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labour or the profits of stock below their natural CHA P.
This is all that I think neceffary to be observed at prefent concerning the deviations, whether occafional or permanent, of the market price of commodities from the natural price.
The natural price itself varies with the natural rate of each of its component parts, of wages, profit, and rent; and in every fociety this rate varies according to their circumstances, according to their riches or poverty, their advancing, stationary, or declining condition. I fhall, in the four following chapters, endeavour to explain, as fully and diftinctly as I can, the caufes of thofe different variations.
First, I fhall endeavour to explain what are the circumstances which naturally determine the rate of wages, and in what manner thofe circumftances are affected by the riches or poverty, by the advancing, ftationary, or declining state of the fociety.
Secondly, I fhall endeavour to fhow what are the circumstances which naturally determine the rate of profit, and in what manner too thofe circumstances are affected by the like variations in the state of the fociety.
Though pecuniary wages and profit are very different in the different employments of labour and stock; yet a certain proportion feems commonly to take place between both the pecuniary wages in all the different employments of labour, and the pecuniary profits in all the different employments of stock. This proportion, it will appear
BOOK appear hereafter, depends partly upon the nature I. of the different employments, and partly upon the different laws and policy of the fociety in which they are carried on. But though in many refpects dependent upon the laws and policy, this proportion seems to be little affected by the riches or poverty of that fociety; by its advancing, ftationary, or declining condition; but to remain the fame or very nearly the fame in all thofe different ftates. I fhall, in the third place, endeavour to explain all the different circumftances which regulate this proportion.
In the fourth and laft place, I fhall endeavour to fhow what are the circumftances which regulate the rent of land, and which either raise or lower the real price of all the different fubftances which it produces.
Of the Wages of Labour.
CHAP. THE produce of labour conftitutes the natural recompence or wages of labour.
In that original ftate of things, which precedes both the appropriation of land and the accumulation of flock, the whole produce of labour belongs to the labourer. He has neither landlord nor maiter to fhare with him.
Had this ftate continued, the wages of labour would have augmented with all thofe improve
ments in its productive powers, to which the CHAP. divifion of labour gives occafion. All things would gradually have become cheaper. They would have been produced by a fmaller quantity of labour; and as the commodities produced by equal quantities of labour would naturally in this state of things be exchanged for one another, they would have been purchafed likewife with the produce of a finaller quantity.
But though all things would have become cheaper in reality, in appearance many things might have become dearer than before, or have been exchanged for a greater quantity of other goods. Let us fuppofe, for example, that in the greater part of employments the productive powers of labour had been improved to tenfold, or that a day's labour could produce ten times the quantity of work which it had done originally; but that in a particular employment they had been improved only to double, or that a day's labour could produce only twice the quantity of work which it had done before. In exchanging the produce of a day's labour in V the greater part of employments, for that of a day's labour in this particular one, ten times the original quantity of work in them would purchase only twice the original quantity in it. Any particular quantity in it, therefore, a pound weight, for example, would appear to be five times dearer than before. In reality, however, it would be twice as cheap. Though it required five times the quantity of other goods to purchafe
BOOK chase it, it would require only half the quantity of labour either to purchase or to produce it. The acquifition, therefore, would be twice as eafy as before.
But this original state of things, in which the labourer enjoyed the whole produce of his own labour, could not laft beyond the first introduction of the appropriation of land and the accumulation of flock. It was at an end, therefore, long before the most confiderable improvements were made in the productive powers of labour, and it would be to no purpose to trace further what might have been its effects upon the recompence or wages of labour.
As foon as land becomes private property, the landlord demands a fhare of almost all the produce which the labourer can either raise, or collect from it. His rent makes the firft deduction from the produce of the labour which is employed upon land.
It feldom happens that the person who tills the ground has wherewithal to maintain himself till he reaps the harvest. His maintenance is generally advanced to him from the stock of a mafter, the farmer who employs him, and who would have no intereft to employ him, unless he was to fhare in the produce of his labour, or unless his stock was to be replaced to him with a profit. This profit makes a fecond deduction from the produce of the labour which is employed upon land.
The produce of almost all other labour is liable to the like deduction of profit. In all arts and
and manufactures the greater part of the work- CHA P. men ftand in need of a mafter to advance them the materials of their work, and their wages and maintenance till it be completed. He thares in the produce of their labour, or in the value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed; and in this share confifts his profit.
It fometimes happens, indeed, that a fingle independent workman has ftock fufficient both to purchase the materials of his work, and to maintain himself till it be completed. He is both mafter and workman, and enjoys the whole produce of his own labour, or the whole value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed. It includes what are ufually two distinct revenues, belonging to two diftinct perfons, the profits of stock, and the wages of labour.
Such cafes, however, are not very frequent, and in every part of Europe, twenty workmen ferve under a mafter for one that is independent; and the wages of labour are every where understood to be, what they ufually are, when the labourer is one perfon, and the owner of the stock which employs him another.
What are the common wages of labour, depends every where upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the fame. The workmen defire to get as much, the mafters to give as little as poffible. The former are difpofed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour.