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In a national, or universal point of view, the labor of the savant, or speculative thinker, is as much a part of production in the very narrowest sense, as that of the inventor of a practical art; many such inventions having been the direct consequences of theoretic discoveries, and every extension of knowledge of the powers of nature being fruitful of applications to the purposes of outward life. The electromagnetic telegraph was the wonderful and most unexpected consequence of the experiments of Ersted and the mathematical investigations of Ampere ; and the modern art of navigation is an unforeseen emanation from the purely speculative and apparently merely curious inquiry, by the mathematicians of Alexandria, into the properties of three curves formed by the intersection of a plane surface and a cone. No limit can be set to the importance, even in a purely productive and material point of view, of mere thought. Inasmuch, however, as these material fruits, though the result, are seldom the direct purpose of the pursuits of savants, nor is their remuneration in general derived from the increased production which may be caused incidentally, and mostly after a long interval, by their discoveries; this ultimate influence does not, for most of the purposes of political economy, require to be taken into consideration; and speculative thinkers are generally classed as the producers only of the books, or other usable or salable articles, which directly emanate from them. But when (as in political economy one should always be prepared to do) we shift our point of view, and consider not individual acts, and the motives by which they are determined, but national and universal results, intellectual speculation must be looked upon as a most influential part of the productive labor of society, and the portion of its resources employed in carrying on and in remunerating such labor, as a highly productive part of its expenditure. VOL. I.
9. In the foregoing survey of the modes of employing labor in furtherance of production, I have made little use of the popular distinction of industry into agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial. For in truth this division fulfils very badly the purposes of a classification. Many great branches of productive industry find no place in it, or not without much straining ; for example (not to speak of hunters or fishers) the miner, the road-maker, and the sailor. The limit, too, between agricultural and manufacturing industry cannot be precisely drawn. The miller, for instance, and the baker-are they to be reckoned among agriculturists or among manufacturers ? Their occupation is in its nature manufacturing; the food has finally parted company with the soil before it is handed over to them ; this, however, might be said with equal truth of the thresher, the winnower, the makers of butter and cheese; operations always counted as agricultural, probably because it is the custom for them to be performed by persons resident on the farm, and under the same superintendence as tillage. For many purposes all these persons, the miller and baker in'clusive, must be placed in the same class with ploughmen and reapers. They are all concerned in producing food, and depend for their remuneration on the food produced ; where the one class abounds and flourishes, the others do so too; they form collectively the "agricultural interest;" they render but one service to the community by their united labors, and are paid from one common source.
Even the tillers of the soil, again, when the produce is not food, but the materials of what are commonly termed manufactures, belong in many respects to the same division in the economy of society as manufacturers. The cotton planter of Carolina, and the wool grower of Australia, have more interests in common with the spinner and weaver than with the corn grower.
But on the other hand, the industry which operates immediately upon the soil has, as we shall see hereafter, some properties on which many important consequences depend, and which distinguish it from all the subsequent stages of production, whether carried on by the same person or not; from the industry of the thresher and winnower as much as from that of the cotton spinner. When I speak therefore of agricultural labor, I shall generally mean this, and this exclusively, unless the contrary is either stated or implied in the context. The term manufacturing is too vague to be of much use when decision is required, and when I employ it I wish to be understood as intending to speak popularly rather than scientifically.
OF UNPRODUCTIVE LABOR.
1. LABOR is indispensable to production, but has not always production for its effect. There is much labor, and of a high order of usefulness, of which production is not the object. Labor has accordingly been distinguished into Productive and Unproductive. There has been not a little controversy among political economists on the question, what kinds of labor should be reputed to be unproductive; and they have not always perceived, that there was in reality no matter of fact in dispute between them.
Many writers have been unwilling to class any labor as productive unless its result is palpable in some material object, capable of being transferred from one person to anoth
There are others (among whom are Mr. M'Culloch and M. Say) who looking upon the word unproductive as a term of disparagement, remonstrate against imposing it upon any
labor which is regarded as useful-which produces a benefit or a pleasure worth the cost. The labor of officers of government, of the army and navy, of physicians, lawyers, teachers, musicians, dancers, actors, domestic servants, &c., when they really accomplish what they are paid for, and are not more numerous than is required for its performance, ought not, say these writers, to be “stigmatized” as unpro-, ductive, an expression which they appear to regard as synonymous with wasteful or worthless.
But this seems to me a misunderstanding of the matter in dispute. Production not being the sole end of human existence, the term unproductive does not necessarily imply any stigma, nor was ever intended to do so in the present case. tion is one of mere language and classification. Differences of language, however, are by no means unimportant, even when not grounded on differences of opinion ; for though either of two expressions may be consistent with the whole truth, they generally tend to fix attention upon different parts of it. We must therefore enter a little into the consideration of the various meanings which may attach to the words productive and unproductive when applied to labor.
In the first place, even in what is called the production of material objects, it must be remembered that what is produced is not the matter composing them. All the labor of all the human beings in the world could not produce one particle of matter. To weave broadcloth is but to rearrange, in a peculiar manner, the particles of wool; to grow corn is only to put a portion of matter called a seed, into a situation where it can draw together particles of matter from the earth and air, to form the new combination called a plant. Though we cannot create matter, we can cause it to assume properties, by which, from having been useless to us it becomes useful. What we produce, or desire to produce, is always, as M. Say rightly terms it, a utility. Labor is not creative of objects, but of utilities. Neither, again, do we consume and destroy the objects themselves; the matter of which they were composed remains, more or less altered in form : what has really been consumed is only the qualities by which they were fitted for the purpose they have been applied to. It is, therefore, pertinently asked by M. Say and others--since, when we are said to produce objects, we only produce utility, why should not all labor which produces utility, be accounted productive? Why refuse that title to the surgeon who sets a limb, the judge or legislator who confers security, and give it to the lapidary who cuts and polishes a diamond ? Why deny it to the teacher from whom I learn an art by which I can gain my bread, and accord it to the confectioner who makes bonbons for the momentary pleasure of a sense of taste ?
It is quite true that all these kinds of labor are productive of utility; and the question which now occupies us could not have been a question at all, if the production of utility were enough to satisfy the notion which mankind have usually formed of productive labor. Production, and productive, are of course elliptical expressions, involving the idea of a something produced ; but this something, in common apprehension, I conceive to be, not utility, but Wealth. Productive labor means labor productive of wealth. We are recalled, therefore, to the question touched upon in our first chapter, what Wealth is, and whether only material products, or all useful products, are to be included in it.
$ 2. Now the utilities produced by labor are of three kinds. They are,
First, utilities fixed and embodied in outward objects; by labor employed in investing external material things with properties which render them serviceable to human