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Sect. 4.


Book 1. We may put the case yet stronger. If one man Chap. vii

. became able to supply the clothing, &c. they might

spare nine to go in quest of food, and might acIncreased tually consume more food, and as much of every of Manu- thing else, as they did while food was more easily facturing


Let us next observe, what effects would be produced by a similar change in the productive powers of different classes of the community, if such change occurred among a people whose social relations were less simple than those of the knot of men we have been figuring to ourselves, and let us suppose a community consisting of 24 men, employed, onehalf in producing corn, and one-half in producing cloth. Let corn, for our present purpose, represent all the varieties of raw produce, and cloth all commodities produced by the national industry which are distinct from raw produce.

Let the corn-growers produce 14 quarters of corn, and the cloth-makers 14 pieces of cloth, of each of which let 12 go to wages and 2 to profits. Then, if each party exchange half their produce with the other division, every laborer in each will have half a quarter of corn, and half a piece of cloth; and their two employers will have a piece of cloth and a quarter of corn each.

Next, let us suppose this laboring population doubled: that there are 48 laborers instead of 24, and that to produce double the quantity of corn, it has become necessary, from the decreasing fertility of the fresh soils resorted to, to employ in agriculture, not double the number of men formerly

Sect. 4.

employed, but more than double; say three times Book I. the number, or 36 men. Then, by the supposition, chap. vii. 36 men produce double the quantity of corn before produced, or 28 quarters. In the mean while, let Increased the productive powers of the cloth-workers have so of Manu

facturing increased, that to produce double the former quan- Labor. tity of cloth, the labor of double the number of men is not necessary, but of a less number, say of 12: then by the supposition, 12 men will produce double the former quantity of cloth, or 28 pieces. But as 36 men produce 28 quarters of corn, while 12 men produce 28 pieces of cloth, each quarter of corn will exchange for three pieces of cloth! Between the 48 men, there will be to be divided 28 quarters of corn, and 28 pieces of cloth, which will give them their old wages of half a quarter of corn, and half a piece of cloth each, and will also leave four quarters of corn and four pieces of eloth as profits. But the capitalist cloth-worker, employing only one-fourth of the men, will take only one-fourth of the profit, or one piece of cloth and one quarter of corn. The corn-grower, employing three-fourths of the men, will take three-fourths of the profit, or three quarters of corn and three pieces of cloth. As the rate of wages remains precisely what it was, so will the rate of profits: for each employer of 12 men, at the old wages, will

1 It would complicate the calculation, if we were to take in here any elements of exchangeable value besides the mere labor employed: and to demonstrate the truth we are travelling to, that complicated calculation is not necessary.

Sect. 4.



Book I. still get one piece of cloth and one quarter of corn Chap. vii.

as the profit on his advances.

If the power of the manufacturer of cloth, inEfficiency

stead of doubling, had more than doubled during of Manu- this process, then it is evident that the producing facturing

classes generally might consume not merely as much corn, but more than as much corn as they did before recourse was had to soils of a less fertility; for, instead of employing 36 men, they might have employed a greater number in cultivation, have produced and consumed more corn, yet get the same quantity of cloth which they did before. The agriculturists will receive, in the first instance, from the soil, less corn, in proportion to their numbers, than they did before the increase of population and the spread of tillage; but as by the sacrifice of a smaller portion of that corn, they can obtain the same amount of other necessaries which they may need, they will retain as much or more corn for their own consumption, as they did when they drew larger returns from the ground. Each manufacturer or mechanic will give in exchange for the corn which he consumes, a larger quantity of his own produce than he did before the spread of tillage ; but as he produces more than he did, he will be able to purchase the same amount of corn without consuming less of other necessaries. The effects of the failure in productive power of one branch of the population, will be balanced, perhaps more than balanced, by the increased productive power of another branch. Those who produce less, will find their commodities rising in exchangeable

Sect. 4.

value; those who produce more will find them falling. Book I: These variations in relative value, will distribute Chap. vii. equally all the advantages and disadvantages of the variations which take place in the productive power Eficiency of different branches of industry. A falling off in of Manuany one branch, may still leave the nation col- Labor. lectively, and each particular class of it, as well supplied even with that species of produce as before the decrease, and the only effect of a decrease in one quarter, and increase in another, will be a difference in the proportionate number of laborers and quantity of capital employed in different occupations.

We have seen, that as the process we have been describing became complete, and corn rose in exchangeable value, a rent would be generated which did not exist before. This increased rent, however, unlike those which we have before been considering, will be obviously no addition to the resources of the country. It will be a mere transfer of wealth already existing, from the producing classes to the landlords. The nation, it is true, will be richer relatively to its numbers than it was before the spread of tillage: for the producing classes, we have seen, will have the same quantity of raw produce and other necessaries which they

and there will be further in the hands of the landlords a certain portion of the produce of the old lands as rent. But this additional wealth will have proceeded, not certainly from the decreasing powers of agriculture, but from the increased efficiency of manufacturing industry, which has enabled




Book I. the nation to spare without a loss, the hands neceshet . sary to cultivate soils of diminished fertility, and

rather more than balanced the effects of the de

creased Efficiency

powers of agricultural industry. The nation, of Manu- collectively, would no doubt have been richer had

no rent been generated, if the land last employed in tillage had yielded returns equal to those of the lands before cultivated, and if the advantages of increased manufacturing power

ring power had been gained without any diminution in the returns to agricultural industry. When rents are increasing from the two sources, of which we before examined the operation, namely, the accumulation of additional capital in agriculture, and the increased efficiency of capital already employed, then the result is an unmixed advantage. Agriculture is itself adding largely to the resources of the country, and the increasing wealth which flows from the augmented powers of manufacturing industry is balanced by no drawback. It must be distinctly admitted on the other hand, that a rise of rents from the particular cause we are now examining, is no real addition to the resources of a nation. The decreasing efficiency of agricultural capital must always be a disadvantage, but it is consolatory to reflect, that such a decrease, while it checks the possible advance of a nation in wealth, is not necessarily followed by any actual impoverishment: that neither the rate of wages, or rate of profits, are determined solely by the returns to the capital employed upon the soil, and that they may remain undiminished, and may even steadily increase while the fertility of the soil is as steadily

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