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principles, that it will be impossible to go astray and mistake the true doctrine. The Earl of Lauderdale has, it is true, criticized some fundamental points of his doctrine: but the criticisms of the noble Lord rather tend to subvert the established system, than to create a mew one. This noble author derives wealth from land, labour, and capitals: he even attempts to determine the share of each of these sources in the formation of public wealth. His Lordship states, that, in the earliest stages of society, man derives the greatest portion of his wealth from the surface of the earth: but that this period is of short continuance, because nature, whilst she has implanted in him the seeds of an unbounded variety of desires, has scattered with so sparing a hand the means of satisfying them, that the assistance of labour is early called in either to increase the quantity or improve the quality of the productions of the soil: and that he can accomplish either by means only of capitals, which shorten his labour and enable him to perform such as would have been above his strength. Whether these remarks be well founded or not, is of little consequence in this place : it is sufficient to observe, that they only tend to modify and not to raise a new theory of the sources of wealth; and on this account we shall not dwell upon them any longer. Such are the various systems concerning the sources of wealth. Though they appear at variance, or at least offer different points of view, their difference is however merely nominal, and of very little importance to the science.
The partisans of the mercantile system, for instance, do not think, and have never asserted, that the precious metals which commerce accumulates in a country are not derived from the produce of land, labour, and capitals; on the contrary, they uniformly take it for granted that it is so. Again, the French economists, as founders of the agricultural system, though very positive in their doctrine, do not assert that the soil spontaneously yields wealth; on the contrary, they allow that, if land be the source of weath, it is agriculture that multiplies it: and by agriculture they understand the labour and stock advances of the husbandman: they even admit that the exchangeable value of the agricultural produce is the measure of the wealth of a nation ; and that this exchangeable value can only be obtained by the free concurrence of the home and foreign trade: thus the French economists themselves derive wealth from land, labour, capitals, and commerce. By placing the source of wealth in labour, which fixes and realizes itself in some permanent object, Adam Smith also admits the concurrence and co-operation of land, labour, capitals, and commerce. Lastly ; the system of Lord Lauderdale differs from the other systems only as far as his Lordship assigns a particular importance to capitals. In every other respect the noble author co-incides more or less with the agricultural system and the system of labour. Thus, after all, it is not properly concerning the sources of wealth that the different systems vary; they all come pretty nearly to the same conclusion on this important point ; they all implicitly acknowledge that wealth is produced by the concurrence of labour, land, capitals, and commerce: they only differ respecting the more or less important share which they assign to each of these causes: in this only consists their contradiction, or their difference; it is herein lies all the difficulty of the science. The only problem which is actually to be resolved, is this:—Of those three causes, labour, capitals, and commerce; which is best calculated to produce public and private wealth? This is the point which it is useful to discuss, and which I shall attempt to settle in the following books,
QF THE WARIOUS SYSTEMS CONCERNING LABOUR CONSIDERED AS A SOURCE OF WEALTH.
IN every system of political economy, labour has the greatest share in the formation, increase, and preservation of wealth. If the labourer finds the precious seeds of wealth in the spontaneous gifts of the soil, he fertilizes, multiplies, varies them by his activity, his skill, and his industry; and obtains results so new, so different, and so remote from their nature, that one might be tempted to regard him rather as the creator than as the co-operator of wealth; and it is, undoubtedly, this circumstance which has induced a modern French writer to define wealth, an accumulation of superfluous labour.” Is this productiveness of wealth exclusively reserved to one, peculiar to a few, or common to all sorts of labour? Is there, among the different kinds of labour, any one more especially productive, and favourable to the progress, of wealth 2 Is agriculture more
* Principes d'Economie Politique, par B. F. F. Camard, Paris ; 1801.
conducive to wealth than manufactures and commerce? What are the means of rendering these divers labours more productive and more profitable? Which are the obstacles that oppose their progress and impede their success
These are the different points of view under which labour has been considered, and concerning which numerous controversies have arisen, which it is interesting to investigate and to appreciate, for the purpose of forming correct notions of this important part of political economy.
Is the productiveness of Wealth erclusively reserved to one sort of Labour *
T HE French writers, known by the name of Economists, or Physiocrats, assign, exclusively, to agricultural labour the power of producing wealth, and regard every other labour as barren and unproductive. They, however, do not deny the usefulness of barren and unproductive labour: they only limit its utility, and assert that, with regard to manufactures, this utility consists in the adaptation of the agricultural produce to consumption ; with regard to commerce, in its conveyance to the consumer; and with regard to sciences, literature, and arts, in their defending, protecting, and encouraging all kinds of labours; in multiplying the enjoyments of life, and in extending and