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regarded by Adam Smith, as“ replacing with profit “ not only the capitals employed on them, but all the “other capitals employed in the community. *"
In another place, plain reason is stated by him to dictate, “ that the real wealth of a country consists " in the annual produce of its land and labour.p"
However, in another part of his work, he teaches, that " land and capital stock are the two original "sources of all revenue, both private and public: “capital stock pays the wages of productive labour, “whether employed in agriculture, manufactures, or "commerce.”
Lastly, Adam Smith in another part of his work asserts, that we ought to consider land, labour, and capital, as being all three sources of wealth: for “ whoever derives his revenue from a fund that is his .“own, must draw it either from his labour, his stock, “or his land.ga
All these passages, which it is difficult to reconcile, appear to warrant the conclusion drawn by Lord Lauderdale, that “Adain Smith seems to have had no fixed “ideas in relation to the sources of wealth.” But after having attentively studied his work, we are fully convinced that he has placed the source of wealth in “ labour, which fixes and realizes itself in some parti“cular subject, that lasts for some time at least after " that labour is past, whose power is augmented by
* Wealth of Nations, vol. ii. book ii. chap. 6. page 48. # Ibid. vol. ij. book įv. chap. 1. page 165.
Ibid. vol. iii. book v. chap. 2. page 254... . ị Thiel, vol, i, book i, chap. 6. page 81.
“ sub-division, which is developed by the freedom of “ trade, improved by competition, and proportioned to the extent of the market, capitals, and wages."
This theory, admirable for the greatness of the mind by which it was conceived, commands still greater respect for the profundity of the views of its author, the sagacity of his discoveries, and his concatenation of effects with causes, and of consequences with principles. The usefulness of each kind of labour, of every employment of capital, of each species of commerce, and of every sort of consumption, is submitted to calculations that are sometimes strict, frequently plausible, and always ingenious. Even when we are forced to doubt their accuracy, the very principles which the author has established serve to guard us against their fallacy, and manifest again the beauty of his doctrine. ;
If, after having earnestly meditated and mastered the theory of that important work, we direct our attention to one that was published nearly at the same time by the abbé Ortes at Venice, we are not a little surprised at the eccentricities of the human mind*.
It is difficult indeed to conceive how a subject which drew from Adam Smith so many just observations, ingenious combinations, and important results, could appear to the abbé Ortes nothing but a brilliant chimæra, a delusive dream, a captivating error..
Like Plato, the Abbé fancies no advantage or benefit can accrue to any individual or nation, but another i individual or nation must suffer an injury, and no one
* Economie Nationale, par l'Abbé Ortes.
can be a gainer without another being a loser. With him, wealth, grandeur, and power, are synonymous with pillage, robbery, and ruin : they are but ephemeral and precarious, as they cause an increase of population which soon re-establishes the level of the wants of misery and poverty ; so that the unemployed, the idle, and the poor, are always in ratio of the labouring, industrious, and rich. The author even goes farther; he considers the idleness of the unemployed as the result of the extreme avidity of the laborious. Were the latter less covetous, less active, and less skilful, the unemployed would be less idle and less poor; and there is not any poor man that would not rather be indebted for his means of subsistence to his labour than to the labour and charity of others.
I shall not pursue any farther this monstrous and discouraging system, which holds out the painful prospect of unavoidable and continued misery. Fortunately, it rests upon false notions of political economy, and will be completely refuted in the sequel of the work which I have undertaken. I hope, at least, I shall make it evident to the least sagacious and most inattentive observer, that in the theory of wealth proceeding from the exchanged produce of labour, there is no robbery nor injury committed against any individual ; that, on the contrary, all may. be benefited and rich.
Ever since Adam Smith established this fundamental truth of his system, no other theory has been proposed; and though he may not have assigned the limits of the science, he yet has so well determined its
principles, that it will be impossible to go astray and mistake the true doctrine.', , . *. isi · 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 new 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 sour ces of wealth. Though they appear at variance, or at least offer different points of view, their difference is however merely non inal, and of very little importance to the science,
The partisans of the mercantilesystem, 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 agritultural systein, 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 wealth, 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 économists 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 oflabour.
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