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productiveness affords more abundant leisure, improvement advances. As soon again, as, by improved intellectual power, man begins to discover and apply the laws of nature, a vast accession is made to the power of human productiveness. Henceforth, these two forces conspire to assist each other. Increased productiveness allows of increased time for investigation, discovery, and invention; and discovery and invention increase the power of productiveness. The more actively these act and re-act upon each other, the more rapid is the progress of society, and the more rapidly accelerated is the movement of civilization.
If this be so, we see how puerile is the prejudice which frequently exists against the use of laborsaving machinery, since the introduction of such machinery, more than any thing else, tends permanently to improve the condition of the laborer. We see, also, how groundless is the opinion, that education and science are without practical benefit, and that philosophers and students are merely a useless burthen upon the community; since it is knowledge which has given to us all the advantages which we possess over savages, and it is the application of that knowledge, which furnishes employment for ninetenths of the whole community. We see, also, how short-sighted is that national selfishness, which desires to limit and restrict the intercourse between nations; since it is for the interest of each nation to improve, to the utmost, its own advantages, and to procure, by exchange with other nations, those productions for the creation of which it possesses, by nature, inferior facilities.
OF THE LAWS WHICH GOVERN THE APPLICATION OF LABOR
We have, thus far, considered capital and labor, separately, and have endeavored to analyze the nature and functions of each. It is manifest, however, that we have not yet exhausted the subject. In many countries, a vast amount of capital and of labor has never yet been employed. In other countries, capital and labor have been united at different periods, with different degrees of success. Hence, while some nations have rapidly accumulated wealth, the wealth of others has remained, for years, stationary; and in others, it has diminished. The most fertile soils of Europe and Asia, once the garden of the world, now under the despotism of Turkey, scarcely maintain their sparsely settled inhabitants. It remains for us, therefore, to proceed with our investigation, in order, if possible, to ascertain the laws which influence the application of labor to capital.
THE CONDITIONS OF OUR BEING, ON WHICH THE LAWS ON
THIS SUBJECT ARE FOUNDED.
In order to arrive at the truth with the greater certainty, it will be proper to consider the circumstances under which man is placed, with reference to the universe around him, so far as this subject is considered.
1. God has created man with physical and intellectual faculties, adapted to labor. He has given us a mind, adapted to investigate the laws of the universe, and a body adapted to perform all those operations by which, in obedience to those laws, the objects of desire may be produced.
2. Labor has been made necessary to the attainment of the means of happiness. No valuable object of desire can be procured without it. Intellectual power cannot be attained without intellectual discipline; nor a knowledge of the laws of nature, without study. Neither physical comforts, nor even physical necessaries, can be obtained, unless labor be first expended to procure them. The universal law of our existence is, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.”
3. Labor is necessary to the healthful condition of our powers, both physical and intellectual. Without intellectual labor, the mind becomes enfeebled; and, were this labor wholly intermitted, it would sink into idiocy or madness. Without physical labor, the body, feeble and enervated, becomes a prey to pain and disease.
4. That labor, per se, is pleasant, it is not necessary to assert.
is sufficient to our purpose, that it is less painful than idleness and the results of idleness. The laborer complains of his toil, but deprive him of his opportunity for toil, and he becomes miserable. When men are, in our penitentiaries, condemned to solitary confinement, and labor or idleness are left purely to their own choice, they have never been known to continue longer than a few days, without beseeching, importunately, for work. The veterans who are supported at Greenwich Hospital, England, at the public expense, wholly without labor, are said
be, in general, very unhappy. The uncontrollable desire of children for some sort of employment, illustrates the same truth. Those persons who consider labor as degrading, obey the same law of our nature in another form. The gymnastic exercises of the
Greeks and Romans, and the hunting, riding, shooting, and traveling of the moderns, are nothing more than expensive modes of exercise or labor. The poor man exercises himself, the rich man employs a horse to exercise him. The one does expensively and unproductively, what the other does without expense and productively. Both equally yield obedience to the law of our creation; and, in what manner soever it is obeyed, both reap advantages, from the mere fact of obeying it.
5. On the contrary, the Creator has affixed several penalties, which those who disobey this law of their being, can never expect to escape. He who refuses to labor with his mind, suffers the penalty of igno
The amount of this penalty may be estimated, by considering the blessings, both physical and intellectual, of which ignorance deprives us; and by contrasting the comforts of savage with those of civilized nations, where the physical effort, made by both, is the same. He who refuses to labor with his hands, suffers, besides the pains of disease, all the evils of poverty, cold, hunger, and nakedness. The results which our Creator has attached to idleness, are all to be considered as punishments, which he inflicts for the neglect of this established law of our being.
6. And, on the other hand, God has assigned to industry, rich and abundant rewards. • The hand of the diligent maketh rich." 66 Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." The pleasure, the independence, and the power arising from knowledge, are the rewards of intellectual industry. “A wise man is strong, yea, a man of understanding increaseth strength." And it is only by physical labor, that the riches of the earth are appropriated, and the laws of nature made available to the happiness of man. At the first, there existed nothing in our world but the earth, with its spontaneous productions, and capabilities, and helpless and defenceless
man. All that now exists of capital, of convenience, of comfort, and of intelligence, is the work of industry, and is the reward which God has bestowed upon us for obedience to the law of our being.
7. If such be the facts; if God have given to all men faculties for labor; if he have made labor necessary to our happiness; if he have attached the severest penalties to idleness, and have proffered the richest rewards to industry; it would seem reasonable to conclude, that all that was required of us, was, so to construct the arrangements of society, as to give free scope to the laws of Divine Providence. If he have excited us to labor by sufficient rewards, and deterred us from indolence by sufficient penalties, it would seem that our business must be, to give to these rewards and penalties their free and their intended operation. These, at any rate, should be the means first tried, in order to facilitate production; nor should any others be resorted to, until these have been tried and found ineffectual.
The effects of this constitution, under which we are placed, will, I think, be fully exerted, in proportion as the following conditions are observed :
1. As every man is permitted to enjoy, in the most unlimited manner, the advantages of labor.
2. As every man suffers the consequences of idle
And, these being equal,
3. Labor will be applied to capital, according to the ratio which subsists between the whole amount of capital and the whole number of laborers; that is, the greater the ratio of capital to the number of laborers, the more active will be their industry, and vice versa. And,
4. Labor will be applied to capital, in proportion to the knowledge which men possess of the advantages which they shall obtain by labor; that is, the greater the intelligence, the greater the industry. To these several topics, the remaining sections of this chapter will be devoted.