89.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 88.—Answered by 90] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815.
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ricardo to malthus
[Reply to 88.—Answered by 90]
London 4 April 1815
My dear Sir
You think that my theory of a diminishing rate of profit, in consequence of being obliged to cultivate poorer lands, is affected by my admission that there will be a greater quantity of surplus produce and a greater money value from the old land. This would be true, if any part of either the additional quantity or additional value, belonged to the owner of stock. You however expressly say that this additional value or quantity “will remain to the farmer and landlord.[”] Before my theory is affected it must be shewn that the whole will not remain with the landlord, as if the farmer gets no share of it his rate of profits cannot be raised.—
I agree with you that when the exchangeable value of corn rises “the whole quantity of corn in the country will exchange for a greater number of coats than before, and consequently that there will be both the power and will to purchase with the raw produce of the country, a greater quantity of manufactured and foreign commodities.” In a progressive country I can easily conceive this power and will to be doubled or trebled, as well as the commodities on which they are exercised; but this admission does not affect the question of profits. There may be a great demand for home and foreign commodities without their price being permanently raised, as no new difficulties may attend their production. When America becomes populous and wealthy, in the same proportion as the most wealthy country of Europe, will not her corn exchange at a higher value, both for money and commodities, although it will have much increased in quantity? Will not all foreign and home commodities in America be double or treble their present amount, —yet will not the profits of stock be less there than they now are? On this question I could not have thought that the slightest doubt could exist,—all theory, all experience is in favour of this opinion.
Whilst the labour of ten persons employed on land paying no rent can produce 100 quarters of wheat it appears to me possible and probable that one third more labour might be profitably employed on that land, not indeed in producing only 100 quarters of wheat, but an additional quantity more than the additional labourers would consume. Whilst the labour of ten men can produce 100 quarters of wheat it is difficult to suppose profits only 10 pct.,—and more difficult to conceive that many more men might not be profitably employed in increasing the produce off such land. In theory, land which yields no rent, according to your supposition, would have more and more capital profitably expended on it whilst the additional quantity of produce obtained, exceeded the quantity paid to the additional labourers. Capital might be so expended whilst the profits of stock gave any return not 10 pct. but 1 pct. or ½ pct. —
No doubt money varies more slowly than other commodities for the reason you mention; nevertheless its value like every other foreign commodity depends on the labour and expence of bringing it to market.—
I expect some friends to dine with me on saturday and on monday I am engaged out to dinner,—yet if the weather is tolerably fine I will be with you by the time you leave chapel on sunday, but I must get home next day. If this is not quite convenient pray let me know.