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dustry employed upon the land. In proportion as the labour and ingenuity of man, exercised upon the land, have increased this surplus produce, leisure has been given to a greater number of persons to employ themselves in all the inventions which embellish civilised life; while the desire to profit by their inventions has continued to stimulate the cultivators to increase their surplus produce. This desire may be considered as almost absolutely necessary to give it its proper value, and to encourage its further extension; but still the order of PRECEDENCE is, strictly speaking, the surplus produce; because the funds for the subsistence of the manufacturer must be advanced to him BEFORE he can complete his work, and no step can be taken in any other sort of industry unless the cultivators obtain from the soil more than they themselves consume."
Again, from the same work :-" And in the same manner, with a view to any essential improvement in the condition of the labourer, which is to give him a greater effective command over the means of comfortable subsistence, it is absolutely necessary that setting out from the lowest point, the increase of food must PRECEDE and be greater than the increase of population."
"Strictly speaking, then, as man cannot live without food, there can be no doubt that in the order of PRECEDENCE food must take the lead." †
In Mr. M'Culloch's work, "Principles of Political Economy," there occur the following passages bearing upon the point:"The division of labour cannot be carried to any considerable exent without the PREVIOUS accumulation of capital. Before labour can be divided, a stock of goods of different kinds must be stored up somewhere, sufficient to maintain the
* An Essay on the Principle of Population, by T. R. Malthus, A. M., book 3, ch. viii.
+ Ibid. book 3, ch. xiv.
labourer, and to supply him with materials and tools. A weaver cannot apply himself entirely to his peculiar business, unless there is beforehand stored up somewhere, either in his own possession, or in that of some other person, a stock sufficient to maintain him, and to supply him with the materials and tools of his work, till he has not only completed but sold his web. This accumulation must evidently be previous to his applying himself for so long a time to such a peculiar business."
"As the accumulation of capital must have PRECEDED the extensive division of labour, so its subsequent division can only be perfected as capital is more and more accumulated."
Again, in the same work:-"The capacity of a country to support and employ labourers is in no degree dependent on advantageousness of situation, richness of soil, or extent of territory. These undoubtedly are circumstances of very great importance, and have a powerful influence in determining the rate at which a people advances in the career of wealth and civilisation. But it is obviously not on them, but on the ACTUAL amount of the accumulated produce of previous labour, or of capital applicable to the payment of wages in POSSESSION of a country, that its power of supporting and employing labourers must depend. A fertile soil affords the means of rapidly increasing capital; but that is all. BEFORE the soil can be cultivated, capital must be provided for the support of the labourers employed upon it, as it must be provided for the support of those engaged in manufactures, or in any other department of industry." †
The passages which I have just quoted, afford ample cor
* Principles of Political Economy, by J. R. M. M'Culloch, p. 90. (This passage is that before quoted from "The Wealth of Nations.")
+ Ibid. p. 377.
roboration of the reasoning which I have advanced on that important branch of social science of which I have treated in this chapter, though, when careful and accurate analysation is applied to them, it will be discerned that they contain matter extraneous of the matter needed and intended. This inconsistency serves to throw, in some degree, confusion over the whole subject, and affords proof that the writers had not attained a clear and solid conception of that body of evidence of which they were treating.
But notwithstanding this volume of mingled perception and imperception, attended, as it must needs be, by the mixture of error with truth, yet the important principle itself is expressly recognised, and in the last quotation from the work of Mr. M'Culloch, the principle is so clearly or purely adopted, and the facts issuing from it are so precisely and fully stated, as to put us in possession of an exact definition. By this the writer declares that the law of progress must be conformed to, or strictly observed, before an extension of the cultivation of land, or any other addition or improvement in the circumstances of a nation, can be legitimately, and hence, with benefit, undertaken.
The reader will find another very important instance by which my reasoning in this chapter is confirmed, by referring to that strong and remarkable passage which I have already adduced from the writings of Mr. Bentham. The law of increase and progress, for which I have contended, is fully recognised and upheld in the great proposition which is, with so much precision and force, laid down by Mr. Bentham.
The true principle of production shown to operate through capital in possession, constituting Cost, and eventuating in Profit. The only increase to a nation's means or capital being that which comes in the shape of profit. The importance of requiring that statesmen should make profit a test of the soundness of commercial policy.
THE doctrine which I have laid down and established on the question of the causes, by the operation of which the existence of man upon the earth is ordained to be preserved, contains one very important, very prominent, and very peculiar feature; which feature, although it has been discerned and admitted by many men who have written on the subject of the material and social economy applicable to the condition of man, has been so insufficiently considered and imperfectly understood, as to have been most defectively elaborated and applied by them.
The doctrine to which I now refer, and to which, on account of its immense and continuous practical importance, I have had to refer to so repeatedly, is that whereby it is shown that the power requisite for sustaining the body or the life of man, is made to reside in the labour of man; so that, in order to insure a constant supply, or a sufficiency, of things necessary, it is only required that labour shall be rightly directed, and duly and rightly sustained and encouraged. I have shown that the course by which this may be fulfilled in that sphere of social life which the condition of man necessitates and presents, consists in the observation of engagements,
or a just fulfilment of social contracts; the fidelity of action to be observed on the part of all who have entered into social combination, this being that mutual and general assistance and support which the construction of a sphere of society, in any quarter of the world, involves.
Hence, we discern that man is ordained by his Creator to depend upon himself, or the power of labouring imparted to him,-primarily;-and on the crude materials, or the varied elements of nature, secondarily, the order being — labour;— then production and supply; and not production and supply, and afterwards labour; and, next, over all the operations of labour - the workings of men's hands, the efforts of his ingenuity and talent, there is right or social adaptation -the welfare of all to be regarded who are included in the circle of social action. It is this reciprocated action of man with man, or general trust and dependence, eventuating in a certain number or quantity of facts, the results of labour, and having, hence, value or the power of making exchanges; all these facts being closely and inseparably connected, and serving to assist and to expedite social progress when used or exchanged rightly, or to impede and derange social progress when used or exchanged wrongly, that constitutes the source from which man derives his power of subsisting. It is this aggregate matter--matter procured and supplied by the whole body of associated labourers, the mass of exchangeable commodities, to which every member is bound, either directly or indirectly, in one shape or another, to contribute his due proportion, that is known amongst us by the general term, Capital. It is this fund, then, by which all the members of a community are maintained. Thus, capital, or the acquired fruits of labour, is seen to be contradistinguished from that vast fund of natural materials yet unappropriated and unconverted, or lying dormant. These natural materials, whether