Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

prived, by distance, of the benefit of that town population as a market for their produce. The principle on which the scheme is founded, does not depend on any theory respecting the inferior productiveness of land held in large portions, and cultivated by hired labor. Supposing it true that land yields the greatest produce when divided into small properties, and cultivated by peasant proprietors, a town population would be just as necessary to induce those proprietors to raise that larger produce; and if they were too far from the nearest seat of non-agricultural industry to use it as a market for disposing of their surplus, and thereby supplying their other wants, neither that surplus nor any equivalent for it would, generally speaking, be produced.

It is, above all, the deficiency of town population which limits the productiveness of the industry of a country like India. The agriculture of India is conducted entirely on the system of small holdings. There is, however, a considerable amount of combination of labor. The village institutions and customs, which are the real framework of Indian society, make provision for joint action in the cases in which it is seen to be necessary; or, where they fail to do so, the government (when tolerably well administered) steps in, and by an outlay from the revenue, executes by combined labor the tanks, embankments, and works of irrigation, which are indispensable. The implements and processes of agriculture are, however, so wretched, that the produce of the soil, in spite of great natural fertility and a climate highly favorable to vegetation, is miserably small ; and the land might be made to yield food in abundance for many more than the present number of inhabitants, without departing from the system of small holdings. But to this the stimulus is wanting, which a large town population, connected with the rural districts by easy and unexpensive means of communication, would afford. That town population, again, does not grow up, because the few wants and unaspiring spirit of the cultivators (joined until lately with great insecurity of property, from military and fiscal rapacity) prevent them from attempting to become consumers of town produce. In these circumstances, the best chance of an early development of the productive resources of India, consists in the now rapid growth of its export of agricultural produce (cotton, indigo, sugar, coffee, &c.) to the markets of Europe. The producers of these articles are consumers of food supplied by their fellow-agriculturists in India; and the market thus opened for surplus food will, if accompanied by good government, raise up by degrees more extended wants and desires, directed either towards European commodities, or towards things which will require for their production in India a larger manufacturing population.

4. Thus far of the separation of employments, a form of the combination of labor without which there cannot be the first rudiments of industrial civilization. But when this separation is thoroughly established; when it has become the general practice for each producer to supply many others with one commodity, and to be supplied by others with most of the things which he consumes ; reasons not less real, though less imperative, invite to a further extension of the same principle. It is found that the productive power of labor is increased by carrying the separation further and further; by breaking down more and more every process of industry into parts, so that each laborer shall confine himself to an ever smaller number of simple operations. And thus, in time, arise those remarkable cases of what is called the division of labor, with which all readers on subjects of this nature are familiar. Adam Smith's illustration from pin-making, though so well known, is so inuch to the point, that I will venture once more to transcribe it. " The business of making a pin is divided

into about eighteen distinct operations. One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires two or three distinct operations; to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins is another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into the paper. ..... I have seen a small manufactory where ten men only were employed, and where some of them, consequently, performed two or three distinct operations. But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upwards of four thousand pins of a middling size. Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day.”

M. Say furnishes a still stronger example of the effects of division of labor—from a not very important branch of industry certainly, the manufacture of playing cards. “It is said by those engaged in the business, that each card, that is, a piece of pasteboard of the size of the hand, before being ready for sale, does not undergo fewer than seventy operations, * every one of which might be the occupation of a distinct class of workmen. And if there are not seventy classes of work-people in each card manufactory, it is because the division of labor is not carried so far as it might be; because the same workman is charged with two, three, or four distinct operations. The influence of this distribution of employments is immense. I have seen a card manufactory where thirty workmen produced daily fifteen thousand five hundred cards, being above five hundred cards for each laborer; and it may be presumed that if each of these workmen were obliged to perform all the operations himself, even supposing him a practised hand, he would not perhaps complete two cards in a day; and the thirty workmen, instead of fifteen thousand five hundred cards, would make only sixty."

• “Ce ne sont point les mêmes ouvriers qui préparent le papier dont on

fait les cartes, ni les couleurs dont on les empreint; et en ne fesant attention qu'au seul emploi de ces matières, nous trouverons qu'un jeu de cartes est le résultat de plusieurs opérations dont chacune occupe une série distincte d'ouvriers et d'ouvrières qui s'appliquent toujours à la même opéra

In watch-making, as Mr. Babbage observes, " it was stated in evidence before a committee of the House of Commons, that there are a hundred and two distinct branches of this art, to each of which a boy may be put apprentice; and that he only learns his master's department, and is unable, after his apprenticeship has expired, without subsequent instruc

tion. Ce sont des personnes différentes, et toujours les mêmes, qui épluchent les bouchons et grosseurs qui se trouvent dans le papier et nuiraient à l'égalité d'épaisseur ; les mêmes qui collent ensemble les trois feuilles de papier dont se compose le carton et qui le mettent en presse ; les mêmes qui colorent le côté destiné à former le dos des cartes; les mèmes qui impriment en noir le dessin des figures ; d'autres ouvriers impriment les couleurs des mêmes figures ; d'autres font sécher au réchaud les cartons une fois qu'ils sont imprimés ; d'autres s'occupent de les lisser dessus et dessous. C'est une occupation particulière que de les couper d'égale dimension; c'en est une autre de les assembler pour en former des jeux ; une autre encore d'imprimer les enveloppes des jeux, et une autre encore de les envelopper; sans compter les fonctions des personnes chargées des ventes et des achats, de payer les ouvriers et de tenir les écritures.”—SAY, Cours d' Economique Politique Pratique, vol. i., p. 340.

It is a remarkable proof of the economy of labor occasioned by this minute division of occupations, that an article, the production of which is the result of such a multitude of manual operations, can be sold for a trifling sum. VOL. I.

13*

tion, to work at any other branch. The watch-finisher, whose business it is to put together the scattered parts, is the only one, out of the hundred and two persons, who can work in any other department than his own."*

5. The causes of the increased efficiency given to labor by the division of employments are some of them too familiar to require specification; but it is worth while to attempt a complete enumeration of them. By Adam Smith they are reduced to three. “First, the increase of dexterity in every particular workman; secondly, the saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another; and lastly, the invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and abridge labor, and enable one man to do the work of many."

Of these, the increase of dexterity of the individual workman is the most obvious and universal. It does not follow that because a thing has been done oftener, it will be done better. That depends on the intelligence of the workman, and on the degree in which his mind works along with his hands. But it will be done more easily. The organs themselves acquire greater powers; the muscles employed grow stronger by frequent exercise, the sinews more pliant, and the mental powers more efficient and less sensible of fatigue. What can be done easily, has at least a better chance of being done well, and is sure to be done more expeditiously, What was at first done slowly, comes to be done quickly; what was at first done slowly with accuracy, is at last done quickly with equal accuracy. This is as true of mental operations as bodily. Even a child, after much practice, sums up a column of figures with a rapidity which resembles intuition. The act of speaking any language, of reading fluently, of playing music at sight, are cases as remark

* Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, 3d Edition, p. 201.

« НазадПродовжити »