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BOO K ing them to market, according to the lowest rate
at which labour can any-where be paid, the bare fubfiftence of the iabourer. The workman muft always have been fed in some way or other while he was about the work; but the landlord may not always have been paid. The profits of the trade which the servants of the East India Company carry on in Bengal may not perhaps be very far from this rate.
The proportion which the usual market rate of interest ought to bear to the ordinary rate of clear profit, necessarily varies as profit rises or falls. Double interest is in Great Britain reckoned, what the merchants call, a good, moderate, reasonable profit; terms which I apprehend mean no more than a common and usual profit. In a country where the ordinary rate of clear profit is eight or ten per cent, it may be reasonable that one half of it should go to intereft, wherever business is carried on with borrowed money. The stock is at the risk of the borrower, who, as it were, infures it to the lender; and four or five per cent. may, in the greater part of trades, be both a fufficient
profit upon the risk of this insurance, and a fufficient recompence for the trouble of employing the stock. But the proportion between intereft and clear profit might not be the same in countries where the ordinary rate of profit was either a good deal lower, or a good deal higher. If it were a good deal lower, one half of it perhaps could not be afforded for intereft; and
more might be afforded if it were a good deal c H AP. higher.
In countries which are fast advancing to riches, the low rate of profit may, in the price of many commodities, compensate the high wages of labour, and enable those countries to fell as cheap as their less thriving neighbours, among whom the wages of labour
be lower. In reality high profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages. If in the linen manufacture, for example, the wages of the different working people, the flax-dreffers, the fpinners, the weavers, &c. fhould, all of them, be advanced two pence a day; it would be necessary to heighten the price of a piece of linen only by a number of two pences equal to the number of people that had been employed about it, multiplied by the number of days during which they had been so employed. That part of the price of the commodity which resolved itself into wages would, through all the different stages of the manufacture, rise only in arithmetical proportion to this rise of wages. But if the profits of all the different employers of those working people should be raised five per cent. that part of the price of the commodity which resolved itself into profit, would, through all the different stages of the manufacture, rise in geometrical proportion to this rise of profit. The employer of the flax-dreffers would in felling his flax require an additional five per cent. upon the whole value of the materials and wages which he advanced to his workmen. The employer of
the linen yarn
BOO K the spinners would require an additional five per
cent. both upon the advanced price of the flax
wages of the weavers. In raising the price of commodities the rise of wages operates in the same manner as fimple interest does in the accumulation of debt. The rise of profit operates like compound interest. Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby leffening the fale of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are filent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.
of Labour and Stock.
HE whole of the advantages and disad. CH A P.
vantages of the different employments of labour and stock muft, in the same neighbourhood, be either perfectly equal or continually tending to equality. If in the same neighbourhood, there was any employment evidently either more or less advantageous than the rest, fo many people would crowd into it in the one case, and fo many would desert it in the other, that its advantages would foon return to the level of other employments. This at least would be the cafe in a fociety where things were left to follow their natural course, where there was perfect liberty, and where every man was perfeetly free both to chuse what occupation he thought proper, and to change it as often as he thought proper. Every man's interest would prompt him to seek the advantageous, and to shun the disadvantageous employment,
Pecuniary wages and profit, indeed, are everywhere in Europe extremely different according to the different employments of labour and stock. But this difference arises partly from certain circumstances in the employments themselves, which, either really, or at least in the imaginations of
for a small pecu. up
BOO K niary gain in fome, and counter-balance a great
one in others; and partly from the policy of Europe, which no-where leaves things at perfect liberty.
The particular confideration of those circum. stances and of that policy will divide this chapter into two parts.
stances which, so far as I have been able to observe, make up for a small pecuniary gain in fome employments, and counter-balance a great one in others: first, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves ; secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expence of learning them ; thirdly, the constancy or inconftancy, of employment in them ; fourthly, the small or great truft which must be reposed in those who exercise them; and fifthly, the probability or improbability of fuccess in them.
First, The wages of labour vary with the ease or hardship, the cleanliness or dirtiness, the honourableness or dishonourableness of the employment. Thus in most places, take the year round, a journeyman taylor earns less than a journeyman weaver. His work is much easier. A journeyman weaver earns less than a journey. man smith. His work is not always easier, but