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the exchange unfavourable, arises from a permanent cause. In that case, what disturbed the equilibrium must have been the state of prices, and it can only be restored by acting on prices. It is impossible that prices should be such as to invite to an excess of imports, and yet the exports should be kept permanently up to the imports by the extra profit on exportation derived from the premium on bills; for if the exports were kept up to the imports, bills would not be at a premium, and the extra profit would not exist. It is through the prices of commodities that the correction must be administered.
Disturbances, therefore, of the equilibrium of imports and exports, and consequent disturbances of the exchange, may be considered as of two classes; the one casual or accidental, which, if not on too large a scale, correct themselves through the premium on bills, without any transmission of the precious metals: the other arising from the general state of prices, which cannot be corrected without the subtraction of actual money from the circulation of one of the countries, or an annihilation of credit equivalent to it;
since the mere transmission of bullion (as distinguished from money), not having any effect on prices, is of no avail to abate the cause from which the disturbance proceeded.
It remains to observe, that the exchanges do not depend on the balance of debts and credits with each country separately, but with all countries taken together. England may owe a balance of payments to France; but it does not follow that the exchange with Francowill be against England, and that bills on France will be at a premium; because a balance may be due to England from Holland or Hamburgh, and she may pay her debts to France with billson those places; which is technically called arbitration of exchange. There is some little additional expense, partly commission and partly loss of interest,, in settling debts in this circuitousmanner, and to the extent of that small difference the exchange with one country may vary apart from that with others; but in the main, the exchanges with all foreign countries vary together, according as the country has a balance to receive or to pay on the general result of its foreign transactions.
OP THE DISTRIBUTION OP THE PRECIOUS METALS THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL WORLD.
§ 1. Hating: now examined the mechanism by which the commercial transactions between nations are actually conducted, we have next to inquire whether this mode of conducting them makes any difference in the conclusions respecting international values, which we previously arrived at on the hypothesis of barter.
The nearest analogy would lead us to presume the negative. We did not find that the intervention of money and its substitutes made any difference in the law of value as applied to adjacent places. Things which would have been
equal in value if the mode of exchange had been by barter, are worth equal sums of money. The introduction of money is a mere addition of one more commodity, of which the value is regulated by the game laws as that of all other commodities. We shall not besurprised, therefore, if we find that international values also are determined' bv the same causes under a money and bill system, as they would be under a system of barter; and that money has little to do in the matter, except to furnish a convenient mode of comparing values.
AH interchange is, in substance and effect, barter: whoever sells commodities for money, and with that money buys other goods, really buys those goods with his own commodities. And so of nations: their trade is a mere exchange of exports for imports; and whether money is employed or not, things are only in their permanent state when the exports and imports exactly pay for each other. When this is the case, equal sums of money are due from each country to the other, the debts are settled by bills, and there is no balance to be paid in the precious metals. The trade is in a state like that which is called in mechanics a condition of stable equilibrium.
But the process by which things are brought back to this state when they happen to deviate from it, is, at least outwardly, not the same in a barter system and in a money system. Under the first, the country which wants more imports than its exports will pay for, must offer its exports at a cheaper rate, as the sole means of creating a demand for them sufficient to re-establish the equilibrium. When money is used, the country seems to do a thing totally different. She takes the additional imports at the same price as before, and as she exports no equivalent, the balance of payments turns against her; the exchange becomes unfavourable, and the difference has to be paid in money. This is in appearance a very distinct operation from the former. Let ns see if it differs in its essence, or only in its mechanism.
Let the country which has the balance to pay be England, and the country which receives it, France. By this transmission of the precious metals, the quantity of tho currency is diminished in England, and increased in France. This I am at liberty to assume. As wo shall see hereafter, it would be a very erroneous assumption if made in regard to all payments of international balances. A balance which has only to be paid once, such as tho payment made for an extra importation of corn in a season of dearth, may be paid from hoards, or from the reserves of bankers, without acting on the cir
culation. But we are now supposing that there is an excess of imports over exports, arising from the fact that the equation of international demand is not yet established: that there is at the ordinary prices a permanent demand in England for more French goods than the English goods required in France at the ordinary prices will pay for. When this is the case, if a change were not made in the prices, there would be a perpetually renewed balance to be paid in money. The imports require to be permanently diminished, or the exports to be increased; which can only be accomplished through prices; and hence, even if the balances are at first paid from hoards, or by tho exportation of bullion, they will reach the circulation at last, for until they do, nothing can stop the drain.
When, therefore, the state of prices is such that tho equation of international demand cannot establish itself, the country requiring more imports than can be paid for by the exports; it is a sign that the country has more of the precious metals or their substitutes, in circulation, than can permanently circulate, and must necessarily part with some of them before the balance can be restored. The currency is accordingly contracted: prices fall, and among the rest, the prices of exportable articles; for which, accordingly, there arises, in foreign countries, a greater demand: while imported commodities have possibly risen in price, from the influx of money into foreign countries, and at all events have not participated in the general fall. But until the increased cheapness of English goods induces foreign countries to take a greater pecuniary value, or until the increased dearncss (positive or comparative) of foreign goods makes England take a less pecuniary value, the exports of England will be no nearer to paying for the imports than before, and the stream of the precious metals which had begun to flow out of England, will still flow on. This efflux will continue, until the fall of prices in England brings within reach of the foreign market some commodity which England did not previously send thither; or until the reduced price of the things which she did send, has forced a demand abroad for a sufficient quantity to pay for the imports, aided, perhaps, by a reduction of the English demand for foreign goods, through their enhanced price, either positive or comparative.
Now this is the very process which took place on our original supposition of barter. Not only, therefore, does the trade between nations tend to the same equilibrium between exports and imports, whether money is employed or not, but the means by which this equilibrium is established are essentially the same. The country whose exports are not sufficient to pay for her imports, offers them on cheaper terms, until she succeeds in forcing the necessary demand: in other words, the Equation of International Demand, under a money system as well as under a barter system, is the law of international trade. Every country exports atid imports the very same things, and in the very same quantity, under the one system as under the other. In a barter system, the trade gravitates to the point at which the sum of the imports exactly exchanges for the sum of the exports: in a money system, it gravitates to the point at which the sum of the imports and the sum of the exports exchange for the same quantity of money. And since things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another, the exports and imports which are equal in money price, would, if money were not used, precisely exchange for one another.*
• The subjoined extract from the separate Essay previously referred to, will give some assistance in following the course of the phenomena. It is adapted to the imaginary case used for illustration throughout that Essay, the case of a trade between England and Germany in cloth and linen.
"We may at first make whatever supposition we will with respect to the value of money. Let us suppose, therefore, that before the opening of the trade, the price of iluth is the same in both countries, namely, six shillings per yard. As 10 yards of cloth were supposed to exchange in England for 16 yards of linen, in Germany for 20, we must suppose that linen is sold in England at four shillings per yard, in Germany at three.
§ 2. It thus appears that the law of international values, and, consequently, the division of the advantages of trade among the nations which carry it on, are the same on the supposition of money, as they would be in a'state of barter. In international, as in ordinary domestic interchanges, money is to commerce only what oil is to machinery, or railways to locomotion, a contrivance to diminish friction. In order still further to test these conclusions, let us proceed to re-examine, on the supposition of money, a question which we nave already investigated on the hypothesis of barter, namely, to what extent the benefit of an improvement in the production of an exportable article, is participated in by the countries importing it.
The improvement may either consist in the cheapening of some article which was already a staple production of the country, or in the establishment of some new branch of industry, or of some process rendering an article exportable which had not till then been exported at all. It will be convenient to begin with the case of a new export, as being somewhat the simpler of the two.
The first effect is that the article falls in price, and a demand arises for it abroad. This new exportation disturbs the balance, turns the exchanges, money flows into the country (which we shall suppose to be England), and continues to flow until prices rise. This higher range of prices will somewhat check the demand in foreign countries for the new article of export; and will diminish the demand which existed abroad for the other things whicb
Cost of carriage and importer's profit are left, as before, out of consideration.
"In this state of prices, cloth, it is evident, cannot yet be exported from England into Germany: but linen can be imported from Germany into England. It will be so: and, in the first instance, the linen will be paid for in money.
M The efflux of money from England, and its influx into Germany, will raise money prices in the latter country, and lower them in the former. Linen will rise in Germany above three shillings per yard, and cloth above six shilling. Linen in England, being imported from Germany, will (since cost of carriage is not reckoned) sink to the same price as in that country, while cloth will fall England was in the habit of exporting. The exports will thus be diminished; while at the same time the English public, having more money, will have a greater power of purchasing foreign commodities. If they make use of this
below six shillings. As soon as the price of cloth is lower in England than in Germany, it will begin to be exported, and the price of sloth in Germany will fall to what it is in England. As long as the cloth exported does not suffice to pay for the linen imported, money will continue to flow from Kngland into Germany, and prices generally will continue to fall in England and rise in Germany. By the fall, however, of cloth in England, cloth will fall in Germany also, and the demand for it will increase. By the rise of linen in Germany, linen must rise in England also, and the demand for it will diminish. As cloth fell in price and linen rose, there would be some particular price of both articles, atVhich the cloth exported and the linen imported would exactly pay for each other. At this point prices would remain, because money would then cease to move out of England into Germany. What this point might be, would entirely depend upon the circumstances and inclinations of the purchasers on both sides. If the fall of cloth did not much increase the demand for it in Germany, and the rise of linen did not diminish very rapidly the demand for it in England, much money must pass before the equilibrium is restored ; cloth would fall very much, and linen would rise, until England, perhaps, had to pay nearly as much for it as when she produced it for herself. But if, on the contrary, the fall of cloth caused a very rapid increase of the demand for it in Germany, and the rise of linen in Germany reduced very rapidly the demand in England from what it was under the influence of the first cheapness produced by the opening of the trade; the cloth would very soon suffice to pay for the linen, little money would pass between the two countries, and England would derive a large portion of the benefit of the trade. We have thus arrived at precisely the same conclusion, in supposing the employment of money, which we found to hold under the supposition of barter.
"In what shape the benefit accrues to the two nations from the trade is clear enough. Germany, before the commencement of the trade, paid six shillings per yard for broadcloth: she now obtains it at a lower- price. This, however, is not the whole of her advantage. As the money-prices of all her other commodities have risen, the moneyincomes of all her producers have increased. This is no advantage to them in buying from each ether, because the price of what they buy has risen in the same ratio with their means of paying for it: but it is an advantage to them in buying anything which has not risen, and, still more, anything which has fallen. They, therefore, benefit as consumers of cloth, not merely to the extent to
increased power of purchase, there will be an increase of imports; and by this, and the check to exportation, the equilibrium of imports and exports will be restored. The result to foreign countries will be, that they have to
which cloth has fallen, but also to the extent to which other prices have risen. Suppose that this is one-tenth. The same proportion of their money-incomes as before, will suffice to supply their other wants; and the remainder, being increased one-tenth in amount, will enable them to purchase onetenth more cloth than before, even though cloth had not fallen : but it has fallen ; so that they are doubly gainers. They purchase the same quantity with less money, and have more to expend upon their other wants.
*' In England, on the contrary, general money-prices have fallen. Linen, however, has fallen more than the rest, having been lowered in price by importation from a country where it was cheaper; whereas the others have fallen only from the consequent efflux of money. Notwithstanding, therefore, the general fall of money-prices, the English producers will be exactly as they were in all .other respects, while they will gain as purchasers of linen.
"The greater the efflux of money required to restore the equilibrium, the greater will be the gain of Germany, both by the fall of cloth and by the rise of her general prices. The less the efflux of money requisite, the greater will be the gain of England; because the price of linen will continue lower, and her general prices will not be reduced so much. It must not, however, be imagined that high money-prices are a good, and low money-prices an evil, in themselves. But the higher the general money-prices in any country, the greater will be that country's means of purchasing those commodities, which, being imported from abroad, are independent of the causes which keep prices high at home."
In practice, the cloth and the linen would noL, as here supposed, be at the same price in England and in Germany: each would be dearer in money-price in the country which imported than in that which produced it, by the amount of the cost of carriage, together with the ordinary profit on the importer's capital for the average length of time whicb elapsed before the commodity could be disposed of. But it does not follow that each country pays the cost of carriage of the commodity it imports; for the addition of this item to the price may operate as a greater check to demand on one side than on the other; and the equation of international demand, and consequent equilibrium of payments, may not be maintained. Money would then flow out of one country into the other, until, in the manner already illustrated, the equilibrium was restored: and, when this was effected, one country would be paying more than its own cost of carriage; and the other less.
pay dearer than before for their other imports, and obtain the new commodity cheaper than before, but not so much cheaper as England herself does. I say this, being well aware that the article would be actually at the very same price (cost of carriage excepted) in England and in other countries. The cheapness, however, of the article is not measured solely by the moneyprice, but by that price compared with the money incomes of the consumers. The price is the same to the English and to the foreign consumers; but the former pay that price from money incomes which have been increased by the new distribution of the precious metals; while the latter have had their money incomes probably diminished by the same cause. The trade, therefore, has not imparted to the foreign consumer the whole, but only a portion, of the benefit which the English consumer has derived from the improvement; while England has also benefited in the prices of foreign commodities. Thus, then, any industrial improvement which leads to the opening of a new branch of export trade, benefits a country not only by the cheapness of the article in which the improvement has taken place, but by a general cheapening of all imported products.
Let us now change the hypothesis, and suppose that the improvement, instead of creating a new export from England, cheapens an existing one. When we examined this case on the supposition of barter, it appeared to us that the foreign consumers might either obtain the same benefit from the improvement as England herself, or a less benefit, or even a greater benefit, according to the degree in which the consumption of the cheapened article is calculated to extend itself as the article diminishes in price. The same conclusions will be found true on the supposition of money.
Let the commodity in which there is an improvement, be cloth. The first effect of the improvement is that its price falls, and there is an increased demand for it in the foreign market. But this demand is of uncertain amount. Suppose the foreign consumers to in
crease their purchases in the exact ratio of the cheapness, or in other words, to lay out in cloth the same sum of money as before; the same aggregate payment as before will be due from foreign countries to England; the equilibrium of exports and imports, will remain undisturbed, and foreigners will obtain the full advantage of the increased cheapness of cloth. But it the foreign demand for cloth is of such a character as to increase in a greater ratio than the cheapness, a larger sum than formerly will be due to England for cloth, and when paid will raise English prices, the price of cloth included; this rise, however, will affect only the foreign purchaser, English incomes being raised in a corresponding proportion; and the foreign consumer will thus derive a less advantage than England from the improvement. If, on the contrary, the cheapening of cloth, does not extend the foreign demand for it in a proportional degree, a less sum of debts than before will bo due to England for cloth, while there will be the usual sum of debts due from England to foreign countries; the balance of trade will turn against England, money will be exported, prices (that of cloth included) will fall, and cloth will eventually be cheapened to the foreign purchaser in a still greater ratio than the improvement has cheapened it toEngland. These are the very conclusions which we deduced on the hypothesis of barter.
The result of the preceding discussion cannot be better summed up than in the words of Bicardo.* "Gold and silver having been chosen for the general medium of circulation, they are, by the competition of commerce, distributed in such proportions amongst the different countries of the world as to accommodate themselves to the natural traffic which would take place if no such metals existed, and the trade between countries were purely a trade of barter." Of this principle, so fertile in consequences, previous to which the theory of foreign trade was an unintelligible chaos, Mr. Bicardo, though he;
* Trincip'ci of Politics! Economy and Taxation, 3rd ed. p. 143.