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Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States; Edited by: Lalor, John J.
29 paragraphs found.

A little familiarity with the work will satisfy the reader that the articles from French and German writers are as applicable in the United States as in France and Germany. There is no more a French or German or American political economy or political science than there is a German or French or American science of astronomy or chemistry. It would have been well, some may think, if all the articles had been supplied by American writers. No one, however, can regret that those not written by Americans are from the pens of the most eminent European writers, men like T. E. Cliffe Leslie, J. C. Bluntschli, Brater, Bastiat, Barthélmy Saint-Hilaire, Baudrillart, Chevalier, Clément, Coquelin, Coquerel, Finali, Joseph Garnier, Guizot, v. Holtzendorff, Horn, Paul Janet, Laboulaye, v. Mangoldt, de Molinari, de Quatrefages, Remusat, Roscher, J. B. Say, Léon Say, Jules Simon, Thiers, Wolowski, Wagner and Wirth. The fact that every article is signed by the writer of it, and that each writer is an authority on the subject on which he writes, gives to the work a value which it would not otherwise possess. This feature is, we feel confident, one which the reader will appreciate.

V. 3, List of Writers
V.1, Entry 24, AGENTS

—This progress is visible in all directions. New mines and new quarries are constantly being discovered. On the other hand, the extent of arable land increases, either by the clearing up of forests, the draining of morasses or the converting of plains and heather into cultivated fields. In the meanwhile new seas are discovered by navigators, their surfaces are explored more exactly and their depths are sounded with increasing accuracy. Lakes by degrees disclose the wealth which they conceal. Rivers and lakes are confined within their beds, and, freed from the obstacles which barred their course, they become, thanks to the labor of engineers, channels of navigation which grow more perfect every day. The force of gravitation, which human ingenuity at first knew so little how to use, and which was even an obstacle to it in most cases, has become, owing to the discoveries of science, one of our most powerful auxiliaries at the present day. Again, the most mysterious forces of nature, as well as the most hidden properties of bodies, formerly rebellious to such a degree that frequently they were a source of trouble to man in his labors, but now conquered and pliant, have been put under contribution, and have become useful instruments in our hands. This is one of the chief causes of the relative fruitfulness of modern industry as compared with the industry of ancient times. "Analyze the progress made by industry," says J. B. Say, "and you will find that it can be reduced to having turned to best advantage the forces and the things which nature has placed at the disposal of man."


—Let us hear J. B. Say on this subject. "If the instruments furnished by nature were all private property, the use of them would not be gratuitous, the man who became master of the winds would let their service to us for money; carriage of goods by sea would be more expensive and products consequently would be dearer.

—On the other hand, if natural instruments capable of becoming property, as tracts of land, had not become such, no one would run the risk of making them useful lest he might not enjoy the fruit of his labors. We could not have at any price commodities in the production of which and has a part, which would be equivalent to excessive dearness. Thus, although the product of a field may be made dearer by the rental of the field which must be paid to its owner, this product is less dear than if the field had not become property."

V.1, Entry 26, AGIOTAGE

—The chances of gambling will, doubtless, have at all times a great attraction for many people; and it will be difficult to abolish stock-jobbing altogether; but it is beyond doubt that the principal remedy for the evil is found, in this as in many other things, in complete liberty. What is needed after this is a repressive law, clearly defining all kinds of fraud, and competent to reach them. There is still another remedy of real efficacy, but which, it appears, our modern legislators will not give us so soon. It is necessary to stop the enormous public expenses, annual deficits, loans which alienate the future, and consume the savings of the present. Then there would be no further need of the aid of those who subscribe to, and negotiate public loans, and there would no longer be any interest in protecting stock-jobbery. (See PRODUCTS ON PAPER, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE). Consult, upon this subject, J. B. Say, Cours complet, 2 e ed., t. II., ch. 16, de l'agiotage. ( Collect, des princip. Econom.)


V.1, Entry 58, ANARCHY

—May not anarchy which is a very great evil, become a very great good? Such is the question raised by a celebrated writer, M. Proudhon, and he did not hesitate to answer it in the affirmative. If we understand him aright, the an-archy of M. Proudhon is nothing but self-government carried to its extremist limits, and the last step in the progress of human reason. According to him, men will at last acknowledge that, instead of disputing and fighting over questions of which, in the majority of cases, they know nothing, and instead of seeking to enslave each other, they would do better to accept the law of labor frankly and join hands to triumph over the numerous obstacles which nature opposes to their well-being. In this new order of things nations would be nothing more than groups of producers bound together by close ties of common interest. Politics, as hitherto understood, would have no further raison d'être, and an-archy, that is to say, the disappearance of all political authority, would be the result of this transformation of human society in which all questions to be solved would have a purely economic character. Long ago J. B. Say advanced the opinion that the functions of the state should be reduced to the performance of police duties. If so reduced there would be but one step needed to reach the an-archy of M. Proudhon—suppression of the police power.



—All economists admit that the appropriation of arable land has singularly increased its fecundity, and made it truly a benefit not only to the actual possessors of the soil, but also to those who believe they have been unjustly deprived of it. "We have examples," says J. B. Say, "of what happens where there are no landed proprietors. Where there are no such proprietors, people are in the condition of the Hurons and Iroquois. Among them the soil belongs to nobody; and the only product that their agricultural industry, which is the chase, procures from this soil, consists of the furs which they sometimes secure at the cost of untold fatigue, though at times their labor goes unrewarded. The produce of the chase does not always crown their efforts, and they and their families are exposed to most frightful privations."

V.1, Entry 81, ARITHMETIC

—It is in the last sense, however, that it is used by J. B. Say, who has devoted a chapter to it in his Cours, (part 9, chap. 3.) It is in this last sense that it should be used in order to avoid confusion in the terminology of economical science.


—M. Moreau de Jonnès in his Eléments de statistique, made political arithmetic, understood in the sense of J. B. Say, one of the two methods of statistics. He terms it the method of induction in contradistinction to the method of exposition which he recommends by way of preference, and which consists in registering all the numerical data, that constitute the elements of a given subject, in grouping, combining and even reducing them, or, to speak more correctly, in co-ordinating without altering them.

V.1, Entry 85, ARMIES

J. B. Say thinks, that far from protecting national independence, a great military establishment is that which compromises it the most, by reason of the aggressive tendencies which it incites among those who have the control of it. "England," he says, "would not have interfered with the intrigues of all Europe, if she had not been possessed of great fleets which she could send out in all directions; and Napoleon, if he had not had at his command the bravest and the best drilled troops of the world, would have directed his ambition toward ameliorating the affairs of France." In this way, the very existence of large armaments incite to war; and war always brings about, in the end, cruel retaliation on those who provoked it. "The ambassadors of Louis XIV.," adds J. B. Say, "at the congress of Gertruydenberg were obliged to be silent spectators at the deliberations concerning their master's fate." England, in its war with America, was compelled to surrender its sovereignty over the colonies, and, later on, it was her insular position alone that saved her from threatened invasion. Bonaparte, with a better army than that of any other nation, suffered a more signal defeat than all others. Everywhere the more formidable the army, the more inevitably has it been the cause of war and all its attendant evils. There is not one that has ever saved its country from invasion. J. B. Say further considers whether, in the present condition of Europe, militia forces would be sufficient to preserve the independence of the individual states, and relying upon the opinion of experienced military men, such as Guibert, Lieutenant General Tarayre and others, he decides the question in the affirmative; only, he thinks that for the military corps which require an intricate course of instruction, as the engineers, the artillery and the cavalry, which could not be formed at a moment's notice, permanent provision must be made, but only to such an extent as a purely defensive system may demand. He shows how the maintenance of large naval forces, usually justified on the grounds of protecting and extending commerce, is ruinous to nations, and how little, in reality, they contribute to the extension of commerce. The fact of England's great commerce proves nothing in favor of the excessive increase of its marine service, for its commerce would be quite as great without this appendage. "Is it with sword in hand," asks Say, "that business is successfully transacted? The reason that England can sell her wares as well in the Archipelago, as in the East, and in America, both north and south, is because she understands how to manufacture those things which the consumers of those various countries require, and can make them cheap. Her cannon has nothing to do with it." (J B. Say, Cours Complet, vol. ii. pp. 280-297.). The maritime commerce of the United States is next to that of England the most extensive, and will probably soon equal and even surpass it, and yet the naval power of that great republic is one of the least important. As regards the naval service of France, we can not do better than quote from the excellent remarks on the subject by Mons. Bastiat: "Is a powerful naval service not necessary, it is asked, in order to open up to our commerce new foreign markets? Truly the measures of government in respect to commerce are singular! It begins by flattering it, impeding it, restraining it, and that at enormous expense; then, if any small portion of it has escaped its vigilance, at once government is seized with a tender solicitude for the petty articles which have successfully eluded the meshes of the custom house. We wish to protect our merchants, it is said, and for that reason we exact another 150 millions from the people, in order to cover the seas with armed vessels. But, in the first place, ninety-nine hundreths of the commerce of France is with countries where our flag-ships have never yet, and never will be seen. Have we naval stations in England, or in the United States, in Belgium, in Spain, in the Zollverein, or in Russia? And so we are taxed more in francs than we will ever possibly gain in centimes from the trade of those places.

V.1, Entry 118, BANKS, Advantages of Savings.

—1. The foresight which, according to the expression of J. B. Say, sacrifices actual satisfactions, in order to insure security in the future, is not only a moral quality; necessity imperatively demands it. Labor, which is possible in strength and health, becomes impossible in old age and sickness, not to speak of crises, times of enforced idleness, and the thousand accidents which trouble and disturb even the most favored lives. A prudent man has strength enough to practice privation when he can, and prefers to a passing satisfaction the permanent satisfaction of assuring himself the means of subsistence during the evil days and fatal period of old age. He moreover increases his productive power by having some capital to rely upon, the revenue from which, whatever it may be, increases his daily earnings. Possessed of greater freedom, he is less anxious to offer his labor to others, and more easily discusses the conditions of its sale.

V.1, Entry 182, CAPITAL

—This definition is exact enough. and is, strictly speaking, sufficient. It agrees with that of J. B. Say, which is as follows: "Capital, in the broadest sense, is an accumulation of values withdrawn from unproductive consumption." It differs, however, in some respects—if not in substance, at least as to the number and variety of the objects it embraces—from that given by some other economists, and, in certain cases, from that given by J.B. Say himself.


—Among French economists this difference is most marked between J. B. Say and Rossi. Among English economists we find the difference at least as great between Adam Smith and Malthus on the one hand, and M'Culloch on the other. Garnier, in his Eléments de l'Economie Politique, thus sums up the divergent opinions of Say and Rossi: "According to the same economist," says he, speaking of Rossi, "we must define capital, a product saved and intended for reproduction. This definition includes three notions, the notion of product, of saving, and of reproduction. J. B. Say has frequently introduced into his definition only the first two. He understands by capital, the simple accumulation of products. Rossi, to explain his thought clearly, analyzes the labor of the savage who, having killed a beast, divides its carcass into three parts: one of them he eats, one he lays by for the next day, and one he uses in hunting—the horns of the animal for instance, which thus become an instrument of labor or of production, in other words, capital. Rossi does not consider as capital what is laid by to be consumed on the following day. If it were capital, then it might be said that even the ant accumulated capital."


—Such is the difference of opinion found in the writings of these two men. The difference is even more marked than it seems here; for although he does not always say so, and attaches the idea of capital inseparably to the idea of reproduction, J. B. Say certainly includes in the term all objects of consumption which Rossi just as certainly excludes from it.


—The English economists we have mentioned differ in about the same way. M'Culloch agrees with J. B. Say, whose views he sometimes carries to an extreme; while Adam Smith and Malthus seem to have suggested Rossi's views to him.


—The broad meaning given to the word capital by J. B. Say, is rejected by Rossi, who considers as capital only that part of accumulated values which is so employed as to produce a revenue. He thinks that he is thus more faithful to the definition and classification adopted by the English economists, Adam Smith, Malthus and others. We shall see directly if he is right on this point. But when he refuses to apply the term capital to the total of accumulated values, has Rossi found any other word to take its place? He has not. In his vocabulary all this mass of wealth previously acquired, has no special appellation, and can only be designated by means of a circumlocution. This seems to us decisive. J. B. Say's vocabulary appears to us decidedly preferable, in this, that it is not irreparably defective.


—Shall we therefore say with M'Culloch, that accumulated values should always be considered as a whole; that there is no distinction to be drawn between those reserved for the immediate satisfaction of the wants, or even the fancies, or the caprices of men, and those which are specially intended for production? Assuredly not. To pretend that all these values are equally productive, and productive in the same sense, is to go counter to reason which bears witness to the contrary. J. B. Say has perhaps fallen into this error sometimes, but it is especially peculiar to M'Culloch, who, in his extreme desire to place all accumulated values on the same level, goes so far as to pretend that articles of luxury which merely satisfy the desire of ostentation of the rich, contribute as much as anything else to production, as much as agricultural implements, for instance.


—Since in the English language, there are two words well fitted to designate, the one the genus stock, the other the species capital, why should writers confound the two under a common designation? The English nomenclature is a good one. Besides, it is sanctioned by the authority of the first masters of the science. We are, therefore, very far from approving the attempt made by M'Culloch to change the old vocabulary, by giving to the word capital a meaning broader than that given by J. B. Say. Malthus is right in accusing him on this account of introducing obscurity into the science, breaking with traditions without any valid cause. The arguments by which he undertakes to justify his new theory are of still less value than the theory itself. English economists will do well to preserve their nomenclature as it is fixed by Adam Smith and his immediate successors.


J. B. Say has shown the necessity of capital in these terms: "We shall soon see, by observing its processes, that industry alone and unaided is not able to give value to things. It is necessary that the person engaged in industry should possess products already existing, without which his labor, however skilled, would remain inactive. These things are: 1. Tools, implements of the various arts. The cultivator of the soil can do nothing without his pick and spade, the weaver without his loom, nor the sailor without his ship. 2. The products which are to support the workman engaged in industry, until he has completed his part in the work of production. The product on which he is busied, or the price which it will bring, ought in reality to bring back the expense of keeping him; but he is obliged continually to advance what is necessary for his support. 3. The raw material which his industry has to change into finished products. It is true that these materials are often furnished him gratuitously by nature; but more frequently they are industrial products already existing, such as seeds furnished by agriculture, metals furnished by the miner and founder, etc. The manufacturer who uses them in his industry is obliged to advance their value. The value of all these articles constitutes what is called productive capital." All economists are agreed on this subject. Here, for example, is another quotation taken from the "Theory of Social Wealth," by Fredrick Skarbek, professor of political economy at Warsaw: "When we observe man occupied in collecting primitive values, or in producing new ones, we see that, in both cases, he can not act without having in his possession a certain stock which furnishes him the means of subsistence, or the objects necessary to fit him to work. A hunter needs some kind of weapon to strike down the wild beast that is to furnish him with food or clothing. Uncertain of the result of the chase, he must be supplied with a certain amount of provisions to enable him to endure one day's or several days' fatigue. If, later, with more developed means, he wishes to construct a dwelling he can not do so without first having the necessary tools for the purpose, without having felled the trees to be used in its construction, without having such a supply of provisions as will free him from the care of procuring a subsistence while he is building his house; in one word, he can neither collect the values which he finds ready in nature, nor produce new ones, without possessing a stock which will enable him to work by giving him the means of existence and the objects of labor."


—These are exactly the same ideas which we found in the works of J. B. Say. Both are agreed in considering as necessary for the execution of any labor whatever, not only the preliminary possession of tools and raw materials, but also a certain supply of food which enables the laborer to live till his work is finished and its product sold; thus considering such supply as an essential part of the capital. Although Rossi and some other economists deny this last, they have really the same views; since they consider the stock of provisions necessary to the laborer, as well as the raw materials and tools.


—"Nations with small capital," says J. B. Say, "are at a disadvantage in selling their products; they are unable to grant their customers at home or abroad long terms of credit, or easy payments. Those with still less capital are not always in a condition to make even the advances of their raw materials and labor. This is why men are obliged, in India and Russia, to send the price of what is bought six months and even a year before their commissions can be executed. These nations must be greatly favored in other regards in order to make such considerable sales in spite of this disadvantage."

V.1, Entry 204, CHARITY, Private.

—Economists who, according to Lamartine have no religion but arithmetic, have always shown themselves filled with pity for the sufferings of their neighbors, as profound as that which he himself felt; and if we look into the lives of the most illustrious among them, Quesnay, Turgot, Malthus, Smith, J. B. Say, Charles Comte, etc., we shall find a series of acts of noble disinterestedness, of devotion to truth, to justice and the unfortunate classes, worthy to be held up to all men animated by real philanthropy.

V.1, Entry 206, CHARITY, State.

—Have French economists better understood and better treated the question? J. B. Say, in his Cours complet, scarcely devotes ten pages to it. And this lucid writer does not see in the result of English legislation on the subject of the poor, anything but a local experience, containing no fruitful principle and no general lesson. According to Say everything depends upon the nature of the means employed, and upon the political character of the institutions of the country in which the relief is afforded.


—This truth, we say, has not always been adequately understood by economists. It must not be thought, however that they have entirely misunderstood it. Their only fault is in not having brought out its importance, nor given it all the attention which it merits. This, for example, is how J. B. Say expresses himself on the subject: "Values employed in the course of production, can not be realized in money and be employed in a new production until they have arrived at the state of a complete product and are sold to the consumer. The sooner a product is finished and sold, the sooner also can it, as capital, be applied to a fresh productive use. Capital used for a shorter time pays less interest; there is economy in the cost of production. Next it is of advantage that the transaction which takes place during the production should take place quickly. Let us follow the effects of this activity of circulation, in the case of a piece of printed calico. A merchant of Lisbon imports cotton from Brazil. It is of moment to him that his agents in America should make his purchases and shipments quickly; it is also important for him to send his cotton to a French merchant promptly, in order to be reimbursed for his outlay as soon as possible, that he may begin a new and equally profitable operation. Portugal, up to this point, has reaped the benefit of this activity of circulation. Now it will be France; and if the French merchant does not keep this Brazilian cotton in his storehouse long, but sends it promptly to the spinner; if the spinner, after having made it into thread, sends it promptly to the weaver, and if the latter sends the cloth without delay to the calico printer, and if he sends it to the retail merchant quickly, and the retailer to the consumer, this active circulation will have occupied for a less time that portion of the capital employed by the producers. Consequently there will be less interest lost, less expense, and the capital can be employed in new production."


—The utility of an active circulation is certainly indicated in the preceding lines, but we do not believe that it is felt strongly enough; and we are the more authorized to believe so, since the passage just quoted is the only one which J. B. Say has devoted to this important subject, at least in his treatise. There is certainly more to say on such a subject. It is true, that the relative activity of circulation is that which constitutes, more than any other circumstance, the industrial superiority of a people? This should have been examined first of all. Then it should have been inquired what the principal causes are which influence the rapidity or the retardation of circulation.

V.1, Entry 226, CITIES AND TOWNS.


CITIES AND TOWNS. I. How towns originateCircumstances which determine choice of location or lead to its abandonment. Towns are aggregations of people and of industries, and they are formed under the natural impulsion of certain wants. Their development is in no way arbitrary. Sometimes rulers have entertained the illusion that they had only to pronounce a magniloquent fiat, to make a new city rise and flourish; but experience has rarely failed to convince them that they had presumed too much on their power. Without doubt, a monarch may, by changing the seat of his empire, as did Peter the Great, for example, create a center of population and wealth. The public functionaries of all grades and those who aspire to these positions, being obliged to live in the capital and to expend there their salaries or incomes, necessarily attract around them a population of tradesmen, mechanics and menials; but, unless the new city presents a location favorable for certain branches of production (and in this case the intervention of the government is not necessary in order to found it) there will be no considerable development. Here, however, one exception should be made. If the government continually enlarges its functions, if it centralizes power at the expense of the liberties of the country, and, in consequence, increases the number of persons in its employ, the town where it has established the seat of its power will not fail to grow and to acquire wealth: but it is questionable whether the country will have a reason for self-gratulation, in this case, at the prosperity of its capital. If, on the contrary, the government has only limited powers, if it has but few persons in its employ, its capital, in case no other industry can be advantageously established there, will be forced to occupy a very modest position in comparison with the centers of manufacturing or commercial production. Such is the case with Washington, the capital of the American Union. J. B. Say has clearly shown in his Traité this powerlessness of governments to establish cities and towns and make them prosperous. "It is not sufficient," he says, "to lay out a town and to give it a name, for it to exist in fact, it must be furnished by degrees with industrial talents, with implements, raw materials, and everything necessary to maintain the workmen until their products may be completed and sold; otherwise, instead of founding a town, one has only put up theatrical scenery, which will soon fall, because nothing sustains it. This was the case with Yekaterinoslav, in Taurida, as the emperor Joseph II. foreshadowed, when, after having been invited to lay in due form the second stone of that town, he said to those around: 'I have finished a vast enterprise in one day, with the empress of Russia; she has laid the first stone of a town, and I the last.'


—Nor does moneyed capital suffice to establish a large manufacturing business and the active production necessary to form a town and make it grow: a locality and national institutions which favor that growth are also necessary. There are perhaps some deficiencies connected with the location of the city of Washington, which prevent its becoming a great capital; for its progress has been very slow in comparison with what is common in the United States. While the situation of Palmyra, in former times, rendered it populous and rich, notwithstanding the sandy desert by which it was surrounded, simply because it had become the entrepôt of the commerce of the Orient with Europe. The prosperity of Alexandria and Thebes in Egypt was due to the same cause. The decree of its rulers would not alone have sufficed to make of it a city with a hundred gates and as populous as Herodotus represents it. The key to its importance must be sought in its position between the Red sea and the Nile, between India and Europe. (Treatise on Polit. Econ., by J. B. Say, book ii., chap. 11.)


—The case is similar in England. According to the tables of the last census, the town population of Great Britain (England and Scotland), which was in 1801 only 3,046,371, attained in 1851 the number of 8,410,021. This is an increase of 176 per cent., while the total increase of the population in the same period, was only 98 per cent. And if we observe in what towns the increase has been the most considerable, we find in the first place the great manufacturing towns and the commercial ports. While the population of the county towns increased only 122 per cent., that of the manufacturing ones increased 224 per cent., and that of the seaports, London excepted, 195 per cent. In the towns devoted especially to iron industries, the increase was 289 per cent., and in the centres of cotton manufacture, 282 per cent. Every improvement in the arts of production can only accelerate this increase of the town population. Should we lament it, or rejoice at it? This is a much contested question, but the economists agree in deciding it in favor of the cities. Adam Smith and J. B. Say, notably, prove that the multiplication and the enlargement of towns are desirable, even looking at the matter with reference to the interests of the rural districts. Adam Smith, who examined this subject with his usual penetration, concludes that the rural districts have derived three principal benefits from the development of manufacturing and commercial towns. "1. By affording a great and ready market for the rude produce of the country, they gave encouragement to its cultivation and further improvement. This benefit was not even confined to the countries in which they were situated, but extended to all those with which they had any dealings. 2. The wealth acquired by the inhabitants of cities was frequently employed in purchasing such lands as were to be sold, of which a great part would frequently be uncultivated. Merchants' are commonly ambitious of becoming country gentlemen; and when they do, they are generally the best of all improvers. A merchant is accustomed to employ his money chiefly in profitable projects; whereas a mere country gentleman is accustomed to employ it chiefly in expense, etc. 3, and lastly. Commerce and manufacturers gradually introduced order and good government, and, with them, the liberty and security of individuals, among the inhabitants of the country, who had before lived almost in a continual state of war with their neighbors, and of servile dependency upon their superiors." (Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, book iii., chap. 4. How the commerce of the towns contributed to the improvement of the country.)

V.1, Entry 231, CIVILIZATION
"Force will probably be found in the future on the side of civilization and enlightenment; for civilized nations are the only ones which can have enough wealth to maintain an imposing military force. This fact removes, so far as the future is concerned, the probability of the recurrence of those great upheavals of which history is full, and in which civilized nations became the victims of barbarians." (J. B. Say, Traite d'Economie Politique, liv. 3, ch. 7.)

Footnotes for CLIMATE