« ForrigeFortsett »
instruments of exchange and wealth. Such has every where been the progress of labour, civilization, and wealth. Although, the physical revolutions of the globe, the political convulsions of empires, and the lapse of time, left us but insufficient monuments to trace the progress of wealth; yet its having been the work of commerce and of the industrious activity of manufacturers, cannot possibly be doubted. It was from Egypt and Phoenicia that issued the numerous colonies which civilized Greece “. I shall not examine whether the Egyptians had any commercial object in view in this colonization ; this would not agree with what has been stated of their religious aversion to navigation ; or whether they merely wanted to get rid of a population they could not maintain. This inquiry is foreign to my subject, and would lead me too far from my plan. But I think no reasonable doubt can be entertained respecting the destimation of the colonies which the Phoenicians successively carried to Greece, to the islands of the Archipelago and the Mediterranean, to the shores of the AEgean Sea, of the Euxine and the Black Sea, and into Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Africa. These colonies were as many factories, which attracted the wandering and savage tribes of the neighbouring countries by the lure of new enjoyments, by the captivating exchange of commodities with which they were over-abundantly furnished and for which they did not care, for those which they ardently desired;
* Voyage d’Anacharsis,
aid, above all, by the prospect of a less precarious, less toilsome, and more secure existence *. These colonies were as many staples, which opened new channels to the commerce of Tyre and Sidon, and procured new consumers for the produce of their industry. Thus the interests of commerce have been the promoters and instruments of the civilization of that part of the world; and what is very singular, the account of the first historical times agrees with that which modern history gives us of the civilization and wealth of America. This similarity of the most remote times with those nearer us, affords a sufficient proof of the progress of wealth and civilization in times with which we are unacquainted, and authorizes us to infer with certainty, that commercial exchange has been for all nations the road to wealth. It is therefore difficult to conceive that agricultural labour should alone be productive of wealth, and that all other labours should be barren and unproductive. If, like all other labours, agricultural labour co-operates in the creation of wealth merely by the exchange of its productions; if it has no value but through this exchange, we cannot exclusively allow the productive faculty to it, and affix to all other labours the stigma of a shameful barrenness +.
* Canaan in Sam. Bocharti Geographia Sacra. See Bocharti Opera omnia. Lugd. Bat. 1692. 3 vols. fol. + “On examining the labours that produce wealth, those that “ circulate it, and those that maintain the order and tranquillity es* sential fo its preservation and increase ; we perceive that they are
The French apologist of the doctrine of the economists, whom I have mentioned before, observes that “ the labour of husbandmen is productive of a met “ produce ; whilst the labour of artisans and manu“ facturers is not productive of a net produce.” He gives to this observation an elucidation which it is important to record here, notwithstanding its length ; that an accurate idea may be formed of the system which he defends. “This distinction” (between labour productive of a net produce and that which is not productive of a net produce) “ is built,” he says, “ upon material “ differences pregnant with effects not only various, “ but even opposite. It is therefore unjustly that “ Adam Smith rejects this distinction, and asserts “ that there is between the effects of these two sorts of labour a difference merely of more or less. “ Agricultural labourers enrich the state by the
“ produce of their labour: commercial and manu& 4
factural labourers, on the contrary, can only enrich
“ it by what they save of their own consumption.
“ Indeed, the labour of artisans and manufacturers can add nothing to the value of the raw material “ but the value of their labour, that is to say, the “ amount of the wages and profit which that labour “ must have obtained according to the rate of wages
“ and profit of stock usual in the country. Conse
“all ne’essary; and it would be difficult to say which is the most “useful.” Le Commerce et le Gouvernement, par Condillac. Partie i. chap. 10.
quently, there are two differences to be observed between the labour of this class of labourers and that of husbandmen.” “The first of these differences is relative to the state in general. The labour of artisans and manufacturers does not alter the quantum of wealth existing in the community; the labour of husbandmen, on the contrary, adds to the totality of existing values. After having replaced what the labourers have and might have consumed during their labour, it has given birth to a fresh value, it has produced a real increase of the general mass of wealth belonging to the community; in short, it has afforded a net produce. “ The second difference is relative to the indivisduals who gather the fruits of labour: the labour of artisans and manufacturers re-imburses the wages and profits of those who have been co-operators of the production ; it gives the labourers a reward which they have purchased with their labour;-it affords to the undertakers an indemnity which they have purchased with the service of their capital and the risk to which it has been exposed. But the labour of husbandmen, after having discharged the same reward and the same indemnity, yields over and above this a produce which is not purchased by any labour, service, or risk; a produce completely gratuitous, which will be consumed by individuals that have not in any way co-operated in its production. “ These remarkable differences produce consequences which merit observation.
* f. As the labour of artisans and manufacturers does not open any new source of wealth, it can prove beneficial only by means of advantageous exchanges, and has a mere relative value ; a value which it will not obtain when there is no opportunity left to gain by the exchange, and the foundadation of which is consequently uncertain and precarious. Agricultural labour, on the contrary, opens a new source of commodities, which is lasting and permanent, not dependent on any external circumstances, and which, as it furnishes a real supply to consumption, necessarily increases at once population and the national power. “ 2. As the labour of artisans and manufacturers eannot add any thing to the general mass of the wealth of the community, except the savings made by the capitalists and paid, or mercenary labourers, it may, it is true, tend by that means to enrich the community: but it has that tendency from a power which is, necessarily, continually decreasing. Pn a flourishing country the continual increase of labourers tends to reduce profits to the lowest rate at which a capital may be employed; consequently, these two causes continually operate to render the savings more and more difficult, and in the end absolutely impossible *.” This apology of the exclusive productiveness of
* Recherches sur la Nature et les Causes de la Richesse des
Nations, par Adam Smith. Traduction nouvelle, avec des Notes et
Observations par Germain Garnicr. 5 tomes. Paris, 1802. Vol. v.
note xxix. p. 262.-T.