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Scotland. Such a workman, at the rate of a thousand nails a day and three hundred working days in the year, will make three hundred thousand nails in the year. But in such a situation it would be impossible to dispose of one thousand, that is, of one day's work in the whole year.
As, by means of water-carriage, a more extensive market is open to every sort of industry than what land-carriage alone can afford it, so it is upon the sea-cost, and along the banks of navigable rivers, that industry of every kind naturally begins to subdivide and improve itself, and it is frequently not till a long time after, that those improvements extend themselves to the inland parts of the country. A broad-wheeled wagon, attended by two men, and drawn by eight horses, in about six weeks' time carries and brings back between London and Edinburgh near four ton weight of goods. In about the same time a ship navigated by six or eight men, and sailing between the ports of London and Leith, frequently carries and brings back two hundred ton weight of goods. Six or eight men, therefore, by the way of water-carriage, can carry and bring back in the same time the same quantity of goods between London and Edinburgh, as fifty broad-wheeled wagons, attended by a hundred men, and drawn by four hundred horses. Upon two hundred tons of goods, therefore, carried by the cheapest land-carriage from London to Edinburgh, there must be charged the maintenance of a hundred men for three weeks. and both the maintenance and, what is nearly equal to the maintenance, the wear and tear of four hundred horses as well as of fifty great wagons. Whereas, upon the same quantity of goods carried by water, there is to be charged only the maintenance of six or eight men, and the wear and tear of a ship of two hundred tons burden, together with the value of the superior risk, or the difference of the insurance between land and water-carriage. Were there no other communication between those two places, therefore, but by land carriage, as no goods could be transported from the one to the other, except such whose price was very considerable in proportion to their weight, they could carry on but a small part of that commerce which at present subsists between them, and consequently could give but a small
part of that encouragement which they at present mutually afford to each other's industry. There could be little or no commerce of any kind between the distant parts of the world. What goods could bear the expense of land-carriage between London and Calcutta? Or if there were any so precious as to be able to support this expense, with what safety could they be transported through the territories of so many barbarous nations? Those two cities, however, at present carry on a very considerable commerce with each other, and by mutually affording a market, give a good deal of encouragement to each other's industry.
Since such therefore are the advantages of water-carriage, it is natural that the first improvements of art and industry should be made where this conveniency opens the whole world for a market to the produce of every sort of labour, and that they should always be much later in extending themselves into the inland parts of the country. The inland parts of the country can for a long time have no other market for the greater part of their goods, but the country which lies round about them, and separates them from the sea coast, and the great navigable rivers. The extent of their market therefore must for a long time be in proportion to the riches and populousness of that country, and consequently their improvement must always be posterior to the improvement of that country. In our North American colonies the plantations have constantly followed either the sea coast or the banks of the navigable rivers, and have scarce anywhere extended themselves to any considerable distance from both.
The nations that, according to the best authenticated history, appear to have been first civilized, were those that dwelt around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. That sea, by far the greatest inlet that is known in the world, having no tides, nor consequently any waves except such as are caused by the wind only, was, by the smoothness of its surface, as well as by by the multitude of its islands, and the proximity of its neighboring shores, extremely favorable to the infant navigation of the world; when, from their ignorance of the compass, men were afraid to quit the view of the coast, and from the imperfection of the art of
ship-building, to abandon themselves to the boisterous waves of the ocean. To pass beyond the pillars of Hercules, that is, to sail out of the Straits of Gibraltar, was, in the ancient world, long considered as a most wonderful and dangerous exploit of navigation. It was late before even the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, the most skilful navigators and shipbuilders of those old times, attempted it, and they were for a long time the only nations that did attempt it.
Of all the countries on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt seems to have been the first in which either agriculture or manufactures were cultivated and improved to any considerable degree. Upper Egypt extends itself nowhere above a few miles from the Nile, and in Lower Egypt that great river breaks itself into many different canals, which, with the assistance of a little art, seem to have afforded a communication by water-carriage, not only between all the great towns, but between all the considerable villages, and even to many farm-houses in the country; nearly in the same manner as the Rhine and the Maese do in Holland at present. The extent and easiness of this inland navigation was probably one of the principal causes of the early improvement of Egypt.
EFFICIENCY OF THE INDIVIDUAL LABORER.
*65. THE EFFICIENCY OF THE Individual LabORER.— The degree in which the labor of an individual shall be efficient in the creation of values, i. e., the production of wealth, depends upon several causes.
First: His inherited strength, his original endowment of physical force. This endowment varies greatly, not only as between individuals of the same community but as between communities, races and nations. Into the causes of the differences in this respect existing, it is not necessary to enter. That inquiry belongs to the physiologist and the ethnologist. The economist has to do only with the fact. In the matter of sheer lifting-strength alone, the individuals of one race may, on the average, surpass those of other races by fifty, one hundred or two hundred per cent.; while in the matter of the use of that strength, in operations at once difficult and delicate, the range of existing differences is very much wider.
66. RELATION OF FOOD TO INDUSTRIAL EFFICIENCY.— A second reason for the higher industrial efficiency of the laborers of one class or nation than belongs to those of another, is found in the quantity and quality of the food consumed by the laborers of the two classes or nations, respectively. The human stomach bears much the same relation to the whole frame as the furnace to the steam engine. In the one, as in the other, must all the forces which are to drive the machine be generated. In the one, as in the other, the force generated will, within certain limits, increase with the material supplied. With more fuel, the engine will do more work. With more food, the man will do more work.
But not proportionally more. To a great extent the re
* Francis A. Walker-Political Economy. Copyright 1887 by Henry Holt & Co. By permission. From Part II, Chapter II.
turn made, in force, to the introduction of new fuel into the furnace varies according to a principle which is strongly analogous to that which governs the returns made, in crops, to the application of new labor to land. Thus, if we suppose that, with a furnace of a given height of chimney, 3 lbs. of coal to the square foot of grate surface, are supplied, we should have, resulting from the consumption, a certain amount of force available to do the engine's work. But that amount would be small. A great part of all the heat generated would be lost by radiation in the tubes and through the cooling effect of the water in the boilers. Now, suppose that, instead of 3 lbs., six are consumed. Will the efficiency of the engine be doubled merely? No, the engine will do easily three times as much work. If nine lbs. are used, the power will be still further increased, not only positively but proportionally, that is, there will not only be more power, but more power for each pound of coal. If 12 lbs. are consumed, there may be a still further addition to the force generated, not only positively but proportionally. It might be easily found that, with this amount of fuel, the resulting force would be, not four times as much as with 3 lbs., but eight or ten.
The parallelism which exists between the economy of applying labor to land and the economy of supplying fuel to the furnace is broken at one point. Labor may be applied to land indefinitely with an increase of absolute, though not always of relative production.* But coal can not be added indefinitely to the fire beneath the boiler.
67. THE ECONOMY OF SUPPLYING FOOD TO THE HUMAN MACHINE IS IN A HIGH DEGREE ANALOGOUS.—If, for example, a laborer were supplied with only 100 oz. per week, of a certain kind of food, the laboring power which would be generated by the digestion and assimilation of that food would be very slight. After a course of such diet, the man would crawl feebly to his task; would work with a very slight degree of energy when he first started out, and would soon become exhausted. Were 125 oz. given to the laborer, he would be able, with no greater strain on his
* [This is, to say the least, doubtful.-Editor.]