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HAVING, in the previous chapter, explained the nature and changes of Capital, we now proceed to treat of Industry. In doing this, we shall consider : 1st. The different objects of Human Industry; 2d. The forms of Human Industry; and, 3d. The modes by which the productive power of Human Industry may be increased.
THE OBJECTS AND FORMS OF HUMAN INDUSTRY.
THE DIFFERENT OBJECTS OF HUMAN INDUSTRY.
It has been seen, in the previous chapter, that the increase of capital; that is, the means of physical happiness to man, can be effected only by producing change, of some kind, in capital. But it is evident that this change cannot be produced without labor, since no valuable change is spontaneous. Hence, the great object of human industry is, to produce some valuable change in capital.
Now, the changes, which may be produced in the substances of nature, may all be reduced to three; change in the elementary form, change in the aggregate form, and change in place. To effect one or the other of these, all valuable human labor is directed.
1. Man may change the elementary form of matter. The farmer, by means of seed, manure, and
cultivation, aided by the agencies of the sun and the earth, of rain, and the atmosphere, transforms the elementary forms of carbon, gases, and water, into wheat. The chemist changes the elementary forms of acids and alkalies into salts. The dyer changes the elementary forms of iron and tannin into coloring matter; and the case is the same with the various other forms of human occupation.
2. Man may change the aggregate form of matter. The cabinet-maker changes the form of a board into that of a desk or a table; the smith, a piece of iron into a horse-shoe or a nail; the mason changes a pile of bricks and mortar into a wall; the cotton spinner, a bale of cotton into thread; the weaver, this thread into cloth. And, in general, the labor of mechanics and manufacturers is employed in effecting changes in the aggregate forms of matter.
3. Man may change the place of matter. Thus, the shipmaster transports a cargo of cotton from New York to Liverpool, and brings back a cargo of cotton goods, of crockery or of hardware. The teamster receives a wagon load of merchandise in one town, and transports it to another. The owner of a canal boat receives manufactured goods in Albany, transports them to Buffalo, and brings back to Albany, in return, a freight of agricultural produce. The agent of a railroad receives a hundred boxes of merchandise in Manchester, and transports them to Liverpool. And thus, also, a large number of the inhabitants of every populous town derive their subsistence, and frequently grow rich, simply by transporting wares and merchandise from one part of the town to another.
These divisions, in general, correspond with the agricultural, mechanical and commercial departments of human industry. I have adopted a different terminology, simply for the reason that it seems to me to form a more generic and better limited division, and one more conformable to the facts in the case.
1. Concerning these divisions, it is proper to remark, that, though these are the various objects of human industry, yet it frequently happens that, he who labors in one, is also obliged to labor in one or both of the others. Thus, the farmer who raises a crop, is obliged to transport the seed to the field, and frequently to transport his harvest to market. The cabinet-maker who manufactures a table, may transport his materials from the lumber yard. The engineer, on the railroad, is obliged to change the elementary form of wood, in order to produce the caloric, necessary to move his locomotive. We designate the class of laborers to which a man belongs, by the ultimate object which he has in view, in exercising his profession.
2. Each one of these forms of industry is equally important in conferring intrinsic value upon substances; that is, in giving them capacity to gratify human desire. Thus we see that the ore in the mine has no power to gratify desire, until it is made into iron or steel. The steel is valueless for the purpose of cutting, until it is transformed into a knife, an axe, or some cutting instrument; and, if I want to make a pen in New York, a knife is utterly valueless to me for this purpose, while it remains in Sheffield or Liverpool. Unless these several values are all conferred upon it, it would be of no service to me. Hence, in purchasing a knife, I pay for them all, and as willingly for one as the other.
3. Hence we see how incorrect is the notion sometimes advanced, that all wealth is the production of one or of two, and not of all these forms of human industry. All these changes must be effected in almost every article which we consume, and if either of them were to be suspended, our desires would not be gratified, and the other two must also be discontinued. He who transports flour, performs an act of as essential importance to the sustentation of the human race, as he who raises wheat. He who
brings a knife from Liverpool to me, performs a labor as important to me, as he who manufactures the knife; for, if it were three thousand miles off, it might, for all the purposes for which I want it, as well not be in existence. And yet more, if one of these forms of labor should cease, the others must soon cease with it. Of what value would wheat or wool be to the farmer, if they could not be transported from his farm ? And again : what gain could
? be derived from either, if there were no means of grinding the one, or of manufacturing the other? Hence we see that all the forms of industry mutually support, and are supported by, each other; and hence, also, we see that any jealousy between different classes of producers, or any desire on the one part, to obtain special advantages over the other, are unwise, and, in the end, self-destructive. The fact is, that if left to themselves, they all flourish, and they all suffer together. Nor can either one be depressed, for any considerable period, without injuriously affecting both the others.
These various forms of human industry enter, in different degrees, into the value of different articles of use. For instance, butchers' meat and green vegetables derive almost their whole value from the first kind of labor, as they require very little modification, and will bear but short transportation. On the contrary, salted provisions may derive a large portion of their value from change of place. Clothing, cutlery, and what are commonly denominated manufactures, derive the greater portion of their value from change in the aggregate form. The original material constitutes, in general, but a small part of their price, and, not being of great bulk, their transportation is not very expensive. The steel that would make a pair of razors, and the cost of transporting them from Sheffield or Paris to New York, would form but a very small portion of their price. On the contrary, bulky articles, such as coal and iron, derive a very large portion of their cost from
transportation. Coal, that has scarcely any exchangeable value in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, is sold for eight or ten dollars a ton in Providence. And all the labor employed upon it, is that which is necessary for breaking it in pieces, and removing it from its bed to the house of the consumer.
As, however, the human race is scattered over the face of the globe, and as their wants in all latitudes are so nearly the same, while no country affords facilities for supplying more than a very small number of these wants, it is evident that the labor employed in change of place must, in civilized countries, be the most universal, and must enter essentially into the greatest number of commodities. Of this every one will be convinced, who will take any article of dress, of furniture or of food, and consider the amount of transportation that has entered into its production; and, specially, if he take into account the transportation which has entered into the formation of the instruments by which it had been produced. The same truth is also illustrated by the fact, that whole nations, with very small natural advantages, as Holland and Venice, have in a short period, become immensely rich, merely by conferring change of place on the merchandise and productions used by other nations. Water communication, in the early stages of society, greatly diminishes the cost of transportation, and, of course, increases the facilities of exchange. It is on this account that the first settlements of nations are always either on the shores of the ocean, or along the banks of navigable rivers.
It may also be worthy of remark, that, thus far, in the progress of society, the ingenuity of man has been more successful in devising means for increasing the productiveness of labor in the second and third, than in the first kind of human industry. Improved agricultural utensils, a better knowledge of the nature of soils, and of the different kinds of grain and edible vegetables, and of manures have