網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

ing to this statement, is about ten and a half bushels to the acre. But instead of denying the indisputable fact, shown by the censuis report, that the New England States bad decreased in agricultural production, wbile they had increased in population-showing that manufactories had not in this instance reacted upon the land to increase its fertility, as assumed by Dr. Smith, Mr. Baird contents himself with showing that, potwithstanding this decrease of production of the manufacturing States, they still produce more corn and grain per acre than several of the other States; but forgets to tell us whether the difference arises from the peculiarities of soil, or climate, or both. The difference, however, is but slight, being in some instances only one bushel in favor of Massachusetts; but this fact has nothing to do with the decrease of the fertility of those particular States.

In looking at these circumstances, it appears singular that our opponept and Mr. Carey should not be able to see that the evils of which they complain would only be aggravated, instead of remedied, by a protective tariff. The land produces upon the average ten-and-a-half bushels to the acre-deducting seed, say nine bushels. How would it be more profitable to those who have to live out of the nine bushels, to pay one busbel more tban necessary for their clothing? This would lessen the rate of profit upon capital in general. Who, then, would be benefited ? Not the manufacturer; for he could not obtain a superior rate of profit to tbat obtained from the land or if he did for a short time, capital would 800n be attracted to manufactures, and bring down the rate to the common level. But if we were to adınit, contrary to experience in this country, that the land around the manufacturing cities would increase in fertility, it could not increase the general rate of profit-the extra amount would certainly go into the pocket of the neighboring land owner, in the shape of increased rent. Therefore, in our opinion, no other person can really be benefited by what is called the protective system. On the contrary, great evils would accrue from excessive Auctuation, without any good to balance the evil. But suppose the system to be adopted ; how would it effect the general farming interest of the nation? If, in the neighborhood of manufacturing cities, the increase of fertility should be sufficient to lower the price of raw produce, the condition of the farmer elsewhere would be deteriorated; but we know from experience, that would not be the case. On the other hand, admitting the price not to be affeeted, the land owners in the neighborhood of the manufacturing cities would be the only gainers. Tbe only remedies that we can see for the evil of a decreased rate of profit, are to be found in a more economical system of taxation, improved agriculture, and steady industry, promoted by the removal of all causes of fluctuation, both in currency and tariff.

One thing, however, is certain, that if the land only produces ten bushels of wheat to the acre, the profit of twenty cannot be divided, by any system of legerdemain we may chose to adopt. The saving of 7-32ds, or 5-16ths of a penny upon the cost of transportation of a pound of cotton to and from the manufacturers, while we increase the price of the manu. factured article 20 or 30 per cent by a tax, would only increase the evil. But we do not believe this would be exactly the case notwithstanding. Why should high duties act differently in this country than they do in others? We find a paragrapb in the Daily Tribune, of December 6tb, 1859, to the following effect :-"A French Protestant journal asserts that the high duties on English manufactures have failed in preventing competition. Light goods from Manchester, suitable for the Arab market, were ordered, by way of experiment, and notwithstanding import duties and expenses, they were found to be 10 per cent lower than the same kind of French goods.” Our opponent can account for this little circumstance at his leisure. We will now pass to Ricardo's Theory of Rent.

Our opponent, in introducing the subject, states his case in his own way; to which, however, we have no particular objection, except we think it is not quite complete. But it is now twenty years since we read Ricardo's work, and as we have it not at hand, it is quite possible we may be mistaken. But it strikes us, that in attempting to account for the enormous increase of rents in the neighborhood of large towns, he attributes it to the different relative amounts of capital laid out upon their cultivation, which be calls doses. These different amounts or doses of capital, being in the end sacrificed to the land owner, because it was more profitable than extending cultivation upon the poorer soils. Now, lowever this might seem to accurd with the rest of his theory, it was not exactly true in fact. Adam Smith stated the principle of rent more correctly, though, as our opponent would say, he did not elaborate it; and yet Ricardo, like Malthus, was indebted to him for the foundaiion of his doctrine. We quote from book lst chapt. llih, (Rent of Lands) “ Wealth of Nations.”—“The rent of land, says the writer, not only varies with its fertility, whatever be its produce, but with its situation, whatever be its fertility. Land in the neighborhood of a town gives a greater rent than land equally fertile in a distant part of the country. Though it may cost no more labor to cultivate the one than the other, it must always cost most to bring the produce of the distant land to market. A greater quantity of labor, there!ore, must be maintained out of it; and the surplus, from which are drawn both the profit of the farmer and the rent of the landlord, must be diminished." The principle of rent is here clearly and concisely stated, and it is as percei tible at every street corner, wbere a business-house is to be built, as it is in the case of land contiguous to a city, used for agricultural purposes-a saving of labor, and an increase of capital, are synonimous operations. All produce being sold at the same price in the market, an extra profit is obtained, over and above the common rate upon other investments, by land tbat happens to be comparatively more fertile, or nearest the point of consumption. The principle of rent, no doubt, produces inequality in society; but denying its existence will not destroy it, nor render it less effective. There is only one equal or democratic mode of taxation; that is, the tax direct. If the principle of rent, laid down by Smith and Ricardo be not true, will Mr. Baird explain, in his next, how it is that the money value of land, as well as the rent, has more than doubled since a free trade has been established in food in Great Britain ? We pass now to the principles of Malthus, which ure, as Mr. Baird seems to think indissolubly connected with that of rent.

We quote the passage which he has given us, in his last article. It is as follows:--" That population bas a constant tendency to increase beyond the means of subsistence, and that it is kept to its necessary level by the absence of the meuns of subsistence. The difficulty arising from want of food must be constantly in operation, and must fall somewhere, and must necessarily be severely felt in some one other of the various forins of misery by a large portion of mankind.”

Let us now quote a passage from Adam Smith, from whom, among others, Malthus, in his preface to his second edition, acknowledges that he obtained the principle. The passage reads as follows :—“Every species of animal naturally multiplies in proportion to the means of their subsistence, and no species can ever multiply beyond it. But in civilized society, it is only in the inferior ranks of people that the scantiness of subsistence can set limits to further multiplication of the human species ; and it can do so in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children wbich their fruitful marriages produce." We take the following also from the same page of the “ Wealth of Nations :"_" In some places one-half of the children die before they are four years of age, and in many places before they are seven, and in almost all places before they are nine or ten," (book lst, chap. 8th.)

Now we should really be obliged to Mr. Baird if he can point out the difference in principle between the passages we have quoted from Smith and Malthus, for it is more than we can undertake to do; and we hope to be excused for thinking that, if he had been better acquainted with the writings of Dr. Smith and "his followers of the English school,” he would not have made such sweeping assertions. In fact, if Malthus, Ricordo, and the free traders are to be swept away, there will be nothing left of Smith. But Mr. Baird, in contradiction to his followers, pays Dr. Smith several very high compliments—among others, the following:

“In the Wealth of Nations, its author keeps in view, and makes reference from first to last, to the teachings of actual experience.” This we take to be a fact, and think the compliment well deserved ; we shall, therefore, endeavor to upbold our opponent's assertion upon this particular point. With respect to the excessive mortality among the children of ihe poor, Dr. Smith's ob:ervations are very correct-it prevails especially in large cities. It appears by the record of births and deaths in the city of New York, that nearly 40 per cent of the children die in the first year, and this mortality is increased to more than sixty per cent before attaining the age of five years. Infanticide and still births have also increased, within the half century, from two-and-a-half per cent to eigbt. But this rate is even slight, compared with some of the European cities. We find it stated in a London paper a few years ago, that a French surgeon had computed the mortality of the children born in the city of Lille-that in a certain quarter 96 per cent of the children born died before the age of three years; and it was also read from the tribune by the French Minister of the Interior, from an official document, that out of 21,000 children born in Manchester, (England) 20,700 died before attaining the age of five years—(98 per cent.) Thus we agree with Mr. Baird on two points—first that Dr. Smith, “in his teachings, had reference to actual experience," and secondly, " that over-population has really never existed;" but we cannot forget, that it is the children of the poor that are made the scape goats for the salvation of the rich ; but deny. ing the fact will not remedy the evil. What does it matter about Mr. Carey's “ careful reference to the history of the world,” to prove "that man commenced the work of cultivation on the higher grounds, and then descended to the richer and heavier soils " the circumstance, whether true or false, is now not of the least consequence—but we think that Mr. Baird's admissions prove a little too much for his case. He says " with an increase of numbers, there is an increase of power of association, and an increase of wealth, and a constantly augmenting ability to obtain control over the rich heavy soils of the valleys and river bottoms." Now this is carefully worded, and rather non-committal ; but we must be allowed to translate the passage.

The increase of pumbers, of course, means a relative increase of people to production ; power of association, &c., division of labor, invention of machinery, and consequent increase of circulating capital, which our opponent here calls wealth. These circumstances, then, enable society to cultivate the heavier soils, cheaper or more effective labor-a larger amount of circulating capital invested in various ways-draining, improved machinery, and emollients for the amelioration of the soil. It then resolves itself into a question of calculation, wbether the extra crop more than compensates for the extra capital employed-if it does not, no part of society can possibly be benefited. On the contrary, if it does make more tban a relative return, the land owner, as we have seen, is the only party benefieted. But why speculate further upon the matter, when the statistics of the last census of the United States, as well as those of England and all other countries, prove the fallacy of Mr. Carey's assumptions. He may still contend, “ that of the yield of land capital receives an increasing quantity, arising out of an increasing yield, &c.; but in our opinion Mr. Baird has failed to show that Mr. Carey has one veritable fact to stand upon. He has himself virtually admitted the comparative decrease of the productions of the land in the United States; but he complains that we have“ vainly attempted to prove a greater decline of fertility in those States, which have some manufacturers, than in those that have none." But Mr. Baird is mistaken in this matter. We certainly made no particular effort to prove anything; we merely stated the facts from the census report; but we certainly considered them sufficient. But we are told that capital receives an increasing remuneration, but a decreasing proportion, from this increased yield. It would be ridiculous, however, to controvert this assertion, as every one knows, who is at all acquainted with these subjects, that the rate of profit has a tendency to decrease in all countries, and in all ages, from causes already explained. But it is useless to follow the fallacies of Mr. Carey-we could quote Adam Smith by the page against them, and yet Mr. Baird tauntingly asks,“ who more nearly approaches the position of teacher of these doctrines of Adam Smith, Mr. Carey, or myself?" Let us see. We now quote a short paragraph, respecting the proportion of rent, (from book 1st, chap. 9th-conclusion of chapter on rent.) In speaking of the increase of rent Dr. Smith says:-" That rise in the real price of those parts of the rude produce of land which is first the effect of extended improvement and cultivation, and afterwards the cause of being still further extended--the rise in the price of cattle, for example-tends, tvo, to raise the rent of land directly, and in a still greater proportion. The real value of the land owner's share, his real command of the labor of other people, not only rises with the real value of the produce, but the proportion of his share to the whole produce rises with ii." If this paragraph had been written for the purpose of contradicting Mr. Carey's assumptions respecting the division of profit, it could not have been more concise, nor more complete. But let us show from actual circumstances that Dr. Smith's statement is correct, and consequently that Mr. Carey's assertions are unfounded. Let us quote from the December number of the Merchants' Magazine, (page 747, “Commerce in Animals," &c.) The writer, speaking of the transportation of animals by railway, &c., makes the following remarks:

“ The effect of this change has been to increase largely the number of cattle transported on railroads, and the number also carried to the eastern markets. This whole class of business is taken from the canals, steamboats, and common roads, and done by the railroads. Another effect, and a very important one, is to give better prices to western cattle raisers; for the reduction of freights is not taken off from New York prices, but is added to the first price of the cattle. This is curious, but is almost the universal effect of improved transportation. In fact, the rapid increase of town population causes the demand to be steadily pressing against the supply." There is, therefore, no opportunity for a fall in price at the point of consumption. If the supply is gradually increased by transportation, it is met by increased demand. The reduction on transportation, enures directly to the benefit of the producer; and the western farmer has received all the advantages accruing from the beneficial effects of railroads on the transportation of produce. Thus we have daily exemplification of the truth of Adam Smith's doctrines, " that every improvement in the circumstances of society tends, either directly or indirectly, to raise the real rent of land, to increase the real wealth of the landlord-his power of purchasing the labor or the produce of the labor of other people.” Under these circumstances, shall we cease to follow our old guides, and take up with the new theory, that the supply of food increases faster than the demand? It makes no difference, whether the improvement takes place in the cultivation of the soil, or in machinery, or in transportation; it is all one, and tends to the unequal aggrandisement of the land owner. In this particular case, the western land owner has been benefited exclusively-the laborer in large cities, has gained nothing by improved transportation, and the land owner in the neighborhood has not been injured in the price of his produce. We must now endeavor to conclude, as briefly as possible, as our article is already too long.

Mr. Baird, in bis last two or three paragraphs, boasts about Mr. Carey's harmonious and beautiful system ; that by an appeal to facts he has entirely reversed that of Ricardo and Malthus. But if this be the case, which we are not yet quite prepared to admit, we think that Adam Smith and others must go along with them. But we have one thing more to state upon this subject, which seems rather to contradict our opponent's assumptions. In the Daily Tribune,” of the 29th October, 1859, we find a review of Mr. Carey's work upon - Social Science," from which the writer seems to quote liberally, and the following is, we presume, Mr. Carey's language :-" The power to maintain life, and that of procreation, antagonize each other, that antagonism tending perpetually toward the establishment of an equilibrium." But this is not Mr. Carey's Pegasus, if I may be allowed such a poetic allusion; it is evidently a horse of another color. We have hitherto been told, in opposition to Smith, Malthus, and Ricardo, that food increases faster than population. But we are now told that there is an antagonism between the power to maintain life and that of procreation.

In other words, which Mr. Baird has himself given us from Malthus, "population has a tendency to increase beyond the means of subsistence.”

« 上一頁繼續 »