Front Page Titles (by Subject) Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume. - Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 2
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 2 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1832). Vol. 2.
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.
The total Rent paid by a farmer includes real Rent, and much besides; viz. the profits of the capital laid out by the land-owner upon the estate.
Real Rent is that which is paid to the landowner for the use of the original, indestructible powers of the soil.
Land has these powers in different degrees.
The most fertile being all appropriated, and more produce wanted, the next best soil is brought into cultivation; then land of the third degree, and so on, till all is tilled that will repay tillage.
An unequal produce being yielded by these different lands, the surplus return of all above the lowest goes to the land-owner in the form of Rent.
The same thing happens when repeated applications of capital are made to the same land for the sake of increasing its productiveness. The produce which remains over the return to the least productive application of capital, goes to the land-owner in the form of Rent.
Rent, therefore, consists of that part of the return made therefore, to the more productive portions of capital, by which it exceeds the return made to the least productive portion.
New lands are not tilled, and capital is not employed for a less return, unless the produce will pay the cost of production.
A rise of prices, therefore, creates, and is not created by, Rent.
When more capital is employed in agriculture, new land is tilled, a further outlay is made on land already tilled; and thus also Rent arises from increase of capital.
When capital is withdrawn from agriculture, inferior, i. e. the most expensive soils, are let out of cultivation; and thus Rent falls.
A rise of Rent is, therefore, a symptom, and not a cause, of wealth.
The tendency of Rent is, therefore, to rise for ever in an improving country.—But there are counteracting causes.
Art increases production beyond the usual returns to capital laid out: prices fall in proportion to the abundance of the supply, and Rent declines.
Improved facilities for bringing produce to market, by increasing the supply, cause prices to fall and Rent to decline.
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