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be constantly increased; and, also, that the increase should be adequate to an ascertained degree or proportion. This degree is indicated by another, and that is, the degree of the increase of the people who are to be maintained by means of this stock. The object, therefore, which every reasoner on the science of Social and Political Economy has to keep in view is this that Stock or Capital, as compared with Population, be not permitted to decline to a lower proportionate amount; but that the increase of the one be kept, at the least, equal to the increase of the other. The subject, therefore, as I have stated on a preceding occasion, resolves itself into a law of comparative proportionate increase or progression.
There can be no difference of opinion, then, respecting the object that is to be attained, which is, that the aggregate of stock or capital be kept in advance of the aggregate of population which is to be sustained by it. Thus, let the stock or capital of a community be represented by the number 1000, and the population of the same community be represented by the same number. Now, if population be increased to 1200 and the stock or capital be increased to 1100 only, the proportion is changed, and it is evident that the state of the community must be deteriorated thereby; for it will be obvious, that one of two things must happen in this case either some of the community must be left altogether unsupported, or, if supported, they must derive the means of support by participating in the possession, that is, encroaching on the enjoyments, of other members; but in either case, the circumstances of the community will have sustained detriment. The object to which we have to direct our attention, having been thus demonstrated, the matter for deliberation and decision will be, a discovery and explanation of the way or means by which the object is to be attained.
It will be perceived, that in the foundation of the argu
ment which I have already constructed, I have admitted no other principle of change excepting that which arises from conjunction or coaction-all the four parties concerned giving and receiving an equal measure of benefit. Thus, while in the four divisions of employment or of labour which I have adopted, there is diversity of operation, yet, there is unity of object and of principle, the result being moral and physical support and agreement, or harmony. I shall have to show, as I proceed, that however extensively or numerously the division and subdivision of employment, or matter of diversity, be carried on, yet it is essential for the attainment of the declared object, which is the maintenance and benefit of ALL, that the unity of principle be preserved throughout.
At this early stage of my argument I will, in an especial manner, direct the attention of my readers to the most important feature which inheres in the whole subject. It is the connexion or dependence which is ordained, under the law of the Creator, to subsist between man and man, and between men and men, in a social or united state. It is this close and indispensable connexion which may be called the vital principle of all societies of men or nations. It is by fulfilling this principle in its integrity that the well-being of a community can alone be insured, for it is by a compliance with this law of union, or mutual and general support-ordaining just courses of labour and just courses of exchange that matter, or productions from the earth, become so arranged or distributed as to sustain human life. It is here that we are enabled to discern the great principle involving a law of neighbourship, which is required to be observed in all the operations of labour, in the exchange of the productions of labour, in all buying and selling, in producing and consuming. By this law, it is shown to us that the original nature and destiny of man having been exalted far above the nature and destiny of brute creatures, the fitness of man for occupying and enjoying
a high station, his aptitude for fulfilling an exalted destiny, are to be determined by the willingness which is evinced by him to regard the welfare of his fellow-creatures in general; by his desire to hold his own enjoyments, and his own advantages, in conjunction with the enjoyments, and advantages, of all those fellow-creatures with whom he is connected.
By the law or the rule of exchange of the productions of labour which I have adduced and exemplified, we derive a knowledge of the course by which all property in a state of society is formed or constituted, and of the social duty which is attached to the possession and enjoyment of property. It is shown that property cannot be formed by the act of producing, or by the fact of production, simply or alone. It is shown that the influence of the law of demand, which can arise alone from the act of a second person-thus constituting a connexion or an association of interests is indispensably necessary for imparting value, or the power of realising exchange, to every commodity; so that this important truth must be discerned and acknowledged, namely, the rights of man in a state of society are relative, not absolute; they are of a general, not of an individual character; social, not selfish.
It excites astonishment that the great moral and social law to which I have adverted, should have remained almost wholly unnoticed, and when noticed, entirely disregarded in their reasonings, and unapplied, by those men who have undertaken to write on the science of Social and Political Economy. It is, indeed, true that he who is esteemed the founder of the science, I mean Adam Smith, has, in his work, "The Wealth of Nations," made a partial allusion to the moral features of the subject, but his mind appears to have been so little impressed by the natural connexion which is ordained to subsist between the moral attributes of man and the working out his physical condition, that he treated the highest characteristic
of the subject in a manner at once insignificant and misleading. The notice of the great branch of the subject of which I am now treating, occurs, as I have before shown, in the first book of his work, and where he was under the necessity, as I have now been, of dealing with the rudimentary or most simple elements of the science. The passage I allude to is as follows: "This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another."
"Whether this propensity be one of those original principles in human nature, of which no further account can be given; or whether, as seems more probable, it be the necessary consequence of the faculties of reason and speech, it belongs not to our present subject to inquire. It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts. Two greyhounds, in running down the same hare, have sometimes the appearance of acting in some sort of concert. Each turns her towards his companion, or endeavours to intercept her when his companion turns her towards himself. This, however, is not the effect of any contract, but of the accidental concurrence of their passions in the same object at that particular time. Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. Nobody ever saw one animal, by its gestures and natural cries, signify to another, this is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that.” *
By the passage which I have now quoted, the reader will see
* The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, book 1, ch. ii.
that the chief founder of our modern system of Political Economy had acquired so little insight into the highest or moral branch of his subject, that he dismissed it from his mind, having given to it only the covering of a very insignificant observation; for, on commenting on the principle of action by which man should be induced to act on entering with his fellow-man upon a system of united labour, involving the formation of contracts, and the courses of labour and the exchanges of the productions of labour, by which all the materials of the earth are to be made to conduce to the sustenance and welfare of man, which principle embraces the philosophy of society, - its commencing and continuing philosophy,―he has treated it wholly as a matter of uncertainty and doubt. Referring to the propensity which man exhibits to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another, he says:-"Whether this propensity be one of those original principles in human nature, of which no further account can be given; or whether, as seems most probable, it be the necessary consequence of reason and speech, it belongs not to our present subject to inquire." Having delivered this weak and evasive opinion and judgment, he assumed that it was correct and lawful to proceed on the treatment of his subject, notwithstanding he had cut off from it, and discarded from his own consideration of it, the highest and noblest characteristic and obligation which his subject involved; the obligation being such, that, had he been able to receive it rightly, to understand it, and to apply it, would have imparted to him power sufficient to have raised him above the influence of those fatal errors by which he has given to the world a destructive principle and a false system.
If the reader will examine carefully the remainder of the chapter from which I have made the extract, he will discern still more clearly how the writer has introduced into the very foundation of his system the awful and destructive error.