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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 privato wealth ? This is the point which it is useful to discuss, and which I shall attempt to settle in the following books.
OF THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS CONCERNING LABOUR
CONSIDERED AS A SOURCE OF WEALTH.
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 reo sults 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 in duced a modern French writer to define wealth, an accumulation of superfluous labour. *
Is this productiveness of wealth exclusively reserve ed 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? Is agriculture
Principes d' Economie Politique, par B. V. F. Canard. Paris ; 1801.
more 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 exclusively reserved
to one sort of Labour. THE 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 improving the moral and intellectual faculties of man: services, no doubt, of the utmost importance, but which only modify, or transport the agricultural produce, add nothing to its quantity, and yield no new produce: whence they infer, that agricultural labour is the only productive one, and that all other labours are barren and unproductive.
This system made a great noise by its novelty, but was not otherwise successful; it was not adopted by any English or Italian writer ;* not even by those who consider agricultural labour as the most productive of all labours.: I should not, therefore, have ranked it among those systems, the examination of which has any interest for the science; and the feeble sensation which it caused would have alike justified and excused
silence. But the apology which one of our most esteemed writers on political economy,f has lately made of this system, the plausible arguments on which he relies, to make it triumph over the doctrine of Adam Smith, and over the opinion of all the writers who have
* Except the Curate Paoletti, in his work dell' Annona, quoted before.
+ The French Senator Germain Garnier, in his notes annexed to his Translation of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. And, later still, the Economists have found, in England, with regard at least to their principal tenet, that the soil is the grand source of wealth, a very ingenious advocate in Mr. William Spence, of Hull, F. L. S. See his two pamphlets, Britain independent of Commerce, which has passed through six or seven large editions ; and Agriculture the Source of the Wealth of Britain. Cadell and Davies : London; 1808.-T.
opposed the French economists, would not allow me to pass it over in silence. I shall not regret the discussion into which this opinion betrays me, if it serve to develope the fundameatal principles of political economy, which are still too little, or not familiarly enough known, even to the most enlightened men.
Political economy has experienced the fate of all sciences; tenets have preceded observation, visions have been attended to instead of facts, and systems taken for the science itself. Instead of observing labour, in its various relations, combinations, subdivisions, and points of contact with wealth ; its numerous ramifications have been separated, each has been considered as a whole endowed with properties which belong only to labour in general. This has given birth to mistakes, paradoxes, and systems ; which would have been avoided if a contrary conduct had been observed, and a different road taken, from that which has been followed.
In the present state of civilization, we know labour only through the exchange of its produce; in this exchange, every labourer, every family, every class of the community, every nation, find means of supplying their wants, procuring some comforts, obtaining more or less enjoyments, and reaching a more or less elevated point of prosperity, power, and happiness. Though the advantages which may accrue to every labourer from this particular and general interchange, are uncertain ; yet, all work unremittingly, they exert all their forces, activity, and skill, and stop only at the point which they cannot pass. This intensity of general labour occasions an abundant