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taming their circumstances — of improving them; but such a desire is rarely found, or rarely has that effect, in the labouring classes. If they can bring up a family as they were themselves brought up, even the prudent among them are usually satisfied. Too often they do not think even of that, but rely on fortune, or on the resources to be found in legal or voluntary charity.
In a very backward state of society, like that of Europe in the Middle Ages, and many parts of Asia at present, population is kept down by actual starvation. The starvation does not take place in ordinary years, but in seasons of scarcity, which in those states of society are much more frequent and more extreme than Europe is now accustomed to. In these seasons actual want, or the maladies consequent on it, carry off numbers of the population, which in a succession of favourable years again expands, to he again cruelly decimated. In a more improved state, few, even among the poorest of the people, are limited to actual necessaries, and to a bare sufficiency of those: and the increase is kept within hounds, not by excess of deaths, but by limitation of births. The limitation is brought about in various ways. In some countries, it is the result of prudent or conscientious self-restraint. There is a condition to which the labouring people are habituated; they perceive that by having too numerous families, they must sink below that condition, or fail to transmit it to their children; and this they do not choose to submit to. The countries in which, so far as is known, a great degree of voluntary prudence has been longest practised on this subject, are Sorway and parts of Switzerland. Concerning both, there happens to be unusually authentic information; many facts were carefully brought together by Mr. Malthus, and much additional evidence has been obtained since his time. In both these countries the increase of population is very slow; and what checks it, is not multitude of deaths, but fewness of births. Both the births and the
deaths are remarkably few in proportion to the population; the average duration of life is the longest in Europe; the population contains fewer children, and a greater proportional number of persons in the vigour of life, than is known to be the case in any other part of the world. The paucity of births tends directly to prolong life, hy keeping the people in comfortable circumstances; and the same prudence is doubtless exercised in avoiding causes of disease, as in keeping clear of the principal cause of poverty. It is worthy of remark that the two countries thus honourably distinguished, are countries of small landed proprietors.
There are other cases in which the prudence and forethought, which perhaps might not be exercised by the people themselves, are exercised by the state for their benefit; marriage not being permitted until the contracting parties can show that they have the prospect of a comfortable support. Under these laws, of which I shall speak more fully hereafter, the condition of the people is reported to be good, and the illegitimate births not so numerous as might he expected. There are places, again, in which the restraining cause seems to be not so much individual prudence, as some general and perhaps even accidental habit of the country. In the rural districts of England, during the last century, the growth of population was very effectually repressed by the difficulty of obtaining a cottage to live in. It was the custom for unmarried labourers to lodge and board with their employers; it was the custom for married labourers to have a cottage: and the rule of the English poor laws by which a parish was charged with the support of its unemployed poor, rendered landowners averse to promote marriage. About the end of the century, the great demand for men in war and manufactures, made it be thought a patriotic thing to encourage population: and about the same time the growing inclination of farmers to live like rich people, favoured as it was by a long period of high prices, made them desirous of keeping inferiors at a greater distance, and pecuniary motives arising from abuses of the poor laws being superadded, they gradually drove their labourers into cottages, which the landlords now no longer refused permission to build. In some countries an old standing custom that a girl should not marry until she had spun and woven for herself an ample trousseau (destined for the supply of her whole subsequent life), is said to have acted as a substantial check to population. In England, at present, the influence of prudence in keeping down multiplication is seen by the diminished number of marriages in the manufacturing districts in years when trade is bad.
But whatever be the causes by which the population is anywhere limited to a comparatively slow rate of increase, an acceleration of the rate very speedily follows any diminution of the motives to restraint. It is but rarely that improvements in the condition of the labouring classes do anything more than give a temporary margin, speedily filled up by an increase of their numbers. The use they commonly choose to make of any advantageous change in their circumstances, is to take it out in the form which, by augmenting the population, deprives the succeeding generation of the benefit. Unless, either by their general improvement in intellectual and moral culture, or at least by raising their habitual standard of comfortable living, they can be taught to make a better use of favourable cir
cumstances, nothing permanent can be done for them; the most promising schemes end only in having a more numerous, but not a happier people. By their habitual standard, 1 mean that (when any such there is) down to which they will multiply, but not lower. Every advanco they make in education, civilization, and social improvement, tends to raise this standard; and there is no doubt that it is gradually, though slowly, rising in the more advanced countries of Western Europe. Subsistence and employment in England have never increased more rapidly than in the last forty years, but every census since 1821 snowed a smaller proportional increase of population than that of the period preceding; and the produce of French agriculture and industry is increasing in a progressive ratio, while the population exhibits, in every quinquennial census, a smaller proportion of births to the population.
The subject, however, of population, in its connexion with the condition of the labouring classes, will be considered in another place: in the present, we have to do with it solely as one of the elements of Production: and in that character we could not dispense with pointing out the unlimited extent of its natural powers of increase, and the causes owing to which so small a portion of that unlimited power is for the most part actually exercised. After this brief indication, we shall proceed to the other elements.
OP THE LAW OF THE INCREASE OF CAPITAL.
§ 1. The requisites of production , being labour, capital, and land, it has been seen from the preceding chapter that the impediments to the increase of production do not arise from the first of these elements. On the side
".of labour there is no obstacle to an 'increase of production, indefinite in textent and of unslackening rapidity Population has the power nf incrpnsin,r m an unlfbfflr amtxfijni -ge«»H'tiicai^ rfitio. If the only essential condition
of production were fabour, the produce Might, and liatqmtly-wonick^naease -iirriKrsanTe ratio; and there would be -no..h'iuit,' until-ihe numbers of maflkiad -•were^bTOugnT"fo""a stand from .actual want of space."
'BuTpTottiiction has other requisites, and of i:hes«J^n5^g"3ii(±:we shall next consider is"CapitaX» There.ca.naot "IsriBoreje'op'Ie' inj^oy .countryr•orin "ThTworlcI, than can be supported, from the produce of past labour until that 'of' present Labour comes, in. There "wilT'b"e' nogreater number.QfproIuctive labourer's in any country, or in the •tfofldj than can be supported from that •portion "of' the produce of past labour, "whidr iS" spared from the enjoyments -of—its-pos9eSs"or for purposes of repro•dnetion, and is termed ..CapitaL..J$T& -have next, therefore,..to .,inpcuk^into 'the conditions of the increase of capi"tai; the causes by which the rapidity •ef^ito--increase is determined, .and "the necessary limitations' of that increase!
"""Since all' capital is the product of saving, that is, of abstinence from present consumption for the sake of a future good, the increase of capital must depend upon two things—the amount of the fund from which saving can be made, and the strength of the dispositions which prompt to it.
The fund from which saving can be made, is the surplus of the produce of labour, after supplying the necessaries of life to all concerned in the production: (including those employed in replacing the materials, and keeping the fixed capital in repair.) More than, this surplus cannot be saved under any circumstances. As much as this, though it never is saved, always might be. This surplus is the fund from which the enjoyments, as distinguished from the necessaries of the producers, are provided; it is the fund from which all are subsisted, who are not themselves engaged in production; and from which all additions are made to capital. It is the real net produce of the country. The phrase, net produce, is often taken in a more limited sense, to denote only the profits of the capitalist and the rent of the
landlord, under the idea that nothing can be included in the net produce of capital, but what is returned to the owner of the capital after replacing his expenses. But this is too narrow an acceptation of the term. The capital of the employer forms the revenue of the labourers, and if this •exceeds the necessaries of life, it gives them a surplus which they may either expend in enjoyments or save. For every purpose for which there can be Occasion to speak of the net produce of industry, this surplus ought to be included in it. When this is included, and not otherwise, the net produce of the country is the measure of its effective power; of what it can spare for any purposes of public utility, or private indulgence; the portion of its produce of which it can dispose at pleasure; which can be drawn upon to attain any ends, or gratify any wishes, either of the government or of individuals; which it can either spend for its satisfaction, or save for future advantage.
The amount of this fund, this net produce, this excess of production above the physical necessaries of the producers, is one of the elements that determine the amount of saving. The greater the produce of labour after supporting the labourers, the mjre there is which can be saved. The same thing also partly contributes to determine how much will be saved. A part of the motive to saving consists in the prospect of deriving an income from savings; in the fact that capital, employed in production, is capable of 'not only reproducing itself but yielding an increase. The greater the profit that can be made from capital, the stronger is the motive to its accumulation. That indeed which forms the inducement to save, is not the whole of the fund which supplies the means of saving, not the whole net produce of the land, capital, and labour of the country, but only a part of it, the part which forms the remuneration of the capitalist, and is called profit of stock. It will however be readily enough understood, even previously to the explanations which will be given hereafter, that when the general productiveness of labour and capital is great, the returns to the capitalist are likely to be large, and that some proportion, though not an uniform one, will commonly obtain between the two.
§ 2. But the disposition to save does not wholly depend on the external inducement to it; on the amount of profit to be made from savings. With the same pecuniary inducement, the inclination is very different, in different persons, and in different communities. The effective desire of accumulation is of unequal strength, not only according to the varieties of individual character, but to the general state of society and civilization. Like all other moral attributes, it is one in which the human race exhibits great differences, conformably to the diversity of its circumstances and the stage of its progress.
On topics which if they were to be fully investigated would exceed the bounds that can be allotted to them in this treatise, it is satisfactory to be able to refer to other works in which the necessary developments have been presented more at length. On the subject of Population this valuable service has been rendered by the celebrated Essay of Mr. Malthus; and on the point which now occupies us 1 can refer with equal confidence to another, though a less known work, "New Principles of Political Economy," by Dr. Kae.* In no other
* This treatise is an example, such as not (infrequently presents itself, how much more depends on accident, than on the qualities of a book, in determining its reception. Had it appeared at a suitable time, and been favoured by circumstances, it would have had every requisite for great success. The author, a Scotchman settled in the United States, unites much knowledge, an original vein of thought, a considerable turn for philosophic generalities, and a manner of exposition and illustration calculated to make ideas tell not only for what they are worth, but for more than they are worth, and which sometimes, I think, has that enect in the writer's own mind. The principal fault of the book is the position of antagonism in which, with the controversial spirit apt to be found in those who have new thoughts on old subjects, he has placed himself towards Adam Smith. I call this a fault, (though I think many of
book known to me is so much light thrown, both from principle and history, on the causes which determine the accumulation of capital.
All accumulation involves the sacrifice of a present, for the sake of a future good. But the expediency of such a sacrifice varies very much in different states of circumstances; and the willingness to make it, varies still more.
In weighing the future against the present, the uncertainty of all things future is a leading element; and that uncertainty is of very different degrees. "All circumstances,'' therefore, "increasing the probability of the provision we make for futurity being enjoyed by ourselves or others, tend" justly and reasonably "to give strength to the effective desire of accumulation. Thus a healthy climate or occupation, by increasing the probability of life, has a tendency to add to this desire. When engaged in safe occupations, and living in healthy countries, men are much more apt to be frugal than in unhealthy or hazardous occupations, and in climates pernicious to human life. Sailors and soldiers are prodigals. In the West Indies, New Orleans, the East Indies, the expenditure of the inhabitants is profuse. The same people, coming to reside in the healthy parts of Europe, and not getting into the vortex of extravagant fashion, live economically. War and pestilence have always waste and luxury among the other evils that follow in their train. For similar reasons, whatever gives security to the affairs of the community is favourable to the strength of this principle. In this respect the general prevalence of law and order, and the prospect of the continuance of peace and tranquillity, have considerable influence."t The more perfect the security, the greater
the criticisms just, and some of them farseeing), because there is much less real difference of opinion than might be supposed from Dr. Rae's animadversions; and because what he has found vulnerable in his great predecessor is chiefly the "human too much" in his premises; the portion of them that is over and above what was either required or is actually used for the establishment of his conclusions.
t Rae, p. 123.
will be the effective strength of the desire of accumulation. Where property is less safe, or the vicissitudes ruinous to fortunes are more frequent and severe, fewer persons will save at all, and of those who do, many will require the inducement of a higher rate of profit on capital, to make them prefer a doubtful future to the temptation of present enjoyment.
These are considerations which affect the expediency, in the eye of reason, of consulting future interests at the expense of present. But the inclination to make this sacrifice does not solely depend upon its expediency. The disposition to save is often far short of what reason would dictate: and at other times is liable to be in excess of i t.
Deficient strength of the desire of accumulation may arise from improvidence, or from want of interest in others. Improvidence may be connected with intellectual as well as moral causes. Individuals and communities of a very low state of intelligence are always improvident. A certain measure of intellectual development seems necessary to enable absent things, and especially things future, to act with any force on the imagination and will. The effect of want of interest in others in diminishing accumulation, will be admitted, if we consider how much saving at present takes place, which has for its object the interest of others rather than of ourselves; the education of children, their advancement in life, the future interests of other personal connexions, the power of promoting by the bestowal of money or time, objects of public or private usefulness. If mankind were generally in the state of mind to which some approach was seen in the declining period of the Koman empire—caring nothing for their heirs, as well as nothing for friends, the public, or any object which survived them — they would seldom deny themselves any indulgence for the sake of saving, beyond what was necessary for their own future years; which they would place in life annuities, or in some other form which would make its existence and their lives terminate together.
§ 3. From these various causes, intellectual and moral, there is, in different portions of the human race, a greater diversity than is usually adverted to, in the strength of the effective desire of accumulation. A backward state of general civilization is often more the effect of deficiency in this particular than in many others which attract more attention. In the circumstances, for example, of a hunting tribe, "man may be said to be necessarily improvident, and regardless of futurity, because, in this state, the future presents nothing which can be with certainty either foreseen or governed Besides a want of the
motives exciting to provide for the needs of futurity through means of the abilities of the present, there is a want of the habits of perception and action, leading to a constant connexion in the mind of those distant points, and of the series of events serving to unite them. Even, therefore, if motives be awakened capable of producing the exertion necessary to effect this connexion, there remains the task of training the mind to think and act so as to establish it."
For instance: "Upon the banks of the St. Lawrence there are several little Indian villages. They are surrounded, in general, by a good deal of land, from which the wood seems to have been long extirpated, and have, besides, attached to them, extensive tracts of forest. The cleared land is rarely, I may almost say never, cultivated, nor are any inroads made in the forest for such a purpose. The soil is, nevertheless, fertile, and were it not, manure lies in heaps by their houses. Were every family to inclose half an acre of ground, till it, and plant it in potatoes and maize, it would yield a sufficiency to support them one-half the year. They suffer, too, every now and then, extreme want, insomuch that, joined to occasional intemperance, it is rapidly reducing their numbers. This, to us, so strange apathy proceeds not, in any great degree, from repugnance to labour; on the contrary, they apply very diligently to it when its reward is immediate. Thus, besides their peculiar occupations of hunting