it is not possible to assign any certain limits to the progress of improvement, it is notwithstanding evident that it cannot continue for any considerable period to advance in the same proportion that population would advance supposing food were abundantly supplied. The circumstance of inferior lands, which require a greater outlay of capital and labour to make them yield the same supply as those that are superior being invariably taken into cultivation in the progress of society, demonstrates, what is otherwise indeed sufficiently obvious to every one, that, in despite of improvements, the difficulty of adding to the supplies of food is progressively augmented as population becomes denser.”
Mr. Mill’s views are to be found in his discussion of wages. Principles, &c. Ch. ii. s. 2. “If it were,” he observes, “the natural tendency of capital (by which term Mr. Mill designates the instruments of labour, the materials on which they are to be employed, when produced by labour, and the subsistence of the labourer) to increase faster than population, there would be no difficulty in preserving the prosperous condition of the people. If, on the other hand, it were the natural tendency of population to increase faster than capital, the difficulty would be very great. There would be a perpetual tendency in wages to fall; the progressive fall of wages would produce a greater and a greater degree of poverty among the people, attended with its inevitable consequences, misery and vice. As poverty, and its consequent misery, increased, mortality would also increase: of a numerous family born, a certain number only, from want of the means of well-being, would be reared. By whatever proportion the population tended to increase faster than capital, such a proportion of those who were born would die; the ratio of increase in capital and population would then remain the same, and the fall of wages would proceed no further. That population has a tendency to increase faster than, in most places, capital has actually increased, is proved incontestably by the condition of the population in most parts of the globe. In almost all Countries the condition of the great body of the people is poor and miserable. This would have been impossible, if capital had increased faster than population. In that case wages must have risen; and high wages would have placed the labourer above the miseries of want. This general misery of mankind is a fact which can be accounted for upon one only of two suppositions: either that there is a natural tendency in population to increase faster than capital, or that capital has, by some means, been prevented from increasing so fast as it has a tendency to increase. This, therefore, is an inquiry of the highest importance.”
As the result of that inquiry, Mr. Mill decides the second alternative in the negative; and consequently conceives himself to have established the former, namely, that there is a natural tendency in population to increase faster than capital.
Mr. Malthus’s opinions appear to have been considerably modified during the course of his long and brilliant philosophical career. In his first edition of his great Work, the principle of population was represented as an insurmountable obstacle to the permanent welfare of the mass of mankind. And even in the last edition, the following passages are open to the same construction.
“There are few States in which there is not a constant effort in the population to increase beyond the means of subsistence. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of society to distress, and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition. These effects, in the present state of society, seem to be produced in the following manner:—We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country to be just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population, which is found to act even in the most vicious societies, increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food, therefore, which before supported eleven millions, must now be divided between eleven millions and a-half. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress. The number of labourers also being above the proportion of work in the market, the price of labour must tend to fall, while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer therefore must do more work to earn the same than he did before. During this season of distress the discouragements to marriage and the difficulty of rearing a family are so great that the progress of population is retarded. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land, to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage, till ultimately the means of subsistence may become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out. The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened; and after a short period the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness, are repeated.” Population, Book i. Chap. ii. “According to the principle of population the human race has a tendency to increase faster than food. It has, therefore, a constant tendency to people a Country fully up to the limits of subsistence; meaning, by these limits, the lowest quantity of food which will maintain a stationary population.” Book iii. Chap. i. note.
But when the opposite doctrine, namely, that, in the absence of disturbing causes, subsistence is likely to increase more rapidly than population, was brought before him by Mr. Senior, he appears to have disavowed, we will not say his former expressions, but the inferences to which they lead.
“The meaning,” says Mr. Malthus, “which I intended to convey by the expression to which you object” (that population has a tendency to increase faster than food) “was, that population was always ready and inclined to increase faster than food, if the checks which repressed it were removed; and that though these checks might be such as to prevent population from advancing upon subsistence, or even to keep it at a greater distance behind, yet that, whether population were actually increasing faster than food or food faster than population, it was true that except in new colonies, favourably circumstanced, population was always pressing against food, and was always ready to start off at a faster rate than that at which the food was actually increasing.”
“We are quite agreed that, in the capacity of reason and forethought, man is endowed with a power naturally calculated to mitigate the evils occasioned by the pressure of population against food. We are further agreed that, in the progress of society, as education and knowledge are extended, the probability is that these evils will practically be mitigated, and the condition of the labouring classes be improved.”15
So explained, Mr. Malthus’s opinions are opposed to the expressions of Mr. Mill and Mr. M’Culloch; his admission that, “in the progress of society, the probability is that the evils occasioned by the pressure of population against food will be mitigated,” is opposed to Mr. M’Culloch’s statement, “that the power of increase in the human species must always, in the long run, prove an overmatch for the increase in the means of subsistence;” and to Mr. Mill’s, “that the tendency of population to increase faster than, in most places, capital has actually increased, is proved incontestably by the condition of the population in most parts of the globe.” Archbishop Whately, with his usual acuteness, has in the following passage traced the question to a verbal ambiguity.
“The doctrine, that, since there is a tendency in population to increase faster than the means of subsistence, hence the pressure of population against subsistence may be expected to become greater and greater in each successive generation, (unless new and extraordinary remedies are resorted to,) and thus to produce a progressive diminution of human welfare—this doctrine, which some maintain in defiance of the fact that all civilized Countries have a greater proportionate amount of wealth now than formerly, may be traced chiefly to an undetected ambiguity in the word ‘tendency,’ which forms a part of the middle term of the argument. By a ‘tendency’ towards a certain result is sometimes meant, the existence of a cause which, operating unimpeded, would produce that result. In this sense it may be said, with truth, that the earth, or any other body moving round a centre, has a tendency to fly off at a tangent; (i.e.) the centrifugal force operates in that direction, though it is controlled by the centripetal; or, again, that man has a greater tendency to fall prostrate than to stand erect; (i.e.) the attraction of gravitation and the position of the centre of gravity are such that the least breath of air would overset him, but for the voluntary exertion of muscular force: and, again that population has a tendency to increase beyond subsistence; (i.e.) there are in man propensities which, if unrestrained, lead to that result.
“But sometimes, again, ‘a tendency towards a certain result’ is understood to mean ‘the existence of such a state of things that that result may be expected to take place.’ Now it is in these two senses that the word is used, in the two premises of the argument in question. But in this latter sense, the earth has a greater tendency to remain in its orbit than to fly off from it; man has a greater tendency to stand erect than to fall prostrate; and (as may be proved by comparing a more barbarous with a more civilized period in the history of any Country) in the progress of Society, subsistence has a tendency to increase at a greater rate than population. In this Country, for instance, much as our population has increased within the last five centuries, it yet bears a far less ratio to subsistence (though still a much greater than could be wished) than it did five hundred years ago.”16
It is obvious that if the present state of the world, compared with its state at our earliest records, be one of relative poverty, the tendency of population to increase more rapidly than subsistence must be admitted. If the means of subsistence continue to bear precisely the same proportion to the number of its inhabitants, it is clear that the increase of subsistence and of numbers has been equal. If its means of subsistence have increased much more than the number of its inhabitants, it is clear not only that the proposition in question is false, but that the contrary proposition is true, and that the means of subsistence have a natural tendency (using these words as expressing what is likely to take place) to increase faster than population. Now what is the picture presented by the earliest records of those nations which are now civilized, or, which is the same, what is now the state of savage nations?—a state of habitual poverty and occasional famine. A scanty population, but still scantier means of subsistence. Admitting, and it must be admitted, that in almost all Countries the condition of the great body of the people is poor and miserable, yet, as poverty and misery were their original inheritance, what inference can we draw from the continuance of that misery as to the tendency of their numbers to increase more rapidly than their wealth? But if a single Country can be found in which there is now less poverty than is universal in a savage state, it must be true that, under the circumstances in which that Country has been placed, the means of subsistence have a greater tendency to increase than the population. Now this is the case in every civilized Country. Even Ireland, the Country most likely to afford an instance of what has been called the tendency of things, poor and populous as she is, suffers less from want with her eight millions of people than when her only inhabitants were a few septs of hunters and fishers. In our own early history, famines, and pestilences, the consequences of famine, constantly recur. At present, though our numbers are trebled or quadrupled, they are unheard of.
The United States of America afford the best ascertained instance of great and continued increase of numbers. They have afforded a field in which the powers of population have been allowed to exhaust their energy; but, though exerted to their utmost, they have not as yet equalled the progress of subsistence. Whole colonies of the first settlers perished from absolute want; their successors struggled long against hardship and privation; but every increase of their number seems to have been accompanied or preceded by increased means of support. If it be conceded that there exists in the human race a natural tendency to advance from barbarism to civilization, and that the means of subsistence are proportionably more abundant in a civilized than in a savage state, and neither of these propositions can be denied, it must follow that there is a natural tendency in subsistence to increase in a greater ratio than population.
But although Mr. Malthus himself, in his earlier publications, has perhaps fallen sometimes into the exaggeration which is natural to a discoverer, the error, if he has committed one, does not affect the practical conclusions which place him, as a benefactor to mankind, on a level with Adam Smith. Whether, in the absence of disturbing causes, it be the tendency of subsistence or of population to advance with greater rapidity, is a question of slight importance, if it be acknowledged that human happiness or misery depends principally on their relative advance, and that there are causes, and causes within human control, by which that advance can be regulated. These are propositions which Mr. Malthus has established by facts and reasoning which, opposed as they were to long-rooted prejudice, and assailed by every species of sophistry and clamour, are now admitted by the majority of reasoners, and even by a large majority of those who take their opinions upon trust.
To explain what are the causes of the relative increase of subsistence and population is rather the business of a writer on politics than of a Political Economist. At present we will only say that knowledge, security of property, freedom of internal and external exchange, and equal admissibility to rank and power, are the principal causes which at the same time promote the increase of subsistence, and, by elevating the character of the people, lead them to keep at a slower rate the increase of their numbers. And that restrictions on exchange and commerce, artificial barriers excluding the great majority of the community from the chance of social eminence, and above all, ignorance, and insecurity of person and property, are the general causes which both diminish the productiveness of labour, and tend to produce that brutal state of improvidence in which the power of increase, unchecked by prudence, is always struggling to pass the limits of subsistence, and is kept down only by vice and misery. We use the expression general causes, to exclude those causes which, being peculiar to certain nations, require separate consideration. Such are the superstitious desire of offspring in China, the political motives which formerly occasioned the creation of freeholders in Ireland, and the administration of the poor-laws in some parts of England. But, omitting these details, it may be generally stated that all that degrades the character, or diminishes the productive power of a people, tends to diminish the proportion of subsistence to population, and vice vers?. And consequently that a population increasing more rapidly than the means of subsistence is generally speaking, a symptom of misgovernment indicating deeper-seated evils, of which it is only one of the results.
And, notwithstanding the passages which we have cited, we believe these to be also the opinions of Mr. Mill and of Mr. M’Culloch. We believe that neither of these eminent writers doubts that the situation of the inhabitants of Europe has been gradually improving during the last 500 years. We believe that neither of them considers the improvement as having reached its limit, or as having any definite limit whatever. When they speak of the probable destinies of mankind, they teach the same doctrine as ourselves. It is only when separately discussing the subject of population that they have used the language to which we have ventured to object. We believe that they have used it without being misled by it themselves, and, perhaps on that very account, without perceiving its tendency to mislead others. But that those whose acquaintance with Political Economy is superficial (and they form the great mass of even the educated classes) have been misled by the form in which the doctrine of population has been expressed, appears to us undeniable. When such persons are told that “it is the tendency of the human race to increase faster than food”—“to people a country fully up to the means of subsistence,” they infer that what has a tendency to happen is to be expected. Because additional population may bring poverty, they suppose that it necessarily will do so: because increased means of subsistence may be followed and neutralized by a proportionate increase in the number of persons to be subsisted, they suppose that such will necessarily be the case. And unhappily there are many whom indolence, or selfishness, or a turn to despondency, make ready recipients of such a doctrine. It furnishes an easy escape from the trouble or expense implied by every project of improvement. “What use would it be,” they ask, “to promote an extensive emigration? the whole vacuum would be immediately filled up by the necessary increase of population. Why should we alter the Corn Laws? If food were for a time more abundant, in a very short period the population would be again on a level with the means of subsistence, and we should be just as ill off as before.”
There are many also, particularly among those who reason rather with their hearts than their heads, who are unable to assent to these doctrines, and yet believe them to be among the admitted results of Political Economy. Such persons apply to the whole Science the argumentum ab absurdo; and, instead of inquiring into the accuracy of the reasoning, refuse to examine the premises from which such objectionable conclusions are inferred.
It is because we believe these misconceptions to be extensively prevalent that we have ventured to detain our readers by this long discussion,—a discussion which some may think a mere dispute about the more convenient use of a word, and others an attempt to prove a self-evident fact.
Development of the Third Elementary Proposition of the Science, namely,—
That the powers of Labour, and of the other Instruments which produce Wealth, may be indefinitely increased by using their Products as the means of further Production.
Production.—Having explained the sense in which we use the word Wealth, and given an outline of the doctrine of Population, we now proceed to consider Production, or the means by which wealth is produced. The first terms to be defined are the verb produce, and the substantive product.
Product.—To produce, as far as Political Economy is concerned, is to occasion an alteration in the condition of the existing particles of matter, for the occasioning of which Alteration, or for the things thence resulting, something may be obtained in exchange. This alteration is a product. It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that matter is susceptible neither of increase nor diminution, and that all which man, or any other agent of which we have experience, can effect, is to alter the condition of its existing particles. But as Political Economy treats only of wealth, and therefore only of those alterations of which wealth is the result, we are forced to exclude all other alterations from the definition of Products. The child who builds a castle with sand on the shore, and the child who kicks it down, each occasions effects the same in kind as the man who builds or pulls down a palace; but as the exertions of the latter entitle him to be paid, he is properly said to produce, and the result of his conduct, whether it be the covering with buildings ground previously unoccupied, or rendering vacant what was previously built over, is properly called a Product.
Products divided into Services and Commodities.—Products have been divided into material and immaterial, or, to express the same distinction in different words, into commodities and services. This distinction appears to have been suggested by Adam Smith’s well-known division of labour into productive and unproductive. Those who thought the principle of that division convenient, feeling at the same time the difficulty of terming unproductive the labour without which all other labour would be inefficient, invented the term services or immaterial products, to express its results.
It appears to us, however, that the distinctions that have been attempted to be drawn between productive and unproductive labourers, or between the producers of material and immaterial products, or between commodities and services, rest on differences existing not in the things themselves, which are the objects considered, but in the modes in which they attract our attention. In those cases in which our attention is principally called, not to the act of occasioning the alteration, but to the result of that act, to the thing altered, Economists have termed the person who occasioned that alteration a productive labourer, or the producer of a commodity or material product. Where, on the other hand, our attention is principally called not to the thing altered, but to the act of occasioning that alteration, Economists have termed the person occasioning that alteration an unproductive labourer, and his exertions, services, or immaterial products. A shoemaker alters leather, and thread, and wax, into a pair of shoes. A shoeblack alters a dirty pair of shoes into a clean pair. In the first case our attention is called principally to the things as altered. The shoemaker, therefore, is said to make or produce shoes. In the case of the shoeblack, our attention is called principally to the act as performed. He is not said to make or produce the commodity, clean shoes, but to perform the service of cleaning them. In each case there is, of course, an act and a result; but in the one case our attention is called principally to the act, in the other to the result.
Among the causes which direct our attention principally to the act, or principally to the result, seem to be, first, the degree of change produced; and secondly, the mode in which the person who benefits by that change generally purchases that benefit.
1. Where the alteration is but slight, especially if the thing that has been subjected to alteration still retains the same name, our attention is directed principally to the act. A cook is not said to make roast beef, but to dress it; but he is said to make a pudding, or those more elaborate preparations which we call made dishes. The change of name is very material: a tailor is said to make cloth into a coat; a dyer is not said to make undyed cloth into dyed cloth. The change produced by the dyer is perhaps greater than that produced by the tailor, but the cloth in passing through the tailor’s hands changes its name; in passing through the dyer’s it does not: the dyer has not produced a new name, nor, consequently in our minds, a new thing.
The principal circumstance, however, is the mode in which the payment is made. In some cases the producer is accustomed to sell, and we are accustomed to purchase, not his labour, but the subject on which that labour has been employed; as when we purchase a wig or a chest of medicine. In other cases, what we buy is not the thing altered, but the labour of altering it, as when we employ a haircutter or a physician. Our attention in all these cases naturally fixes itself on the thing which we are accustomed to purchase; and according as we are accustomed to buy the labour, or the thing on which that labour has been expended,—as we are, in fact, accustomed to purchase a commodity or a service, we consider a commodity or a service as the thing produced. The ultimate object both of painting and of acting is the pleasure derived from imitation. The means adopted by the painter and the actor are the same in kind. Each exercises his bodily organs, but the painter exercises them to distribute colours over a canvas, the actor to put himself into certain attitudes, and to utter certain sounds. The actor sells his exertions themselves. The painter sells not his exertions, but the picture on which those exertions have been employed. The mode in which their exertions are sold constitutes the only difference between menial servants and the other labouring classes: a servant who carries coal from the cellar to the drawing-room performs precisely the same operation as the miner who raises them from the bottom of the pit to its mouth. But the consumer pays for the coals themselves when raised and received into his cellar, and pays the servant for the act of bringing them up. The miner, therefore, is said to produce the material commodity, coals; the servant the immaterial product, or service. Both, in fact, produce the same thing, an alteration in the condition of the existing particles of matter; but our attention is fixed in the one case on the act, in the other on the result of that act.
In the ruder states of society almost all manufactures are domestic; the Queens and Princesses of heroic times were habitually employed in overlooking the labours of their maidens. The division of labour has banished from our halls to our manufactories the distaff and the loom; and, if the language to which we have been adverting were correct, the division of labour must be said to have turned spinners and weavers from unproductive into productive labourers; from producers of immaterial services into producers of material commodities.
Service and Commodity discriminated.—But, objecting as we do to a nomenclature which should consider producers as divided, by the nature of their products, into producers of services and producers of commodities, we are ready to admit the convenience of the distinction between services and commodities themselves, and to apply the term service to the act of occasioning an alteration in the existing state of things, the term commodity to the thing as altered; the term product including both commodities and services.
It is to be observed that, in ordinary language, a person is not said to produce a thing unless he has employed himself for that especial purpose. If an English oyster-fisher should meet with an oyster containing a pearl, he would be called not the producer of the pearl, but its casual finder. But a Ceylon oyster-fisher, whose trade is to fish for pearl oysters, is called a producer of pearls. The mere existence of the pearls is in both cases owing to the agency of nature; their existence as articles of value is in both cases owing to the agency of the fisher in removing them from a situation in which they were valueless. In the one case he did this intentionally, in the other accidentally. Attention is directed in the one case to his agency, and he is therefore called the producer of the pearl. In the other case it is directed to the agency of nature, and he is called only the appropriator. But it appears to us the more convenient classification, for scientific purposes, to term him in both cases the producer.
Consumption Defined.—Economists have in general opposed consumption to production. They have defined consumption to be the destruction wholly, or in part, of any portion of wealth. And they consider it as the ultimate object of all production.
“Tout ce qui est produit,”17 says M. Say, “est consommé; par conséquent, toute valeur crée est détruite, et n’ a été créé que pour être détruite.”
“Consumption,” says Mr. Malthus, “is the great purpose and end of all production.”18 “By Consumption,” says Mr. M’Culloch, “is meant the annihilation of those qualities which render commodities useful or desirable. To consume the products of Art and Industry is to deprive the matter of which they consist of utility, and consequently of the exchangeable value communicated to it by labour. Consumption is, in fact, the end and object of human exertion, and when a commodity is in a fit state to be used, if its consumption be deferred, a loss is incurred.”19
That almost all that is produced is destroyed is true; but we cannot admit that it is produced for the purpose of being destroyed. It is produced for the purpose of being made use of. Its destruction is an incident to its use, not only not intended, but, as far as possible, avoided. In fact, there are some things which seem unsusceptible of destruction except by accidental injury. A statue in a gallery, or a medal or a gem in a cabinet, may be preserved for centuries without apparent deterioration. There are others, such as food and fuel, which perish in the very act of using them, and hence, as these are the most essential commodities, the word consumption has been applied universally as expressing the making use of any thing. But the bulk of commodities are destroyed by those numerous gradual agents which we call collectively time, and the action of which we strive to retard. If it be true that consumption is the object of all production, the inhabitant of a house must be termed its consumer, but it would be strange to call him its destroyer; since it would unquestionably be destroyed much sooner if uninhabited. It would be an improvement in the language of Political Economy if the expression “to use” could be substituted for that “to consume.” There is, however, so much difficulty in changing an established nomenclature, that we shall continue to use the word consumption, premising that we use it to signify primarily the making use of a thing; a circumstance to which its destruction is generally, but not necessarily, incidental.
The wealth of a Country will much depend on the question, whether the tastes of its inhabitants lead them to prefer objects of slow or of rapid destruction.
It will depend, however, much more on their preference of productive or unproductive consumption.
Productive and Unproductive Consumption.—Productive consumption is that use of a commodity which occasions an ulterior product. Unproductive consumption is, of course, that use which occasions no ulterior product. The characteristic of unproductive consumption is, that it adds to the enjoyment of no one but the consumer himself. Its only effect upon the rest of the community is to diminish pro tanto the mass of commodities applicable to their use.
Some commodities are unsusceptible of any but unproductive consumption; such are lace, embroidery, jewellery, and the other personal ornaments which are simply decorative, and afford neither warmth nor protection. Under this head may also be ranked tobacco and snuff, and the other stimulants, of which the best that can be said is, that they are not injurious. A much larger class of commodities is designed solely for productive use, and is never consumed unproductively, but by mistake. In this class are all tools, from the simplest to the most complicated; from the spade and the raft, to the steam engine and the Indiaman. But the generality of commodities may be used, according to the will of the proprietor, productively or unproductively; may be consumed so as to substitute some product in lieu of that which has been destroyed, or without any further beneficial result than the immediate pleasure which has accompanied their use. Whatever is capable of supporting human existence may be used to maintain those who are themselves producers, or those who are not. In the first case it is productively, in the second unproductively consumed.
The distinction between productive and unproductive consumers is less clearly marked than that between productive and unproductive consumption. To divide men into two classes, productive and unproductive consumers, would, in fact, be a false division, there being few who do not in some respects belong to both classes. So far as a man’s consumption is essential to his production, he belongs to the first class; so far as it is not essential, to the second. Those only can be called simply unproductive who return nothing whatever for what they consume; those only simply productive who indulge in no superfluous consumption whatever.
To the first description belong those who, being provided, through their own previous exertions, or by the accidents of donation or inheritance, with a fund sufficient for their subsistence, are content to dedicate their revenue and their leisure to the purposes of mere enjoyment. This class is never large in any state of society. In an ignorant, and consequently a poor community, the number of those possessing a maintenance independent of exertion is necessarily small. Among civilized nations the love of accumulation, of power, of distinction, and of occupation, and the nobler desire of being more or less extensively useful, all powerfully counteract the slothful principles of our nature. As property becomes more secure, as the avenues to influence are opened, as merit and wealth rise in public estimation over the accidents of birth, as barbarous prejudices degrading to industry wear out, as the influence of sound religion teaches men that they were created for better purposes than selfish pleasure or useless mortification, in fact, as civilization improves, all the motives to voluntary exertion acquire force. And though the number of those who might live in idleness increases, the proportion of those who are unhappy enough to exercise that privilege diminishes.
Another class consists of those who derive their support solely from the spoil or the charity of others. The number of those who live by rapine has obviously a tendency to diminish in the progress of civilization. About mendicancy there may be some doubt, as some superfluous wealth seems necessary to its existence, and it may be supposed likely to increase with the superfluity on which it feeds. That laws ill framed or ill administered may allow it so to increase we know, from our own experience. But there seems to be no reason to doubt that, under a wise system of commercial and municipal legislation, the number of able-bodied paupers might be so reduced as to be practically unimportant.
The last class of unproductive consumers consists of those whom age or infirmity has rendered permanently incapable of production. We say permanently, to exclude children, and those suffering under temporary disability. Though a child or an invalid make no immediate return, their support is the necessary condition of their future services. This is by far the largest of the unproductive classes, and one not likely to suffer relative diminution, the same causes which tend to obviate disease and injury tending also to prolong life where their effects are incurable. But from the information collected in the House of Commons’ Report on Friendly Societies, 5th July, 1825, vol. iv., we are inclined to think that in this Country the class in question cannot amount to a fortieth part, or about two-and a-half per cent. of the whole community.
The number of absolutely productive consumers, that is, of persons who consume solely for the purpose of reproducing, is much smaller. It may be a question indeed whether in a Country free from slavery, or regulations resembling slavery, any such class is to be found. The humblest labourer has some expenses which are not essential to his health and strength. We endeavour to give to our domestic animals nothing beyond what is strictly necessary, and in the Countries where man is considered as a domestic animal it might be expected that the consumption of a slave would be equally limited. But even the slave generally acquires some peculium, which implies that his ordinary subsistence somewhat exceeds his wants.
It appears from this analysis that the bulk of the community are neither productive nor unproductive consumers, but may be referred to the one class or to the other, according to the portion of their expenses for the time being under consideration. So far as the husbandman takes just enough of the least expensive food, is just sufficiently clad with the simplest raiment, and inhabits a dwelling just sufficiently weather-tight and spacious to protect him from the seasons, he is a productive consumer. But his pipe and his gin, and generally speaking his beer, and the humble ornaments of his person and his dwelling, form his unproductive consumption.
We do not, of course, mean it to be inferred that all personal expenditure beyond mere necessaries is necessarily unproductive. The duties of those who fill the higher ranks in society can seldom be well performed unless they conciliate the respect of the vulgar by a certain display of opulence. If a Judge, or an Ambassador, required by his station to support an establishment costing £2000 a-year, should spend £4000, half of his consumption would be productive, and the other half unproductive. It would be a great mistake, however, to consider the third footman behind his coach, though a mere useless weight to the horses, an unproductive consumer. What the footman consumes are his wages, and, so far at least as he consumes them in order to enable himself to perform his services as footman, he is a productive consumer. The things unproductively consumed are his services, and they are consumed by his master. Nor is it to be supposed, on the other hand, that all consumption even of necessaries by those who are themselves producers, is a productive consumption. The half-employed pauper whose labour is worth £10 a-year, and whose consumption is £20, consumes unproductively the difference.
Instruments of Production.
Having explained the nature of Production and Consumption, we now proceed to consider the Agents by whose intervention Production takes place.
To the Third Principle, or Instrument of Production without which the two others are inefficient, we shall give the name of Abstinence: a term by which we express the conduct of a person who either abstains from the unproductive use of what he can command, or designedly prefers the production of remote to that of immediate results.
It was to the effects of this Third Instrument of Production that we adverted, when we laid down, as the third of our elementary propositions, that the Powers of Labour and of the other Instruments which produce Wealth may be indefinitely increased by using their Products as the means of further Production. All our subsequent remarks on abstinence are a development and illustration of this proposition; we say development and illustration, because it can scarcely be said to require formal proof.
The division of the Instruments of Production into three great branches has long been familiar to Economists. Those branches they have generally termed Labour, Land, and Capital. In the principle of this division we agree; though we have substituted different expressions for the second and third branches. We have preferred the term Natural Agents to that of Land, to avoid designating a whole genus by the name of one of its species: a practice which has occasioned the other cognate species to be generally slighted and often forgotten. We have substituted the term Abstinence for that of Capital on different grounds.
The term Capital has been so variously defined that it may be doubtful whether it have any generally received meaning. We think, however, that, in popular acceptation, and in that of Economists themselves, when they are not reminded of their definitions, that word signifies an article of wealth, the result of human exertion, employed in the production or distribution of wealth. We say the result of human exertion, in order to exclude those productive instruments to which we have given the name of natural agents, and which afford not profit, in the scientific sense of that word, but rent.
It is evident that Capital, thus defined, is not a simple productive instrument; it is in most cases the result of all the three productive instruments combined. Some natural agent must have afforded the material, some delay of enjoyment must in general have reserved it from unproductive use, and some labour must in general have been employed to prepare and preserve it. By the word Abstinence, we wish to express that agent, distinct from labour and the agency of nature, the concurrence of which is necessary to the existence of Capital, and which stands in the same relation to Profit as Labour does to Wages. We are aware that we employ the word Abstinence in a more extensive sense than is warranted by common usage. Attention is usually drawn to abstinence only when it is not united with labour. It is recognised instantly in the conduct of a man who allows a tree or a domestic animal to attain its full growth; but it is less obvious when he plants the sapling or sows the seed corn. The observer’s attention is occupied by the labour, and he omits to consider the additional sacrifice made when labour is undergone for a distant object. This additional sacrifice we comprehend under the term Abstinence; not because Abstinence is an objectionable expression for it, but because we have not been able to find one to which there are not still greater objections. We once thought of using “providence;” but providence implies no self-denial, and has no necessary connection with profit. To take out an umbrella is provident, but not in the usual sense of the word profitable. We afterwards proposed “frugality,” but frugality implies some care and attention, that is to say, some labour; and though in practice Abstinence is almost always accompanied by some degree of labour, it is obviously necessary to keep them separate in an analysis of the instruments of production.
It may be said that pure abstinence, being a mere negation, cannot produce positive effects; the same remark might as well be applied to intrepidity, or even to liberty; but who ever objected to their being considered as equivalent to active agents? To abstain from the enjoyment which is in our power, or to seek distant rather than immediate results, are among the most painful exertions of the human will. It is true that such exertions are made, and indeed are frequent in every state of society, except perhaps in the very lowest, and have been made in the very lowest, for society could not otherwise have improved; but of all the means by which man can be raised in the scale of being, abstinence, as it is perhaps the most effective, is the slowest in its increase, and the least generally diffused. Among nations, those that are the least civilized, and among the different classes of the same nation those which are the worst educated, are always the most improvident, and consequently the least abstinent.
Capital.—We have already defined Capital to be an article of wealth, the result of human exertion, employed in the production or distribution of wealth, and we have observed that each individual article of capital is in general the result of a combination of all the three great instruments of production—labour, abstinence, and the agency of nature.
Different Modes in which Capital may be employed.—When a man has possessed himself of any article of wealth, and resolves to employ it, not for the mere purposes of enjoyment, but as Capital, or, in other words, as a means of further production, or of distribution, there appear to be eight modes in which his design may be effected.
Most capitalists employ portions of their capital in all these eight modes.
If we suppose a wine retailer’s capital to consist of the knowledge which he has acquired during his education for his business, of the warehouse and the simple machinery necessary to his trade, of the stock of commodities necessary for his own current consumption, and of one hundred pipes of wine in wood and in bottle, we shall find that his knowledge, and machinery, and necessaries, are destroyed without ever being directly exchanged: the only difference being, first, that his knowledge remains unimpaired until either his death, or his retirement from business makes it suddenly valueless, while his buildings, and machinery, and clothes, furniture, and food are consumed and replaced at successive periods; and, secondly, that the destruction of his food is immediate, and that of his buildings, machinery, furniture, and clothing is gradual. We shall find that of the wine he retains a portion until it shall have been improved by age, and keeps a portion as stock in trade ready for immediate sale, but ultimately sells the whole and pays away its price, partly in rent for the land covered by his buildings, partly in wages to his clerks, porters, shopmen, and other labourers, partly in keeping up his buildings and machinery, and partly in the repurchase of wine, bottles, and corks to keep up the stock in his warehouse and shop. What remains of the price of his wine, and something must remain, or he would be in a worse situation than one of his own labourers, is generally termed his profit: a part of it he must employ in replacing the stock of commodities necessary to keep himself in health and strength; the remainder he may employ either in his own personal enjoyment and that of his friends, which is an unproductive use, or in the increase of his own capital, or in creating a capital for some other person, in the education, for instance, of his son, which are productive uses.
Fixed and Circulating Capital.—Adam Smith has divided Capital into fixed and circulating.
“There are two ways,” he observes, “in which a capital may be employed so as to yield a revenue or profit.
“First, it may be employed in raising, manufacturing, or purchasing goods, and selling them again with a profit. The capital employed in this manner yields no revenue or profit to its employer while it either remains in his possession or continues in the same shape. The goods of the merchant yield him no revenue or profit till he sells them for money, and the money yields him as little till it is again exchanged for goods. His capital is continually going from him in one shape, and returning to him in another, and it is only by means of such circulation, or successive exchanges, that it can yield him any profit. Such capitals, therefore, may properly be called circulating capitals.
“Secondly, it may be employed in the improvement of land, in the purchase of useful machines and implements of trade, or in such like things as yield a revenue or profit without changing masters or circulating any further. Such capitals, therefore, may properly be called fixed capitals.
“The capital of a merchant is altogether a circulating capital. He has occasion for no machines or instruments of trade, unless his shop or warehouse be considered as such.
“Some part of the capital of every master artificer or manufacturer must be fixed in the instruments of his trade. This part, however, is very small in some, and very large in others. A master tailor requires no other instrument of trade than a parcel of needles; those of a master shoemaker are a little, though but a little, more expensive.
“In other works a much greater fixed capital is required. In a great iron work, for example, the furnace, the forge, the slit mill, are instruments of trade which cannot be erected without a very great expense. That part of the capital of the farmer which is employed in the instruments of agriculture is a fixed, that which is employed in the wages and maintenance of his labouring servants is a circulating, capital. He makes a profit of the one by keeping it in his own possession, and of the other by parting with it. A herd of cattle, bought in to make a profit by their milk and increase, is a fixed capital; the profit is made by keeping them. Their maintenance is a circulating capital; the profit is made by parting with it.” (Book ii. ch. i.)
We are not aware that the principle of Adam Smith’s division has ever been directly objected to. There may be some doubt, perhaps, whether the terms fixed and circulating are the best that could have been selected; but Adam Smith has stamped on them the meaning which he intended, and they have passed current in that signification ever since.
Mr. Ricardo, however, with the inattention to established usage which so much diminishes the usefulness of his writings, has used the terms fixed and circulating capital in a totally different sense. In this he has been followed by Mr. Mill; and as neither of these writers intimates that his use of the words is not the common one, it may be well to mark the difference.
“According as capital is rapidly perishable,” says Mr. Ricardo, “and requires to be frequently reproduced, or is of slow consumption, it is classed under the heads of circulating or of fixed capital: a division not essential, and in which the line of demarcation cannot be accurately drawn. A brewer, whose buildings and machinery are valuable and durable, is said to employ a large portion of fixed capital: on the contrary, a shoemaker, whose capital is chiefly employed in the payment of wages, which are expended on food and clothing, commodities more perishable than buildings and machinery, is said to employ a large proportion of capital as circulating capital.” (Ch. i. sec. 4.)
Mr. Ricardo might well remark that the line of demarcation between his two sorts of capital cannot be accurately drawn; for what can be more vague, or more void of positive meaning, than such comparative terms as slow and rapid? The singular circumstance is that both he and Mr. Mill should have supposed, and it appears clear that they did suppose, that their division followed that of Adam Smith. It is obviously a cross division. The master tailor’s needles which Adam Smith selects as an example of fixed capital, because the tailor retains them, would, according to Mr. Ricardo, be circulating, because they are perishable. On the other hand, the materials and stock in trade of an iron founder would be circulating capital according to Smith, and fixed according to Ricardo.
We may be able to make the nature of capital, and Adam Smith’s conception of it, still clearer, by quoting his subdivision of fixed and circulating capitals.
“Fixed capital,” he says, “consists chiefly of the four following articles:—
“First, of all useful machines and instruments of trade which facilitate and abridge labour.
“Secondly, of all buildings used for the purpose of trade or manufacture; such as shops, warehouses, and farm-buildings, &c. They are a sort of instruments of trade, and may be considered in the same light.
“Thirdly, of the improvements of land, of what has been profitably laid out in clearing, draining, enclosing, manuring, and reducing it into the condition most proper for culture. An improved farm may be regarded in the same light as one of those useful machines which facilitate and abridge labour.
“Fourthly, of the acquired and useful abilities of all the members of the society. The acquisition of such talents by the maintenance of the acquirer during his education, study, or apprenticeship, costs an expense, which is a capital fixed and realized, as it were, in his person. The improved dexterity of a workman may be considered in the same light as a machine or instrument of trade which facilitates and abridges labour.
“The circulating capital is composed likewise of four parts:—
“First, of the money by means of which all the other three are circulated and distributed to their proper consumers.
“Secondly, of the stock of provisions in the possession of the butcher, the grazier, &c., for the purpose of sale.
“Thirdly, of the materials, whether altogether rude, or more or less manufactured, of clothes, furniture, and building, which are not yet made up, but remain in the hands of the growers, manufacturers, or merchants.
“Fourthly, of the work which is made up and completed, but is still in the hands of the merchant or manufacturer; such as the finished work in the shops of the smith, the goldsmith, the jeweller, and the china merchant. The circulating capital consists in this manner, of the provisions, materials, and finished work of all kinds which are in the hands of their respective dealers, and of the money that is necessary for circulating and distributing them to their final consumers.” Book ii. ch. i.
This enumeration contains, perhaps, some useless distinctions, and, we think, two improper exclusions, but generally speaking, it gives an excellent view of the different species of capital.
The things which appear to be improperly excluded are, first, the necessaries of life, consumed by the labourer and the capitalist for their own support: and, secondly, the houses and other commodities of slow consumption which the owner lets out to the consumer.
Adam Smith can scarcely be said to have explained his reason for excluding from the term capital the necessaries in the possession of the labourer. He merely observes that the labourer consumes as sparingly as he can, and derives his revenue only from his labour. The attention of Mr. Malthus has been drawn to the subject; he agrees in this respect with Adam Smith, and on the following grounds:
“The only productive consumption, properly so called, is the consumption or destruction of wealth by capitalists with a view to reproduction. This is the only marked line of distinction which can be drawn between productive and unproductive consumption. The workman whom the capitalist employs consumes that part of his wages which he does not save, as revenue, with a view to subsistence or enjoyment; and not as capital with a view to production.” Definitions, p. 258.
Mr. Malthus would admit that the coals in the furnace of a steam-engine are productively employed; because their consumption is the necessary condition to the engine’s performing its work. And in what does the consumption of food by a labourer differ from that of coals by a steam-engine? Simply in this, that the labourer derives pleasure from what he consumes, and the steam-engine does not. If a labourer were so constituted as so feel no craving for food, and no gratification from eating, and were reminded of its necessity only by the debility consequent on its want, would not his meals, taken as they would be solely to enable him to undergo his fatigues, be productively consumed? Nature has wisely enforced an act of daily necessity by the stimulus of hunger, and the reward of enjoyment, but do that stimulus and enjoyment detract from its productiveness? Is the ploughman’s dinner less the means of his toils because he considers it as their end? Is not the food of working cattle productively employed? Does not the owner of a West Indian estate consider the supplies which he sends to his slaves as a capital destined to productive consumption?
Adam Smith has stated at length his reasons for excluding from the term capital the houses and other articles which the owner lets out to the consumer.
“One portion,” he states, “of the stock of a society is reserved for immediate consumption, of which the characteristic is that it affords no revenue or profit. The whole stock of mere dwelling-houses makes a part of this portion. If a house be let to a tenant, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must pay the rent out of some other revenue which he derives either from labour, or stock, or land. Where masquerades are common, it is a trade to let out dresses for the night. Upholsterers frequently let furniture by the month or the year. The revenue, however, which is derived from such things must always be ultimately derived from some other source of revenue. A stock of clothes may last for several years; a stock of furniture half a century or a century; but a stock of houses, well built and properly taken care of, may last many centuries. Though the period of their total consumption, however, is more distant, they are still as really a stock reserved for immediate consumption as either clothes or furniture.” Book ii. ch. i.
This language would have been consistent if Adam Smith, like most of his successors, had confined the term capital to the instruments of further consumption. But we have seen that he includes under that term things incapable of productive consumption, if they have not reached the hands of those who are finally to use them. If a diamond necklace in a jeweller’s shop be correctly termed capital, and Adam Smith has expressly stated that it is so, why is not a house which has been just finished by a speculative builder? It is difficult to perceive why he should have laid so much stress on the perishableness of the things in question. Perishableness and durability are not elements in the distinction between what is and what is not to be correctly termed capital. Many of the things which are used productively are of almost evanescent existence, such as the gas which lights a manufactory. On the other hand, the jewels of a noble family are not capital, though no limits can be assigned to their duration. It is at least conceivable that a house might be built so as not to require repair, and would this circumstance affect the question? In fact, however, the perishableness of these things is unfavourable to Adam Smith’s view, as it shows their resemblance to things which he has admitted to be capital. A cellar of wine at a tavern-keeper’s falls under his third class of circulating capitals; gradually the cellar is emptied, and when the last bottle has been drunk the capital is at an end. A house let ready furnished, a circulating library, a job carriage, a stage coach, or a steam-packet, differs from the cellar of wine only because the progress of its consumption is less capable of being measured. Every day that it is used a portion wears away; and that portion is as much purchased and as much consumed by the hirer of the house or the carriage as the bottle of wine taken from the cellar. It is true that it may be consumed unproductively, and that in that case the hirer must pay the rent from some other revenue, as is the case with the price of whatever is unproductively consumed. But the portion of the house and furniture and carriage, for the time being unconsumed, is as much the capital, in the sense in which Adam Smith uses that word, of the upholsterer and the hackneyman, as the unconsumed portion of the wine is the capital of the tavern-keeper.
Capital may again be divided, according to the purposes to which it is applicable, into Reproductive, Simply Productive, and Unproductive.
We apply the term Reproductive to all those articles of wealth which may be used to produce things of the same kind with themselves. All agricultural stock is reproductive; and so are all the necessaries of life. That portion of them which is consumed by the capitalists and labourers employed in producing necessaries is one of the means by which the regular supply is kept up. The coals in the furnace of a steam engine used in working a coal mine, the iron instruments in an iron work, and a ship freighted with timber and naval stores are all reproductively employed,
We apply the term Simply Productive to those articles of wealth which, though instruments of production, cannot be employed in producing things of the same kind with themselves. A lace machine is simply productive. Its use is to make lace, but that lace cannot be employed to make a new machine. All the tools and machinery employed in the production of those things which cannot be productively consumed are themselves simply productive.
We apply the term Unproductive or distributive capital to those commodities which are destined to unproductive use, but have not become the property of those who are to be their ultimate consumers.
A very great portion, perhaps the greater portion in value, of the commodities produced in an improved state of society, fall under this head at their first production.
We have already observed that, in every state of society, the number of absolutely unproductive consumers is small, and the number of absolutely productive consumers still smaller. But as wealth increases every man increases his unproductive consumption, until the whole amount of the whole society of such consumption may, and often does, exceed the whole amount of productive consumption. If we look through the shops of an opulent city, we shall find the commodities destined to mere enjoyment far exceeding in value those destined to be employed in further production.
Some of Adam Smith’s successors have excluded the things of which we are now speaking from the term capital. We have followed his example in including them, for two reasons:—
First, because their exclusion is an unnecessary deviation from ordinary language. To say that a jeweller, with £50,000 worth of diamond ornaments in his shop, had no capital, would be an assertion of which few hearers would be able to guess the meaning,
But, in the second place, if it were possible to do, what certainly is much wanted, to form a new technical nomenclature for Political Economy, still we should include under the term capital the commodities in question. All Economists include under that term the materials and the instruments with which these commodities are formed. If the rough diamond and the gold in which it is to be set are capital while separate, it seems difficult to see what convenience there is in a nomenclature which denies them to be capital when united. Again, no Economist will doubt that a profit is received in proportion to the average time during which the commodities in question are retained by the capitalist. Why this profit is paid we shall endeavour to show hereafter, but the fact that it is paid may be assumed as unquestioned. But Economists are agreed that whatever gives a profit is properly termed capital.
Statement of Advantages derived from the Use of Capital.
The principal advantages derived from Abstinence, or, to express the same idea in more familiar language, from the Use of Capital, are two: first, the Use of Implements; and second, the division of Labour.
I. The Use of Implements.—Implements, or tools, or machines (words which express things perhaps slightly different in some respects, but precisely similar so far as they are the subjects of Political Economy) have been divided into those which produce power, and those which transmit power. Under the first head are comprehended those which produce motion independently of human labour. Such are, for instance, those machines which are worked by the force of wind, of water, or of steam,
The second head comprises what are usually termed tools, such as the spade, the hammer, or the knife which assist the force, or save the time of the workman, but receive their impulse from his hand.
To these two classes a third must be added, including all those instruments which are not intended to produce or transmit motion, using that word in its popular sense. This class includes many things to which the name of implement, tool, or machine is not generally applied. A piece of land prepared for tillage, and the corn with which it is to be sown, are among the implements by whose use the harvest is produced. Books and manuscripts are implements more productive than those invented by Arkwright or Brunel. Again, many of the things which popularly are called implements, such as the telescope, have no reference to motion; and others, such as a chain, or an anchor, or indeed any fastening whatever, are intended not to produce or transmit, but to prevent it.
The instruments which derive their impulse from the person who works them are in general of a simple description, and some of them are to be met with in the rudest state of human society. The first subsistence offered by nature to the savage consists of the brutes around him; but some instruments beyond the weapons which she has given to him must enable him to take advantage of her bounty.
It will be observed, that we consider the use of all implements as implying an exercise of abstinence, using that word in our extended sense as comprehending all preference of remote to immediate results. In civilized society this appears to be strictly true. It is obviously true as to the use of all those instruments and materials which may be used at will, either for the purpose of present enjoyment, or for that of further production, such, for example, as the greater part of agricultural stock. It is equally true as to the making of all those implements which are incapable of any but productive use, such as tools and machinery in the popular acceptation of those words. In an improved state of society, the commonest tool is the result of the labour of previous years, perhaps of previous centuries. A carpenter’s tools are among the simplest that occur to us. But what a sacrifice of present enjoyment must have been undergone by the capitalist who first opened the mine of which the carpenter’s nails and hammer are the product! How much labour directed to distant results must have been employed by those who formed the instruments with which that mine was worked? In fact, when we consider that all tools, except the rude instruments of savage life, are themselves the product of earlier tools, we may conclude that there is not a nail, among the many millions annually fabricated in England, which is not to a certain degree the product of some labour for the purpose of obtaining a distant result, or, in our nomenclature, of some abstinence undergone before the Conquest, or perhaps before the Heptarchy.
The same remark applies to the acquired abilities which Adam Smith has properly considered a capital fixed and realized in the person of their possessor. In many cases they are the result of long previous exertion and expense on his own part; exertion and expense which might have been directed to the obtaining objects of immediate enjoyment, but which have, in fact, been undergone solely in the hope of a distant reward. And in almost all cases they imply much expense, and consequently much sacrifice of immediate enjoyment on the part of parents or guardians. The maintenance of a boy during the first eight or nine years of his life is indeed an unavoidable burden, and therefore cannot be considered a sacrifice. But almost all that is expended on him after that age is voluntary. At nine or ten he might earn a maintenance in an agricultural, and more than a bare maintenance in a manufacturing employment, and at twenty-one obtain better wages than at any subsequent period of his life. But even the lowest department of skilled labour is in general inaccessible except at an expense very great, when we consider by whom it is to be borne; £15 or £20 is a low apprentice fee, but amounts to half the average annual income of an agricultural family. The greater part of the remuneration for skilled labour is the reward for the abstinence implied by a considerable expenditure on the labourer’s education.
We must admit, however, that this reasoning does not apply to society in that rude state which is not perhaps within the scope of Political Economy. The savage seldom employs in making his bow or his dart time which he could devote to the obtaining of any object of immediate enjoyment. He exercises, therefore, labour and providence, but not abstinence. The first step in improvement, the rise from the hunting and fishing to the pastoral state, implies an exercise of abstinence. Much more abstinence, or, in other words, a much greater use of capital, is required for the transition from the pastoral to the agricultural state; and an amount not only still greater, but constantly increasing, is necessary to the prosperity of manufactures and commerce. An agricultural Country can remain stationary; a commercial and manufacturing one cannot. The capital which fifty years ago enabled England to be the first of commercial and manufacturing nations, was probably far inferior in extent and efficiency to that now possessed by France, or even to that of the late Kingdom of the Netherlands. If our capital had remained stationary, we should have sunk to a second or third-rate power. The same consequence might now follow if commercial restraints, or the waste of a long war, should check the increase of our present capital, while that of our rivals should continue progressive.
Having shown the connection between abstinence and the employment of implements, the next thing to be considered is the advantage which the use of implements affords. This subject, however, we shall pass over very briefly; partly because an attempt to give any thing like an adequate account of it, however concise, would far exceed the limits of this Treatise; partly because the subject has been considered at some length in the Articles in this Encyclopædia on Mechanics and Manufactures; and partly because we believe all our readers to be aware that the powers of man are prodigiously increased by the use of implements, though probably no man ever had, or ever will have, sufficient knowledge of details and perception of their relations and consequences, to estimate the whole amount of that increase. A few remarks on those instruments which produce motion, or, as it is technically termed, power, are all that we can venture on.
The superior productiveness of modern compared with ancient labour depends, perhaps, principally on the use of these instruments. We doubt whether all the exertions of all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, if exclusively directed to the manufacture of cotton goods, could, in a whole generation, have produced as great a quantity as is produced every year by a portion of the inhabitants of Lancashire; and we are sure that the produce would have been generally inferior in quality. The only moving powers employed by the Greeks or Romans were the lower animals, water, and wind. And even these powers they used very sparingly. They scarcely used wind except to assist their merchant vessels in a timid coasting; they used rivers as they found them, for the purposes of communication, but did not connect them by canals; they used horses only for burthen and draught, and the latter without the assistance of springs. They made little use of that powerful machine to which we give the general name of a mill, in which a single shaft, turning under the impulse of animal power, or wind, or water, or steam, enables a child to apply a force equal sometimes to that of a thousand workmen.
A ship of the line under full sail has been called the noblest exhibition of human power: it is, perhaps, the most beautiful. But if dominion over matter, if the power of directing inanimate substances, at the same time to exert the most tremendous energy, and to perform the most delicate operations, be the test, that dominion and power are no where so strikingly shown as in a large cotton manufactory. One of the most complete which we have seen is that constructed by the late Mr. Marsland at Stockport; and, as it exhibits very strikingly both the power and the manageableness of machinery, it may be worth while to give a short description of it, as we saw it in 1825.
Mr. Marsland was the proprietor of the Mersey for about a mile of its course, and of a tongue of land which two reaches of the river form into a peninsula. Through the isthmus of this peninsula he bored a tunnel sufficient to receive seven wheels of large diameter, and to give passage to enough of the river to turn them; these wheels communicated rotatory motion to perpendicular shafts; and the perpendicular shafts communicated the same motion to numerous horizontal shafts connected with them by pinions. Each horizontal shaft ran below the ceiling of a work-room, more than a hundred feet long. The buildings connected with the wheels worked by the river contained six or seven storeys of work-rooms, each supplied with its horizontal shaft. The rotatory motion was carried on from each horizontal shaft by means of small solid wheels called drums, affixed to the principal shaft of each detached piece of machinery, and connected with the great horizontal shaft of the work-room by a leathern strap. Many of these rooms were not occupied by Mr. Marsland himself. He let out, by the hour, the day, or the week, a certain portion of the floor of a work-room, and the liberty to make use of a certain portion of the horizontal shaft. The tenant placed his own machinery on the floor, connected its drum with the shaft that revolved rapidly above, and instantly saw his own small mechanical world, with its system of wheels, rollers, and spindles, in full activity, performing its motions with a quickness, a regularity, and, above all, a perseverance, far beyond the exertions of man. In the operation of machinery, power, like matter, seems susceptible of indefinite aggregation and of indefinite subdivision. In the performance of some of its duties the machinery moved at a rate almost formidable, in others at one scarcely perceptible. It took hold of the cotton of which a neckcloth was to be made, cleaned it, arranged its fibres longitudinally, twisted them into a strong and continuous thread, and finally wove that thread into muslin. It took the wool of which a coat was to be made, and, after subjecting it to processes more numerous than those which cotton experiences, at last wove it into cloth. For thousands of years, in fact, from the last great convulsion which traced the course of the river, until Mr. Marsland bored his tunnel, had the Mersey been wasting all the energy that now works so obediently.
One of the most striking qualities of machinery is its susceptibility of indefinite improvement. On looking through the instructive evidence collected by the Committee on Artisans and Machinery, (1824,) it will be found that nothing is more impressed on the minds of the witnesses than the constant tide of improvement, rendering obsolete in a very few years all that might have been supposed to be perfect.
Mr. Holdsworth, a spinner and machine-maker at Glasgow, states that the best mills at Glasgow are equal to the best mills at Manchester erected three or four years before. Mr. Holdsworth’s history of his own proceedings will illustrate many of the previous observations.
He is asked whether he got his machinery from Manchester when he first commenced business. He replies: “I did not; I contemplated making it myself, and made the attempt, but there was so much difficulty in getting good workmen, and the expense of tools was so serious, that I desisted. I then selected a well-qualified young mechanic, and engaged him to make it for me. I gave over to him my patterns and my plans, and he executed well the machinery required in the first mill. Two years after I built a second mill, the machinery of which was also executed by him. After two years more I built a third and larger mill, the machinery of which I made myself”
He is asked why he made the last machinery himself, and replies:
“In the first place that machine-maker was very busy;” (it appears, subsequently, that, at the time of the examination, that maker could not have taken an order to execute any part of it under sixteen months, and that there were then eight or nine mills waiting for machinery, some of which had been ready for twelve months, and had only a small part of their machinery, and others had been ready six months, and were empty;) “and as machine-makers do not like to alter their plans, I could not prevail upon him to execute the improvements then recently made in Manchester.”
(Fifth Report, p. 378.)
Mr. J. Dunlop is asked (p. 473,) how far he considers the American factories behind those of Glasgow. He replies, about thirty years. He goes on to state that they are in a progressive state, and the men very active and industrious. He is then asked whether, “supposing English machinery transported to America, with the assistance of English foremen, he does not think the population of America would soon be taught to work in their factories equally to the men of this Country?” He answers, “Yes, I think they would; but before they could acquire that we should be ahead of them a long way again. I reason comparing Scotland with England. We began the business of cotton-spinning later, we were of course behind, and we have always been behind; we have never been able to get up, and I believe never will.”
Sixty years form a short period in the history of a nation; yet what changes in the state of England and the Southern parts of Scotland have the steam engine and the cotton machinery effected within the last sixty years! They have almost doubled the population, more than doubled the wages of labour, and nearly trebled the rent of land. They enabled us to endure, not certainly without inconvenience, but yet to endure, a public debt more than trebled, and a taxation more than quadrupled. They changed us from exporters to importers of raw produce, and consequently changed our corn laws from a bounty on exportation to nearly a prohibition of importation. They have clad the whole world with a light and warm clothing, and made it so easy of acquisition that we are perhaps scarcely aware of the whole enjoyment that it affords.
There appears no reason, unless that reason be to be found among our own commercial institutions, why the improvements of the next sixty years should not equal those of the preceding. The cotton machinery is far from perfection; the evidence which we have quoted shows that it receives daily improvements; and the steam engine is in its infancy; its first application to vessels is within our recollection; its application to carriages has scarcely commenced; and it is probable that many other powers of equal efficiency lie still undiscovered among the secrets of nature, or, if known, are still unapplied. There are doubtless at this instant innumerable productive instruments known, but disregarded, because separately they are inefficient, and the effect of their combination has not been perceived. Printing and paper are both of high antiquity. Printing was probably known to the Greeks; it certainly was practised by the Romans, as loaves of bread stamped with the baker’s initials have been found in Pompeii. And paper has been used in China from times immemorial. But these instruments separately were of little value. While so expensive a commodity as parchment, or so brittle a one as the papyrus, were the best materials for books, the sale of a number of good copies sufficient to pay the expense of printing could not be relied on. Paper without printing was more useful than printing without paper; but the mere labour necessary to constant transcription, even supposing the materials to be of no value, would have been such as still to leave books an expensive luxury. But the combination of these two instruments, each separately of little utility, has always been considered the most important invention in the history of man.
II. Division of Labour.—The second of the two principal advantages derived from Abstinence, or, in other words, from the use of Capital, is the Division of Labour.
We have already observed that Division of Production would have been a more convenient expression than Division of Labour; but Adam Smith’s authority has given such currency to the term Division of Labour, that we shall continue to employ it, using it, however, in the extended sense in which it appears to have been used by Adam Smith. We say appears to have been used, because Smith, with his habitual negligence of precision, has given no formal explanation of his meaning. But in the latter part of his celebrated first chapter, he appears to include among the advantages derived from the division of labour all those derived from internal and external commerce. It is clear, therefore, that, by Division of Labour, he meant Division of Production, or, in other words, the confining as much as possible each distinct producer and each distinct class of producers to operations of a single kind.
The advantages derived from the division of labour are attributed by Smith to three different circumstances. “First, to the increase of dexterity in every particular workman; secondly, to the saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another; and lastly, to the invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and abridge labour, and enable one man to do the work of many.”
Smith was the first writer who laid much stress on the division of labour. The force and the variety of the examples by which he has illustrated it make the first chapter perhaps the most amusing and the best known in his whole Work. But, like most of those who have discovered a new principle, he has in some respects overstated, and in others understated, its effects. His remark, “that the invention of all those machines by which labour is so much facilitated and abridged seems to have been originally owing to the division of labour,” is too general. Many of our most useful implements have been invented by persons neither mechanics by profession, nor themselves employed in the operations which those implements facilitate. Arkwright was, as is well known, a barber; the inventor of the power-loom is a clergyman. Perhaps it would be a nearer approach to truth if we were to say that the division of labour has been occasioned by the use of implements. In a rude state of Society, every man possesses, and every man can manage, every sort of instrument. In an advanced state, when expensive machinery and an almost infinite variety of tools have superseded the few and simple implements of savage life, those only can profitably employ themselves in any branch of manufacture who can obtain the aid of the machinery, and have been trained to use the tools, by which its processes are facilitated; and the division of labour is the necessary consequence. But, in fact, the use of tools and the division of labour so act and react on one another, that their effects can seldom be separated in practice. Every great mechanical invention is followed by an increased division of labour, and every increased division of labour produces new inventions in mechanism.
The increased dexterity of the workman, and the saving of the time which would be lost in passing from one sort of work to another, deserve the attention which they have received from Adam Smith. Both are consequences, and the first is a very important consequence of the division of labour. But he has passed by, or at least has not formally stated, other advantages derived from that principle which appear to be far more important.
One of the principal of these advantages arises from the circumstance that the same exertions which are necessary to produce a single given result are often sufficient to produce many hundred or many thousand similar results. The Post Office supplies a familiar illustration. The same exertions which are necessary to send a single letter from Falmouth to New York are sufficient to forward fifty, and nearly the same exertions will forward ten thousand. If every man were to effect the transmission of his own correspondence, the whole life of an eminent merchant might be passed in travelling, without his being able to deliver all the letters which the Post Office forwards for him in a single evening. The labour of a few individuals, devoted exclusively to the forwarding of letters, produces results which all the exertions of all the inhabitants of Europe could not effect, each person acting independently.
The utility of government depends on this principle. In the rudest state of society each man relies principally on himself for the protection both of his person and of his property. For these purposes he must be always armed, and always watchful; what little property he has must be moveable, so as never to be far distant from its owner. Defence or escape occupy almost all his thoughts, and almost all his time, and, after all these sacrifices, they are very imperfectly effected. “If ever you see an old man here,” said an inhabitant of the confines of Abyssinia to Bruce, “he is a stranger; the natives all die young by the lance.”
But the labour which every individual, who relies on himself for protection, must himself undergo, is more than sufficient to enable a few individuals to protect themselves, and also the whole of a numerous community. To this may be traced the origin of governments. The nucleus of every government must have been some person who offered protection in exchange for submission. On the governor and those with whom he is associated, or whom he appoints, is devolved the care of defending the community from violence and fraud. And so far as internal violence is concerned, and that is the evil most dreaded in civilized society, it is wonderful how small a number of persons can provide for the security of multitudes. About fifteen thousand soldiers, and not fifteen thousand policemen, watchmen, and officers of justice, protect the persons and property of the seventeen millions of inhabitants of Great Britain. There is scarcely a trade that does not engross the labour of a greater number of persons than are employed to perform this the most important of all services.
It is obvious, however, that the division of labour on which government is founded, is subject to peculiar evils. Those who are to afford protection must necessarily be intrusted with power; and those who rely on others for protection lose, in a great measure, the means and the will to protect themselves. Under such circumstances, the bargain, if it can be called one, between the government and its subjects, is not conducted on the principles which regulate ordinary exchanges. The government generally endeavours to extort from its subjects, not merely a fair compensation for its services, but all that force or terror can wring from them without injuring their powers of further production. In fact, it does in general extort much more: for if we look through the world we shall find few governments whose oppression does not materially injure the prosperity of their people. When we read of African and Asiatic tyrannies, where millions seem themselves to consider their own happiness as dust in the balance compared with the caprices of their despot, we are inclined to suppose the evils of misgovernment to be the worst to which man can be exposed. But they are trifles compared to those which are felt in the absence of government. The mass of the inhabitants of Egypt, Persia, and Burmah, or to go as low as perhaps it is possible, the subjects of the Kings of Dahomi and Ashantee, enjoy security, if we compare their situation with that of the ungoverned inhabitants of New Zealand. So strongly is this felt, that there is no tyranny which men will not eagerly embrace, if anarchy is to be the alternative. Almost all the differences between the different races of men, differences so great that we sometimes nearly forget that they all belong to the same species, may be traced to the degrees in which they enjoy the blessings of good government. If the worst government be better than anarchy, the advantages of the best must be incalculable. But the best governments of which the world has had experience, those of Great Britain and of the Countries which have derived their institutions from Great Britain, are far from having attained the perfection of which they appear to be susceptible. In these governments the subordinate duties are generally performed by persons specially educated for these purposes, the superior ones are not. It seems to be supposed that a knowledge of politics, the most extensive and the most difficult of all Sciences, is a natural appendage to persons holding a high rank in society, or may be acquired at intervals snatched from the bustle and the occupation of laborious and engrossing professions. In despotisms, the principal evils arise partly from the ignorance, and partly from the bad passions of the rulers. In representative governments, they arise principally from their unskillfulness. It is to be hoped that a further application of the division of labour, the principle upon which all government is founded, by providing an appropriate education for those who are to direct the affairs of the State, may protect us as effectually against suffering under ignorance or inexperience in our governors, as we are now protected against their injustice.
Another important consequence of the division of labour, and one which Adam Smith, though he has alluded to it, has not prominently stated, is the power possessed by every nation of availing itself, to a certain extent, of the natural and acquired advantages of every other portion of the commercial world. Colonel Torrens is the first writer who has expressly connected foreign trade with the division of labour, by designating international commerce as “the territorial division of labour.”
Nature seems to have intended that mutual dependence should unite all the inhabitants of the earth into one commercial family. For this purpose she has indefinitely diversified her own products in every climate and in almost every extensive district. For this purpose, also, she seems to have varied so extensively the wants and the productive powers of the different races of men. The superiority of modern over ancient wealth depends in a great measure on the greater use we make of these varieties. We annually import into this Country about thirty million pounds of tea. The whole expense of purchasing and importing this quantity does not exceed £2,250,000, or about 1s. 6d. a pound, a sum equal to the value of the labour of only forty-five thousand men, supposing their annual wages to amount to £50 a-year. With our agricultural skill, and our coal mines, and at the expense of above 40s. a pound instead of 1s. 6d., that is, at the cost of the labour of about one million two hundred thousand men instead of forty-five thousand, we might produce our own tea, and enjoy the pride of being independent of China. But one million two hundred thousand is about the number of all the men engaged in agricultural labour throughout England. A single trade, and that not an extensive one, supplies as much tea, and that probably of a better sort, as could be obtained, if it were possible to devote every farm and every garden to its domestic production.
The greater part of the advantage of rather importing than growing and manufacturing tea arises, without doubt, from the difference between the climates of China and England. But a great part also arises from the different price of labour in the two Countries. Not only the cultivation of the tea plant, but the preparation of its leaves, requires much time and attention. The money wages of labour are so low in China, that these processes add little to the money cost of the tea. In England the expense would be intolerable. When a nation, in which the powers of production, and consequently the wages of labour, are high, employs its own members in performing duties that could be as effectually performed by the less valuable labour of less civilized nations, it is guilty of the same folly as a farmer who should plough with a Race-horse.
Another important consequence of the division of labour is the existence of retailers; a class who, without being themselves employed in the direct production of raw or manufactured commodities, are, in fact, the persons who supply them to their ultimate purchasers, and that at the times and in the portions which the convenience of those purchasers requires. When we look at a map of London and its suburbs, and consider that that province covered with houses contains more than a tenth of the inhabitants of England, and consumes perhaps one-fifth in value of all that is consumed in England, and obtains what it consumes, not from its own resources, but from the whole civilized world, it seems marvellous that the daily supply of such multitudes should be apportioned with any thing like accuracy to their daily wants. It is effected principally by means of the retailers. Each retailer, the centre of his own system of purchasers, knows, by experience, the average amount of their periodical wants. The wholesale dealer, who forms the link between the actual producer or importer, and the retailer, knows also, by experience, the average amount of the demands of his own purchasers, the retailers; and is governed by that experience in his purchases from the importer or producer. And the average amount of these last purchases affords the data on which the importers and producers regulate the whole vast and multifarious supply. It can scarcely be necessary to dwell on the further advantages derived from the readiness and subdivision of the retailer’s stock; or, to point out the convenience of having to buy a steak from a butcher, instead of an ox from a grazier. These are the advantages to which we formerly referred, as enabling the retailer to obtain a profit proportioned to the average time during which his stock in trade remains in his possession.
We now proceed to show that the Division of Labour is mainly dependent on Abstinence, or, in other words, on the use of Capital.
“In that rude state of society,” says Adam Smith, “in which there is no division of labour, in which exchanges are seldom made, and in which every man provides every thing for himself, it is not necessary that any stock should be accumulated or stored up beforehand in order to carry on the business of the society. Every man endeavours to supply, by his own industry, his own occasional wants as they occur. When he is hungry, he goes to the forest to hunt; when his coat is worn out, he clothes himself with the skin of the first large animal he kills; and when his hut begins to go to ruin, he repairs it as well as he can with the trees and the turf that are nearest to it.
“But when the division of labour has once been thoroughly introduced, the produce of a man’s own labour can supply but a very small part of his occasional wants. The far greater part of them are supplied by the produce of other men’s labour, which he purchases with the produce, or, what is the same thing, with the price of the produce of his own. But his purchase cannot be made until such time as the produce of his own labour has not only been completed, but sold. A stock of goods of different kinds, therefore, must be stored up somewhere, sufficient to maintain him, and to supply him with the materials and tools of his work, till such time, at least, as both these events can be brought about. A weaver cannot apply himself entirely to his peculiar business, unless there is beforehand stored up somewhere, either in his own possession, or in that of some other person, a stock sufficient to maintain him, and to supply him with the materials and tools of his work, till he has not only completed, but sold his web. This accumulation must evidently be previous to his applying his industry for so long a time to such a peculiar business.” Wealth of Nations, Book ii. Introduction.
Perhaps this is inaccurately expressed; there are numerous cases in which production and sale are contemporaneous. The most important divisions of labour are those which allot to a few members of the community the task of protecting and instructing the remainder. But their services are sold as they are performed. And the same remark applies to almost all those products to which we give the name of services. Nor is it absolutely necessary in any case, though, if Adam Smith’s words were taken literally, such a necessity might be inferred, that, before a man dedicates himself to a peculiar branch of production, a stock of goods should be stored up to supply him with subsistence, materials, and tools, till his own product has been completed and sold. That he must be kept supplied with those articles is true; but they need not have been stored up before he first sets to work, they may have been produced while his work was in progress. Years must often elapse between the commencement and sale of a picture. But the painter’s subsistence, tools, and materials for those years are not stored up before he sets to work: they are produced from time to time during the course of his labour. It is probable, however, that Adam Smith’s real meaning was, not that the identical supplies which will be wanted in a course of progressive industry must be already collected when the process which they are to assist or remunerate is about to be begun, but that a fund or source must then exist from which they may be drawn as they are required. That fund must comprise in species some of the things wanted. The painter must have his canvas, the weaver his loom, and materials, not enough, perhaps, to complete his web, but to commence it. As to those commodities, however, which the workman subsequently requires, it is enough if the fund on which he relies is a productive fund, keeping pace with his wants, and virtually set apart to answer them.
But if the employment of capital is required for the purpose of allowing a single workman to dedicate himself to one pursuit, it is still more obviously necessary in order to enable aggregations, or classes of producers, to concur, each by his separate exertions, in one production. In such cases even the mere matter of distribution, the mere apportionment of the price of the finished commodity among the different producers requires the employment of a considerable capital, and for a considerable time, or, in other words, a considerable exertion of abstinence. The product of independent labour belongs by nature to its producer. But where there has been a considerable division of labour, the product has no one natural owner. If we were to attempt to reckon up the number of persons engaged in producing a single neckcloth, or a single piece of lace, we should find the number amount to many thousands; in fact, to many tens of thousands. It is obviously impossible that all these persons, even if they could ascertain their respective rights as producers, should act as owners of the neckcloth or the lace, and sell it for their common benefit.
This difficulty is got over by distinguishing those who assist in production by advancing capital, from those who contribute only labour—a distinction often marked by the terms master and workman; and by arranging into separate groups the different capitalists and workmen engaged in distinct processes, and letting each capitalist, as he passes on the commodity, receive from his immediate successor the price both of his own abstinence and of his workmen’s labour.
It may be interesting to trace this process in the history of a coloured neckcloth or a piece of lace. The cotton of which it is formed may be supposed to have been grown by some Tennessee or Louisiana planter. For this purpose he must have employed labourers in preparing the soil and planting and attending to the shrub for more than a year before its pod ripened. When the pod became ripe, considerable labour, assisted by ingenious machinery, was necessary to extricate the seeds from the wool. The fleece thus cleaned was carried down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and there sold to a cotton factor. The price at which it was sold must have been sufficient, in the first place, to repay to the planter the wages which had been paid by him to all those employed in its production and carriage; and, secondly, to pay him a profit proportioned to the time which had elapsed between the payment of those wages and the sale of the cotton; or, in other words, to remunerate him for his abstinence in having so long deprived himself of the use of his money, or of the pleasure which he might have received from the labour of his work-people, if, instead of cultivating cotton, he had employed them in contributing to his own immediate enjoyment. The New Orleans factor, after keeping it perhaps five or six months, sold it to a Liverpool merchant. Scarcely any labour could have been expended on it at New Orleans, and, in the absence of accidental circumstances, its price was increased only by the profit of the cotton factor, a profit which was the remuneration of his abstinence in delaying, for five or six months, the gratification which he might have obtained by the expenditure on himself of the price paid by him to the planter. The Liverpool merchant brought it to England and sold it to a Manchester spinner. He must have sold it at a price which would repay, in the first place, the price at which it was bought from the factor at New Orleans; in the second place, the freight from thence to Liverpool; (which freight includes a portion of the wages of the seamen, and of the wages of those who built the vessel, of the profits of those who advanced those wages before the vessel was completed, of the wages and profits of those who imported the materials of which that vessel was built, and, in fact, of a chain of wages and profits extended to the earliest dawn of civilization;) and, thirdly, the merchant’s profit for the time that these payments were made before his sale to the manufacturer was completed.
The spinner subjected it to the action of his work-people and machinery, until he reduced part of it into the thread applicable to weaving muslin, and part into the still finer thread that can be formed into lace.
The thread thus produced he sold to the weaver and to the lace-maker; at a price repaying, in addition to the price that was paid to the merchant, first, the wages of the work-people immediately engaged in the manufacture; secondly, the wages and profits of all those who supplied, by the labour of previous years, the buildings and machinery; and, thirdly, the profit of the master spinner. It would be tedious to trace the transmission of the thread from the weaver to the bleacher, from the bleacher to the printer, from the printer to the wholesale warehouseman, from him to the retailer, and thence to the ultimate purchaser; or even its shorter progress from the lace-maker to the embroiderer, and thence to the ultimate purchaser. At every step a fresh capitalist repays all the previous advances, subjects the article, if unfinished, to further processes, advances the wages of those engaged in its further manufacture and transport, and is ultimately repaid, by the capitalist next in order, all his own advances, and a profit proportioned to the time during which he has abstained from the unproductive enjoyment of the capital thus employed.
It will be observed, that we have not mentioned the Taxation that must have been incurred throughout the whole process which we have described, or the Rent that must have been paid for the use of the various appropriated natural agents whose services were requisite or beneficial. We have left rent unnoticed, because its amount depends so much on accident, that any further allusion to it would have much increased the complexity of the subject. We have not expressly mentioned taxation, because it is included under the heads which we have enumerated. The money raised by taxation is employed in paying the wages and profits of those who perform, or cause to be performed, the most important of all services, the protecting the community from fraud and violence. Those who are thus employed afford precisely the same assistance to the merchant or the manufacturer, as the private watchman who protects the warehouse, or the smith who fortifies it with bars and padlocks.
Our limits prohibit our attempting to trace the gradual increase of the value of a pound of cotton from the time it was gathered on the banks of the Mississippi, till it appears in a Bond-Street window as a piece of elaborate lace. We should probably be understating the difference if we were to say that the last price was a thousand times the first. The price of a pound of the finest cotton wool, as it is gathered, is less than two shillings. A pound of the finest cotton lace might easily be worth more than a hundred guineas. No means, except the separation of the functions of the capitalist from those of the labourer, and the constant advance of capital from one capitalist to another, could enable so many thousand producers to direct their efforts to one object, to continue them for so long a period, and to adjust the reward for their respective sacrifices.
Development of the Fourth Elementary Proposition of the Science, namely,
That Agricultural Skill remaining the same, Additional Labour employed on the Land within a given district, produces in general a Less Proportionate Return.
Additional Labour when employed in Manufactures is MORE, when employed in Agriculture is LESS, efficient in proportion.—Before we quit the subject of Production, it is necessary to explain an important difference between the efficiency of the different productive instruments when employed in cultivating the earth, and their efficiency when employed in preparing for human use the raw produce obtained by agriculture: or, in other words, between the efficiency of Agricultural and Manufacturing Industry. In the course of this discussion we shall illustrate the last of the four elementary propositions on which we believe the Science of Political Economy to rest; namely, that, agricultural skill remaining the same, additional labour employed on the land within a given district produces in general a less proportionate return.
The difference between the efficiency of agricultural and of manufacturing industry which we have now to consider, consists in the power which agricultural industry possesses, and manufacturing industry does not possess, of obtaining an additional product from the same materials. We have seen that the use of implements and the division of labour assist the exertions of man to an extent quite incalculable at present, and apparently capable of indefinite increase. But manufacturing improvements, though they enable one man to do the work of hundreds or of thousands,—though they enable the same amount of labour employed on the same materials to produce a more and more useful commodity, cannot enable the same amount of labour, or even increased labour, employed on the same quantity of materials, to produce a much larger amount of finished work of the same quality, than could have been produced before. If the labour and the skill now employed throughout England on the manufacture of cotton were doubled, but the quantity of raw materials remained the same, the quantity of manufactured produce could not be sensibly increased. The value of that produce might perhaps be much increased; it might be made much finer, and consequently of greater length or breadth; but supposing the quality of the produce unaltered, its quantity could be increased only by the saving which might be made of that small portion of the raw material which now is wasted.
The case of agriculture is different. Those regions, indeed which lie within the limits of perennial snow, or consist of rock or loose sand, or precipitous mountain, are unsusceptible of improvement. But with these exceptions, the produce of every extensive district seems capable of being almost indefinitely increased by constantly increasing the labour bestowed on it. Nothing appears more hopelessly barren than an extensive bog, with its black looking pools and rushy vegetation. But, by draining, by burning the limestone on which, in Ireland at least, it generally rests, and by employing the lime to convert the matted fibres of the turf into a vegetable mould, the bog may be made not only productive but fertile. There are about thirty-seven millions of acres in England and Wales. Of these it has been calculated that not eighty-five thousand, less in fact than one four-hundredth part, are in a state of high cultivation, as hop grounds, nursery grounds, and fruit and kitchen gardens; and that five millions are waste. All that is not waste is productively employed, but how small is its produce compared to the amount to which unlimited labour and abstinence might raise it! If the utmost use were made of lime, and marl, and the other mineral manures; if by a perfect system of drainage and irrigation water were nowhere allowed to be excessive or deficient; if all our wastes were protected by enclosures and planting; if all the land in tillage, instead of being scratched by the plough, were deeply and repeatedly trenched by manual labour; if minute care were employed in the selecting and planting of every seed or root, and watchfulness sufficient to prevent the appearance of a weed; if all live stock, instead of being pastured, had their food cut and brought to them; in short, if the whole Country were subjected to the labour which a rich citizen lavishes on his patch of suburban garden; if it were possible that all this should be effected, the agricultural produce of the Country might be raised to ten times, or indeed to much more than ten times, its present amount. No additional labour or machinery can work up a pound of raw cotton into more than a pound of manufactured cotton; but the same bushel of seed-corn, and the same rood of land, according to the labour and skill with which they are treated, may produce four bushels, or eight bushels, or sixteen.
But although the land in England is capable of producing ten times, or more than ten times as much as it now produces, it is probable that its present produce will never be quadrupled, and almost certain that it will never be decupled.
On the other hand, unless our manufactures be checked by war, or by the continuance or introduction of legislative enactments unfavourable to their progress, their produce may increase during the next century at the same rate, or at a still greater rate, than it increased during the last century. It may be quadrupled, or much more than quadrupled.
The advantage possessed by land in repaying increased labour, though employed on the same materials, with a constantly increasing produce, is overbalanced by the diminishing proportion which the increase of the produce generally bears to the increase of the labour. And the disadvantage of manufactures in requiring for every increase of produce an equal increase of materials, is overbalanced by the constantly increasing facility with which the increased quantity of materials is worked up.
A century ago the average annual import of cotton wool into Great Britain was about one million two hundred thousand pounds. The amount now annually manufactured in Great Britain exceeds two hundred and forty millions of pounds. But though the materials now manufactured are increased at least two hundred times, it is obvious that the labour necessary to manufacture them has not increased two hundred times. It may be doubted whether it has increased thirty times. The whole number of families in Great Britain, exclusively of those employed in agriculture, amounted, at the enumeration in 1831, to 2,453,041; if we suppose the transport, manufacture, and sale of cotton to employ about one-eighth of them, or about 300,000 families, it is a large allowance. But with the inefficient machinery in use a century ago, the annual manufacture of one million two hundred thousand pounds of cotton could not have required the annual labour of less than ten thousand families. It probably required many more. The result has been that, although we now require two hundred times as much of the raw material as was required a century ago, and although that additional quantity of raw material is probably obtained from the soil by more than two hundred times the labour that was necessary to obtain the smaller quantity, yet, in consequence of the diminution of the labour necessary to manufacture a given amount, the price of the manufactured commodity, (a price which exhibits the sum of the labour necessary for both obtaining the materials and working them up) has constantly diminished. In 1786, when our annual import was about twenty millions of pounds of cotton wool, the price of the yarn denominated No. 100 was 38s. a pound. In 1792, when the import amounted to thirty-four millions of pounds, the price of the same yarn was 16s. a pound. In 1806, when the import amounted to sixty millions, the price of the yarn had fallen to 7s. 2d. a pound; and with the increased quantity manufactured, it has now fallen below 3s. a pound. Every increase in the quantity manufactured has been accompanied by improvements in machinery, and an increased division of labour, and their effects have much more than balanced any increase which may have taken place in the proportionate labour necessary to produce the raw material.
The proposition that, in agriculture, additional labour generally produces a less proportionate result, or, in other words, that the labour of twenty men employed on the land within a given district, though it will certainly produce more than that of ten men, will seldom produce twice as much, will be best illustrated by confining our attention to a single example.
We will suppose a farm consisting of one thousand acres, two hundred very good land, three hundred merely tolerable, and the remainder barren down, affording only a scanty sheep-walk. We will suppose the farmer to employ upon it twenty men, and to obtain an average annual product, which, to reduce it to a single denomination, we will call six hundred quarters of wheat. We will suppose him now to double the number of his labourers, and we shall see what probability there is that the produce will consequently be doubled. If the twenty additional labourers are employed in cultivating the down land, they must necessarily produce a less return than that which is produced on the other land by the previous twenty, as the land is supposed to be worse. It is equally clear that their labour, if applied to the land already in cultivation, will be less productive than the labour previously applied to it; or, in other words, that the produce of that land, though increased, will not be doubled, since on no other principle can we account for any land except the very best having been ever cultivated. For if the farmer could have gone on applying additional labour to land already in cultivation without any diminution in the proportionate return, it is clear that he never would have cultivated the three hundred acres of inferior land. In fact, if this were the case, if additional labour employed in agriculture gave a proportionate return, he never need have cultivated more than a single acre, or even a single rood. It is probable that in the supposed case he would employ some of his additional labourers in breaking up a portion of the down, and some of them in cultivating more highly the land already in tillage. So employed, they might produce an additional crop of four hundred, or five hundred, or five hundred and fifty quarters, but it is certain that the additional crop would not be equal to the whole six hundred previously obtained: the produce would be increased, but would not be doubled.
This imaginary farm is a miniature of the whole Kingdom. We have in England large tracks of barren waste, and we have under cultivation soil of every description of fertility, from that which produces forty bushels of wheat an acre, to that which produces, with the same labour, and on the same extent of land, only twelve or thirteen. If additional produce is to be raised, the resource, generally speaking, must be either the cultivation of what has been as yet untilled on account of its barrenness, or the employment of additional labour on what is now in cultivation. That in either case the additional produce is not likely to be in the proportion of the additional labour, is as obvious in the case of the whole Kingdom, as it has appeared to be in that of a single farm.
But the proposition which we have been endeavouring to illustrate, though general, is not universal; it is subject to material exceptions. In the first place, the negligence or ignorance of the occupier, or proprietor, or obstacles of ownership, often prevent for a long time particular portions of land from being subjected to the average degree of labour bestowed on land of equal capability. Increased labour, when at length bestowed on land so circumstanced, may fairly be expected to be as productive, indeed more productive, than the average of agricultural labour. Advantages of this kind have sometimes been derived from extensive operations of drainage and embankment; but the chances of great profit are so apt to blind men to the amount of physical obstacles, that projects of this kind are perhaps more frequently attempted prematurely, than deferred till after the time when an increased demand for raw produce first rendered them fair speculations. Undertakings which have been postponed in consequence of obstacles arising from ownership, are far more frequently productive. The enclosure of a common often subjects to the plough land of which the former unproductiveness was not owing to deficient fertility. Effects similar in kind, though not in degree, often take place when an estate becomes unfettered, after the title has been long so circumstanced that the farmers could not rely on the duration or renewal of their leases. In these cases considerable additional produce may often be obtained by a comparatively small addition of labour.
But the most important exception to the general rule takes place when increase of labour is accompanied by increase of skill. More efficient implements, a better rotation of crops, a greater division of labour, in short, improvements in the art of agriculture generally accompany the increase of agricultural labour. They always accompany that increase when it is accompanied by an increase of the capital as well as of the population of a Country; and they always counteract, and often outweigh, the inferiority or diminished proportional powers of the soil to which they are applied.
The total amount of the annual agricultural produce of Great Britain has much more than doubled during the last hundred years; but it is highly improbable that the amount of labour annually employed in agriculture has also doubled. It is not supposed that during that period the population of Great Britain has more than doubled; and the principal increase has till lately been in the manufacturing districts. The last hundred years, with all their misfortunes, form the most prosperous period of our History. We owe to them the enclosure of millions of acres formerly almost useless common fields; we owe to them almost all that we possess that deserves the name of Agricultural Science; and we owe to them also all the canals, and almost all the roads, which, by obviating in a great measure the accidents of situation, enable the amount of labour to bear throughout the Kingdom something like an average proportion to the quality of the soil on which it is employed. It is possible, though certainly not probable, that our progress may be equal during the next hundred years; but though indefinite, it certainly cannot be infinite. It is obviously impossible that the produce of the soil of a given district can increase geometrically for ever, whatever be the amount of the labour employed on it.
On the other hand, every increase in the number of manufacturing labourers is accompanied not merely by a corresponding, but by an increased productive power. If three hundred thousand families are now employed in Great Britain to manufacture and transport two hundred and forty millions of pounds of cotton, it is absolutely certain that six hundred thousand families could manufacture and transport four hundred and eighty millions of pounds of cotton. It is, in fact, certain that they could do much more. It is not improbable that they could manufacture and transport seven hundred and twenty millions. The only check by which we can predict that the progress of our manufactures will in time be retarded, is the increasing difficulty of importing materials and food. If the importation of raw produce could keep pace with the power of working it up, there would be no limit to the increase of wealth and population.
[14.]Scrope, Principles of Political Economy, 1853, p. 276.
[15.]Appendix to Senior’s Lectures on Population, p. 61–82.
[16.]Archbishop Whately, Lectures on Political Economy. Lecture 9.
[17.]Say, Principles, tome iii. p. 276.
[18.]Principles, &c. p. 219.
[19.]Id. p. 511–612, 2d ed.