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BOOK price of coloured filks and cloths, and thereby reduces the profits of the merchants who have any confiderable quantity of them upon hand. It finks too the wages of the workmen employed in preparing fuch commodities, for which all demand is stopped for fix months, perhaps for a twelvemonth. The market is here over-stocked both with commodities and with labour.

But though the market price of every particular commodity is in this manner continually gravitating, if one may fay fo, towards the natural price, yet fometimes particular accidents, fometimes natural caufes, and fometimes particular regulations of police, may, in many commodities, keep up the market price, for a long time together, a good deal above the natural price.

When by an increase in the effectual demand, the market price of fome particular commodity happens to rife a good deal above the natural price, those who employ their stocks in fupplying that market are generally careful to conceal this change. If it was commonly known, their great profit would tempt fo many new rivals to employ their stocks in the fame way, that, the effectual demand being fully fupplied, the market price would foon be reduced to the natural price, and perhaps for fome time even below it. If the market is at a great distance from the refidence of thofe who fupply it, they may fometimes be able to keep the fecret for feveral years together, and may fo long enjoy their extraordinary profits without any new rivals. Secrets of this kind, however,


however, it must be acknowledged, can feldom CHA P. be long kept; and the extraordinary profit can laft very little longer than they are kept.


Secrets in manufactures are capable of being longer kept than fecrets in trade. A dyer who has found the means of producing a particular colour with materials which coft only half the price of thofe commonly made ufe of, may, with good management, enjoy the advantage of his discovery as long as he lives, and even leave it as a legacy to his pofterity. His extraordinary gains arise from the high price which is paid for his private labour. They properly confist in the high wages of that labour. But as they are repeated upon every part of his ftock, and as their whole amount bears, upon that account, a regular proportion to it, they are commonly confidered as extraordinary profits of stock.

Such enhancements of the market price are evidently the effects of particular accidents, of which, however, the operation may fometimes laft for many years together.

Some natural productions require fuch a fingularity of foil and fituation, that all the land in à great country, which is fit for producing them, may not be fufficient to fupply the effectual demand. The whole quantity brought to market, therefore, may be disposed of to those who are willing to give more than what is fufficient to pay the rent of the land which produced them, together with the wages of the labour, and the profits of the ftock which were employed in preparing and bringing them to market, accord


BOOK ing to their natural rates. Such commodities may continue for whole centuries together to be fold at this high price; and that part of it which refolves itself into the rent of land is in this cafe the part which is generally paid above its natural rate. The rent of the land which affords fuch fingular and efteemed productions, like the rent of fome vineyards in France of a peculiarly happy foil and fituation, bears no regular proportion to the rent of other equally fertile and equally well-cultivated land in its neighbourhood. The wages of the labour and the profits of the stock employed in bringing fuch commodities to market, on the contrary, are feldom out of their natural proportion to those of the other employments of labour and flock in their neighbourhood.

Such enhancements of the market price are evidently the effect of natural causes which may hinder the effectual demand from ever being fully fupplied, and which may continue, therefore, to operate for ever.

A monopoly granted either to an individual or to a trading company has the fame effect as a fecret in trade or manufactures. The monopolifts, by keeping the market conftantly underftocked, by never fully fupplying the effectual demand, fell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they confift in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate.

The price of monopoly is upon every occafion the higheft which can be got. The natural price,



or the price of free competition, on the contrary, CHA P. is the loweft which can be taken, not upon every occafion indeed, but for any confiderable time together. The one is upon every occafion the highest which can be fqueezed out of the buyers, or which, it is fuppofed, they will confent to give: The other is the loweft which the fellers can commonly afford to take, and at the fame time continue their bufinefs.

The exclufive privileges of corporations, ftatutes of apprenticeship, and all thofe laws which reftrain, in particular employments, the competition to a smaller number than might otherwise go into them, have the fame tendency, though in a lefs degree. They are a fort of enlarged monopolies, and may frequently, for ages together, and in whole claffes of employments, keep up the market price of particular commodities above the natural price, and maintain both the wages of the labour and the profits of the stock employed about them fomewhat above their natural rate.

Such enhancements of the market price may laft as long as the regulations of police which give occafion to them.

The market price of any particular commodity, though it may continue long above, can feldom continue long below, its natural price. Whatever part of it was paid below the natural rate, the perfons whofe interest it affected would immediately feel the lofs, and would immediately withdraw either fo much land, or fo much labour, or fo much stock, from being employed




BOOK about it, that the quantity brought to market would foon be no more than fufficient to fupply the effectual demand. Its market price, therefore, would foon rife to the natural price. This at least would be the cafe where there was perfect liberty.

The fame ftatutes of apprenticeship and other corporation laws indeed, which, when a manufacture is in profperity, enable the workman to raise his wages a good deal above their natural rate, fometimes oblige him, when it decays, to let them down a good deal below it. As in the one cafe they exclude many people from his employment, fo in the other they exclude him from many employments. The effect of fuch regulations, however, is not near fo durable in finking the workman's wages below, as in raifing them above, their natural rate. Their operation in the one way may endure for many centuries, but in the other it can laft no longer than the lives of fome of the workmen who were bred to the bufinefs in the time of its profperity. When they are gone, the number of thofe who are afterwards educated to the trade will naturally fuit itself to the effectual demand. The police must be as violent as that of Indoftan or antient Egypt (where every man was bound by a principle of religion to follow the occupation of his father, and was fuppofed to commit the most horrid facrilege if he changed it for another), which can in any particular employment, and for feveral generations together, fink either the wages of labour

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