Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
ARTISANS. An artisan is a tradesman who works at one of the mechanical arts, as a carpenter, a locksmith, or a shoemaker. The artisan is sometimes confounded with the workingman, because both labor with their hands. They differ however in this, that the artisan works on his own account and solely at his own risk, while the workingman works for another for a fixed amount of wages. In this respect the artisan more resembles the capitalist: he is a small capitalist.
—In ordinary thought and language, we may make of artisans a separate class, midway, in a certain sense, between the laboring class and the capitalist-employers. But from a politico-economical point of view, this distinction is of little use, the more so because it is so difficult to establish the line of demarcation. In their quality of capitalists, artisans are subject, just as the manufacturer or the capitalist in general, to the laws which regulate the profits of capital. We should remark, however, that their profit generally is, or appears to be, larger in proportion to their capital, because they add to it the product of their personal labor, without clearly distinguishing these two sources of revenue. They combine, so to speak, the profit of the employer and the wages of the workman.
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