Lapas attēli

false matter which at present exists in the state of the science. In fact, it is by relinquishing the power of this law, that the chief and leading truth of the whole subject is lost.

The necessity that the means of sustaining life should be in a state of constant precedence having been shown, the question arises, How is this end to be accomplished? I have shown that the first step towards it is, that one man procures from the earth more food than is sufficient for supplying his own wants, and the wants of his family, and is thus enabled to offer to another man a portion of his superabundant food for anything that the other man may be enabled to procure. Now, here is introduced a second party; and it will be obvious, that no exchange of anything can take place without there being two parties; for to suppose the case of a man exchanging anything with himself, is an absurd idea. With regard, then, to the second person now introduced, it will be obvious, that he also must have been under the same law of necessity as the first person was under, namely, that of being urged by his want, to search for and procure food in the first instance. Thus it necessarily follows, that the superabundant store of the one must consist of the same material as the superabundant store of the other, that is, both stores must consist of food.

Here, then, is exhibited the origin of a state of things which is destined to exert a most powerful influence throughout the succeeding series. Here is brought under our observation the principle of supply in its simple state, not having received any relative or social adaptation. The thing acquired by labour, or supplied, is in excess, both parties having acquired more than is sufficient for their own present want. It is supply without the presence of any other production by which an exchange may be invited, that is, demand, be created. The production itself has been shown

to be of the utmost importance, and, indeed, so essential, that without it life would become extinct; yet, in the state of excess, which I have now instanced, it cannot be rendered available as a matter of exchange. It can, therefore, acquire no value.

Now, before the fact of exchange takes place, which, it will be seen, must introduce the principle of the social acquisition of property, it is most desirable to view clearly the case of the two parties which I have adduced, and which I intend to make the foundation of my argument. I will call them A and B. Neither of them enjoys a priority of right, either natural or acquired, the one over the other. There is no title from a superior power specially investing the one, and leaving the other uninvested; both have equal and unrestricted access to the matter of the earth, and both have laboured upon it for the same purpose, and both have acquired from it the same kind of production. It is necessary, now, to consider and to determine in what way the important step or advancement may be rightly made. A discerns that the food of B is sufficient both for B and himself too; and B discerns the same fact with regard to the food in possession of A. It follows, therefore, that the labour of one is capable of procuring, as far as food is involved, sufficient to satisfy the want of both. The step then should be, and must have been, that a division, or distinct application of labour, take place, or be agreed upon. This being done, B ceases to labour for food, and relying for food on the exertions of A, commences acquiring another production, such as an article of clothing, for this would, naturally, come next in order to food. The undertaking is successful; B acquires an article of clothing for himself, as also for A. Thus the superabundant acquisition or store of A, which consists of food, acquires value on account of the demand made by B, and

[ocr errors]

the superabundant production or store of B, which consists of clothing, derives value-value fraught with the power of making exchanges or of buying-on account of the demand made by A.

Perhaps the eager minds of some readers may suggest an objection against the course of argument which I have just advanced, by the plea, that an exchange would not have taken place at so early a stage as that which I have supposed. They may be induced to assert, in opposition, that when A found his power of procuring sustenance increased, and as he thus became possessed of more food than would satisfy his own immediate wants, he would then direct his own labour to the acquisition of another commodity; and, moreover, that when his second effort had been followed by a result as successful as his first, he would then have made a still further advancement himself, and have procured a third kind of production, and so have continued unconnected by any act of exchange, for a considerable space of time, during which he would be both producer and consumer of the commodities procured by his own labour. The same, also, with regard to B; and that an exchange, or social communication and compact, would not have taken place until a much more considerable advancement had been made than that wherefrom I have wrought out my method of exemplification.

It will be perceived, however, that the object of my argument is to establish a PRINCIPLE of exchange, which I shall have to contend is not only a principle, but THE principle, calculated to endure throughout an unlimited series of appropriations by means of labour and of exchange, being as strong, as binding, and as indispensable, in any instance, however remote, as it is in the first. Now, in order to find out and establish this important point, all which is required is to keep to the true operation of matter of fact, so as by

means of it to discover the agency of cause, and to mark its issues or effect. This being regarded, the more simple the matter of example is, the better adapted it is to the purpose. Because the principle may not have been adopted at the earliest stage, it cannot be argued, hence, that the principle is not true. The principle must be the same at whatever period the operation of facts may have called it into existence. Hence, I maintain, it is evident that the objection has no weight, and that my proposition of illustration is sound.

[ocr errors]

Perhaps, also, it may appear to some readers, that in laying down my first, or fundamental premises, I have been needlessly particular in laying so much stress on two such simple and self-evident truisms, as that productions have to be acquired by man, and that productions have no power connected with them by which they may be conveyed into the presence of man for his use or consumption. Although it may appear to be unnecessary and useless, to advance, and to conserve with so much care, these two propositions, yet it is not so in fact, because it is true, although many may be disinclined to believe it, that almost all writers on the science of Political Economy, including those in the highest estimation, as well as other men who have had to treat of the science in other ways than those of writing upon it, have adopted the false and fatal assumption, that productions will be in the possession and enjoyment of man, at the same time that they have wholly failed and have admitted the failure to show any solid course by which this assumption of the fact of possession is to be realised.

[ocr errors]

When the false assumption just alluded to, and which constitutes the main foundation, or the first premiss, on which the Political Economists have erected their structure, and to which they so often have recourse for the purpose of resting

[ocr errors]

the whole weight of their structure upon it and this is a matter of necessity with them, for they have no other resting point is made to undergo accurate examination, it is discovered to be nothing more than the supposition and assumtion, that one kind of production is to be instantaneously converted or transmuted into another kind of production. Upon this vacuity they have not scrupled to place human subsistence and maintenance.

It is on account of the absence of accurate observation and of correct reasoning on the first simple fundamental point here noticed, that the science of Political Economy now stands before the world in that defective and confused state which I have exposed in the preceding part of this work. I maintain, then, that the careful and competent student of the science will discern the necessity, and experience the utility, of having the simple fundamental premises of the science established as I have now established them.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »