« AnteriorContinuar »
artificers, however, is circulated, either in the CHA P. wages of their workmen, or in the price of their materials, and repaid with a profit by the price of the work.
In other works a much greater fixed capital is required. In a great iron-work, for example, the furnace for melting the ore, the forge, the flitt-mill, are inftruments of trade which cannot be erected without a very great expence. In coal-works, and mines of every kind, the machinery neceffary both for drawing out the water and for other purposes, is frequently still more expenfive.
That part of the capital of the farmer which is employed in the inftruments of agriculture is a fixed; that which is employed in the wages and maintenance of his labouring fervants, is a circulating capital. He makes a profit of the one by keeping it in his own poffeffion, and of the other by parting with it. The price or value of his labouring cattle is a fixed capital in the fame manner as that of the inftruments of huf bandry: Their maintenance is a circulating capital in the fame manner as that of the labouring fervants. The farmer makes his profit by keeping the labouring cattle, and by parting with their maintenance. Both the price and the maintenance of the cattle which are bought in and fattened, not for labour, but for fale, are a circulating capital. The farmer makes his profit by parting with them. A flock of fheep or a herd of cattle that, in a breeding country, is bought in, neither for labour, nor for fale, but
BOOK but in order to make a profit by their wool, by their milk, and by their increase, is a fixed capital. The profit is made by keeping them. Their maintenance is a circulating capital. The profit is made by parting with it; and it comes back with both its own profit, and the profit upon the whole price of the cattle, in the price of the wool, the milk, and the increase. The whole value of the feed too is properly a fixed capital. Though it goes backwards and forwards between the ground and the granary, it never changes mafters, and therefore does not properly circulate. The farmer makes his profit, not by its fale, but by its increase.
The general stock of any country or fociety is the fame with that of all its inhabitants or members, and therefore naturally divides itself into the fame three portions, each of which has a diftinct function or office.
The Firft, is that portion which is reserved for immediate confumption, and of which the characteristic is, that it affords no revenue or profit. It confists in the stock of food, clothes, household furniture, &c. which have been purchafed by their proper confumers, but which are not yet entirely confumed. The whole ftock of mere dwelling-houfes too fubfifting at any one time in the country, make a part of this firft portion. The ftock that is laid out in a houfe, if it is to be the dwelling-houfe of the proprietor, ceases from that moment to ferve in the function of a capital, or to afford any revenue to its owner. A dwelling-houfe, as fuch, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitant; and though it
is, no doubt, extremely useful to him, it is as his c HA P. clothes and household furniture are useful to him, which, however, make a part of his expence, and not of his revenue. If it is to be let to a tenant for rent, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must always pay the rent out of fome other revenue which he derives either from labour, or stock, or land. Though a house, therefore, may yield a revenue to its proprietor, and thereby ferve in the function of a capital to him, it cannot yield any to the public, nor ferve in the function of a capital to it, and the revenue of the whole body of the people can never be in the smallest degree increased by it. Clothes, and household furniture, in the fame manner, fometimes yield a revenue, and thereby ferve in the function of a capital to particular perfons. In countries where masquerades are common, it is a trade to let out masquerade dreffes for a night. Upholsterers frequently let furniture by the month or by the year. Undertakers let the furniture for funerals by the day and by the week. Many people let furnished houses, and get a rent, not only for the use of the house, but for that of the furniture. The revenue, however, which is derived from fuch things, must always be ultimately drawn from fome other fource of revenue. Of all parts of the stock either of an individual, or of a fociety, referved for immediate confumption, what is laid out in houfes is moft flowly confumed. A ftock of clothes may laft feveral years: a ftock of furniture half a century or a century: but a ftock
BOOK ftock of houfes, well built and properly taken care II. of may laft many centuries. Though the period of their total confumption, however, is more diftant, they are ftill as really a ftock referved for immediate confumption as either clothes or household furniture.
The Second of the three portions into which the general stock of the fociety divides itself, is the fixed capital; of which the characteristic is, that it affords a revenue or profit without circulating or changing mafters. It confifts chiefly of the four following articles:
Firft, of all ufeful machines and inftruments of trade which facilitate and abridge labour :
Secondly, of all those profitable buildings which are the means of procuring a revenue, not only to their proprietor who lets them for a rent, but to the perfon who poffeffes them and pays that rent for them; fuch as fhops, warehouses, workhouses, farmhouses, with all their neceffary buildings; ftables, granaries, &c. These are very different from mere dwelling houses. They are a fort of inftruments of trade, and may be confidered in the fame light:
Thirdly, of the improvements of land, of what has been profitably laid out in clearing, draining, enclofing, manuring, and reducing it into the condition most proper for tillage and culture. An improved farm may very justly be regarded in the fame light as thofe useful machines which facilitate and abridge labour, and by means of which, an equal circulating capital can afford a much greater revenue to its employer.
ployer. An improved farm is equally advan- CHA P. tageous and more durable than any of those machines, frequently requiring no other repairs than the most profitable application of the farmer's capital employed in cultivating it:
Fourthly, of the acquired and useful abilities of all the inhabitants or members of the fociety. The acquifition of fuch talents, by the maintenance of the acquirer during his education, ftudy, or apprenticeship, always cofts a real expence, which is a capital fixed and realized, as it were, in his perfon. Thofe talents, as they make a part of his fortune, fo do they likewife of that of the fociety to which he belongs. The improved dexterity of a workman may be confidered in the fame light as a machine or inftrument of trade which facilitates and abridges labour, and which, though it cofts a certain expence, repays that expence with a profit.
The third and laft of the three portions into which the general stock of the fociety naturally divides itself, is the circulating capital; of which the characteristic is, that it affords a revenue only by circulating or changing mafters. It is compofed likewife of four parts:
First, of the money by means of which all the other three are circulated and diftributed to their proper consumers:
Secondly, of the ftock of provifions which are in the poffeffion of the butcher, the grazier, the farmer, the corn-merchant, the brewer, &c. and from the fale of which they expect to derive a profit :