« ForrigeFortsett »
of the competition. Among competitors of equal C HA P..
VII. wealth and luxury the fame deficiency will generally occasion a more or less eager competition, according as the acquisition of the commodity happens to be of more or less importance to them. Hence the exorbitant price of the ne. cessaries of life during the blockade of a town or in a famine.
When the quantity brought to market exceeds the effectual demand, it cannot be all fold to those who are willing to pay the whole value of the rent, wages and profit, which must be paid in order to bring it thither. Some part must be fold to those who are willing to pay less, and the low price which they give for it must reduce the price of the whole, The market price will fink more or less below the natural price, according as the greatness of the excess increases more or less the competition of the sellers, or according as it happens to be more or less important to them to get immediately rid of the commodity. The same excess in the importation of perishable, will occasion a much greater competition than in that of durable commodities; in the importation of oranges, for example, than in that of old iron.
When the quantity brought to market is just sufficient to supply the effectual demand and no. more, the market price naturally comes to be either exactly, or as nearly as can be judged of, the same with the natural price. The whole quantity upon hand can be disposed of for this price, and cannot be disposed of for more. The
K competion of the different dealers obliges them
all to Icept of this price, but does not oblige them to accept of less.
The quantity of every commodity brought to market naturally suits itself to the effectual de. mand. It is the interest of all those who employ their land, labour, or stock, in bringing any commodity to market, that the quantity never should exceed the effectual demand ; and it is the interest of all other people that it never should fall short of that demand.
If at any time it exceeds the effectual demand, some of the component parts of its price must be paid below their natural rate. If it is rent, the interest of the landlords will immediately prompt them to withdraw a part of their land; and if it is wages or profit, the interest of the labourers in the one case, and of their employers in the other, will prompt them to withdraw a part of their labour or stock from this employment. The quantity brought to market will foon be no more than fufficient to supply the effectual demand. All the different parts of its price will rise to their natural rate, and the whole price to its natural price.
If, on the contrary, the quantity brought to market should at any time fall short of the effectual demand, some of the component parts of its price must rise above their natural rate. If it is rent, the interest of all other landlords will naturally prompt them to prepare more land for the raising of this commodity ; if it is wages or profit, the interest of all other labourers and
dealers dealers will soon prompt them to employ Gore c H A P. labour and stock in preparing and brin.ng it to market. The quantity brought thither will foon be sufficient to supply the effectual demand. All the different parts of its price will soon fink to their natural rate, and the whole price to its natural price.
The natural price, therefore, is, as it were, the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating. Different accidents may sometimes keep them fuf pended a good deal above it, and sometimes force them down even somewhat below it. But whatever may be the obstacles which hinder them from settling in this center of repose and continuance, they are constantly tending towards it.
The whole quantity of industry annually employed in order to bring any commodity to market, naturally suits itself in this manner to the effectual demand. It naturally aims at bringing always that precise quantity thither which may be sufficient to supply, and no more than supply, that demand.
But in fome employments the fame quantity of industry will in different years produce very different quantities of commodities; while in others it will produce always the same, or very nearly the same. The same number of labourers in husbandry will, in different years, produce very different quantities of corn, wine, oil, hops, &c. But the fame number of spinners and weavers will every year produce the same or very nearly the same quantity of linen and woollen
BO O K cloth. It is only the average produce of the . I. one fpecies of industry which can be suited in
any respect to the effectual demand ; and as its actual produce is frequently much greater and frequently much less than its average produce, the quantity of the commodities brought to market will sometimes exceed a good deal, and some, times fall short a good deal, of the effectual demand. Even though that demand therefore should continue always the same, their market price will be liable to great fluctuations, will sometimes fall a good deal below, and sometimes. rise a good deal above, their natural price. In the other species of industry, the produce of equal quantities of labour being always the same, or very nearly the same, it can be more exactly suited to the effectual demand. While that demand continues the same, therefore, the mar. ket price of the commodities is likely to do so too, and to be either altogether, or as nearly as can be judged of, the same with the natural price. That the price of linen and woollen cloth is liable neither to such frequent nor to such great variations as the price of corn, every man's experience will inform him. The price of the one species of commodities varies only with the vari. ations in the demand : That of the other varies not only with the variations in the demand, but with the much greater and more frequent varia, tions in the quantity of what is brought to mar. ket in order to supply that demand,
The occasional and temporary fiuctuations in the market price of any commodity fall chiefly
. upon those parts of its price which resolve them- CH A P. selves into wages and profit. That part which VII. resolves itself into rent is less affected by them. A rent certain in money is not in the least affected by them either in its rate or in its value. A rent which consists either in a certain proportion or in a certain quantity of the rude produce, is no doubt affected in its yearly value by all the occasional and temporary fluctuations in the market price of that rude produce; but it is seldom affected by them in its yearly rate. In settling the terms of the lease, the landlord and farmer endeavour, according to their best judgment, to adjust that rate, not to the temporary and occasional, but to the average and ordinary price of the produce.
Such fluctuations affect both the value and the rate either of wages or of profit, according as the market happens to be either over-stocked or under-stocked with commodities or with labour; with work done, or with work to be done. A public mourning raises the price of black cloth (with which the market is almost always underftocked upon fuch occasions), and augments the profits of the merchants who possess any considerable quantity of it. It has no effect upon the wages of the weavers. The market is underftocked with commodities, not with labour; with work done, not with work to be done. It raises the wages of journeymen taylors. The market is here under-stocked with labour. There is an effectual demand for more labour, for more work to be done than can be had. It sinks the