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Book I. Chap. vii. Sect. 2.
average duration of such auxiliary capital at five years. Then profits will have increased from 100,000
to 200,000. The increase of rents may be taken at Auxiliary 50,000, and the sum necessary to replace the annual
wear and tear of a capital of one million lasting five years will be £200,000. Here will be a gross additional sum of £350,000. produced originally in the shape of agricultural produce and wholly applicable to the maintenance of non-agricultural labor; the numbers of the non-agricultural laborers will increase, while those of the agriculturists remain stationary, and this increase may go on swelling and repeating itself, till the non-agriculturists equal or exceed the agriculturists.
This has taken place in England, where the auxiliary capital employed in cultivation is greater than in any other part of the world, and where the non-agricultural population is actually to the agricultural as 2 to 1. In all other extensive countries, the agriculturists form the majority. In France they comprise two-thirds of the population : in most other countries much more.
The increase of auxiliary capital is certainly not the only circumstance which affects the proportionate numbers of the two great classes of cultivators and non-cultivators. Any cause which increases the efficiency of the actual cultivators may do so, but the increase of auxiliary capital is the only cause which, in the ordinary progress of civilized nations, we are sure must exercise a progressive influence in this respect.
The Increase of auxiliary Capital increases the Chap. vii. Revenue of the intermediate Classes.
Auxiliary The next point in which the effects of the em- Capital. ployment of auxiliary capital, and of capital consumed in the direct maintenance of labor, differ, is this, that with the relative increase of auxiliary capital, a great increase ordinarily takes place in the relative revenues of the middling, or, to use a more comprehensive phrase, of the intermediate classes. This effect is not peculiar to the increase of auxiliary capital in cultivation, but follows its accumulation in all the branches of human industry. We must enlarge on this elsewhere: but our view of the effects which may be expected to accompany a rise of rents caused by the general accumulation of capital on the land, would be incomplete without adverting to it. If we suppose any capital (£100. for instance) employed upon the soil, wholly in paying the wages of labor, and yielding 10 per cent. profit, the revenue of the farmer will evidently be one-tenth that of the laborers. If the capital be doubled, or quadrupled, and the number of laborers be doubled or quadrupled too, then the revenue of the farmers will continue to bear the same proportion to that of the laborers. But if the number of laborers remaining the same, the amount of capital is doubled, profits at the same rate become £ 20., or one-fifth the revenue of the laborers. If the capital be quadrupled, profits become £40., or two-fifths of the revenue of the laborers: if capital be increased to £ 500., profits would become £ 50., or half the revenue of
Book 1: the laborers. And the wealth, the influence, and
talists in the community, would be proportionably Auxiliary Capital.
This point, at least, the accumulation of auxiliary capital in cultivation has reached in England. The whole capital employed, is to that advanced in wages at least as 5 : 1. The auxiliary capital, therefore, is equal to at least four times the capital used in the maintenance of labor, and the income of the capitalists employed in agriculture equal to at least half the wages paid to agricultural laborers.
I have supposed in the calculations hitherto made, that the amount of labor employed in eultivation has been stationary, while the amount of auxiliary capital has been accumulating. This is little likely ever to be true in practice. A great increase of capital, of whatever description, used in any art, usually makes the employment of some additional direct labor necessary. This circumstance, however, will not prevent the steady progress of the relative increase of the auxiliary capital.
The two last noticed results of the increase of auxiliary capital employed in agriculture, namely, the relative increase of the numbers of the non-agricultural classes, and the relative increase of the revenues and numbers of the intermediate classes, are both changes of considerable importance in the progress of society. Supposing two nations to have made in other respects nearly an equal progress in arts and manufactures; the abundance or scantiness with which each will be supplied with the decencies
and artificial comforts of life, will depend entirely Book I.
Chap. vii. on the comparative size of that portion of each community, of which the industry is directed to occupations distinct from agriculture: and in every nation Auxiliary
Capital too, the amount of the fund which forms the revenue of the intermediate classes, or of the classes which in various gradations separate the higher from the lower orders, is a circumstance of great moment to the political and social character of the people.
While the revenue of the capitalists equals only one-tenth that of the laborers, they form no prominent portion of the community, and indeed must usually be laborers or peasants themselves. But a mass of profits equal to, or exceeding one-half the wages of labor (which mass exists in England) naturally converts the class receiving it into a numerous and varied body. Their influence in a community in which they are the direct employers of almost all the laborers, becomes very considerable: and what is in some respects of more importance, such a rich and numerous body of capitalists, -as, descending from the higher ranks, they approach the body of the laborers by various gradations till they almost mingle with them—form a species of moral conductors, by which the habits and feelings of the upper and middling classes are communicated downwards, and act more or less powerfully upon those of the very lowest ranks of the community.
The relative prevalence of artificial comforts, consequent on the existence of a large industrious non-agricultural population; ranks of society approaching and blending in successive orders, so
Book l. that the higher are linked with the lower, and Chap. vii.
a channel of communication formed through which
their moral influence may, to a certain extent, Auxiliary Capital.
constantly pass to their inferiors; these are circumstances, the practical effects of which we shall have to trace in another portion of our work, when we are examining the ordinary progress of the numbers of nations. They will be found to have an important bearing on our subject, while we remark various circumstances successively unfolding themselves in the progress of civilization, which tend to moderate the disposition of a people, to exert their full physical powers of increasing their aggregate numbers, and help to subject the animal passions of man to the partial control of motives, aims and habits peculiar to him as a rational being
We will conclude here our examination of the first source enumerated of a rise of farmers' rents, namely, the progressive accumulation and unequal effects of capital on all gradations of soils.
We have found, that such an accumulation ordinarily takes place in the progress of population and wealth:
That the rise of rents, which proceeds from this cause, is wholly independent of the cultivation of inferior soils, and of the expenditure of capital on the old soils with a diminished return; and that it might go on indefinitely, though neither of these circumstances ever occurred:
That the additional capital may be employed in maintaining additional agricultural laborers; or in