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filled entirely with human beings of the highest moral and mental cultivation, contented in body and spirit, and drawing the greatest imaginable advantage from the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms of nature.
True economic principles carried out to their last consequences will effect not only the sustenance but the ennobling of personal existence. They thus serve as a moral lever for raising humanity, and are indispensable to higher culture. For the science of husbanding aright economic commodities, as means to a higher end, not only promotes the useful arts of life; it goes beyond this : it enters profoundly the inner life of the mind and soul of man.*
It is acknowledged by socialists that the existing modes of production, as led and governed almost entirely by private capital, are carried on according to the abovementioned laws of economy, much more so at least than formerly was done in the ancient system of slavery or during mediæval times. But they assert that a still higher productivity is possible, that the last degree of economy has not yet been reached, and cannot be attained by capital, in spite of the superior division of labour and combination
* The peculiar way in which Dr. Schäffle points out the ultimate effects of economy in raising the spiritual character of man has been pointed out recently in a German theological review, of which we only quote the following: “Schäffle
fasst bewusst und entschieden die materiellen Güter in ihrer Unterordnung unter die höheren geistigen Interessen des Menschen; die Oekonomik ist nun ein Glied der Wissenschaft von der menschlichen Gesellschaft; der Mensch, nicht das Gut, wird in den Vordergrund der Betrachtung gerückt.” “Der ganze sinnlich-sittliche Mensch mit allen seinen Trieben und Kräften ist die bewegende und organisirende Grundkraft der Volkswirthschaft.' (System ii., s. 3.) See Theologische Quartalschrift, erstes Quartalheft, Tübingen, 1874, p. 170.
SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT OF THE OPERATIVE CLASSES. 19
of productive powers. And more, they complain that while hired labour produces more effectually now than ever, the condition of the hired labourer is lamentably low and unimproved. The vast outlays required for the supervision of labour, and the unequal distribution of the nation's wealth, they say, are the real cause that an increased production only ministers to the luxury of a few, and not the proportionate development of the material prosperity and higher life of all.
On Value.-Cost, and Value in Use.-Importance of Estimating
Values in practical Economy.-Exchange Value.-Price.Deductions from the above in reply to Lassalle's theory of reducing all value to labour only.- Conjunctures in Trade, and
their influence on the Condition of the Working Classes. We have in the preceding chapter spoken of that incessant process of production and consumption which has for its object the increase and improvement of the personal life in the community. Now in order to the creation and formation of those commodities which can effect this, mental and bodily exertions are required, and certain values are attached to these efforts in proportion to their ultimate effects. Mental acquisitions, and moral results too, are judged according to their value. All scientific activity or technical experiments, all acts of statesmanship, are inaugurated first, and accompanied throughout, by a conviction of their respective values. We all estimate the amount of good any act of ours may produce; and herein, from our individual point, consists its value. Similarly, we deliberate on the comparative amount of pleasure and pain in the production of external commodities. Æsthetical and other considerations influence our final estimates as to the value of any commodity we desire to create, or utilize. We inquire therefore :
(1) What is the amount of human life-vigour expended in the acquisition of any article in question ? In other words, what is our valuation of the cost ?
(2) And inversely: how much life-vigour will it produce, what amount of enjoyment will it afford ? In other words, what is its value in the use?
VALUE OF COMMODITIES AND HUMAN LIFE.
(3) What is the mutual relationship between these two values—cost, and use ? This last question is important; for what decides the producer or consumer in creating, or acquiring, any commodity is the estimate he forms as to its comparative value; he inquires whether the commodity utilized is equal to, less, or greater in value than, the expenditure which it entails.
By economic value of any commodity, then, we understand the importance attached to it by the economist, both with regard to the pain of life-expenditure exacted in its acquisition, and also the pleasure and sustenance of life afforded by its consumption. Both may not always, in fact do in few instances, cover exactly each other. We do not consider here what is value in exchange. We now only take the standpoint of Robinson Crusoe, who, in his elementary knowledge of political economy, values all articles only with regard to the cost of labour and the degree of their importance in the use. And he will only create such of them where, in his estimation, the value in use surpasses the value in the cost of labour. Value presupposes serviceableness of the commodity. But not all serviceable or even indispensable commodities are valuable in an economic sense, such as air for example. And, besides the external serviceableness, value expresses the importance attached to the commodity by the person who requires, but cannot obtain it except at the cost of labour or money. The value or worth of a thing then is nothing more or less than the estimate we form of it after carefully weighing, considering, appreciating, and calculating the amount of pleasure and pain represented by it from the point of view of those who enjoy and those who create it respectively. And the lessons of political economy tend to inculcate the production of such commodities only which are in demand, i.e. of value, and which are most adapted for the furtherance of life, and this at the least cost possible.
Human life itself is such a commodity; and the destruction of human life in wars, and the improper utilization of it by keeping up large standing armies, is a violation of economical principles. There is a physical value and a mental value of human life; the former refers to the labour-power, the latter to the educational capacity, of man. A pharisaical contempt of the life of proletarians, as well as undue indulgence to the effeminate idlers in higher grades of society, are violations therefore of economical principles; those who encourage either are the abettors of despotism and barbarism. Socialism has the merit of having given the first impulse to a true estimation of man's value. Moreover, without human life there could be no value in things, since the source of their value is human labour, and their real value consists in the power of sustaining and reproducing human life-vigour.
It was important to point out the meaning of value, because after balancing the values in the cost of production, and of use in consumption, over against each other, the mind is determined to embark in or to give up any particular economic undertaking. If the value in use surpasses the value of the cost, it is an inducement to the manufacturer to produce such a commodity, for he profits by it. If, on the other hand, the value in use remains under the value of the cost incurred in producing a certain article, to avoid future loss the manufacturer will stop producing it. Or, again, if both values remain in a state of constant equilibrium, it becomes a matter of indifference to the manufacturer, who will only produce under the influence of a hope of gain.
But there is another value consideration which enters