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2: The Means to Full Employment - William Dyer Grampp, Economic Liberalism, vol. 1 The Beginnings 
Economic Liberalism (New York: Random House, 1965). vol. 1 The Beginnings.
Part of: Economic Liberalism, 2 vols.
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The Means to Full Employment
In order to achieve full employment, the mercantilists proposed a variety of measures. Most of them have been cited for centuries as wonderful examples of what an economy should not do. However if they are related to the writers’ objective of policy, they invite close and sympathetic attention. In relating them, I wish to group the measures into: (a) those which affected the total spending of the economy; (b) those which affected prices, wages, and the distribution of income; (c) those which affected interest rates; and (d) those which affected the supply of labor. The measures in the first three groups were meant primarily to increase employment by increasing the demand for labor, while those in the fourth group were meant to increase the supply of labor.
INCREASING THE DEMAND FOR LABOR
Most of the mercantilists stated that the economy would prosper if there was the maximum amount of spending by individuals, business enterprise, foreigners, and (according to Petty) the government. Although most of the writers stressed spending on exports, some noted that spending in wholly domestic markets also was important. Petty stated there were circumstances that justified public extravagance, saying the spending of tax receipts on entertainments and “magnificent shows” put money into the hands of tradesmen, but he did not recommend it as a common practice, urging instead that the state use its fiscal powers to direct spending to capital goods. (That is, government should promote investment.) Barbon stated that covetousness (which meant a high propensity to save) reduced consumption, income, government revenues, and employment. He submitted that the most powerful stimulant to trade, even though it was wasteful in itself, was spending on commodities which quickly became obsolete, like clothing and household furnishings. Defoe believed the economy prospered when every consumer spent a large proportion of his income, although he urged the tradesman himself to be frugal. North was less interested in the solvency of the individual businessman than in the state of all trade. He observed that the desire to emulate their betters drove the “meaner sort” of men to extravagance and often into bankruptcy, which was unfortunate for the bankrupts but “beneficial to the public” because the activity increased trade, employment, and industriousness. Trade and employment will decline, he said, if “the consumption fails, as when men by reason of poverty, do not spend so much in their houses as formerly they did.” Many of the mercantilists were alarmed by the hoarding of gold and silver, and their frequent aspersions on individuals who fancied “plate,” i.e., tableware and household ornaments made of gold and silver, can be interpreted to mean that metals were being withdrawn from their monetary use. North disputed the common view that hoarding was an evil but deferred to the view to the extent of defending a miser by saying that even he spends occasionally and when he does “those he sets on work benefit by their being employed.”4
Foreign trade, however interested the mercantilists more than domestic, because they believed it contributed more to employment, to the nation’s wealth, and to national power. The writers after 1600 stressed the inflationary effect of an excess of exports over imports and the consequent increase in employment which inflation produced. They reasoned that a favorable balance of trade brought gold and silver to England, that the increased money supply caused spending to increase, and the increase in spending caused employment to increase. Some viewed exports more directly (and naively), thinking that the greater was the money value of exports, the greater must employment be. Few, if any, of the mercantilists distinguished carefully between the short- and the long-run effects of a favorable trade balance, a deficiency which would be more regrettable if most of their critics had not also failed to make the distinction. In order to secure a favorable balance, the mercantilists proposed their familiar commercial policy: duties on imports, with rebates on raw materials used in the making of exports; the prohibition of certain imported goods; the removal of export duties; subsidies and other forms of assistance to the export industries; monopoly grants to certain joint stock companies engaged in foreign trade; a prohibition on the export of bullion and coin; and an aggressive foreign policy by which England would help its exporters to capture markets from their competitors. The mercantilists before 1600 advocated foreign trade more because it increased national power than because it increased employment; and they wished to secure a favorable balance in order that England could accumulate bullion for war purposes. For this reason Hales regarded the export industries as most valuable to the nation and he said: “I would have them most preferred and cherished that bring in most commodity and treasure into the country,” commodity and treasure being synonyms for monetary metal.5
Not every one of the measures of policy noted above is proposed in all of the mercantilist tracts. In some they appear to be contradicted, especially the central idea that an increase in spending causes an increase in employment. For example, Temple was opposed to indiscriminate spending on consumption. Other writers lamented the taste for luxuries and urged their use be prohibited. Such opposition to spending rested on one or more of three arguments, and each reveals that the mercantilists in fact did believe an increase in spending caused an increase in employment. Temple, like his contemporary Petty, believed that England required more capital and he urged less consumption out of income in order that there be greater spending on capital goods. The mercantilists who opposed spending on luxuries did so partly because luxuries were imported (and imports reduced the favorable trade balance) and partly because the use of luxuries by the working class was thought to reduce its willingness to work (and so reduced employment).
PRICE AND WAGE POLICY
The mercantilists’ ideas about wages and prices were related to employment in four ways. One view was that wages determined export prices and the amount of exports. Hence wages determined spending and employment. A second was that the relationship between money wages and prices, or real wages, determined the distribution of income which in turn affected the amount of spending and employment. A third was that selling prices determined the amount of spending and employment. A fourth was that real wages determined the quantity of labor supplied.
Those mercantilists who regarded the net export balance as the chief determinant of employment usually favored a policy of low wages, reasoning that low wages meant low costs and prices and greater unit sales. However, some writers favored the opposite policy. Cary believed that high labor costs did not reduce exports. Arguing from the labor theory of value, he stated that the greater was the amount of labor used in the manufacture of exports, the greater their price would be and the greater the return in bullion from their sale—a viewpoint which assumed different demand conditions for English exports from those assumed by the mercantilists who favored low wages. The importance of demand conditions in the export market was made clear by Mun. He said England should take care to keep its costs down in the manufacture of those exports for which foreigners had no great need (i.e., for which the demand was elastic) and that it did not need to be as careful about those exports which foreigners found necessary (for which the demand was inelastic).6
Cary also favored high wages because he believed they supported employment in wholly domestic industries. He was opposed to wage reductions because he believed they would cause workers to spend less on food which in turn would reduce the income of landlords. He said prices should fall only as efficiency increased. Of all of the mercantilists who believed the distribution of income determined spending and employment, Defoe was the most explicit:
The consumption of provisions increases the rent and value of the lands, and this raises the gentlemens estates, and that again increases the employment of people, and consequently the numbers of them.
As the people get greater wages, so they, I mean the same poorer part of the people, clothe better, and furnish better, and this increases the consumption of the very manufactures they make; then that consumption increases the quantity made, and this creates what we call the inland trade, by which innumerable families are employed, and the increase of the people maintained; and by which increase of trade and people the present growing prosperity of this nation is produced.
Berkeley, in one of his rhetorical queries, expressed a similar idea:
Whether as feed equally scattered produceth a goodly harvest, even so an equal distribution of wealth doth not cause a nation to flourish?
Davenant and Postlethwayt also favored a more equal distribution of income or of wealth.7
A policy of high real wages implies a policy of low prices for any given money wage. Therefore one would think that the mercantilists who favored high real wages would have proposed price reductions or at least would not have been against them. Many however were against them. Defoe was, because he believed price cutting damaged the interests of the tradesman who by his central position in the economy had greatest influence on the amount of employment. Defoe, in fact, seems to have wanted high prices and high real wages; if he was aware of the difficulty of having both, it did not restrain him. He proposed wages be kept high by the tradesman’s avoiding all practices that would reduce the amount of labor required in enterprise. “There is a maxim,” he said, “that the more hands it [trade] goes through, the greater public advantage it is to the country.” In order to maintain high prices, he proposed that production be restricted if necessary:
There is another fundamental in the prosperity of a nation, which will never fail to be true, viz., that no land is fully improved until it is made to yield its utmost increase: But if our lands should be made to yield their utmost increase, and your people cannot consume the increase, or foreign trade take it off your hands, ’tis then no increase to us, and must not be produced; so that the lands must be laid down, that is to say, a certain proportion of them, and left to bear no corn, or feed no cattle, because your produce is too great for your consumption.
This idea was revived about thirty years later by Postlethwayt, and from it he developed the notion of maintaining the spending power of farmers by fixing the prices they received in a particular proportion to nonagricultural prices, a notion which contained in rudimentary form the idea of parity pricing. About a century prior to Defoe, Gerard Malynes (1656) wrote that the national interest required high prices. Still earlier, Hales wrote that spending should be directed to high-priced domestically produced goods in preference to lower-priced imports, although he believed the price level was too high and should be reduced by lowering the price of silver.8
The mercantilists’ attachment to high prices came of the inflationary persuasion that was common to most of them after 1600. (Before that, there were several proposals to increase the silver content of the coin which, the writers hoped, would be deflationary.) The writers after 1600 seem to have observed that unemployment was accompanied by declining prices and price warfare. They probably reasoned that in order to keep the economy prosperous, prices had to be kept high by means of maximum spending supported by an adequate money supply. Misselden wrote:
And it is much better for the kingdom, to have things dear with plenty of money, whereby men may live in their several callings: than to have things cheap with want of money, which now makes every man complain.9
It is quite important to notice that most mercantilists believed prices should be raised by monetary means. Almost all of them were opposed to raising prices by monopolistic practices, because that would have reduced employment, or at least would have made full employment more difficult to achieve. The mercantilist opposition to monopoly was not pragmatic or capricious but one part of their belief in competition. Their ideas about competition are explained below, and here it is necessary only to note what they thought was its effect on prices, wages, and employment.
Child stated that competition in domestic and foreign markets, including free entry into all occupations and industries, would increase employment and the national wealth. Tucker stated that a free price system within wholly domestic markets would produce greater employment than any other system. Barbon and North stated the best policy was to allow prices to be set by the estimation of buyers and sellers, even though, according to North, no one wants the prices which “the free market of things will produce.” Similar ideas were expressed by the anonymous author of Policies, etc., by Hales, Malynes, Petty, Davenant, Berkeley, and Postlethwayt. In view of the common belief that the mercantilist writers supported the mercantilist practice of price fixing, there is particular interest in the observations of the author of Policies, etc., about the fixing of food prices in London in the first half of the sixteenth century. His view was that the practice reduced the supply of farm products brought to London and thereby made worse the condition it was meant to alleviate. He wondered how anyone could believe “this present dearth of victual may be redressed by setting prices upon victual,” and continued: “but surely it is not the setting of low prices that will anything mend the matter. But it must be the taking away of the occasion of high prices,” which was, he said, the small supply of goods. He noticed that in addition to its other defects the policy produced inconvenience to the buyer. When prices are set below their market value, “what throng and strife is there then like to be who shall first catch upon that which commeth.” He concluded that a much better policy is “to suffer all kind of persons quietly to sell all kind of victual in the market at what price he can.”10
Another argument advanced for a free market was its salutary effect on the laboring classes. Postlethwayt said that competition among workers forced them to be efficient, responsible, and enterprising, and also lowered their wages. The mercantilists holding this view did not favor low wages for their own sake (although other mercantilists did), but associated high wages with restrictions on the labor supply, such as apprenticeship and journeymen rules and other monopolistic practices. They argued for a market determination of wages and not, as sometimes asserted, for the subordination of the working class. Many of the mercantilists did believe the workers ought to be disciplined, but the belief was not as harsh as later ages have made it out to be. The mercantilists believed that low real wages elicited greater effort, or a greater quantity supplied of labor, than high real wages. The idea was made quite clear by Petty and by one of his eighteenth-century admirers, Thomas Man (1739). They observed that if real wages exceeded a certain amount, the quantity of labor supplied decreased (a backward-sloping supply curve). They concluded that in order to increase employment, wages should not exceed this amount.11
THE RATE OF INTEREST
In addition to achieving full employment by measures that affected spending, wages, and prices, some of the mercantilists also wished to affect the rate of interest. There was more agreement among the writers about the rate of interest than about the correct wage and price policy, but less than about the importance of adequate spending. Those who wished to use the interest rate believed a low rate would assist the merchant by enabling him to increase his inventory, that it would lower the price of exports (by reducing one of their costs), and that both effects would in turn cause employment to increase. Among the writers holding this view were Misselden, Malynes, Temple, Barbon, Child, Law, and the author of Britannia Languens (1680). They proposed various means of reducing the rate and frequently attributed the prosperity of Holland to the low rate there.12
Except for Barbon, who proposed to limit the rate to three per cent by law, these mercantilists favored indirect means of reducing it. Most believed the development of financial institutions, like banking and the money market, would exert a downward influence on the rate. One of the most interesting ideas was that which held the rate varied inversely with the money supply. It was expressed by both Misselden and Malynes—which was unusual because they disagreed fiercely on almost everything else—and it also was proposed by John Law. Misselden said, “The remedy for usury, may be plenty of money”; and Malynes wrote of “the abundance of money; which maketh the price of usury to fall, more than any law or proclamation can ever do.” Law wrote:
. . . indeed, if lowness of interest were the consequence of a greater quantity of money, the stock applied to trade would be greater, and merchants would trade cheaper, from the easiness of borrowing, and the lower interest of money, without any inconveniences attending it.13
(The “inconveniences” were those of usury laws.)
This view of the interest rate was not wholly shared by Petty and North. Petty conceded that an increase in the money supply would lower the rate on loans but was opposed to such manipulation, probably because he believed as many economic matters as possible should be regulated by “the laws of nature” (by which he seems to have meant the free market). He said the interest on a sum of money at loan must be equal to the net rent which the same sum would yield if used to purchase land, except where risk in the two transactions differed. This implies that the money rate of interest must conform to the real rate and can fall only as the productivity of capital declines. This was a long-term view which does not preclude the possibility of short-term differences between Petty’s theory and the conventional one, although the mercantilists themselves might very well have insisted there was. North, too, believed the long-run determinant of the interest rate was the productivity of capital and that the rate could fall only as the “stock in trade” (capital) increased. A low rate was therefore the result of an increase in the quantity of capital and not the cause. North was much opposed to regulating the rate by altering the money supply, believing that the latter adjusted itself to the volume of trade rather than determined it. He also was opposed to usury laws, which he thought would decrease the quantity supplied of loans. One can observe that those who advocated a low rate assumed that a decrease in it would increase the quantity demanded of loans, while North, on the other hand, assumed that a decrease in the rate would decrease the quantity supplied of loans. Neither seemed to want to argue on the other’s grounds, and so the debate could not have been anything but inconclusive.14
There were two other reasons why the mercantilists attended so closely to the money supply, apart from the rate of interest. One was the belief that for any given amount of trade there was an appropriate supply of money and that as the supply increased there would be an increase in trade and employment. In this conception, a change in the money supply was thought to operate directly on spending rather than indirectly by causing a change in the interest rate. It happened that Law used both ideas to support his scheme for increasing the money supply. About the direct effect of an increase, he wrote:
Domestic trade depends on the money: A greater quantity employs more people than a lesser quantity. A limited sum can only set a number of people to work proportioned to it, and it is with little success laws are made, for employing the poor or idle in countries where money is scarce; good laws may bring the money to the full circulation it is capable of, and force it to those employments that are most profitable to the country: But no laws can make it go further, nor can more people be set to work, without more money to circulate so as to pay the wages of a greater number.15
The argument assumes a downward rigidity of prices such that a decrease in the money supply, by causing less spending, produces a decrease in employment and output.
The other reason for the close attention to the money supply was the belief of some that an accumulation of bullion could be desirable. They included Hales, Temple, Cary, and Tucker, the last of whom said:
. . . the whole science of gainful commerce consists, ultimately, in procuring a balance of gold or silver to ourselves from other nations.
This has been taken to mean, by Smith and John Stuart Mill for example, that the mercantilists believed money was wealth. Some in fact may have believed this; I doubt that many did. Hales stated that accumulation was desirable because treasure was the “sinews of war.” Petty said that the nation should accumulate gold and silver,
because those things are not only not perishable, but are esteemed for wealth at all times and everywhere.
The statements of Hales and Petty do not imply a nation should accumulate specie because it is wealth but because it is a store of value or what today would be called an international reserve. Even Mun, who has come down to us as one of the first to expose the fallacy of bullionism, conceded there were times when a prince would be wise to lay by a store of treasure. One may deny this and argue there are better ways of acquiring a reserve and of increasing military power. But surely one cannot say the mercantilists confused money with wealth. Nor can one say they were mistaken in relating the money supply to the rate of interest and to spending. Moreover, some of the mercantilists were opposed to the accumulation of bullion and coin or to restrictions on their export. Hence there is no warrant at all for stating the characteristic fallacy of mercantilism was the confusion of money with wealth Petty, Child, North, and Berkeley were opposed to accumulation, and Child opposed restricting the export of coin because he thought restriction would reduce employment.16
INCREASING THE LABOR SUPPLY
There was one other set of measures by which the mercantilists meant to increase employment. It consisted of ways of increasing the quantity supplied of labor (to which the relationship of real wages is explained above), of increasing the labor supply, and of increasing the productivity of labor. That the mercantilists looked at the employment problem from the supply side as well as the demand side of the market is of some importance. They were not interested only in a policy for putting people to work, important as that was, but also in a long-range program of expanding the quantity of resources. They emphasized increasing the labor force rather than the capital supply because they believed the population was the more important part of the nation’s resources.
Their methods of increasing the labor force seem harsh to us and are often said to show an animosity toward the lower classes. Those who think of the mercantilists in this way usually imply that the classical economists had a more enlightened view of the laboring classes.17 Certainly more sympathy was expressed by the classicists: there was less carping, less preaching of the “early to bed, early to rise” variety, and there was more tolerance of distinctively human behavior. But when all this is said, there remains the fact that the classical economists—from Smith to Ricardo—did not make any important proposals to redistribute income or otherwise to ameliorate the condition of the lower classes except to urge that the best hope for them, as for other classes, was greater efficiency, the steady accumulation of capital, and economic progress—goals which were, indeed, sought by the mercantilists as well. Actually most of the mercantilist labor policy assumed that self-interest governs individual conduct, an assumption entertained as fully today as 300 years ago. The mercantilists believed the unemployed should receive only a subsistence allowance for the same reason that modern economists believe unemployment compensation should be set below prevailing wages. To do more for the unemployed will make them prefer leisure to work, so the reasoning goes. It was stated precisely in 1848 by J. S. Mill, who said that the best way to treat the poor is to make them wish they were rich, and in 1964 by an American relief administrator, who said public aid was not supposed to make the poor comfortable. Whatever attitude the mercantilists had about the poor, it was less important than the stated purposes of their labor policy. The purposes were to increase the population, to increase the size of the labor force within a given population in number of workers and in the amount of work supplied by each worker, and to increase the productivity of the labor force.
In order to increase the population, some writers proposed that subsidies be given to large families. They attached the ingenious scheme of financing the subsidies by a tax on bachelors. (What would have happened, one wonders, if the tax reduced the number of bachelors, hence the revenue from them, and the subsidies increased the birth rate, hence government expenditure? No doubt there is an equilibrium position somewhere in this.) Other proposals were to encourage the immigration of skilled workers and tradesmen, which would be easier (many mercantilists said) if there were greater tolerance of French Protestants and of Jews. The proportion of the population working was to be increased by bringing children into the labor force. Petty estimated that if all children between six and sixteen were employed, the national wealth of England would be increased by five million pounds annually (about the year 1662).18 Almost all mercantilists considered ways of bringing more people into the labor force. Some writers wanted to turn men away from the army and navy and into gainful employment, to turn criminals to legitimate activity, and, above all, to rehabilitate the poor and indigent whom circumstances or choice had deprived of the will to work. That is, they wished to utilize the capacities of those groups whose labor was being wasted.
Petty said that enlistments in the armed forces could be reduced by raising wages in civilian employments. The poor and the indigent were to be rehabilitated by workhouses into which they were to be forced on pain of receiving no public assistance whatever and in which they would be taught a skill. More severe treatment was thought proper for criminals. They were to be shown that crime was not to their interest. Temple proposed “to change the usual punishment by short and easy deaths, into some others of painful and uneasy lives,” a change which involved branding the cheeks of criminals, slitting their noses, and condemning them to slavery in the colonies. Berkeley believed that all who would not work should be impressed into labor gangs and used for public projects. John Locke had views on this problem, and they are interesting, although to call him a mercantilist would be stretching even the definition I have given the word. He was a Commissioner of the Board of Trade in 1697 and in this capacity proposed that vagabonds be impressed into the navy, that while they were waiting in a port for a vessel they be put to hard labor, and that their children be sent to workhouses where they would be taught a skill. Locke, when he turned to the affairs of the world, was savagely practical. (On what he proposed for the colony of South Carolina, see the third chapter of volume two.) Not all of the mercantilists were ruthless. Child pleaded for understanding and patience. He proposed to provide relief to the poor in a way that would rehabilitate them and demonstrate to others that the lower classes were an asset and not a liability.19
In order to increase the amount of work offered by the labor force, many proposed that the state remove the distractions that gave workers bad (that is, unindustrious) habits. Drinking had first to go. According to Defoe:
In addition to limiting the number of ale houses, there was to be a prohibition (submitted by Tucker) of cockpits, skittle alleys, stages for cudgel playing, making book on horse races, the selling of liquor, cakes, fruit, “or any like temptations to draw people together” and away from their jobs. Other mercantilists asked for sumptuary control, because they thought the wearing of ribbons and ruffles and the drinking of tea made the workers prideful and insubordinate. One writer, John Deacon, deplored the taste for luxury and lamented the evil into which England had fallen when it allowed:
. . . these foolish proud toys for prickma-deintie dames, these dices and cardes, for these careles ding-thrifts, these hobbi-horses, rettles, and painted boxes for boies, with 1000 trifling toies besides, . . .20
What is interesting is that in such statements there usually was no fear expressed of insubordination becoming a threat to political security. What alarmed the mercantilists was sloth, not sedition.
In order to make them more productive, the common people were to be shown that industry, skill, and enterprise were to their advantage. Rewards—some in money, some in the form of distinction—were to be given. Industrious and skilled immigrants were to be attracted to England in order to set an example for native workers. Children were to be trained to the habit of work from an early age, and older persons were to be shown in a variety of ways why they should be industrious. In his program for improving the poor, Tucker asked that courts be formed in each district to supervise the working class, each court to be presided over by “Guardians of the Morals of the Manufacturing Poor.” By precept, inducement, and punishment, the poor would be transformed into a national asset. One of the rewards was to be “a good book” stamped in gold on one side with “The hand of the Diligent Maketh Rich” and on the other, “To the Praise of Them that Do well.”21
The labor policy of the mercantilists was a logical deduction from their ideas of economic psychology. Almost all believed there were three factors that directed individuals to economic activity: the stimulus given by physical environment; the desire of men to emulate their betters (which was partly governed by social environment); and the eagerness for material gain. Men were believed to be the more industrious, the more difficult were the conditions in which they lived: the climate, the fertility of the soil, the national wealth in relation to the size of the population. The less favorable was their environment, the more likely they were to become rich. Temple wrote:
I conceive the true original and grounds of trade to be, great multitude of people crowded into small compass of land, whereby all things necessary to life become dear, and all men, who have possessions, are induced to parsimony; but those, who have none, are forced to industry and labour . . . such, as are not [vigorous], supply that defect by some sort of inventions or ingenuity. These customs arise first from necessity, but increase by imitation, and grow in time to be habitual in a country, . . .
Postlethwayt summarized the idea by saying, “The greatest industry has ever been the effect of the greatest necessity.”22
About emulation, the second factor, Petty stated that men always seek to excel. When placed together, as in large cities, their emulative instinct becomes all the keener, and each exerts himself to equal or to surpass his neighbors. On occasion, this factor can work to the individual’s disadvantage, as when it drives him to extravagance and ostentation. Defoe cautioned the tradesman to live well within his means and to leave foolish spending to his betters. Other mercantilists also warned against the danger of emulating the rich. Most, in fact, did not have as much confidence as Petty had in the power of this factor for good, but all recognized the power itself.23
Material gain, the third factor, was believed to be the most important cause of industry. The mercantilists believed that the greater was the gain from a particular employment the greater usually would be the quantity of resources supplied (an upward sloping supply curve). This idea of self-interest was expressed quite early, was repeated to the very end of the mercantilism, and was then carried forward by classical economics. Hales wrote that “profit or advancement nourishes every faculty; which saying is so true, that it is allowed by the common judgement of all men.” Others concurred, among them Petty, North, Davenant, and Defoe.
Gain [Defoe wrote] is the tradesman’s life, ’tis the essence of his being, as a qualified tradesman. Convenience, and the supply of necessary things for life, were the first causes indeed of trade, but the reason and end of the tradesman is to get money. ’Tis the polestar and guide, the aim and design of all his motions; ’tis the center and point to which all his actions tend, ’tis the soul of business, the spur of industry, the wheel that turns within all wheels of his whole business, and gives motion to all the rest.24
What Defoe said of the tradesman (and Lamb described more economically as “the quick pulse of gain”) was believed to be true of everyone. It was true in a special way of the worker. An increase of real wages would be accompanied by an increase in the quantity of labor supplied until they reached a certain amount. Beyond this amount, the quantity of labor supplied would decrease. The mercantilists who thought of the labor supply function in this way believed that pecuniary self-interest had less of an effect on workers than on others, or that before self-interest could operate effectively the worker first had to become accustomed to high real wages. Self-interest had to be reinforced by other factors. One was emulation. This trait could be exploited by placing before the working man the rewards which others had acquired by their industry. In this way, his “wants and appetites” could be whetted and would make him more industrious (an idea that appears in growth economics today). But wants had to be guided prudently. If certain of them were indulged (drinking, for example), the individual would work less. Of all of the factors that made men industrious, environment was the most certain in its operation, even though it was less powerful than self-interest. If the poor could not be brought to gainful activity by monetary rewards or enticed to it by the desire to excel, they could be forced to it by necessity. Moreover, as Temple explained, the habits formed while overcoming necessity would remain with them, and the workers would continue to be diligent after the original cause had disappeared.
In their conception of economic psychology, the mercantilist writers anticipated one important element of classical economics. Elsewhere they anticipated two other of its features—the nature of the price mechanism and the political presuppositions of economic policy.
 Petty, op. cit., I, 33, 269. Barbon, op. cit., p. 32.
Defoe, op. cit., II, 118. North, op. cit., pp. 25, 27-28.
 Hales, op. cit., p. 127.
 Cary, op. cit., p. 12.
Thomas Mun, England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade (New York, 1903), p. 8.
 Cary, op. cit., pp. 96-102. Defoe, op. cit., I, 318-319.
Berkeley, op. cit., Q. 214. Davenant, op. cit., p. 103.
Postlethwayt, op. cit., II, 389.
 Defoe, op. cit., II, pt. I, 109, 115-116. Postlethwayt, op. cit., II, 405.
Gerard Malynes, Consuetudo, vel, Lex Mercatoria: Or the Ancient Law Merchant (London, 1656), p. 65.
Hales, op. cit., p. 67.
 Misselden, op. cit., p. 107.
 Child, op. cit., pp. 54-56, 127. Tucker, op. cit., p. 83.
Barbon, op. cit., p. 16. North, op. cit., p. 12.
Tawney and Power, op. cit., III, 340, 342. Hales, op. cit., p. 60.
Gerard Malynes, The Maintenance of Free Trade (London, 1622), p. 79.
Petty, op. cit., I, 9, 243. Davenant, op. cit., pp. 56-60.
Berkeley, op. cit., Q. 47.
Malachy Postlethwayt, The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce (London, 1774), cap. “Forestalling,” “Engrossing,” “Regrating.”
 Postlethwayt, Great Britain’s Commercial Interest, etc., II, 425.
Petty, op. cit., I, 274-275.
Thomas Man, The Benefit of Procreation (London, 1739), pp. 20-21.
 Misselden, op. cit., pp. 29-30.
Malynes, The Maintenance of Free Trade, p. 39.
Temple, op. cit., I, 129. Barbon, op. cit., p. 41.
Child, op. cit., p. ix. Law, op. cit., p. 17.
Early English Tracts, p. 318.
 Misselden, op. cit., pp. 116-117.
Malynes, The Maintenance of Free Trade, pp. 39-40.
Law, op. cit., p. 17.
 Petty, op. cit., I, 48; II, 445. North, op. cit., pp. 17-19.
 Law, op. cit., p. 11.
 Hales, op. cit., pp. 87, 127. Temple, op. cit., I, 131-132.
Cary, op. cit., p. 2. Tucker, op. cit., p. iiin.
Petty, op. cit., I, 269; II, 445. Mun, op. cit., p. 66.
Child, op. cit., p. 55. North, op. cit., pp. 25-26.
Berkeley, op. cit., passim.
 See Edgar J. Furniss, The Position of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism (Boston, 1920).
 Petty, op. cit., I, 308.
 Petty, op. cit., I, 23. Temple, op. cit., II, 380.
Berkeley, op. cit., Q. 381. Child, op. cit., ch. 2.
 Daniel Defoe, True Born Englishman in Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association, collected by A. C. Guthkelch (Oxford, 1913), IV.
Tucker, op. cit., p. 56.
John Deacon, A Treatise Intitvled; Nobody is my name, etc. (London ). The pages are not numbered.
 Tucker, op. cit., p. 57.
 Temple, op. cit., I, 119.
Postlethwayt, Great Britain’s Commercial Interest, etc., II, 367.
 Petty, op. cit., I, 32.
Defoe, The Complete English Tradesman, I, 56.
 Hales, op. cit., p. 57. Petty, op. cit., I, 48. North, op. cit., p. 13. Davenant, op. cit., p. 109. Defoe, Complete English Tradesman, etc., II, 79-80.