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vidual must use in order to preserve his existing rank in society.
"Everything else of which a given individual makes use, or, in other words, all that portion of his consumption which is not essential to his health and strength, or to the preservation of his existing rank in society, we term Luxury.
"It is obvious that, when consumed by the inhabitants of different countries, or even by different individuals in the same country, the same things may be either luxuries, decencies, or necessaries.
"Shoes are necessaries to all the inhabitants of England. Our habits are such, that there is not an individual whose health would not suffer from the want of them. To the lowest class of the inhabitants of Scotland, they are luxuries; custom enables them to go barefoot without inconvenience and without degradation. When a Scotchman rises from the lowest to the middling classes of society, they become to him decencies. He wears them to preserve, not his feet, but his station in life. To the higher class, who have been accustomed to them from infancy, they are as much necessaries as they are to all classes in England. To the higher classes in Turkey, wine is a luxury and tobacco a decency. In Europe, it is the reverse. The Turk drinks and the European smokes, not in obedience, but in opposition, both to the rules of health and to the forms of society. But wine in Em-ope and the pipe in Turkey are among the refreshments to which a guest is entitled, and which it would be as indecent to refuse in the one country as to offer in the other.
"It has been said that the coal-heavers and lightermen, and some others among the hard-working London laborers, could not support their toils without the stimulus of porter. If this be true, porter is to them a necessary. To all others, it is a luxury. A carriage is a decency to a woman of fashion, a necessary to a physician, and a luxury to a tradesman.
"The question, whether a given commodity is to be considered as a decency or a luxury, is obviously one to which no answer can be given, unless the place, the time, and the rank of the individual using it be specified. The dress which in England was only decent a hundred years ago, would be almost extravagant now, while the house and furniture which now would afford merely decent acccommodation to a gentleman, would then have been luxurious for a Peer. The causes which entitle a commodity to be called a necessary are more permanent and more general. They depend partly upon the habits in which the individual in question has been brought up, partly on the nature of his occupation, on the lightness or the severity of the labors and hardships that he has to undergo, and partly on the climate in which he lives. Of these causes we have illustrated the two first by the familiar examples of shoes and porter. But the principal cause is climate. The fuel, shelter, and raiment, which are essential to a Laplander's existence, would be worse than useless under the tropics. And as habits and occupations are very slowly changed, and climate suffers scarcely any alteration, the commodities which are necessary to the different classes of the inhabitants of a given district may, and generally do, remain for centuries unchanged, while their decencies and luxuries are continually varying.
"Among all classes, the check imposed by an apprehended deficiency of mere luxuries is but slight. The motives, perhaps we might say the instincts, that prompt the human race to marriage, are too powerful to be much restrained by the fear of losing conveniences unconnected with health or station in society. Nor is population much retarded by the fear of wanting merely necessaries. In comparatively uncivilized countries, in which alone, as we have already seen, that want is of familiar occurrence, the preventive check has little operation. They see the danger, but want prudence and self-denial to be influenced by it. On the other hand, among nations so far advanced in civilization as to be able to act on such a motive, the danger that any given person or his future family shall actually perish from indigence, appears too remote to afford any general rule of conduct.
"The great preventive check is the fear of losing decencies, or, what is nearly the same, the hope to acquire, by the accumulation of a longer celibacy, the means of purchasing the decencies which give a higher social rank. When an Englishman stands hesitating between love and prudence, a family actually starving is not among his terrors; against actual want, he knows that he has the fence of the poor-laws. But however humble his desires, he cannot contemplate without anxiety a probability that the income which supported his social rank while single, may be insufficient to maintain it when he is married; that he may be unable to give to his children the advantages of education which he enjoyed himself; in short, that he may lose his caste. Men of more enterprise are induced to postpone marriage, not merely by the fear of sinking, but also by the hope that, in an unencumbered state, they may rise. As they mount, the horizon of their ambition keeps receding, until sometimes the time has passed for realizing those plans of domestic happiness which probably every man has formed in his youth."*
It is this last cause, undoubtedly, which makes the period of marriage for males here in Massachusetts somewhat later than it is for males in Great Britain.
THE THEORY OF RENT.
The entire science of English Political Economy may be said to be built upon three leading theories; — that of Adam Smith concerning free trade, that of Malthus in regard to population, and that of Eicardo in regard to rent. They are intimately connected with each other; and a full appreciation of the mixture of truth and falsehood which they contain, would tend to clear the science of its local, English character, and to fit it for universal acceptance and utility. Having considered the first incidentally, and the second at some length, we may pass to an examination of Eicardo's doctrine; and in explaining it I shall follow the method, and, to some extent, the phraseology, of its most distinguished advocates.
The permanent or average value of everything not limited in quantity depends on the cost of its production, or on the amount of labor required to produce it. But the cost of producing some commodities cannot always be reduced to the same uniform standard; a few persons may enjoy certain facilities, some peculiar implements or patented machinery, which other persons cannot obtain, and by the aid of which, they can produce the article at less cost, or with a smaller amount of labor. They cannot, however, thus produce enough to satisfy the whole demand; and therefore, other persons must produce some at the expense of more labor. In such a case, the price of the commodity will be determined by the cost of that portion which is produced with the greatest difficulty; for, unless the price indemnified these producers, they would give up the business, and the necessary amount of the article could no longer be had. But the price having risen to this point, the persons producing the article more easily, by the aid of a machine or implements of which they have a monopoly, would receive an extraordinary profit. This whole extra profit may be called rent, a phrase which obviously includes the profits of a patentee of a useful machine, as well as those of a landholder.
* Senior's Political Economy, (ed. 1850,) pp. 36 - 38.
The produce of land, according to this theory, is obtained under circumstances precisely analogous to those here supposed. The supply of grain or cattle may be indefinitely increased, by employing more capital and labor; but it cannot always be increased in the same proportion to the capital and labor expended. In the manufacture of cottons, woollens, and silks, double the capital, and you will usually double the amount produced. But in agriculture, this is not the case. The most eligible land is first taken up, — either that which is most fertile, or that which is nearest to market, or both. "We will call this portion land of the first class. For a while, this produces enough to satisfy the demand. But the population increases, more grain is called for, and, as there is no more land of the first class to be had, the producers are obliged to take land of the second class, either that which is less fertile, or farther from market, or both; the demand having previously outrun the supply, the price has risen enough to remunerate them for employing capital and labor on this less promising soil. For a while, this additional supply suffices; but then population again advances, the demand for food is increased, the price rises again, and, as a necessary consequence, land of the third class is brought into cultivation. And so on, indefinitely. At each step, there is a necessary enhancement of price, and therefore of profit, to those who work the land of higher quality, or of more easy access. The price of the grain and cattle which are brought to market must always be high enough to pay those who work the poorest land in use; otherwise, they would quit the employment, and the land would fall out of cultivation. But this price, of course, will give a larger profit to those who hold the land of the next higher class, and a still larger one to the owners of land of the first class. And as still inferior lands come into use, these profits must become yet larger. The result is, that the amount of rent for land must always depend on the degree of superiority of that land over the least fertile, or least eligible, ground which is cultivated at all.
By the original constitution of nature, land is of various degrees of productiveness. One acre, with a certain quantity of labor bestowed upon it, will yield forty bushels of wheat; another acre, with the same amount of labor, will yield but thirty bushels; a third acre, still requiring the same labor, gives but twenty bushels. Now, suppose that these three acres of land constituted the whole stock of a family of persons living upon an island of this extent, and wholly cut off from intercourse with the rest of the world, by the intervention of a wide waste of ocean, and by their lack of ships or boats. If this family consisted of but five persons, we may suppose that one acre would furnish them grain enough, and, of course, they would choose the most productive land. There being land of this quality enough for all, no portion of it would yield any rent. But if three persons should be added to their number, there would be a necessity of cultivating the next best acre of land; and to the persons undertaldng to cultivate it, it would amount to the same thing whether they took without rent the land yielding thirty bushels to the acre, or paid a rent, equal in value to ten bushels of grain, for the land producing forty bushels to the acre. The increase of population, then, rendering it necessary to have recourse to land of inferior fertility, would cause land of the first class to pay rent; and this rent would be exactly proportioned to its degree of superiority over