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Sect. 2.

various shapes in which it is only auxiliary to the Book 1. laborers already employed :

Chap. vii. That when fresh capital is used in agriculture in the latter shape, the power of the human labor Auxiliary applied directly or indirectly to the soil, may be assumed to be increasing; while the quantity of additional produce necessary to make the employment of a given quantity of capital profitable, is decreasing:

That hence the accumulation of auxiliary capital with increasing effect on the land may go on, for an indefinite period, after the employment of additional capital, without a diminished return in maintaining more agricultural labor, has become impossible :

That with the employment of greater masses of auxiliarly capital, the relative numbers of the nonagricultural classes will increase; and also the revenue, the influence, and ordinarily the number and variety, of the intermediate classes, which connect the higher with the lower. We have seen, that the general increase of

production which follows such an accumulation of capital on the old soil, is a most important and beneficial addition to the territorial resources of the people among whom it takes place :—and that there is practically no period of such an increase, at which the interests of the landed proprietors are not in strict unison with those of the population.

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On the second Source of the Increase of Farmers' Rents, or on the increasing Efficiency of the Capital employed.

Book I. Chap. vii. Sect. 3.


In the progress of agriculture, and after the establishment of farmers' rents, some improvements may be expected to take place in the efficiency

of the capital employed in cultivation. Both the of Capital. skill and power of the cultivating class increase.

Their skill, because much thought is sedulously applied to the subject by men freed from the toilsome and absorbing occupations of the mere laborer, and not distracted like the landlords by loftier pursuits and more enticing occupations. With the increase of skill, the mere manual exertions of the laborer and the most ordinary and rudest implements and means become more efficient, because better directed and combined. But as the agriculturists increase in skill, they usually increase also in the power which they can apply to effect their purposes. The increase of auxiliary capital in all its shapes (one invariable effect of advancing wealth and knowledge) has a constant tendency, as we have seen, to put such increased power into their hands.

Of increased skill and increased power, an increase in the efficiency of the capital employed in cultivation is a necessary consequence, and may shew itself by two effects.

Sect. 3.


1st. Less capital may be necessary to produce Book 1:

Chap. vij. a given quantity of produce from a spot of ground.

2nd. The same capital may produce from the same spot of ground a larger produce than it be- Efficiency

of Capital. fore yielded. The last of these improvements ordinarily includes the first. When, on any spot of ground £100. can be so employed, as to produce a larger return than the same amount of capital did before, then some smaller quantity of capital will usually obtain the same produce which £100. once did. But the first improvement mentioned, does not always include the last; for means are sometimes discovered of getting the same amount of produce cheaper, when no means have been hit on of increasing it. In whichever result, however, the increasing efficiency of the capital employed shews itself, rents will rise, and unless the

progress of improvement outstrips the progress of population, and the growth of produce exceeds the growth of demand, (an event rarely to be expected,) this rise of rents, from the increased efficiency of the capital employed, will be permanent; and it will ordinarily coincide, as we shall presently see, with an extension of the agricultural wealth, the population, strength, and resources of the country. If £90. can be made to produce what £100. formerly produced from the same spot of ground, say £110., the profits realized will have risen from 10 per cent. . to somewhat more than 20. Of these profits, somewhat more than £10. will be surplus profits or rents. Again, if £ 100. formerly produced a certain quantity of corn which sold for £110., and can now be

Book I. Chap. vii. Sect. 3.


so employed, as from the same spot to produce corn which at the same prices would sell for £120; additional surplus profits will be made on that land,

and additional rent be paid for it :-provided that of Capital. the whole improvement is not discovered, completed,

and generally adopted, so rapidly, as to make the now increasing quantity of corn outstrip the progress of population and demand. For in that case, prices might fall, and rents remain stationary or recede. It is not necessary again to discuss the probability of this dislocation between the demand and supply. The rise of rents which would follow such an increased efficiency as we have been assuming, of the capital employed in agriculture, would clearly be quite independent of any spread of tillage to inferior soils. Such a rise of rents might take place, and go on increasing with the increase of population indefinitely, though no inferior gradations of soil were in existence.

There is a clear addition to the national resources when rents rise from the increased efficiency of agricultural capital. But this addition, (unlike that which accompanies a rise of rents from the greater accumulation of capital on the soil,) is usually confined to, or measured by, the increased rents themselves. When £100. produces (prices being the same) corn worth £ 120., instead of corn worth £110., the wealth of the nation is increased by ten pounds worth of corn, and no more. When £90. will produce the same quantity of corn which £ 100. did produce, the nation is enriched to the same amount in another shape; for £10. may be

Sect. 3.


withdrawn from agriculture without its produce Book 1.


Chap. vij. being diminished, and the nation will be enriched by being put in possession of any other commodities which the capital of £10. may be employed Eficiency to produce. The increase of national wealth will, of Capital in either case, be confined to the amount of L 10., the same sum by which rents rise. Increased rents, therefore, from the increased efficiency of capital, though an addition to the national wealth and resources, do not indicate so large an addition to those resources, as increased rents proceeding from the accumulation of capital in cultivation ; for an increase from this last source is accompanied, as we have seen, by a great addition to the means of the producing classes, which must be added to the new rents before we can estimate the whole addition to the nation's resources, which such a rise of rents indicates.

So far increased rents from a better use of the capital employed in agriculture, may seem to come accompanied by less extensive additions to the national resources, than increased rents proceeding from the gradual increase in the amount of the capital employed in cultivation. But there are some results of the increasing efficiency of agricultural capital that remain to be noticed, which very much augment the effects on public prosperity of a progressive rise of rents from this source.

It has already been shewn, that a spread of tillage to inferior soils does not necessarily accompany, or follow, a rise of rents, when the efficiency of the cultivator's capital increases; that such an

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