Page images

Book I. Chap. vii.

It will be obvious, therefore, that the accumulation of auxiliary capital in cultivation, will be prac- Sect

. 2. ticable when the employment of the same amount of

Auxiliary capital in the support of additional labor has ceased

Capital. to be so: and that the accumulation of such capital in cultivation may go on for an indefinite period : - that is, it may go on as long as human contrivance can use it to urge on the progress of human power in adding to the fertility of the soil, or what is the same thing, to the efficiency of the laborers employed upon it:- provided only that the additional produce obtained at each step of the process is sufficient to pay the ordinary rate of profit on the fresh auxiliary capital so employed, together with the wear and tear of that capital.

Step by step, however, as the mass of such capital increases, the ingenuity of man must be at work to devise fresh modes of using it. To employ additional labor to increase the produce of the land, all that is necessary is to have the means of maintaining it. To employ more of the results of past labor in assisting the actual tillers of the earth requires constant contrivance and increasing skill.

With the increase of the mass of auxiliary capital employed in agriculture rents will rise, from the unequal effects of that capital on soils of unequal good

But the rise of rents from the employment of any given quantity of auxiliary capital, will be less than that which would take place from the employ, ment of an equal amount of capital in the maintenance of additional labor. The additional annual

produce, we have seen, will be less, and the difference


[ocr errors]

Sect. 2.

Book I. between the amount of the produce of equal capiChap. vii.

tals on soils of different gradations of fertility (on

which difference rents depend) will be of course Auxiliary Capital.

large, when the produce is large, and less, when
it is smaller. For instance, let A, B, C and D
produce as follows:


£110. £ 115. £120. £130.
The differences, surplus profits, or rents on B, C and
D, will be 5 + 10 + 20, or together £35. Let an
additional £100. employed in the maintenance of
additional labor, raise their produce to


£220. £230. £240. £ 260.
Rents will be doubled. The addition to them will
amount to another £35. But let the additional
capital of £100. be applied in the results of past
labor, auxiliary to the labor already employed; and
let £30. be sufficient to pay the profits of that ca-
pital, and replace its annual wear and tear on A.
If B, C and D yield a produce to the new capital
fully proportioned to their original superiority over A,
still their produce will not exceed (suppose,)
A 140, B (115 + 32)=147, C (120 + 34)=154,

D (130 + 36)=166. The joint rents of the three will now be £47. instead of £35.: but instead of rents being doubled, and, as in the last instance, the addition amounting to £35., it will amount only to £12. ; although, in the mean time, the amount of profits realized by the farmers

Book I.

will have doubled, as in the former case. The


Chap. vii. gress of rents, therefore, though steady and constant, Sect. 2. will be more slow, and bear a less proportion to the

Auxiliary increased capital employed, and the advance of the

Capital. : incomes of the capitalists, when the additions to the agricultural capital of the country are made in the shape of auxiliary capital, than when those additions are made in the shape of capital employed in the support of additional labor :-an apparent disadvantage to the landlords, which is amply compensated to them by the possibility of employing progressively increasing masses of such auxiliary capital to obtain fresh produce, when the maintaining additional labor on the soil for that purpose would be unprofitable and impracticable. We are to bear in mind, then, that the progress of auxiliary capital both increases the command of man over the powers of the soil, relatively to the amount of labor directly or indirectly employed upon it; and diminishes the annual return necessary to make the progressive employment of given quantities of fresh capital profitable:- that it presents in its accumulation a source of addition to the mass of rents, less copious, but more durable, and longer in arriving at its ultimate limits, than that derived from the direct employment of more labor.

Effects of the Accumulation of auxiliary Capital

in Agriculture on the relative Numbers and Influence of the different Classes of the Community.

The accumulation in larger and larger masses of the results of past labor, not to maintain the laboring

Sect. 2.

Book I. part of the actual population, but to augment the Chap. vii.

efficiency of their industry, is a process which exer

cises a decisive influence, not only on the comparaAuxiliary tive productive power of different nations, but on the Capital.

various elements of their social and political composition. And in this point of view there are two prominent effects of this mode of increasing the efficiency of the cultivation which must be noticed : First, the great increase of the relative numbers of the non-agricultural classes : Secondly, the great inerease of the revenues and influence (and ordinarily of the numbers) of the intermediate classes, or the classes existing between the proprietors and laborers. These changes in the relative numbers of the different parts of the community, exercise a considerable influence in moulding the fortune and character of nations. The effects of such changes we shall have to trace in another part of our work; it is our object now to shew the manner in which the changes themselves are produced.

The Employment of auxiliary Capital augments the relative Numbers of the non-agricultural Classes.

Let us suppose

When additional produce is obtained by the use of a proportional quantity of additional labor alone, the relative numbers of the agricultural and non-agricultural classes remain unaltered. a capital of one million of money maintaining one million of agricultural laborers: the profits on the million, at 10 per cent. will be £100,000., and we may assume the rents paid to be as much more. The

Sect. 2.

numbers of the non-agricultural population will de- Book 1:

Chap. vii. pend on the quantity of raw produce which the laborers, from their revenue of one million, the capitalists and landlords from their revenues of Auxiliary £100,000 each, can spare to exchange for manufactured articles and non-productive labor'. Let that number be 250,000 souls, or one-fourth of the agriculturists. Let us suppose the agricultural capital employed in such a country doubled, and the agricultural labor doubled; that instead of one million of laborers, two millions are employed, and that the produce, profits and rents are all doubled too. The habits of the people remaining the same, the quantity of raw produce applied to the maintenance of non-agricultural labor, will be doubled also; the non-agriculturists will become 500,000, and their relative number compared with the increased number of non-agriculturists will be precisely what it was. Their influence, and that of the produce of their industry on the habits of the mass of the people,—the relative weight of their employers in the community,-- will also be precisely what it was, and no more: though the population of the country will have doubled, or nearly doubled.

Let us next suppose the agricultural capital in such a country to be doubled, but the additions to be used not as food to maintain more laborers on the soil, but in some shape auxiliary to the laborers already employed. And let us take the


Meaning labor not productive of wealth, as we have defined wealth, that is, material wealth.

« PreviousContinue »