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But competition is the general rule; and the effect of unrestrained competition is to distribute the value of a product equally among its various producers, leaving neither to any of them, nor to the consumer, any just ground of complaint. Each receives in exact proportion to the labor which he has bestowed; the labor of all was equally necessary to present the article in its finished state; and he who finally consumes it, therefore, justly pays all by rendering an equivalent amount of labor. I place stress upon this point, because the effect of sharp competition is, in some measure, to blind our eyes to the fact, that we are all indebted to the friendly cooperation of labor for all the necessaries, all the comforts, all the luxuries, which we enjoy. This cooperation and mutual dependence of all the arts and trades, all the branches of industry, all ranks and professions, is one of the most valuable lessons of Political Economy; and the fair rivalry which causes the distribution of values among them, in proportion to their respective industry and skill, ought not to create feelings of mutual jealousy and dislike, — ought not to give rise to the cry, that one class is taking more than its due share of the common product. It is impossible that any class, as a class, should be unduly favored. Individual cases there may be, where fortune, or singularly propitious circumstances, may swell one's gains beyond the common standard. But as a general rule, competition, if unfettered, must tend to reduce them to an equality. The manufacturer is no more dependent upon the agriculturist, than the agriculturist is upon the manufacturer; "the plough," says Adam Smith, "goes frequently the easier and the better by means of the labor of the man whose business is the most remote from the plough." The merchant is equally dependent upon both, and both depend equally upon him. Even the common laborer is as much indebted to his employer as his employer is to him, each rendering a peculiar service, without which the finished product could not be placed in the market or exchanged for other products.
The prejudice which prevents this truth from being generally recognized is the very natural one, which considers the value of the finished product to reside chiefly in the raw material, and, when that is bulky and cheap, to believe that the great enhancement of its price, which takes place as it passes through the hands of the manufacturer and merchant, is a needless and arbitrary thing, an injury both to the farmer and the consumer. But it is not so; in either case, a modification of the article is effected, and the difficulty which the consumer finds in obtaining it in a form fit for use is lessened; and it is easy to show, that all the modifications which it successively undergoes conduce to that end. We cannot consume or use raw cotton, corn in the husk, or unground wheat. The transformations effected by art are just as necessary preliminaries to use, and therefore produce wealth, just as much as the transformations effected by nature. Agriculture is but one branch of what has been happily termed "appropriative industry," or that which is applied merely to collecting and appropriating the articles which nature spontaneously supplies. It includes, together with agriculture, as we have said, the operations of mining, fishing, hunting, and collecting the wood and other products of the forest.
"The industry which prepares," says Colonel Torrens, "is, necessarily, in the order of time, secondary to that which appropriates the gifts of nature. But though man must originally have lived by merely availing himself of nature's spontaneous gifts, yet the very first, or, at most, the very second step towards knowledge and improvement, must have led him to the attempt of superadding to these gifts some rude species of preparation. Almost the whole of the productions of nature are presented to us in a new or rude state, and, if it were not for the application of labor to the preparing and forming of them, would be absolutely without utility. Without manufacturing or adaptive industry, therefore, our wealth would be necessarily limited to that scanty supply of necessaries which nature presents in a state fit for immediate consumption. Man would be reduced to a more destitute and helpless state than that in which he has ever yet been found, even in the most barbarous and savage countries. He would possess no species of clothing whatever; his only shelter from the rigors of the climate would be the hollows of trees and the caverns of the earth; and his only food would be fruits, roots, and the flesh of such of the smaller animals as he might, in his naked and helpless state, be able to outrun and overcome. Indeed, with respect to the supply of his wants, he would be placed far below the condition of the inferior animals; for these are clothed by the hand of nature, and are furnished with implements of admirable construction for the performance of every function necessary for their well-being.
"Again, without the cooperation of manufacturing industry, no other branch of industry can be effectually carried on. To fell the forest, to pierce the mine, and to traverse the waters, we must have the aid of appropriate implements and machines; and these can be supplied only by the manufacturer. This application of the instruments of production not only gives utility to articles which could not otherwise possess it, but also furnishes us with the power of appropriating useful materials, which, without its cooperation, would be for ever inaccessible."
Commerce, moreover, as a source of wealth, is equally productive with manufacturing and appropriative industry. The most precious fruits of the earth cease to constitute wealth when there is a superabundance of them, and when they no longer find wants to satisfy. Commerce comes to restore utility to them, to replace them among articles of wealth, by transporting them to places where they are wanted. Of what avail is it for me to know, that there is tea enough in China, and coffee enough in the West Indies; that there is cotton to spare in Carolina, and a surplus of wheat in Ohio, if some kind person will not intervene to bring these articles to my doors, and offer to me the precise quantity of each which I need, in exchange for other articles of which I may have a superabundance. To accomplish this transportation and distribution, each individual being accommodated with what he wants, as much as he wants, and where he wants, a large apparatus of means is necessary. Ships must be built and appointed, warehouses must be stocked, correspondence must be arranged, and the supplies must be nicely adapted to the wants and means of each locality which is to be provided for. The problem already mentioned, that of supplying a large city with all its necessaries and comforts, must be solved in every part, in all its complex details. Commerce is what renders possible that vast division of labor to which the industry of civilized man owes nearly all its superior efficiency over that of the savage. He who devotes a lifetime to the manufacture of one small article — needles, for instance — must accumulate an immense store of them; and the quantity needed by any one family is so small, that, if he would find purchasers for his whole stock, without the help of professed traders, he must give two thirds of his time to seeking purchasers of what he manufactures in the other third. The merchant takes up his whole stock at once, giving him its full value in whatever he most needs in return. It is a mere truism to say, that whoever converts an idle and superfluous thing into a highly useful one, creates wealth. The merchant does this, by making one man's, or one country's, superfluity supply another's wants; he does it by exchanging superfluities, and thus equalizing the bounties of Providence. By his instrumentality, the hard and rugged soil of Massachusetts, with its long winter, yields to its industrious cultivator all the fruits of the tropics, all the productions of the most favored climes. The merchant equalizes the gifts of nature in another manner,-—by transportation in time as well as in space. The surplus from an unusually abundant harvest he stores up in reserve against the possible deficiency of the next season. He gives the alarm, when there is the slightest reason to fear that the next crop may be a failure, by raising the price of the stock already on hand, and thus renders the people economical in its consumption. Through all these methods his agency in the production of wealth is so important, that he richly earns the portion of it which falls to his lot in the general distribution of values.
THE DIVISION OF LABOR: ITS BENEFICIAL AND INJURIOUS CONSEQUENCES.
The analysis of the nature of value, and of the distribution of wealth among its producers, has already brought us to the conclusion, that the cooperation of many laborers with each other is one great cause of the efficiency or productiveness of labor. Labor is divided in two ways ; — first, by allotting different portions of a process to different hands, all cooperating with each other in the production of one article; as when eighteen workmen are employed in one pin manufactory, each devoting himself exclusively to one of the eighteen distinct operations into which the making of a pin is divided. The second kind of division takes place by the separation of employments, the several sets of laborers being employed at different times and places, and in distinct pursuits, so that their cooperation with each other, though real, is not so obvious as in the former case. These two modes of the division of labor, says Mr. Wakefield, "may be termed Simple Cooperation and Complex Cooperation." They tend equally to render labor more efficient.
Thus, the manufacturer is just as dependent on the miner, the agriculturist, and the trader, as the workman who makes the head of a pin is on him who cuts the wire and him who sharpens it. The services of all are needed, before all the community can obtain the article in its finished state; and therefore the ultimate and highest value of that article, the price of it when ready for consumption, is to be divided among all who have concurred in its production, each receiving in proportion to the labor he has bestowed. When is it "ready for consumption"? Not surely as soon as it has received the last touch of skill in the workshop, but only when it is offered to the person who wishes to use it, — offered, as it were, at his own door, in just the quantity that he desires, and in exchange for the only article which he is able to give for it. Here the intervention of the trader is needed; a peculiar task is to be performed, which can be done to advantage only by one who devotes himself to it altogether, without complicating it with other employments. The wholesale dealer takes off the manufacturer's whole stock, sparing him the labor of finding numerous purchasers of particular quantities; the retailers divide this stock, and circulate it through the length and breadth of the land, offering to each small villager just as little as he needs, and receiving in exchange, (sometimes through the intervention of money, and sometimes by direct barter,) whatever product the villager has to offer. The importance of the service thus rendered appears from the large portion of the ulti