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BOOK appear hereafter, depends partly upon the nature _f of the different employments, and partly upon the different laws and policy of the society in which they are carried on. But though in many respects dependent upon the laws and policy, this proportion seems to be little affected by the riches or poverty of that society; by its advancing, stationary, or declining condition ; but to remain the fame or very nearly the fame in all those different states. I shall, in the third place, endeavour to explain all the different circumstances which regulate this proportion.
In the fourth and last place, small endeavour to show what are the circumstances which regulate the rent of land, and which either raise or lower the real price of all the different substances which it produces.
Of the Wages ofLabour.
CHAP. rT",HE produce oslabour constitutes the natural y*1*' A recompence or wages of labour.
In that original state of things, which precedes both the appropriation of land and the accumulation of ftock, the whole produce of labour belongs to the labourer. He has neither landlord nor master to share with him.
Had this state continued, the wages of labour would have augmented with all those improvements
ments in its productive powers, to which the Chap. division of labour gives occasion. AU things ,_ _^ _j would gradually have become cheaper. They would have been produced by a smaller quantity of labour; and as the commodities produced by equal quantities of labour would naturally in this state of things be exchanged for one another, they would have been purchased likewise with the produce of a smaller quantity.
But though all things would have become cheaper in reality, in appearance many things might have become dearer than before, or have been exchanged for a greater quantity of other goods. Let us suppose, for example, that in the greater part of employments the productive powers of labour had been improved to tenfold, or that a day's labour could produce ten times the quantity of work which it had done originally; but that in a particular employment they had been improved only to double, or that a day's labour could produce only twice the quantity of work which it had done before. In exchanging the produce of a day's labour in the greater part of employments, for that of a day's labour in this particular one, ten times the original quantity of work in them would purchase only twice the original quantity in it. Any particular quantity in it, therefore, a pound weight, for example, would appear to be sive times dearer than before. In reality, however, it would be twice as cheap. Though it required sive times the quantity of other goods to p*ur
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Book chase it, it would require only half the quantity v of labour either to purchase or to produce it.
The acquisition, therefore, would be twice as easy as before.
But this original state of things, in which the labourer enjoyed the whole produce of his own labour, could not last beyond the sirst introduction of the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock. It was at an end, therefore, long before the most considerable improvements were made in the productive powers of labour, and it would be to no purpose to trace further what might have been its Effects upon the recompence or wages of labour.
As soon as land becomes private property, the landlord demands a share of almost all the produce which the labourer can either raise, or collect from it. His rent makes the sirst deduction from the produce of the labour which is employed upon land.
It seldom happens that the person who tills the ground has wherewithal to maintain himself till he reaps the harvest. His maintenance is generally advanced to him from the stock of a master, the farmer who employs him, and who would have no interest to employ him, unless he was to share in the produce of his labour, or unless his stock was to be replaced to him with a prosit. This prosit makes a second deduction from the produce of the labour which is employed upon land.
The produce of almost all other labour is liable to the like deduction of prosit. In all arts
and and manufactures the greater part of the work- CHAP. men stand in need of a master to advance them . v^1'^ the materials of their work, and their wages and maintenance till it be completed. He shares in the produce of their labour, or in the value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed; and in this share consists his prosit.
It sometimes happens, indeed, that a single independent workman has stock sufficient both to purchase the materials of his work, and to maintain himself till it be completed. He is both master and workman, and enjoys the whole produce of his own labour, or the whole value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed. It includes what are usually two distinct revenues, belonging to two distinct persons, the prosits of stock, and the wages of labour.
Such cases, however, are not very frequent, and in every part of Europe, twenty workmen serve under a master for one that is independent; and the wages of labour are every where understood to be, what they usually are, when the labourer is one person, and the owner of the stock which employs him another.
What are the common wages of labour, depends every where upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the fame. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour.
K It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment. In the long-run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.
We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and every where in a fort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a fort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We