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government. The latter is the more important. Where a person known to possess anything worth taking away, can expect nothing but to have it torn from him, with every circumstance of tyrannical violence, by the agents of a rapacious government, it is not likely that many will exert themselves to produce much more than necessaries. This is the acknowledged explanation of the poverty of many fertile tracts of Asia, which were once prosperous and populous. From this to the degree of security enjoyed in the best governed parts of Europe, there are numerous gradations. In France, before the Revolution, a vicious system of taxation on the land, and still more the absence of redress against the arbitrary exactions which were made under color of the taxes, rendered it the interest of every cultivator to appear poor, and therefore to cultivate badly. The only
consumption of the article, and others were obliged to pay a higher price to those who had skill to distinguish the mixed seed, and who had integrity and character to prevent them from dealing in it."
The same writer states that Irish flax, though in natural quality inferior to none, sells, or did lately sell, in the market at a penny to two-pence per pound less than foreign or British flax; part of the difference arising from negligence in its preparation, but part from the cause mentioned in the evidence of Mr. Corry, many years Secretary to the Irish Linen Board: “The owners of the flax, who are almost always people in the lower classes of life, believe that they can best advance their own interests by imposing on the buyers. Flax being sold by weight, various expedients are used to increase it; and every expedient is injurious, particularly the damping of it; a very common practice, which makes the flax afterwards heat. The inside of every bundle (and the bundles all vary in bulk) is often full of pebbles, or dirt of various kinds, to increase the weight. In this state it is purchased and exported to Great Britain."
It was given in evidence before a committee of the House of Commons that the lace trade at Nottingham had greatly fallen off from the making of fraudulent and bad articles; that “a kind of lace called single-press was manufactured,” (I still quote Mr. Babbage,) "which, although good to the cye, became nearly spoiled in washing by the slipping of the threads; that not one person in a thousand could distinguish the difference between single-press and double-press lace; that even workmen and manufacturers were obliged to employ a magnifying-glass for that purpose; and that in another similar article, called warp-lace, such aid was essential."
insecurity which is altogether paralyzing to the active energies of producers, is that arising from the government, or from persons invested with its authority. Against all other depredators there is a hope of defending oneself. Greece and the Greek colonies in the ancient world, Flanders and Italy in the middle ages, by no means enjoyed what any one with modern ideas would call security; the state of society was most unsettled and turbulent; person and property were exposed to a thousand dangers. But they were free countries; they were neither arbitrarily oppressed, nor systematically plundered by their governments. Against other enemies the individual energy which their institutions called forth, enabled them to make successful resistance ; their labor, therefore, was eminently productive, and their riches, while they remained free, were constantly on the increase. The Roman despotism, putting an end to wars and internal conflicts throughout the empire, relieved the subject population from much of the former insecurity ; but because it left them under the grinding yoke of its own rapacity, they became enervated and impoverished until they were an easy prey to barbarous but free invaders. They would neither fight nor labor, because they were no longer suffered to enjoy that for which they fought and labored.
Much of the security of person and property in modern nations is the effect of manners and opinion rather than of law. There are countries in Europe where the monarch is nominally absolute, but where, from the restraints imposed by established usage, no subject feels practically in the smallest danger of having his possessions arbitrarily seized or a contribution levied on them by the government. There must however be in such governments much petty plunder and other tyranny by subordinate agents, for which redress is not obtained, owing to the want of publicity which is the ordinary character of absolute governments. In England the people are tolerably well protected, both by institutions VOL. I.
and manners, against the agents of government; but, for the security they enjoy against other evil doers, they are very little indebted to their institutions. The laws cannot be said to afford protection to property when they afford it only at such a cost as renders submission to injury in general the better calculation. The security of property in England is owing (except as regards open violence) to opinion, and the fear of exposure, much more than to the law and the courts of justice. Of late, indeed, law has thrown a part of its weight into the other scale, by a course of legislation on the subject of insolvent debtors, which is almost a direct encouragement to repudiation of engagements.
Independently of all imperfection in the bulwarks which society purposely throws round what it recognizes as property, there are various other modes in which defective institutions impede the employment of the productive resources of a country to the best advantage. We shall have occasion for noticing many of these in the progress of our subject. It is sufficient here to remark, that the efficiency of industry may be expected to be great, in proportion as the fruits of industry are insured to the person exerting it; and that all social arrangements are conducive to useful exertion, according as they provide that the reward of every one for his labor shall be proportioned as much as possible to the benefit which it produces. All laws or usages which favor one class or sort of persons to the disadvantage of others; which chain up the efforts of any part of the community in pursuit of their own good, or stand between those efforts and their natural fruits, are (independently of all other grounds of condemnation) violations of the fundamental principles of economical policy, and tend to make the aggregate productive powers of the community productive in a less degree than they would otherwise be.
OF COÖPERATION, OR THE COMBINATION OF LABOR.
$1. In the enumeration of the circumstances which promote the productiveness of labor, we have left one untouched, which, because of its importance, and of the many topics of discussion which, it involves, requires to be treated apart. This is, coöperation, or the combined action of numbers. Of this great aid to production, a single department, known by the name of Division of Labor, has engaged a large share of the attention of political economists; most deservedly indeed, but to the exclusion of other cases and exemplifications of the same comprehensive law, Mr. Wakefield was, I believe, the first to point out, that a part of the subject had, with injurious effect, been mistaken for the whole; that a more fundamental principle lies beneath that of the division of labor, and comprehends it.
Coöperation, he observes, * is “of two distinct kinds; first, such coöperation as takes place when several persons help each other in the same employment; secondly, such coöperation as takes place when several persons help each other in different employments. These may be termed Simple Coöperation and Complex Coöperation.
“The advantage of simple coöperation is illustrated by the case of two grayhounds running together, which, it is said, will kill more hares than four grayhounds running separately. In a vast number of simple operations performed by human exertion, it is quite obvious that two men working together will do more than four, or four times four men, each of whom should work alone. In the lifting of heavy weights,
• Note to Wakefield's edition of Adam Smith, vol. i. p. 26.
for example, in the felling of trees, in the sawing of timber, in the gathering of much hay or corn during a short period of fine weather, in draining a large extent of land during the short season when such a work may be properly conducted, in the pulling of ropes on board ship, in the rowing of large boats, in some mining operations, in the erection of a scaffolding for building, and in the breaking of stones for the repair of a road, so that the whole of the road shall always be kept in good order; in all these simple operations, and thousands more, it is absolutely necessary that many persons should work together, at the same time, in the same place, and in the same way. The savages of New Holland never help each other, even in the most simple operations; and their condition is hardly superior, in some respects it is inferior, to that of the wild animals which they now and then catch. Let any one imagine that the laborers of England should suddenly desist from helping each other in simple employments, and he will see at once the prodigious advantages of simple coöperation. In a countless number of employments, the produce of labor is, up to a certain point, in proportion to such mutual assistance amongst the workmen. This is the first step in social improvement." The second is, when “one body of men having combined their labor to raise more food than they require, another body of men are induced to combine their labor for the purpose of producing more clothes than they require, and with those surplus clothes buying the surplus food of the other body of laborers; while, if both bodies together have produced more food and clothes than they both require, both bodies obtain, by means of exchange, a proper capital for setting more laborers to work in their respective occupations." To simple coöperation, is thus superadded what Mr. Wakefield terms Complex Coöperation. The one is the combination of several laborers to help each other in the same set of operations; the other is the combination