« AnteriorContinuar »
BOOK cloth. It is only the average produce of the I. one fpecies of induftry which can be fuited in any refpect to the effectual demand; and as its actual produce is frequently much greater and frequently much lefs than its average produce, the quantity of the commodities brought to market will fometimes exceed a good deal, and fometimes fall fhort a good deal, of the effectual demand. Even though that demand therefore fhould continue always the fame, their market price will be liable to great fluctuations, will fometimes fall a good deal below, and fometimes rife a good deal above, their natural price. In the other fpecies of induftry, the produce of equal quantities of labour being always the fame, or very nearly the fame, it can be more exactly fuited to the effectual demand, While that demand continues the fame, therefore, the market price of the commodities is likely to do fo too, and to be either altogether, or as nearly as can be judged of, the fame with the natural price. That the price of linen and woollen cloth is liable neither to fuch frequent nor to fuch great variations as the price of corn, every man's experience will inform him. The price of the one fpecies of commodities varies only with the variations in the demand: That of the other varies not only with the variations in the demand, but with the much greater and more frequent variations in the quantity of what is brought to mar, ket in order to fupply that demand.
The occafional and temporary fluctuations in the market price of any commodity fall chiefly
upon those parts of its price which resolve them- c H A P. felves into wages and profit. That part which refolves itself into rent is lefs 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 confifts 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 occafional and temporary fluctuations in the market price of that rude produce; but it is feldom affected by them in its yearly rate. In fettling the terms of the leafe, the landlord and farmer endeavour, according to their beft judgment, to adjust that rate, not to the temporary and occafional, 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-ftocked with commodities or with labour; with work done, or with work to be done. A public mourning raifes the price of black cloth (with which the market is almost always underftocked upon fuch occafions), and augments the profits of the merchants who poffefs any confiderable 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 finks the
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 causes, 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 supplying 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 those 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 c HA 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 arife from the high price which is paid for his private labour. They properly confift 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 sometimes laft for many years together.
Some natural productions require fuch a fin-. gularity of foil and fituation, that all the land in a 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 difpofed of to thofe 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 stock in their neighbourhood.
Such enhancements of the market price are evidently the effect of natural caufes 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 highest which can be got. The natural price,