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BOOK neral should work less when they work for them.
selves, than when they work for other people.
A French author of great knowledge and in-
been greatest in the cheapest, and least in the c HA P. dearest years. All the three seem to be ftationary manufactures, or which, though their produce may vary somewhat from year to year, are upon the whole neither going backwards nor forwards.
The manufacture of linen in Scotland, and that of coarse woollens in the west riding of Yorkshire, are growing manufactures, of which the produce is generally, though with some variations, increasing both in quantity and value. Upon examining, however, the accounts which have been published of their annual produce, I have not been able to observe that its variations have had any sensible connection with the dearness or cheapness of the seasons. In 1740, a year of great scarcity, both manufactures, indeed, appear to have declined very confiderably. But in 1756, another year of great scarcity, the Scotch manufacture niade more than ordinary advances. The Yorkshire manufacture, indeed, declined, and its produce did not rise to what it had been in 1755 till 1766, after the repeal of the American stamp act. In that and the following year it greatly exceeded what it had ever been before, and it has continued to advance ever since,
The produce of all great manufactures for diftant fale must necessarily depend, not so much upon the dearness or cheapness of the seasons in the countries where they are carried on, as upon the circumstances which affect the demand in the countries where they are consumed; upon peace or war, upon the prosperity or declension of
B O Ó K other rival manufactures, and upon the good or
bad humour of their principal customers. A great part of the extraordinary work, besides, which is probably done in cheap years, never enters the public registers of manufactures. The men fervants who leave their masters be. come independent labourers. The women return to their parents, and commonly fpin in order to make cloaths for themselves and their families. Even the independent workmen do not always work for public sale, but are employed by some of their neighbours in manufactures for family use. The produce of their labour, therefore, frequently makes no figure in those public registers of which the records are sometimes published with so much parade, and from which our merchants and manufacturers would often vainly pretend to announce the prosperity or declension of the greatest empires.
Though the variations in the price of labour, not only do not always correspond with those in the price of provisions, but are frequently quite opposite, we must not, upon this account, imagine that the price of provisions has no influ. ence upon that of labour. The money price of labour is necessarily regulated by two circumftances; the demand for labour, and the price of the necessaries and conveniences of life. The demand for labour, according as it happens to be increasing, stationary, or declining, or to require an increasing, stationary, or declining population, determines the quantity of the neceflàfies and conveniences of life which must be
given to the labourer; and the money price of C HA P. labour is determined by what is requisite for purchasing this quantity. Though the money price of labour, therefore, is sometimes high where the price of provisions is low, it would be still higher, the demand continuing the same, if the price of provisions was high.
It is because the demand for labour increases in years of sudden and extraordinary plenty, and diminishes in those of sudden and extraordinary fcarcity, that the money price of labour fometimes rises in the one, and sinks in the other.
In a year of sudden and extraordinary plenty, there are funds in the hands of many of the employers of industry, fufficient to maintain and employ a greater number of industrious people than had been employed the
year before ; and this extraordinary number cannot always be had. Those matters, therefore, who want more workmen, bid against one another, in order to get them, which fometimes raises both the real and the money price of their labour.
The contrary of this happens in a year of sudden and extraordinary scarcity. The funds deftined for employing industry are less than they had been the year before. A considerable number of people are thrown out of employment, who bid against one another, in order to get it, which sometimes lowers both the real and the money price of labour. In 1740, a year of extraordinary scarcity, many people were willing to work for bare fubfiftence. In the succeeding
BOO K years of plenty, it was more difficult to get
labourers and servants.
The scarcity of a dear year, by diminishing the demand for labour, tends to lower its price, as the high price of provisions tends to raise it. The plenty of a cheap year, on the contrary, by increasing the demand, tends to raise the price of labour, as the cheapness of provisions tends to lower it. In the ordinary variations of the price of provisions, those two opposite causes seem to counterbalance one another ; which is probably in part the reason why the wages of labour are every-where so much more steady and permanent than the price of provisions.
The increase in the wages of labour neceffarily increases the price of many commodities, by increasing that part of it which refolves itfelf into wages, and so far tends to diminish their consumption both at home and abroad. The fame cause, however, which raises the wages of labour, the increase of stock, tends to increase its productive powers,
and to make a smaller quantity of labour produce a greater quantity of work. The owner of the stock which employs a great number of labourers, necessarily endeavours for his own advantage, to make such a proper divi. fion and distribution of employment, that they may be enabled to produce the greatest quantity of work poflible. For the fame reason he endeavours to supply them with the best machinery which either he or they can think of. What takes place among the labourers in a particular