« НазадПродовжити »
paying his quota of the taxes levied generally for the construction of roads, pays for the use of those which conduce to his convenience; and if made with any tolerable judgment, they increase the returns to his industry by far more than an equivalent amount.
Another numerous class of laborers employed in rendering the things produced accessible to their intended consumers, is the class of dealers and traders, or, as they may be termed, distributors. There would be a great waste of time and trouble, and an inconvenience often amounting to impracticability, if consumers could only obtain the articles they want by treating directly with the producers. Both producers and consumers are too much scattered, and the latter often at too great a distance from the former. To diminish this loss of time and labor, the contrivance of fairs and markets was early had recourse to, where consumers and producers might periodically meet, without any intermediate agency; and this plan answers tolerably well for. many articles, especially agricultural produce, agriculturists having at some seasons a certain quantity of spare time on their hands. But even in this case, attendance is often very troublesome and inconvenient to buyers who have other occupations, and do not live in the immediate vicinity; while, for all articles the production of which requires continuous attention from the producers, these periodical markets must be held at such considerable intervals, and the wants of the consumers must either be provided for so long beforehand, or must remain so long unsupplied, that even before the resources of society permitted the establishment of shops, the supply of these wants fell universally into the hands of itinerant dealers: the pedler, who might appear once a month, being preferred to the fair, which only returned once a year. In country districts remote from towns or large villages, the industry of the pedler is not yet wholly superseded. But a dealer who has a fixed abode and fixed
customers is so much more to be depended on, that consumers prefer resorting to him if he is conveniently accessible; and dealers therefore find their advantage in establishing themselves in every locality where there are sufficient consumers near at hand to afford them a remuneration.
In many cases the producers and dealers are the same persons, at least as to the ownership of the funds and the control of the operations. The tailor, the shoemaker, the baker, and many other tradesmen, are the producers of the articles they deal in, so far as regards the last stage in the production. This union, however, of the functions of manufacturer and retailer, is only expedient when the article can advantageously be made at or near the place convenient for retailing it, and is, beside, manufactured and sold in small parcels. When things have to be brought from a distance, the same person cannot effectually superintend both the making and the retailing of them; when they are best and most cheaply made on a large scale, a single manufactory requires so many local channels to carry off its supply, that the retailing is most conveniently delegated to other agency; and even shoes and coats, when they are to be furnished in large quantities at once, as for the supply of a regiment or of a workhouse, are usually obtained not directly from the producers, but from intermediate dealers, who make it their business to ascertain from what producers they can be obtained best and cheapest. Even when things are destined to be at last sold by retail, convenience soon creates a class of wholesale dealers. When products and transactions have multiplied beyond a certain point; when one manufactory supplies many shops, and one shop has often to obtain goods from many different manufactories, the loss of time and trouble both to the manufacturers and to the retailers by treating directly with one another, makes it more convenient to them to treat
with a smaller number of great dealers or merchants, who only buy to sell again, collecting goods from the various producers, and distributing them to the retailers, to be by them further distributed among the consumers. Of these various elements is composed the Distributing Class, whose agency is supplementary to that of the Producing Class; and the produce so distributed, or its price, is the source from which the distributors are remunerated for their personal exertions, and for the abstinence which enabled them 'to advance the funds needful for the business of distribution.
$ 7. We have now.completed the enumeration of the modes in which labor employed on external nature is subservient to production. But there is yet another mode of employing labor, which conduces equally, though still more remotely, to that end; this is, labor of which the subject is human beings. Every human being has been brought up from infancy at the expense of much labor to some person or persons; and if this labor, or part of it, had not been bestowed, the child would never have attained the age and strength which enable him to become a laborer in his turn. To the community at large, the labor and expense of rearing its infant population forms a part of the outlay which is a condition of production, and is to be replaced with increase from the future produce of their labor. By the individual, this labor and expense are usually incurred from other motives than to obtain such ultimate return, and, for most purposes of political economy, need not be taken into account as expenses of production. But the technical or industrial education of the community,—the labor employed in learning and in teaching the arts of production, in acquiring and communicating skill in those arts,—this labor is really, and in general solely, undergone for the sake of the greater or more valuable produce thereby attained, and in order that a remuneration, equivalent or more than equivalent, may be reaped by the learner, beside an adequate remuneration for the labor of the teacher, when a teacher has been employed.
As the labor which confers productive powers, whether of hand or of head, may be looked upon as part of the labor by which society accomplishes its productive operations, or, in other words, as part of what the produce costs to society, so too may the labor employed in keeping up productive powers; in preventing them from being destroyed or weakened by accident or disease. The labor of a physician or surgeon, when made use of by persons engaged in industry, must be regarded in the economy of society as a sacrifice incurred, to preserve from perishing, by death or infirmity, that portion of the productive resources of society which is fixed in the lives and bodily or mental powers of its productive members. To the individuals, indeed, this forms but a part, sometimes an imperceptible part, of the motives that induce them to submit to medical treatment; it is not principally from economical motives that persons have a limb amputated, or endeavor to be cured of a fever, although, when they do so, there is generally sufficient inducement for it even on that score alone. This is therefore one of the cases of labor and outlay which, though conducive to production, yet not being incurred for that end, or for the sake of the returns arising from it, are out of the sphere of most of the general propositions which political economy has occasion to assert respecting productive labor ; though, when society, and not the individuals are considered, this labor and outlay must be regarded as part of the advance by which society effects its productive operations, and for which it is indemnified by the produce.
$ 8. Another kind of labor, usually classed as mental, but conducing to the ultimate product as directly, though
not so immediately, as manual labor itself, is the labor of the inventors of industrial processes. I say, usually classed as mental, because in reality it is not exclusively so. All human exertion is compounded of some mental and some bodily elements. The stupidest hodman, who repeats from day to day the mechanical act of climbing a ladder, performs a function partly intellectual ; the most intelligent dog or elephant probably could not be taught to do it: the dullest human being, instructed beforehand, is capable of turning a mill ; but a horse cannot turn it without somebody to guide and watch him. On the other hand, there is some bodily ingredient in the labor most purely mental, when it generates any external result. Newton could not have produced the Principia without the bodily exertion either of penmanship or of dictation; and he must have drawn many figures, and written out many calculations and demonstrations, while he was preparing it in his mind. Inventors, beside the labor of their brains, generally go through much labor with their hands, in the models which they construct and the experiments they have to make, before their idea can realize itself successfully in act. Whether mental, however, or bodily, their labor is a part of that by which the production is brought about. The labor of Watt in contriving the steam-engine was as essential a part of production as that of the mechanics who build or the engineers who work the instrument; and was undergone, no less than theirs, in the prospect of a remuneration from the produce. The labor of invention is often estimated and paid on the very same plan as that of execution. Many manufacturers of ornamental goods have inventors in their employment, who receive wages or salaries for designing patterns, exactly as others do for copying them. All this is strictly part of the labor of production; as the labor of the author of a book is equally a part of its production with that of the printer and binder.