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the carth is at once the most humane, and eventually the most profitable, of all forms of disposal. How can domestic induse try be extended so effectually as by rearing distant nations of customers? War is, of all forms of removing the excess of people, the most unthrifty ; because the expense of rearing, and the labour of instructing, the adults, whom it destroys, is all incurred in vain ; and the destruction consists of machines for executing productive industry, which it had required twenty years to bring into working order.
In fourteen chapters the first book is comprised: the second opens with some very interesting original information concerning the state of the people in Norway and Sweden. Over with the leaves, away with the chapters, where every paragraph is valuable! What has a reviewer to do with sections, which admit only of praise? His occupation's gone, where every observation is new instruction, and every train of argument lasting conviction. () for the eyes of Argus, for the hands of Briareus, to read and turn a hundred such pages at a volition! In the third book, eighth chapter, luckily there is something to cavil at-but first a long extract.
• The economists consider all labour employed in manufactures as unproductive; and in endeavouring to disprove this position, Dr. Smith has been accused of arguing obscurely and inconclusively. He appears to me, however, only incorrect in applying his own definition to try the reasoning, by which the economists support theirs; when, in fact, the question was, respecting the truth or falsehood of the definitions themselves; and, of course, one could not be applied as a test to the other. Nothing can be more clear than that manufactures increase the wealth of a state, according to Dr. Smith's definition; and it is equally clear, that they do not increase it, according to the definition of the economists. The question of the productiveness or unproductivenesss of manufactures, is allowed by the economists to be a question respecting net produce; and the determination of this question either way, would not affect Dr. Smith's definition, which includes produce of every kind, whether net, or otherwise. And in the same manner, the proof of a net produce arising to individuals from manufactures, would not really invalidate the definition of the economists, though they have laid then selves open to objections from this quarter, by the manner in which they have defended their position.
• They say, th:t labour employed upon land is productive, be. cause the produce, over and above completely paying the labourer and the farmer, affords a clear rent to the landlord; and that the labour employed upon a piece of lace is unproductive, because it merely replaces the provisions that the workman had consumed while making it, and the stock of his employer, without affording any clear rent whatever. But supposing the value of the wrought lace to be such, as that besides paying in the most complete manner, the workman and his employer, it could afford a clear rent to a third person, the state of the case would not really be altered. Though, according to this mode of reasoning, the man employed in the manufacture of lace, would, upon the present supposition, appear to be a productive labourer; yet, according to their definition of the wealth of a state, he ought not to be considered in that light. He will have added nothing to the produce of the land. He has consumed a portion of this produce, and has left a piece of lace in return; and though he may sell this piece of lace for three times the quantity of provisions which he consumed while he was making it, and thus be a very productive labourer with regard to him. self; yet he has added nothing by his labour to the essential wealth of the state.
• Suppose, that two hundred thousand men, who are now em. ployed in producing manufactures, that only tend to gratify the vanity of a few rich people, were to be employed on some barren un. cultivated land, and to produce only half of the quantity of food that they themselves consumed, they might still be considered, in some respects, as more productive labourers than they were before. In their former employment, they consumed a certain portion of the food of the country, and left in return some silks and laces. In their latter employment, they consumed the same quantity of food, and left in return, provision for a hundred thousand men. There can be little doubt which of the two legacies would be the most really beneficial to the country, and which, according to the definition of the economists, would add the most to the wealth of the state.
• A capital employed upon land may be unproductive to the in. dividual that employs it, and yet be productive to the society. A capital employed in trade, on the contrary, may be highly productive to the individual, and yet be almost totally unproductive to the society. It is indeed impossible to see the great fortunes that are made in commerce, and, at the same time, the liberality with which so many merchants live, and yet agree in the statement of the economists, that manufacturers can only grow. sich by depriv. ing themselves of the funds destined for their support. In many branches of trade the profits are so great, as would allow of a clear rent to a third person; but as there is no third person in the case, and all the profits centre in the merchant or master manufacturer, he seems to have a fair chance of growing rich without much privation, and we consequently see large fortunes acquired in trade by persons who have not been remarked for their parsimony.
These fortunes, however, by which individuals are greatly enriched, do not enrich proportionally the whole society, and, in some respects, have even a contrary tendency. The home trade of consumption is by far the most important trade of every nation. Putting then, for a moment, foreign trade out of the question, the man who, by an ingenious manufacture, obtains a double portion out of the old stock of provisions, will certainly not be so useful to the state, as the man, who by his labour, adds a single share to the for, mer stock. And this view of the subject, shews that manufactures are essentially different from the produce of the land, and that the question respecting their productiveness, or unproductiveness, by
Crit. Rev. Vol. 1, January, 1804.
no means depends entirely upon the largeness of the profits upon them, or upon their yielding or not yielding a clear rent. If the economists would allow, which, from the manner in which they express themselves, they might be sometimes supposed to do, that the value yielded by manufactures was of the same nature as the produce of the land, though it were allowed to be only accurately equal to the value of their consumption, they certainly could not maintain the position that land is the only source of wealth. A marriage which produces two children, though it contain in itself no principle of increase, yet it adds to the sum of the actual population, which would have been less by two persons, if the marriage had been really barren. But the fact is, that though the language of the economists has fairly warranted this illustration, which Dr. Smith gives; yet the illustration itself is incorrect. In the case of the marriage, the two children are really a new production, a completely new creation. But manufactures, strictly speaking, are no new production, no new creation, but merely a modification of an old one, and when sold must be paid for out of a revenue already in existence, and consequently the gain of the seller is the loss of the buyer. A revenue is transferred, but not created.
• If, in asserting the productiveness of the labour employed upon land, we look only to the clear monied rent yielded to a certain number of proprietors, we undoubtedly consider the subject in a very contracted point of view. The quantity of the surplus produce of the cultivators is, indeed, measured by this clear rent; but its real value consists in its capability of supporting a certain number of people, or millions of people, according to its extent, all exempted from the labour of procuring their own food, and who may, therefore, either live without manual exertions, or employ themselves in modifying the raw produce of nature into the forms best suited to the gratification of man.
• A net monied revenue, arising from mamufactures, of the same extent, and to the same number of individuals, would by no means be accompanied by the same circumstances. It would throw the country in which it existed into an absolute dependence upon the surplus produce of others; and if this foreign revenue could not be obtained, the clear monied rent, which we have supposed, would be absolutely of no value to the nation.
As manufactures are not a new production, but the modification of an old one, the most natural and obvious way of estimating them, is by the labour which this modification costs. At the same time, it may be doubted, whether we can say positively that the price of this labour, added to the price of the raw material, is exactly their real value. The ultimate value of every thing, according to the general reasoning of the economists, consists in being propre à la jouissance. In this view, some manufactures are of very high value; and in general, they may be said to be worth to the purchaser what that purchaser will consent to give. In the actual state of things, from monopolies, from superior machinery, or other causes, they are generally sold a price above what the economists consider as their real worth ; and with regard to a mere monied revenue to an individual, there is no apparent difference, between a
manufacture which yields very large profits, and a piece of land which is farmed by the proprietor.
* Land, in an enlarged view of the subject, is incontrovertibly the sole source of all riches; but when we take individuals or particular nations into our view, the state of the question is altered, as both nations and individuals may be enriched by a transfer of revenue, without the creation of a new one.
• There are none of the definitions of the wealth of a state that are not liable to some objections. If we take the gross produce of the land, it is evident that the funds for the maintenance of labour, the population and the wealth, may increase very rapidly, while the nation is apparently poor, and has very little disposeable revenue. If we take Dr. Smith's definition, wealth may increase asi has before been shewn, without tending to increase the funds for the maintenance of labour and the population. If we take the clear surplus produce of the land, according to most of the econo, mists; in this case, the funds for the maintenance of labour and the population may increase, without an increase of wealth, as in the instance of the cultivation of new lands, which will pay a profit but not a rent; and, vice versa, wealth may increase, without increasing the funds for the maintenance of labour, and the population, as in the instance of improvements in agricultural instruments, and in the mode of agriculture, which may make the land yield the same produce, with fewer persons employed upon it; and conse- quently the disposeable wealth, or revenue, would be increased, without a power of supporting a greater number of people.
• The objections, however, to the two last definitions do not prove that they are incorrect; but merely that an increase of wealth, though generally, is not necessarily and invariably accompanied by an increase of the funds for the maintenance of labour; and consequently, by the power of supporting a greater number of people, or of enabling the former number to live in greater plenty and happie ness.
• Whichever of these two definitions is adopted, as the best criterion of the wealth, power, and prosperity of a state, the great position of the economists will always remain true, that the surplus produce of the cultivators is the great fund which ultimately pays all those who are not employed upon the land. Throughout the whole world, the number of manufacturers, of proprietors, and of persons engaged in the various civil and military professions, must be exactly proportioned to this surplus produce, and cannot in the nature of things increase beyond it. If the earth had been so niggardly of her produce as to oblige all her inhabitants to labour for it, no manufacturers or idle persons could ever have existed. But her first intercourse with man was a voluntary present; not very large indeed, but sufficient as a fund for his subsistence, till by the proper exercise of his faculties he could procure a greater. In pro. portion 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 inven
tions which embellish civilised life. And though, in its turn, the desire to profit by these inventions, has greatly contributed to sti
mulate the cultivators to increase their surplus produce ; yet the order of precedence is clearly the surplus produce; because the funds for the subsistence of the manufacturer must be advanced to him, before he can complete his work : and if we were to imagine that we could command this surplus produce, whenever we willed it, by forcing manufactures, we should be quickly admonished of our gross error, by the inadequate support which the workman would receive, in spite of any rise that might take place in his nominal wages. · According to the system of the economists, manufactures are an
object on which revenue is spent, and not any part of the revenue · itself. But though from this description of manufacutures, and the epithet stérile sometimes applied to them, they seem rather to be degraded by the terms of the economists, it is a very great error to suppose that their system is really unfavourable to them. On the · contrary, I am disposed to believe, that it is the only system by · which commerce and manufactures can prevail to a very great extent, without bringing with them, at the same time, the seeds of their own ruin. Before the late revolution in Holland, the high price of the necessaries of life had destroyed many of its manufac. · tures. Monopolies are always subject to be broken; and even the · advantage of capital and machinery, which may yield extraordinary profits for a time, is liable to be greatly lessened by the competition of other nations. In the history of the world, the nations, whose I wealth has been derived principally from manufactures and commerce, hare been perfectly ephemeral beings, compared with those,
the basis of whose wealth has been agriculture. It is in the na· ture of things, that a state which subsists upon a revenue furnished
by other countries, must be infinitely more exposed to all the accia dents of time and chance; than one which produces its own. p. 430. • To begin with the last position, Rome, which has been the most stable of all nations, always depended on foreign supplies of food. Sicily, Egypt, were alternately the granaries of Rome; and Italy was chiefly cultivated to feed cows and horses. Egypt, Lombardy, Flanders, have been remarkably
agricultural; they have all been the seats of independent · sovereignties, and have all quickly passed away. The agri
culture of Spain was once carried to great perfection ; but the · price of proluce having fallen, in consequence of colonial . agriculture, below what the state of rental required, this
source of prosperity decayed during a short cycle of plenty. : France is but beginning to be agricultural : yet it may
safely be prophesied, that, as her manufactures decline, the market for produce becoming less, her dole-lands (for, during the revolution, all wastes and commons were distributed to specific owners) will again be suffered to wilder into sheepwalks, wherever they require a troublesome or costly cultivation. Agriculture is an ephemeral, a dependent, source of prosperity. A Babylon can grow up in a Mesopotamia of shepherds, before the plough is invented; but husbandry