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menn that this regulates the general exchange value of thD thing, or has any effect in determining .vhat that value shall be, but only ascertains what it is, and whether and how much it varies
from time to time and from place ts place. To confound these two ideas, would be much the same thing as to overlook the distinction between tho thermometer and the fire.
OF SOME PECULIAR CASES OP VALUE.
§ 1. The general laws of value, in all the more important cases of the interchange of commodities in the same country, have now been investigated. We examined, first, the case of monopoly, in which the value is determined by either a natural or an artificial limitation of quantity, that is, by demand and supply: secondly, the case of free competition, when the article can be produced in indefinite quantity at the same cost; in which case the permanent value is determined by the cost of production, and only the fluctuations by supply and demand : thirdly, a mixed case, that of the articles which can be produced in indefinite quantity, but not at the same cost; in which case the permanent value is determined by the greatest cost which it is necessary to incur in order to obtain the required supply. And lastly, we have found that money itself is a commodity of the third class; that its value, in a state of freedom, is governed by the same laws as the values of other commodities of its class: and that prices, therefore, follow the same laws as values.
From this it appears that demand and supply govern the fluctuations of values and prices in all cases, and the permanent values and prices of all things of which the supply is determined by any agency other than that of free competition : but that, under the regime of competition, things are, on the average, exchanged for each other at such values, and sold at such prices, as afford equal expectation of advantage to all classes of producers; which can only be when things ex
change for one another in the ratio of their cost of production.
It is now, however, necessary to take notice of certain cases, to which, from their peculiar nature, this law of exchange value is inapplicable.
It sometimes happens that two different commodities have what may bo termed a joint cost of production. They are both products of the same operation, or set of operations, and the outlay is incurred for the sake of both together, not part for one and part for the other. The same outlay would have to be incurred for either of the two, if the other were not wanted or used at all. There are not a few instances of commodities thus associated in their production. For example, coke and coal-gas aro both produced from the same material, and by the same operation. In a more partial sense, mutton and wool are an example: beef, hides, and tallow: calves and dairy produce: chickens and eggs. 6ost of production can have nothing to do with deciding the value of the associated commodities relatively to each other. It only decides their joint value. The gas and the coke together have to repay the expenses of their production, with the ordinary profit. To do this, a given quantity of gas, together with the coke which is the residuum of its manufacture, must exchange for other things in the ratio of their .joint cost of production. But how much of the remuneration of the producer shall be derived from the coke, and how much from the gas, remains to be decided. Cost of production does not determine their prices, but the sum of their prices. A principle is wanting to apportioa the expenses of production between the two.
Since cost of production here fails us, we must revert to a law of value anterior to cost of production, and more fundamental, the law of demand and supply. The law is, that the demand for a commodity varies with its value, and that the value adjusts itself so that the demand shall be equal to the supply. This supplies the principle of repartition which we are m qnest of.
Suppose that a certain quantity of gas is produced and sold at a certain price, and that the residuum of coke is offered at a price which, together with that of the gas, repays the expenses with the ordinary rate of profit. Suppose, too, that at the price put upon the gas and coke respectively, the whole of the gas finds an easy market, without either surplus or deficiency, but that purchasers cannot be found for all the coke corresponding to it. The coke will be offered at a lower price in order to force a market. But this lower price, together with the price of gas, will not be remunerating: the manufacture, as a whole, will not pay its expenses with the ordinary profit, and will not, on these terms, continue to be carried on. The gas, therefore, must be sold at a higher price, to make up for the deficiency on the coke. The demand consequently contracting, the production will be somewhat reduced; and prices will become stationary when, by the joint effect of the rise of gas and the fall of coke, so much less of the first is sold, and so much more of the second, that there is now a market for all the coke which results from the existing extent of the gas manufacture.
Or suppose the reverse case; that more coke is wanted at the present prices than can be supplied by the operations required by the existing demand for gas. Coke, being now in deficiency, will rise in price. The whole operation will yield more than the usual rate of profit, and additional capital will be attracted to the manufacture. The unsatisfied demand for coke will be supplied; but this cannot be done without increasing the supply of gas too; and as the existing demand was fully
supplied already, an increased quantity can only find a market by lowering the price. The result will be that the two together will yield the return required by their joint cost of production, but that more of this return than before will be furnished by the coke, and less by the gas. Equilibrium will be attained when the demand for each article fits so well with the demand for the other, that the quantity required of each is exactly as much as is generated in producing the quantity required of the other. If there is any surplus or deficiency on either side; if there is a demand for coke, and not a demand for all the gas produced along with it, or vice versa; the values and prices of the two things will so readjust themselves that both shall find a market.
When, therefore, two or more commodities have a joint cost of production, their natural values relatively to each other are those which will create a demand for each, in the ratio of the quantities in which they are sent forth by the productive process. This theorem is not in itself of any great importance: but the illustration it affords of the law of demand, and of the mode in which, when cost of production fails to be applicable, the other principle steps in to supply the vacancy, is worthy of particular attention, as we shall find in the next chapter but one that something very similar takes place in cases of much greater moment.
§ 2. Another case of value which merits attention, is that of the different kinds of agricultural produce. This is rather a more complex question than the last, and requires that attention should be paid to a greater number of influencing circumstances.
The case would present nothing peculiar, if different agricultural products were either grown indiscriminately and with equal advantage on the samo soils, or wholly on different soils. The difficulty arises from two things: first, that most soils are fitter for one kind of produce than another, without being absolutely unfit for any; and secondly, the rotation of crops.
For simplicity, we will confine our supposition to two kinds of agricultural produce; for instance, wheat and oats. If all soils were equally adapted for wheat and for oats, hoth would he /frown indiscriminately on all soils, and their relative cost of production, being the same everywhere, would govern their relative value. If the same labour which grows three quarters of wheat on any given soil, would always grow on that soil five quarters of oats, the three and the five quarters would be of the same value. If, again, wheat and oats could not be grown on the same soil at all, the value of each would be determined by its peculiar cost of production on the least favourable of the soils adapted for it which the existing demand required a recourse to. The fact, however, is that both wheat and oats can be grown on almost any soil which is capable of producing either: hut some soils, such as the stiff clays, are better adapted for wheat, while others (the light sandy soils) are more suitable for oats. There might be some soils which would yield, to the same quantity of labour, only four quarters of oats to three of wheat; others perhaps less than three of wheat to five quarters of oats. Among these diversities, what determines the relative value of the two things?
It is evident that each grain will he cultivated in preference, on the soils which are better adapted for it than for the other; and if the demand is supplied from these alone, the values of the two grains will have no reference to one another. But when the demand for both is such as to require that each should be grown not only on the soils peculiarly fitted for it, but on the medium soils which, without being specifically adapted to either, are about equally suited for both, the cost of production on those medium soils will determine the relative value of the two grains; while the rent of the soils specifically adapted to each, will be regulated by their productive power, considered with reference to that one alone to which they are peculiarly applicable. Thus far the question presents no difficulty, to any one to whom
the general principles of value are familiar.
It may happen, however, that the demand for one of the two, as for example wheat, may so outstrip the demand for the other, as not only to occupy the soils specially suited for wheat, but to engross entirely those equally suitable to both, and even encroach upon those which are better adapted to oats. To create an inducement for this unequal apportionment of the cultivation, wheat must be ,relatively dearer, and oats cheaper, than according to the cost of their production on the medium land. Their relative value must be in proportion to the cost on that quality of land, whatever it may be, on which the comparative demand for the two grains requires that both of them should be grown. If, from the state of the demand, the two cultivations meet on land more favourable to one than to the other, that one will be cheaper and the other dearer, in relation to each other and to things in general, than if the proportional demand were as we at first supposed.
Here, then, we obtain a fresh illustration, in a somewhat different manner, of the operation of demand, not as an occasional disturber of value, but as a permanent regulator of it, conjoined with, or supplementary to, cost of production.
The case of rotation of crops does not require separate analysis, being a case of joint cost of production, hke that of gas and coke. If it were the practice to grow white and green crops on all lands in alternate years, the one being necessary as much for the sake of the other as for its own sake; the farmer would derive his remuneration for two years' expenses from one white and one green crop, and the prices of the two would so adjust themselves as to create a demand which would carry off an equal breadth of white and of green crops.
There would be little difficulty in finding other anomalous cases of value, which it might be a useful exercise to resolve: but it is neither desirable nor possible, in a work like the present, to enter more into details than is neces
sary for the elucidation of principles, that of International Exchanges, or to I now therefore proceed to the only speak more generally, exchanges bepart of the general theory of exchange tween distant places, which has not yet been touched upon,
OJf INTERNATIONAL TRADE.
§ 1. The causes which occasion a commodity to be brought from a distance, instead of being produced, as convenience would seem to dictate, as near as possible to the market where it is to be sold for consumption, are usually conceived in a rather superficial manner. Some things it is physically impossible to produce, except in particular circumstances of heat, soil, water, or atmosphere. But there are many things which, though they could be produced at home without difficulty and in any quantity, are yet imported from a distance. The explanation which •would be popularly given of this would be, that it is cheaper to import than to produce them: and this is the true reason. But this reason itself requires that a reason be given for it. Of two things produced in the same place, if one is cheaper than the other, the reason is that it can be produced with less labour and capital, or, in a word, at less cost. Is this also the reason as between things produced in different places? Are things never imported but from places where they can be produced with less labour (or less of the other element of cost, time) than in the place to which they are brought? Does the law, that permanent value is proportioned to cost of production, hold good between commodities produced in distant places, as it does between those produced in adjacent places 1
We shall find that it does not. A thing may sometimes be sold cheapest, by being produced in some other place than that at which it can be produced with the smallest amount of labour . and abstinence. England might import
corn from Poland and pay for it in cloth, even though England had a decided advantage over Poland in the production of both the one and the other. England might send cottons to Portugal in exchange for wine, although Portugal might be able to produce cottons with a less amount of labour and capital than England could.
This could not happen between adjacent places, li the north bank of the Thames possessed an advantage over the south bank in the production of shoes, no shoes would be produced on the south side; the shoemakers would remove themselves and their capitals to the north bank, or would have established themselves there originally; for, being competitors in the same market with those on the north side, they could not compensate themselves for their disadvantage at the expense of the consumer: the amount of it would fall entirely on their profits; and they would not long content themselves with a smaller profit, when, by simply crossing a river, they could increase it. But between distant places, and especially between different countries, profits may continue different: because persons do not usually remove themselves or their capitals to a distant place without a very strong motive. If capital removed to remote parts of the world as readily, and for as small an inducement, as it moves to another quarter of the same town; if people would transport their manufactories to America or China whenever they could save a small percentage in their expenses by it; profits would be alike (or equivalent) all over the world, and all things would be produced in the places where the same labour and capital would produce them in greatest quantity and of best quality. A tendency may, even now, be observed towards such a state of things; capital is becoming more and more cosmopolitan; there is so much greater similarity of manners and institutions than formerly, and somuch lessalienation of feeling, among the more civilized countries, that both population and capital now move from one of those countries to another on much less temptation than heretofore. But there are still extraordinary differences, both of wages and of profits, between different parts of the world. It needs but a small motive to transplant capital, or even persons, from Warwickshire to Yorkshire: but a much greater to make them remove to India, the colonies, or Ireland. To France, Germany, or Switzerland, capital moves perhaps almost as readily as to the colonies; the differences of language and government being scarcely so great a hindrance as climate and distance. To countries still barbarous, or, like Russia or Turkey, ouly beginning to be civilized, capital will not migrate, unless under the inducement of a very great extra profit.
Between all distant places therefore 'in some degree, but especially between 'different countries (whether under the . same supreme government or not), there may exist great inequalities in tho return to labour and capital, without causing them to move from one : place to the other in such quantity as to level those inequalities. The capital belonging to a country will, to a great extent, remain in the country, even if there be no mode of employing it in which it would not be more productive elsewhere. Yet even a country thus circumstanced might, and probably would, carry on trade with other countries. It would export articles of some sort, even to places which could make them with less labour than itself; because those countries, supposing them to have au advantage over it in all productions, would have a greater advantage in some things than in others, and would find it their interest to import the articles in winch their advantage was
smallest, that thty might employ more of their labour and capital on those in which it was greatest.
§ 2. As I have said elsewhere* after Ricardo (the thinker who has done most towards clearingup this subject),+ "it is not a difference in the absolute cost of production, which determines the interchange, but a difference in the comparative cost. It may be to our advantage to procure iron from Sweden in exchange for cottons, even although the mines of England as well as her manufactories should be more productive than those of Sweden; for if we have an advantage of one-half in cottons, and only an advantage of a quarter in iron, and could sell our cottons to Sweden at the price which Sweden must pay for them if she produced them herself, we should obtain our iron with an advantage of one-half, as well as our cottons. We may often, by trading with foreigners, obtain their commodities at a smaller expense of labour and capital than they cost to the foreigners themselves. The bargain is still advantageous to the foreigner, because the commodity which he receives in exchange, though it has cost us less, would have cost him more."
To illustrate the cases in which interchange of commodities will not, and those in which it will, take place between two countries, Mr. Mill, in his Elements of Political Economy,:): makes the supposition, that Poland has an advantage over England in the production both of cloth and of corn. He first supposes the advantage to be of equal amount in both commodities: the cloth and the corn, each of which required 100 days labour in Poland, requiring
• Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, Essay 1.
t I at one time believed Mr. Ricardo to have been the sole author of the doctrine now universally received by political economists, on the nature and measure of the benefit which a country derives from foreign trade. But Colonel Torrens, by the republication of one of his early writings. The Economists Refuted, has established at least a joint claim with Mr. Ricardo to the origination of the doctrine, and an exclusive one to its earliest publication.
X Third ed. p. 120.