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the advantage, and to secure the ultimate saving accruing from it, in the constant supply and regular and uniform price of labour, under all the varying circumstances of demand, and in the wellbeing thus diffused throughout the great mass of the people, both employers and employed, it must be content to pay for them by an immediate enhancement of the price of the produce of land, upon which the principal expense of the process exclusively falls.
I have thought it right to place this subject in the chapter on the wages of labour, rather than in that on taxes or any other out-goings; because in fact it is much more nearly connected with wages than with any other subject. · It is of little importance what denomination is given to the sum paid by the occupier, of land for the support of his labourers and their families. It constitutes substantially, and as to all its political effects, the wages of their labour.
In estimating the extent of the sacrifice necessary to be made by the general consumer' to enable the agriculturist to support this among his other burthens, it is customary to have, recourse to the average prices of corn. But in a country which in ordinary years supports its own population, but is exposed to the risk of high prices in years of scarcity, averages are usually deceitful, and indicate a price higher than that which may be considered as sufficient for all the purposes of remunerating labour. But “ as a people” (as Sir James Steuart observes) does not live by averages, but every year's plenty or scarcity must affect them relatively to itself alone;” the corn grower in such a country will always require
protection in scarce seasons; because then with diminished means he continues to support more than his fair proportion of the labouring part of the community. Although the price of his produce in plentiful years will always be below the average, its increased quantity will remunerate him for the diminished price; and a high protecting duty against the import of foreign corn will probably be a dead letter. But in scarce years the agriculturist, for the abovementioned reasons, will require the protection of a high price against the competition of foreign corn in the home market, if it were only upon the consideration of the enhanced sum he is obliged to disburse in wages ; and as it is then only that protecting duties will really operate, it is chiefly to ignorance of the true principles of political economy, or to å selfish forgetfulness of them, that the violent prejudices against the establishment of such a protection in a highly commercial and manufacturing country of extensive territory are to be attributed. Upon the whole, I think that the contents of this chapter have fairly established that a free and commercial country of extensive territory, wishing to preserve its prosperity in full vigour, and provide for the happiness of all classes of its people, should endeavour to secure such a remuneration to the agriculturist in the price of his produce as will enable him, besides his other expenses, to pay such wages to his labourers as shall afford them and their families a reasonable participation in the general improvement of the commonwealth.
This may be the proper place for stating that, in an advanced state of society where not more than the fifth of the gross produce of a mixed arable and
pasture farm is paid in rent to the landlord, the expense in wages of labour, (as nearly as can be estimated from the average of returns made to the board of agriculture respecting the expense of cultivating 100 acres of arable land) will amount to a sum somewhat less than the rent.
On the Remainder of a Tenant's Expenses, including
Taxation, and on the Profits of his Farm.
THE cultivator's profits are evidently what remains to him after payment of his rent, of the wages of labour, of the wear and tear of stock and machinery, of other expenses of cultivation, of common interest on his capital, of taxes to the government, and of tithes where they are due. Of the two first items we have treated in the chapters immediately preceding. The wear and tear of stock and machinery, including the use of the team, on a mixed arable and pasture farm in England should amount to about two thirds of the rent; the seed and manure, which constitute the other expenses of cultivation, to about as much; tithe and rates to something more than half the rent; common interest upon capital to about one third of the rent; taxes to the government to about one tenth of the rent. From eight to ten per cent. should afterwards be left on the farmer's capital as his clear profit, to compensate the risk incurred and the labour bestowed, to accumulate for further investment, and to provide for his family.
On a farm worth 30s. an acre, we will suppose the necessary capital to be 121. an acre, or 12001. upon 100 acres. The gross produce of the 100 acres should then be worth about 7501., and the sum would be thus apportioned according to the preceding estimate.
Although I am now arguing upon general principles, I have given the calculation according to the average out-goings of an English farm ; because it is capable of being more easily referred to the test of fact and experience.
1. Landlord's rent
7. Direct taxes paid by tenant, exclusive of property tax ...
8. Farmer's clear profits on 12001. capital, not nine per cent...
150 140 100 100 80 60
I do not conceive that the application of capital and industry to lands of moderate or inferior staple could be successfully made, or would in fact be persevered in in a commercial and manufacturing country even of extensive territory, at a permanent remuneration much lower than that which I have here stated. The competition for capital from other employments would prevent its diversion to the soil, until the price of produce should be sufficiently enhanced by the increased demand from the commercial and manufacturing population to afford that remuneration to the landlord for clearing, enclosing, draining, and improving, the land; and next, to the farmer, for ca. pital, skill, and labour, employed in the regular cultivation. Should produce, therefore, be permitted to come from other countries at a cheaper rate, such land would never be cultivated or improved at all :-