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consisting in plenty “of gold and silver," it is for the reason that these “command all the conveniences of life," I and “commodities” are described as “moveables” that can be valued in money. On the other hand, “it is with a kingdom as with a family"; spending less than your wares have fetched for you is the only way to be rich,; and “a kingdom becomes rich or poor just as a farmer doth and no otherwise," namely, by wise husbandry. His economic writings treat of the wealth of nations in the light of these analogies, and give us general principles of production and distribution more or less closely corresponding therewith,
The first of these principles is a truism. Without the uneasiness of unsatisfied wants there would be no industry; but more than this uneasiness is needed to cause industrial improvement. The "several arts conversant about [the] several parts of nature,”—as distinguished from ethics, which is the “ proper science and business of mankind in general”—“are the lot and private talent of particular men for the common use of human life and their own particular subsistence in the world ” (Essay, IV. XII., $11). To these arts improvement is due. The natives of America are uncivilized, for example, because they remained ignorant of the use of iron. If we were to lose that knowledge, we should become as they are. “So that he who first made known the use of that contemptible mineral may be truly styled the father of arts and author of plenty” (ib.). But in the treatise on Civil Government, Locke speaks as if the main cause of the difference between a wealthy and a poor people were rather that the former are laborious and the latter idle ; it is for this reason, he says (in language that may have suggested a celebrated passage in the Wealth of Nations), that “the king of a large and fruitful territory there [in North America] feeds, lodges, and is clad, worse than a day labourer in England” 4 (ed. 1740, vol. ii. p. 185). For the same reason he thinks that numbers of men are better for a nation than extent of territory, for where there are many hands there is much work done and much wealth created (loc. cit. and also Considerations on Interest, p. 33). Not science, but labour is all important.
1 Considerations on the Lowering of Interest, Wks., vol. ii. 7.
4 Cf. Wealth of Nations, I., end of ch. i. There is the same idea in Mandeville, Fable of the Bees (ed. 1723), i. 181 seq. (Remark P). It is worked out in Locke's Journal, Feb., 1677 (Life, by Lord King, p. 85). 1 Civil Govt., 187. Cf. Goethe, Wilhelm Meister, “America is here or nowhere." But Locke's utterance is not meant to be a compliment.
“It is labour that puts the difference of value on everything” (Civil Government, p. 184), for it makes things more “useful to the life of man,” and the “intrinsic value of things” depends entirely on that usefulness (ib., 183). He gives us no accurate analysis of value in use or value in exchange, if we may use these modern terms; and we are usually left to discover from the context which of the two is meant when he speaks of value. Money, he says, has little value except by consent, “ being little useful to the life of man ; but it came in lawfully enough by preference of men for what was lasting and did not spoil. Before it was introduced, and before possessions were heaped up by individuals, “all the world was America, and more so than that is now." But the difference between civilized England and uncivilized America was due not to these secondary causes, but to the primary cause
-industry. Locke fully understood the importance of the division of labour and separation of trades in producing the result. “An acre of land," he says, “that bears here twenty bushels of wheat, and another in America which, with the same husbandry, would do the like, are without doubt of the same natural intrinsic value ; but yet the benefit mankind receives from the one in a year is worth £5, and from the other possibly not worth a penny, if all the profit an Indian received from it were to be valued and sold here ; at least I may truly say, not do It is labour, then, which puts the greatest part of value upon land, without which it would scarcely be worth anything; it is to that we owe the greatest part of all its useful products, for all that the straw, bran, bread of that acre of wheat is more worth than the product of an acre of as good land which lies waste, is all the effect of labour. For it is not barely the ploughman's pains, the reaper's and thresher's toil, and the baker's sweat, is to be counted into the bread we eat; the labour of those who broke the oxen, who digged and wrought the iron and stones, who felled and framed the timber employed about the plough, mill, oven, or any other utensils, which are a vast number, requisite to this corn, from its being seed to be sown to its being made bread, must all be charged on the account of labour and received as an effect of that. Nature and the earth furnished only the almost worthless materials, as in themselves. It would be a strange “catalogue of things that industry provided and made use of about every loaf of bread" before it came to our use, if we could trace them-iron, wood, leather, bark, timber, stone, bricks, coals, lime, cloth, dyeing, drugs, pitch, tar, masts, ropes, and all the materials made use of in the ship that brought any of the commodities made use of by any of the workmen to any part of the work, all which would be almost impossible, at least, too long, to reckon up” (Civil Government, ch. v. p. 185).
Locke is not like Plato, impressed with the social meaning of division of labour as a sign, symptom, or expression of the solidarity of the human race and the folly of isolation ; he is looking almost entirely at the contrast between natural objects as “unassisted nature” gives them to man, and the same objects as modified by human labour. Accordingly, when he applies the above illustration to political philosophy, the application is not at all Platonic.
Economically, his first deduction is that it is labour that adds to the intrinsic value of things, or makes them more useful to man. This is not a very deep analysis of “value in use " ; but more unsatisfactory still is his employment of “value” in the sense of value in exchange, and his habit of styling either or both of them “natural” in different senses of the word natural. We hear of “natural value,” “natural true value,” “natural market value” (Considerations on Interest, Wks., II. 51); and he says (ib.), “natural proportion or value I call that respective rate they [gold and silver] find anywhere without the prescription of law.” This is, at least, definite and intelligible, though nature in this sense, while ex
cluding the State, does not exclude Society. “By the constitution of Society” some men will need to borrow money at interest, and the “natural interest” will be that rate which the parties concerned will fix when the State does not interfere with them. (Considerations on Interest, Wks., II. 20, 24.) So defined, the term “natural” might be applied to a market value that was double or treble the cost, so long as the “prescription of law” did not enter.
We see here an application to economics of the idea of a Law of Nature, but wholly on its negative side. It is something apart from deliberate human legislation, but there is no clear notion of any positive constructive activity working spontaneously in Society, as the law of nature was supposed, by Grotius and others, to be working itself out. Locke, up to a certain point, believed in the salutariness of “natural liberty” in economical matters; but he had no conception like Adam Smith's of its power to organize the industrial relations of Society under the motive force of uniform self-interest. Of the three chief classes in the commonwealth, “landlords, labourers, and brokers," the first (he says) is of most importance, as having most stability. Taxation, on whomsoever put in the first instance, falls in the end on the landowner, for the mercantile classes are always keenwitted enough to shift the burden, and the labourers, “ just living from hand to mouth already” (Wks., ii. 30, cf. 37), cannot bear any burden of taxation whatever. The consumer's interest, so far as the consumer is neither landlord, broker, nor labourer, is not worth regarding (16). Now (he argues) it is not for the advantage of the three classes mentioned, and least of all of the first of them, to carry out such a proposal as that of Lowndes and others to keep interest on loans down to a low limit by law.
We see that the idea of “natural law” had carried Locke in the direction of what was afterwards called Physiocracy. The contact of economics and philosophy, however, appears even closer in his general theories of political society. He has left no general treatise on
1 To whom the Considerations were a reply (1691).
economics, and his Considerations of the Lowering of Interest (published 1691), and Raising the Value of Money (1698), relate, of course, in the main to the subject of Currency, which touches Philosophy less closely than other economical subjects. It may simply be remarked that his description of the function of gold and silver is hardly consistent either with his philosophy or with his other economical definitions. “Mankind,” he says, “have consented to put an imaginary value upon gold and silver "I by reason of their durableness, scarcity, and little liability to be counterfeited, and have made them “the common pledges whereby men are assured in exchange for them to receive equally valuable things to those they parted with for any quantity of these metals.” Hence the intrinsic value of these metals came to be simply “the quantity which men give or receive of them.” “For they having as money no other value but as pledges to procure what one wants or desires, and they procuring what we want or desire only by their quantity, 'tis evident that the intrinsic value of silver and gold used in commerce is nothing but their quantity" (Consid., Wks., ii. 12), and he speaks of “the intrinsic value which the universal consent of mankind has annexed to silver and gold” (ib. 13). If Locke understood that the precious metals had a value in use by virtue of certain specified qualities, he is not justified in giving this new meaning (" quantity ") to “intrinsic value,” for the usefulness of money to mankind depends no doubt on its exchangeability, but the exchangeability would not exist, in either great or small degree, without the “intrinsic value” of the qualities of the metals that compose it. Besides this economical criticismo there is the philosophical—that the estimate which a body of men find reason to attach to a given class of articles of a given quality no more deserves to be called “imaginary" or conventional than the estimate made by a single individual, unless we are to con
1 “As to money, and such riches, and treasure taken away, these are none of nature's goods ; they have but a fantastical imaginary value.” Civil Govt., Wks., II. 228. See John Law, Money and Trade (1705), ch. i.
2 A discussion of the whole “ Quantity" theory of Currency, as well as a criticism of Locke, may be found in Zuckerkandl, Theorie d. Preises, 13, 139, 141, etc.