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98 - 84407-3 
Devas, Charles Stanton 

Groundwork of economics 









Devas, C[harleS] S[tantoii] 1848- 

Groundwork of economics, by C. S. Devas. 
Ijongmans, Green, & co., 1883. 

XV, 664 p. 23^"’. 

Another copy in oellpman. 18t3. 

London, a 

1. Economics. 



Library of Congress 

, IIB171.D48 

RESTRICTIONS ON USE: Reproductions m ay not be made without permission from Columbia University Libraries. 



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MAIN ENT R Y : P e y a s , C h a r I e s St a n t o n 

Groundwork of economics 

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It is time that something was done in England, either to 
restore the declining credit of what is known as Political 
Economy, or to replace that enfeebled body of doctrine by 
a worthier successor. Our grandfathers exulted in Political 
Economy as a grand and beneficent science, not the least 
among the glories of their age; our fathers respected it; 
and little more than twenty years ago it successfully with- 
stood all the sharpness of Mr. Ruskin’s reasoning and raillery. 
But times have changed ; there are men of intelligence who 
are beginning to suspect, that much of this science is but a 
collection, partly of useless discussions and idle declamation, 
partly of truisms, partly of untruths ; while the anarchy 
among recent economists on the veiy foundation and first 
principles of their science, as any one may see in Mr. 
Dillon’s recent work on The Dismal Science^ is a matter not 
of suspicion, but of certainty. Nor can we rest tranquil in 
the consoling thought, that if Political Economy is a mistake, 
the more its teachers fall out among themselves and fall into 
disrepute with the public, the better. For there are many 
students who make indeed an excellent spring out of the 
frying-pan of the Political Economists, but only to tumble 
into the fire of the Sociologists or Socialists. There will be 
frequent occasion in the following pages to speak of these 
two schools ; it is enough here to observe that what is com- 
monly understood by the word Sociology, although dangerous 
to society and defiant of logic, has many adherents among 

v' ' 

EL '•' o 



21 6436 




the literary classes ; and that Socialism has at last found in 
the English tongue a popular exponent ; for the fame which 
cannot be suppressed, and the sale which cannot be restrained, 
of Mr. George’s work on Progress and Poverty, shew the day 
is over when we could meet the Socialists with silence, or 

ridicule, or vituperation. 

There is thus an urgent need of putting before our country- 
men the true doctrine on economical matters ; and this book 
is meant to be a contribution towards this end. I do not 
profess to have solved every problem ; I only hope to have 
taken the right view of economical science, and to have 
followed the right method. What this view should be, and 
this method, are fully treated in the first and second chapters 
of the Introduction. In these and in other chapters I have 
also, on occasion, examined at length some leading errors ; 
but, although destructive criticism, like that of Mr. Dillon, is 
■ useful, the main business of our own times and of this work is 
construction. Thus I have endeavoured in a rude and 
imperfect manner, but I hope with sound materials and on 
a solid foundation, to construct a building that may serve 
for a time till a better architect shall raise a worthy temple 

of economical science. 

This volume, which is the foundation of whatever is to 
follow, is complete in itself; and is divided for purposes of 
reference into short sections numbered without break from 
the beginning to the end. 

In citing the Blue Books I use the general term Par- 
liamentary Papers, and give the year, the volume of that 
year, and generally the MS. page of the volume; not the 
printed page of each separate Report in each volume. This 
method of citation seems simplest for those who have no 
private collection of these most ponderous and chaotic 
sources of information, but use them in the library of the 
British Museum in London. 

The references to Aristotle’s Politics are to the edition of 
Dr. F. Susemihl, Leipsig, 1879. The figure in brackets gives 

the traditional as distinct from the reformed number of the 

particular book of the Politics. 

Mr. Bevan’s two useful volumes on British Manufacturing 
Industries are not distinguished except in their secondary 
titles. I have therefore called the one published in 1875 
Volume I., and the other published a year later, and treating 
among other things of the textile industries, Volume II. 

Whenever in the citations from Adam Smith’s Wealth oj 
Nations pages are given, they are those of MacCullochs 
edition published at Edinburgh in 1863. 

September^ 1883 






Nature, Definition, and Name of the Science . . . . 

Relation of Economical Science to the Arts and to Physical 

Errors on the Definition and Province of the Science. 
Arrangement of the Subject-matter 








Explanation of the right Logical Method . 

Errors on Method : Hypothetical Method of J. S. Mill 

Cairnes’ Method of Allowances 

Prevalence of this Error accounted for 

Theories of Bagehot and Jevons 

Intrusion of Mathematics on Economics 
Fundamental Misconceptions of some ‘ Sociologists ’ . 
Historical Agnosticism (The Kathedersocialisten) 
Historical Gnosticism (Criticisms on Roscher, Herbert 

Ingram, and others) 

The Difficulties of Generalization .... 


12, 13 
14, 15 













General Remarks 







Middle Ages 

Mercantile Period 

Physiocrat Period 

Adam Smith and the Industrial School 
Revolt against this School 
Five Divisions of Modern Economists. 




A Good, a Want (Requirement), Utility, Value . 

Wealth, a Commodity, Property 

Preparation, Enjoyment, Production, Consumption, Destruction 
Labour (and its Kinds), Cost, Remuneration 
Revenue (Gross and Net), Expenditure (Nominal and Real) 
Capital (Fixed and Circulating), Exchange, Price. 



Factors of Production 

The Earth as Man’s Dwelling-place 
The Dry Land as supporting Animals and Plants 
The Water as supporting Animals and Plants 
The Earth as affording Minerals .... 

Destruction by Nature ...... 

Need of Production, and Ease or Difficulty of it 

Intensity of Production 

Intensity in the various Industries 
Law of Limitation to the Capacity of Things 
Improvements in the Arts of Production : Classifi 
Conditions requisite to their being made 
Jottings on the History of Technical Progress 
Estimate of Gain and Deduction for Loss . 
Injuries to the Earth by Man .... 
Possible further Technical Progress 





38, 39 




47, 48 
49, 50 
56, 57 

6 ( 











80, 81 




Seven Points of Anthropology 

Variation of Races in regard to Multiplication 
In regard to Capacity and Willingness for Work 

Distinction of Age 

Distinction of Sex 

Training (Technical and General Education) 

Limitations to Productive Capacities . . • • 

Concerted Labour (Co-operation) . . . • • 

Advantages of it . 

Limitations and Drawbacks to the Division of Labour 
Effects of Discord (especially of War) upon Production 
Effects of Carelessness, Dishonesty, Discontent 



Meaning of a Large and of a Small Business . . . . 

Nature of Grand Industry and Limitation to its Advantages • 
Nature of Petty Industry and Limitation to its Advantages . 
Dimensions in Agriculture and Cattle Breeding (Large versus 
Small Farms) : technical and economical Comparison 
Dimensions in Forestry and Mining . , . . ■ 

Dimensions in Fishing 

Dimensions in Manufactures (Factories versus Petty Work- 
shops and House Industry) . . • . . . 

Dimensions in Transport . . . • • ■ • * 

Dimensions in Commerce (Large Small Traders; Shop- 

keepers versus Co-operative Stores in Retail Trade) . 



Actual Variation in Locality of Industries .... 

Causes : Variety of the External World 

Co-operation helped by Concentration. Costs of Shifting an 


Effect of the Place of Enjoyment 

Effect of Industries being joint. Influence of Means of 


Personal Reasons for the Locality of Industries 


86, 87 



93, 94 




102, 103 

105, 106 





I 16 
1 17, II8 

120, I2I 

123, 124 

126, 127 



The Growth of Great Cities • . 128 

Examination of the Causes of this Growth .... 1 29-1 32 

Judgment and Recommendations 133, 134 

International Localizations : the Case for ‘Free Trade’ . . 135 

Arguments against Free Trade 136-141 

Conclusion on this Controversy 142 



Enjoyment as an Art . 143,144 

Limitation to Enjoyment 145 

Errors on the Importance and Use of Wealth. . . . 146 

Christian View of Wealth (Necessaries, Luxuries, etc.) . . 147 

Difficulty because of the actual Inequality of Enjoyment . 148 

Christian Justification of Inequality in Wealth . , . 149, 150 



Particular Kinds of Enjoyment ; Food 
Five main Divisions of Food .... 
Causes of the Diversity of Habits regarding Food 
Examination of the Cost, Security, and Fitness 
Kinds of Staple Foods .... 
Drinks : Waters and Water Supply . 

Aromatic Drinks 

Fermented Drinks 

Right Use of Alcohol 

Abuse of it in the Past and the Present . 
Legislation against Intemperance 
Modem Temperance Associations . 

Conclusions concerning Intoxicating Drinks . 
Suggestions for Modern England in particular 
Concluding Suggestions and Remarks . ; 



Variety of Dwellings and of the Amount Spent on them . 181, 182 

Influence of the Dwelling Place on Health .... 183 

Question of the Removal of Sewage . . . . . i83^z 


• • • 



Influence of the Dwelling Place on Morality . . . • 184 

Fit Characteristics of a Dwelling House . . . • • 185 

Examples of good Houses and bad ...••• '8 

Deficiencies in England . . • • • • . •187,188 

Temporary Change of Residence {villegf^iatura) and Living 

away from Place of Business ...... 189 

Deficiencies in the Dwellings of the Common People 

( W ohnungsnoth) 90-1 92 

Causes of the Evil ..,•••••• ^93 

Measures that have been used against it 194, ^95 

Possible and fit Measures 196-199 



Use of Furniture ; Contrast of East and West, of Rich and 


Failings and Follies regarding Furniture 201, 202 

Fuel: Use and Waste 

Provision of Fuel for the Poor 204 

Artificial Light 

The Proper Use of Dress, with Examples .... 206 

Examples of Abuses and Follies 207 

General Historical Progression of Costume .... 208 

Permanence or Change of Fashion. Uniformity or Distinc- 
tions in Dress ^°9 

Calculations on the Cost of Clothing . . . . . 210 

Reasons for doubting a great Diminution of Cost in recent 

Times • • • • .211,212 

Excess and Defect in the Stock of Clothing . . . . 213 

Baths and Washing, past and present, among Rich and Poor 214-216 



Meaning and Importance of Recreation 217,218 

Deficiencies in England • ^*9 

Six Main Classes of Recreations. I. Social Gatherings : 

Banquets, Dancing . . . . • • • _ • 220 

II. Promenades : Gardens, Driving, Riding, Travelling, 

Yachting 221-223 

III. Intellectual Recreations 224 

IV. Sensual Recreations 225 

Innocent Narcotics 226 




Guilty Narcotics 


V. Sports and Games : Children’s Games, House Games for 

Adults, Athletic Sports 

228, 229 

Field Sports and Game Laws : Use and Abuse 


VI. Representations : Combats of various Kinds, Views on 

the Treatment of Animals 




Displays of Wonders. Musical Performances 


The Drama and its great Varieties 

237, 238 

The Christian Religious Drama 

239, 240 



Items of Medical Expenditure . 

• • • 


Medical Service of the Poor 

• • • 


What is to be reckoned as Expenditure 

on Justice . 

. 243, 244 

Amount of it 

• • 


The Clergy and Public Worship 

• • • 


The Service of the Dead . 

• • ♦ 

. 247, 248 

The Service of the Poor , 



Moral and Intellectual Culture . 

• • • 

. 250,251 




Meaning of a Nation or Country 

Meaning of National Wealth 

Various Meanings of a Rich Country 

Nature and Limits of National Enrichment . . . . 

Nature and Limits of Private Enrichment . . . . 

Answer to the Complaints of the Socialists on Accumulation . 
Errors of Liberal Economists on Accumulation 

Warnings against various Fallacies 

Opposition between Private and National Interest in regard to 

Wealth : in general 

Opposition in particular Industries 

Opposition between the Present and the Future 

Opposition between National Interests 

Mutual Help against Impoverishment 

Various Combinations for this Purpose 

The Question of Compulsory National Insurance 
Concluding Remarks on Insurance and Accumulation 











276, 277 
283, 284 










Possibilities on the Increase of Population . . 

Chief Causes of Increase or Decrease of Population 



Immigration and Emigration . . . • • 

Results of the Causes affecting Population 

Ideal of Population 

Meaning of Over-Population . . • • • 

Distinction of Famine from Over-Population , 
Artificial Limitations to Population . . . • 

Errors on Population : Anti-Malthusianism 


Alleged Proofs from Ireland, India, and England . 
Grounds of the Prevalence of this Error . 
Economical Darwinism ...••• 
Civilization and Progress 



286, 287 
288, 289 



296, 297 
298, 299 


302 -306 






A. Science and the Arts (to § 4). 

B. Kant’s wrong Method in Politics (to § 20). 

C. Causes of Commercial Crises (to § 306). 

D. The Malthusian Legend (to § 307). 

E. The Delusion of a Wages Fund (to § 308). 






Nature, Definition, and Name of the Science, § 1-3— Relation of Econo- 
mical Science to the Arts and to Physical Science, § 4, 5“ Errors 
on the Definition and Province of the Science, § 6-io— Arrange- 
ment of the Subject-matter, §11. 

I I. Economical science is a portion of Ethics, or moral 
science. By a science is meant a series of truths or the know- 
ledge of them ; not indeed of any truths in any order, but 
concerning a definite subject-matter in its dependence upon 
principles {cognitio reruni in suts principiis). By moral 1 
science or Ethics is meant the science of naUiral morality, \ 
that is, of human action in the natural order, as far as this 
action is right or wrong, directed or not directed to the 
attainment of man’s end ; whereas action in the supernatural 
order properly belongs not to moral science, but to moral 
theology. Moral science can be conveniently divided into 
two parts, the first regarding man in his individual capacity, 
the second regarding him in his relations to his fellow-men. 
The/r.y/ of these parts has no special and recognised name, 
but is called Ethics in the narrow or proper sense, and shews 
the general principles of all moral action, as the motives to 

act, the difference of right and wrong, our knowledge of the 


2 Groundwork of,.Bcpnf)MKS,^ 

• that we 

difference, our or hindrance 

do rightly, our means ; more- 

coming from our naturv, ^ towards God 

over it shews in The 

which do not direct y j^oral action of man m 

part of moral science, reg . ^ i itself be conveni- 
Liety.can be called soc^l rLmpor^^ ends 

ently subdivided, accori mg political science, or 

binding ^°Setheb into ^^P ^gg^ciated for 

Politics shewing the the order of justice or 

the determination and pr Ecotiomics, shevf'mg 

natural rights ; and econom sustaining andcon- 

the moral action of men as science can be conveni- 

tinning their life on earth. 1 (including 

ently divided society itself, namely 

■ destination and enforcement of 

the State, which has t secondly, Private Law (m- 

the order of justice as i s , regarding this deter- 

eluding ■Comparative y realisel within the 

mination and enforcement as actu y 

State ; thirdly, It is not 

regarding the relatrons of 

but°to keep to economical science, which, since it 
“ n men as associated for 

■ - Tp^aS r ;u:^f Hi;:? Ui, and 

family life. , rratter to fix on suitable divi- 

I It is not an animportant h^^ 

sions of moral science, an . j,nd greater risk 

Otherwise " ^dence is new, new terms though 

of error. Unless herause of their novelty ; for 

otherwise better, may be wor^n^^e^ ^ 

this is likely to inax h Economics form one part, is 

since moral f ^ ^ possible from the 

very ancient, it Perinatetic and Christian philosophy. 

tee' gmat"division°s of Ir’al philosophy or of Ethics in the 


§ 2 .] Definition mid Province of Economics. 3 

wide sense. The two last of the divisions can <rften be re- 
united with convenience, and the most suitable term for the 
combination seems to me to be social science ; though if 
people prefer the term sociology or, again, social philosophy, 
we need not quarrel with them.* But we must be more 
rigorous in our use of the terms Politics and Economics. If 
put side by side they express well enough the sciences of 
human action in the two great departments of union among 
men ; for the city (iroXig) is a visible sign of the union 
for order and justice ; the house (oiKog) of the union for 
the sustenance and continuance of mankind. But if, as 
Aristotle sometimes, we make Politics include the whole of 
social science, "f there is danger lest, like him, we exalt over- 
much the office of the Civil Power, and look on man as made 
for the State, not the State for man. Thus some of those 
German Economists known as Professorial Socialists, in their 
blind worship of what they call the Civilized State {Kultur- 
staat)y seem to forget the immense importance and sacred 

* Some continental writers use the term Jus naturae for social science. 
See M. Liberatore, Institutiones philosophicaey voL iii. Introd. Art. ii., on 
the distinction between Ethica (or scientia moralis in the narrow sense) 
and Jus naturae. He himself adopts another use of the terms, whereby 
Ethica regards human nature in the abstract, as it must be to be right, 
while regards concrete duties and rights. The main prac- 

tical difference is that those of our duties which do not directly concern 
our fellow-men, will on his plan be joined with our social duties and fall 
under Jus naturae^ whereas, on the other plan, they are separated from 
the social duties and fall under Ethica. A third division of moral 
philosophy places under Ethics not merely (as I have done) the duties 
which a man in solitude owes to God, but also such of the social duties 
to which there are no corresponding human rights, and which are called 
qfficia caritatis, such as almsgiving or parental love ; w hile Jus naturae 
{Rechtsphilosophie) is confined to natural rights and the corresponding 
duties (see Sx.bc\:ly Lehrbuch der PhilosophiCy 2nd edit § 2, 178). The 
inconvenience of having to distinguish Ethics (or moral philosophy) in 
the wide and in the narrow sense, would be avoided if we could adopt 
for the narrow sense the term Monastics, as is done for example by 
Sylvester Maurus : tres sunt partes Philosophiae moralis ; monastica ni- 
mirum, seu solitaria ; Oeconomica, seu familiaris, et Politica, seu Civilis. 
{Aristotelis Opera paraphrasi illustratay tom. ii, Proemium. Romae, 

+ See D. P. Chase, Nicom. Ethiesy pp. 2 and 175 (3rd ed.), on the senses 
of the term TroXtru^. 

B 2 


4 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 2 , 3 . 

rights of family life ; * * * § an error less likely to prevail if Eco- 
nomics and Politics are placed on a level as two separate 
sciences. Only mark that separate does not mean uncon- 
nected, and the intimate connection of the two sciences will 

appear unmistakable as we proceed. 

§ 3. The term Political Economy t is evidently unsuitable 
if the view given above of the distinction of Politics and 
Economics is correct ; for this distinction is obscured by such 
a term ; which, therefore, in spite of its prevalent use in 
England and France, I think ought to be discarded, or only 
used for one department of Politics, namely, concerning the 
revenue and expenditure of both central and local govern- 
mentt, while the corresponding term economical policy 
might be used for the department of Economics concerning 
the action of the State on domestic and industrial matters.§ 
But notice that it would be of little conseciuence if both these 
departments were included under Politics, or again both 
under Economics ; since it is of little consequence where 
the exact frontier between these two sciences is fixed as long 
as we recognise that one is not subordinate to the other, and 
that both are subordinate to Ethics,|l 

* So Adolf Held, Sozialisms, 1878, p. 123 : Es giebt fiir mich keine 
von der Staatswissenschaft abgetrennte Sozialwissenschaft oder N ationalo- 
konomie. An author of a very different class. Sir G. Cornewall Lewis, 
Methods of Observation and Reasoning in Politics, chap. ii. § 9, makes 
Politics mean nothing else than social science, as he expressly avows. 

+ On this term, used as early as 1615 by Montchr^tien, and on various 
others, see Wilhelm Roscher, Nationalokonomie, § 16, note i (loth edit.). 
The Babel of terms in economical science, as well as in other and higher 
branches of philosophy, is a just retribution for the desertion of the 
Scholastic terminology. 

+ Whately goes too far in saying {^Lectures on Polit. Economy, 4th ed. 
p. 2) that, interpreted according to its etymology. Political Economy 
implies almost a contradiction. Oiicoj means property as well as house. 

§ The more correct forms would be respectively political Economics and^ 
economical Politics. The Germans might use for these departments 
respectively Staatswirthschaftslehre and Wirthschaftspolitik ; though with 
them, as elsewhere, is verbal anarchy. See Roscher, Nationalok. § 17 ; 
Schaffle, Das gesellschaftlichen System der menschlichen Wirthschaft, 
3rd edit. § 21 and 276. This work of Schaffle is known, and shall hence- 
forth be cited by the shorter title of Nationalokonomie. 

II The term Political Economy is not mended by being employed (as 
by Say and Cibrario) to mean the science of society in general. If any 



3 , 4 .] Definition and Province of Economics. 

Instead of Political Economy the Germans commonly use 
the term National Economy {Nationalokonomie or Volks- 
wirthschaft), in its way no less misleading ; for though the 
diversities of different nations are very great, and may 
require very different institutions both political and econom- 
ical, nevertheless there is the same moral law for all, the 
same groundwork of mental and bodily qualities, and in 
many points the same physical constitution of the external 
world. Later on we shall see the connection of this term 
National Economy with the errors of a school of German 
economists {inf. § 26). 

Other names for Economics being less in use need less 
attention. The prefix of Social is superfluous ; of Civil or 
Public liable to the objections against Political ; while terms 
like Plutology or the Science of Wealth, and Catallactics or 
the Science of Exchanges, are inadmissible, as the latter puts 
one part for the whole, and is thus inadequate ; the former 
puts wealth as the subject-matter instead of human action, 
and is thus inapplicable. 

§ 4. But while names and divisions are matters of con- 
venience, it is a matter of necessity, if error is to be avoided, 
to make economical science a portion of Ethics, and to dis- 
tinguish it, as being a science, from the various arts which 
are subordinate to it. It is the science, as we have seen 
(I i), of moral action in certain relations. It has in common 
with the arts that its object is action ; it differs from them 
in regarding action as leading or not leading to the end of 
man, whereas they regard it as leading or not leading to 
some particular end.* For example, the art of husbandry 
will tell us the various methods of growing crops : economical 
science will tell us what is right regarding the reward of the 
husbandmen. Again, the art of coal-mining will tell us 
how to raise coal at the least cost in money : economical 
science, how to regulate the conditions of labour so that 
the miners may best fulfil the purpose of their life. In 

one were to give the name of zoological botany to a treatise on plants, 
we should not mend the title by applying it to a treatise on both botany 
and zoology. 

■* The foundation of this view of science and the arts will be found in 
Appendix A at the end of this volume. 

i Tfi 


1 ^'5 


6 Groundwork of Economics. L§ 4. 5- 

like manner political science differs, as being a science from 
the arts in subordination to it. Thus the military art will 
teach us how to establish the most efficient army ; political 
science, what is right as regards peace or war: the art of 
rhetoric, how to move an assembly : political science, how to 
direct our eloquence for the true welfare of our country. 

We can now easily see the relation between the various 
arts and Economics. All the arts relating to the house, 
the workshop, and the playground are a matter of concern 
for Economics ; for in order to ascertain what ought to be, 
we must know what can be and what must be. No sharp 
line can be drawn excluding the rules of the arts, that is, 
what are called technical details, from the consideration of 
economists. We must explain the rules which from their 
universality, or frequency, or some other reason, are im- 
portant for some consideration of morality ; and stop when 
the details become unimportant for this purpose. Whence 
it follows that economical science has to give to some arts 
more consideration than to others, treating, for example, 
more in detail the art of banking than that of shipbuilding, 
or again the various arts of husbandry more in detail than 
soap-boiling or machine-making. In the same way political 
science must pay more attention to the details of judicial 
procedure than to those of the military art. And let this 
much suffice on the relation of Economics to the Arts. 

Turning to the physical sciences we can say in like manner, 
that such of their results as are of little moment for 
Economics are to be passed by ; for example, rnost of the 
results of Astronomy, while others from their importance 
for the purpose in hand need corresponding attention ; for 
examples the transmission of hereditary qualities from 
parents to children, or the effects of enjoyment on mind and 
body. Such results or laws of physical science are not indeed 
the object of Economics, but a knowledge of them, as is plain, 
j is in many cases requisite to the apprehension of right action. 

I 5. Moreover, economical science has not only to appro- 
priate many results of physical science and of the arts, 
but before its own proper object, namely, the apprehen- 
sion of right action, can be reached, it has a preliminary 
work, that may be of no small extent. It has to ascertain 


^ Definition and Province of Economics. 

what under given circumstances it is probable that men 
will actually do for the support, continuance, and amuse- 
ment of their life — how the hearth and homestead, the 
workshop and playground, are likely to be constituted 
and the degree of probability. For to find out what is 
right we may often have first to find out what is probable. 
And this is no easy task. For not merely have we to look 
at the inhabitants of a given province or country at a given 
time, but to compare one province and one country with 
another, and past conditions with present : so as to pro- 
nounce what is probable under certain circumstances and 
not under others, and how probable, and whether the changes 
are in one direction or several, whether old conditions 
never again return, or seldom or often, and so forth. 

The immense field open here for observation and research 
is evident, and how as human action is continually going 
on there is a continuous source of fresh conclusions. And 
therefore, whereas the first part of Ethics is complete, and 
the whole body of truth as far as man can apprehend has 
been attained (or nearly so), the second part, comprising 
Politics and Economics, is incomplete and will keep growing 
as long as new combinations of circumstances keep coming, 
and the greater the changes the more will be the fresh 
matter amid which to search for what is right. And people 
may even fancy there is a new science, though there is really 
only fresh matter for the old one, as when the discovery of 
new seas and continents enlarges the field for the zoologist, 
but does not make a new science distinct from zoology. 

Whether the term economical laws should be given to the 
results of this preliminary enquiry into one department of 
human action, let others discuss. Here let us rather notice 
the difference between them and what are called physical 
laws. These prevail, where there is no miracle, without 
exception ; whereas the so-called economical laws are merely 
the statement of probabilities of action on the part of free 
agents and imply no iron necessity. Thus the ‘ law ’ that 
in modern England, if trade is very flourishing and bread 
is very cheap, marriages will be more numerous than usual, 
or that in modern Europe the price of provisions will rise 
in a besieged town, does not mean that a certain additional 

Groundwork of Econo?nics. 

L§ 5- 

number of persons cannot help marrying, or that the pro- 
vision dealers cannot help raising their prices ; but simply 
that there are more inducements or less obstacles in the one 
case to marry, in the other to raise prices, both being per 
fectly free and deliberate actions for which the agents are 
responsible.* Similarly, to take an example from Politics, 
if sheepstealing be a capital offence in a country where 
public opinion is both influential and opposed to such 
severity, there is the double probability that the law will be 
slackly enforced, and that the offence in consequence will 
be frequent. But there is no compulsion or necessity to steal 
sheep or acquit sheepstealers. Nor is it the slightest sign of 
necessity as opposed to free-will, that actions like those 
/spoken of can be reduced to statistics, and shew^ great 
i uniformity even in details. For men’s actions being in time 
\and space are obviously capable of numeration and thus 
a subject of statistics ; men’s nature being the same, they are 
likely to act in the same way under the same circumstances ; 
and though this especially applies where no motive of duty 
intervenes, it is seen also in deliberate offences, which are 
almost certain to increase or diminish according as the 
temptation is greater or less, as the increase of drunkenness 
on a London holiday, the decrease of vice in the Royal 
Navy in recent years, the contrast as regards piety and the 
domestic virtues between the Irish in their native villages 

and the Irish of the English towns.f 

Since, then, there is such a radical diffeience between 
economical probabilities and physical laws, we must dis- 
tinguish them, unless deliberately aiming at confusion , and 
thus if we call the former economical laws, we must refuse 

* For the German literature on this subject, I can refer to Roscher, 
Nationalokonomie, § 13, and to Adolf Wagner, Volkswtrthschaftslehre, i. 
pp. 195-6, note. Roscher seems to state what is true, but as usual m mis- 
leading language, clear philosophical notions and accurate terminology 
being among his weakest points. Wagner is much clearer, and honour- 
ably confesses his former errors on the subject. 

t Those who care for an exposure of Buckle’s folly and impertinence 
on these questions, can find it in the Edinburgh Review, April, 1858, and 
the Rambler, vol. x. (1858), from which some of the remarks in the text 
are taken. How far Mill can escape a similar charge {see his Lo^ic, 
bk. vi. ch. xi.), 1 leave to others to judge. 

§ 5, 6 .] Definition and Province of Economics. 9 

this title to that body of physical laws which are of great 
weight in Economic (as the laws of human exhaustion or of 
reproduction), and which might naturally claim it. Or if we 
speak of these as economical laws, then we must refuse the 
title to the probabilities of human action. 

§ 6. And now let us glance at certain mistaken views on 
the definition and province of economics. Some writers, 
whether giving or refusing it the title of a science, will in 
fact reduce it to a mere art, namely, to the art of getting 
and keeping wealth, or national wealth. So Mr. Jevons 
says {Theory of Political Ecoiioiuy, p. 2nd ed.). To 
satisfy our wants to the utmost with the least effort — to 
procure the greatest amount of what is desirable at the 
expense of the least that is undesirable — in other words, to 
maximise pleasure, is the problem of Economics. And Mr. 
Bonamy Price tells us {Principles of Currency, lect. i), that 
Political Economy is ‘ not final,’ its teachings have to be 
‘ combined with the injunctions of other sciences,’ its con- 
clusions ‘ may be overridden, modified, or rejected. And in 
a more recent work {Chapters 011 Practical Political Economy^ 
he disclaims a scientific treatment of economical questions. 

Now I do not ask any one to refrain from treating of the 
art of wealth ; though I may privately suspect that unless 
broken into a number of particular and local arts (as iron- 
melting in South Wales, coffee-planting in Ceylon, sheep- 
farming in Australia), the treatment would fill countless 
volumes and surpass the capacity of any single man to 
expound. But in the name of reason I do ask the exponents 
of this art to refrain from giving to it the name of Political 
Economy or of Economics, but to remember the distinction 
drawn so long ago by Aristotle between the science of good 
home life (oiKovo/xtioi) and the art of acquiring wealth 
(Xpj]juciTi(n"tK)7),* and to use this name Chrematistics or some 

* Aristotle, Polit. I. c. 3| § 2, urges this {ovk f] avTrj tt, olKovoiuKfj t) 
XprinaTiaTiKTi ) ; for the one has to supply, the other to use (t^s fitv yap to 
iroplaaodai, rijs fie to xpwa<r6ai). The end of Economics {ibid. § 8 and 9) 
is not the boundless -accumulation of wealth, which is but an instrument 
(6 fie rrXovTos bpyavav TrX^do? e’oriv olnovopiKotv Koi ivo\itik5>v) : not any 
amount of wealth is wanted, but only what is necessary and useful for 
social life, (dTjo-avpia-pos avayKaiav koX xpv(sipa>v ds 

Koiixcviav TTo'Xecof tj olKiat r) yap roiavTtjs KTrjoews avrdpKtux irpot 


lo Groundwork of Economics. 6, 7. 

other as suitable, instead of misleading us with ambiguities. 
And I ask further that they neither speak of their art as a 
science, nor treat it as such, taking lieed that the con- 
clusions of science are truths, and that truths are not to be 
overridden or rejected, 

§ 7. Cairnes {The Character and Logical Method of 
Political Economy^ 2nd. ed. p. 57) defines Political Economy 
as the science which, accepting as ultimate facts the principles 
of human nature and the physical laws of the external 
world, as well as the conditions, political and social, of the 
several communities of men, investigates the laws, the pro- 
duction and distribution of wealth which result from their 
combined operation.* The science, he says {ibid. p. 8 seqi)^ 
has wealth for its subject-matter ; it is a mistake to try and 
combine the laws of wealth and the laws, or a portion of the 

ar^a6i)v ovK aTTcipos €(ttiv). Those are in error {z3zd. § i8, 19) who 
think the end of Economics is to preserve, or rather to increase indefinitely 
the stock of money ; the cause of their error being their eagerness for 
life instead of for a good life {to aTrovMCew irepl to dXXa to ev 
Similarly St. Thomas, Suznma^ 2% 2^*^, qu. 50, art 3. 

* The words from ‘ as well ^ to ‘ of men ^ are an addition to the defini- 
tion as it stood in the first edition (p. 10). He gives as a slightly wider 
definition, “ the science which traces the phenomena of the production 
and distribution of wealth up to their causes in the principles of human 
nature, and the laws and events [physical, political, and social, 2nd edit.] 
of the external w'orld.’^ Senior, Four Introductory Lectures on Polit. 
Econ. 1857, p. 36, gives ; — The science which states the laws regulating 
the production and distribution of wealth, as far as they depend on the 
action of the human mind. Mill gives much the same as a correct 
practical definition in his Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Polit. 
Econ. p. 133 (2nd edit), but as a strict scientific definition (ibid, p. 140) : 
“ The science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society 
as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of 
wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of 
any other object.” The special objections to such a view will best be 
niade when we are discussing method {see infra^ § 14, 15), In the 
passages at the beginning and end of Mill^s Preliminary Remarks in his 
Principles of Polit. Econ. (6th ed.), his view seems to have grown like 
that of Cairnes. The contention of Cairnes {Character and Logical 
Method of Pol. Ec.^ p. 27 seq.) against Senior and Mill, that Political 
Economy is not a purely mental science, but mixed physical and mental, 
{see Mill, Unsettled Questions^ p. \2() seq.) shews, like the modern con- 
troversy, whether it is or is not a mathematical science {see inf § 24), that 
the modern anarchy as to words and notions is not confined to Economics. 



§ 7.J Definition and Province of Economics. 1 1 

laws, of the moral and social nature of man, like the mistake 
of the Greeks, introducing moral considerations into their 
physical science. He warns us also {Essays 07 i Polit. Econ. 
pp. 322-3, pp. 252-261) not to confound questions of Fact 
and Right, of Science and Morality, nor even to combine 
them, lest we fall into the constant temptation to ignore or 
to overrate facts, to sacrifice the scientific solution to the 
moral, or the moral to the scientific. Similarly Mill {Un- 
settled Questions of Polit. Econ. Essay V. ; Logic, Bk. VI. 
ch. xii.) ; and Senior {Introdiict. Lectures on Pol. Econ. Lect. 
ii. and iii.), distinguishing science and art, make morality an 
art and Political Economy a science, thus looking only to 
phenomena and their laws. 

Against Cairnes can be urged that he is mistaken in 
separating the ‘laws of wealth’ and the ‘laws of the social 
nature of man.’ If indeed by the former phrase he meant 
the sum of the results of physical science in regard to the 
objects composing wealth, the separation would be just. 
But he means by it the ‘ laws ’ of the action in regard to 
wealth of men on the external world and of the external 
world on men ; and in this sense they are inseparably con- 
nected with the social nature of man, and are not distinct 
from, but form a department of social science. For if there 
is a science of the action of man in society, and if the 
pursuit of wealth is carried on not in singleness and solitude, 
but in society, that pursuit must plainly form part of the 
subject-matter of that science.* 

Graver is the error of Mill and Senior, shared by Cairnes 
nd many others, separating Economics from Ethics. The 
root of this is in the denial, or ignorance, or forgetfulness 
that morality {ens morale) can be the object of a science, 
and that there is an ordered body of truth concerning 
right and wrong which can be known as well as the truths 
concerning the plants or the stars. It is a mistake there- 
fore to think that, whenever we speak of what ought to be, 

* Auguste Comte and his follower Mr. Ingram {Address on Political 
Economy, 1878, pp. 11-16) are quite right in blaming the attempt to 
isolate the study of the facts of wealth from that of the other social 
phenomena. But whether the reasons they give are all right or all 
original, is another matter. 

1 2 Groundwork of Economics. [ § 7 > 8 - 

we are engaged in an art and not in a science ; and it is a 
wrong conclusion that because ‘ Political Economy ’ is a 
science, it is not concerned with what ought to be, is distinct 
from Morality, and is to be called, as Mill says, a mental 
science, or, as Cairnes says, a mixed mental and physical 
science. In reality there can be a science of morality, and 
it is precisely to this science, as one department of it, that 
Economics belong. 

I 8. But while true philosophy forbids us to look on 
morality after the manner of Cairnes and Mill, it is per- 
missible to separate a portion of what I have called the 
preliminary parts of economical science, and to give to the 
various possibilities and probabilities of human action as to 
wealth (Cairnes would, I think, add the exposition of many 
physical laws) the name of Political Economy or any other 
name, and to pay no regard to what ought to be. This 
position, like that of those who make Political Economy the 
art of national wealth, is at least intelligible and logical ; 
but singularity inconvenient, separating premises and con- 
clusion, and breaking off at the very point of interest, when 
all the materials for judgment have been collected. .And this 
inconvenience can be gathered from the practice of econo- 
mists in defiance of their theory. Thus Mill in his Political 
Economy sets at nought the distinction of science and art 
which he made in his Unsettled Questions and his Logic, and 
treats again and again of what ought to be.* Wilhelm 
Roscher, the celebrated leader of the historical school of 
economists in Germany, first makes a great point that his 
method (he means his view) of Political Economy, which he 
calls ‘ the (realistic) physiological or historical method,’ looks 
to what is (what has been, how it has become so, etc.), not to 
what ought to be {Natmialdko 7 ioniic, § 22), and yet re- 
peatedly in the course of his work discusses what ought 
to be. Senior {Four Introductory Lectures on Polit. Econ., 
pp. 41 46) complains that almost all economists except Turgot 
and Ricardo treat their subject as an art, though most English 

* Especially in Books ii. and v. Nor can he escape the charge of 
inconsistency by adding to the title of his book ‘ Principles of Political 
Economy ’ the words, ‘ with some of their applications to social philosophy.’ 
For philosophy is concerned with sciences not with arts. 

§ 8 , Sa.~\ Defitiition and Province of Economics. 1 3 

economists define it as a science ; but Senior himself is 
charged by Mr. Hearn {Plutology, Introduction) with 
frequent divergences into practical applications of his 
theory. Yet even Mr. Hearn cannot always keep true to 
his inconvenient arrangement, and towards the end of his 
Plutology (ch. xxii. § 3 and 4) treats of the duties of the State 
and the limits of its intervention ; in other words, of what 
ought to be, or of morality.* 

In answer to Cairnes’ fear of our straining morality or 
facts, it can be said that this is a danger of all ethical study, 
and would not be avoided by stopping short before discussing 
what was right or wrong, as though reasoners could not see 
the conclusions of their doctrines ; for example, as though 
Ricardo did not know that his economical doctrines were a 
weapon of attack against the landed gentry, and did not 
mean them to be so used.'f' 

§ 8^. Finally, when Roscher {J,.c. § 23 seq) urges the di- 
versities of views as to what is desirable, or what ought to 
be, in Politics and Economics, and calls the search after this 
the idealistic as opposed to the realistic method, I answer in 
two ways. First, the alleged diversity is by no means so 
great as imagined by the narrow-minded, but is often merely 
the difference in the matter which is subject to the same 
moral principles, as according to circumstances similar 
actions may have an entirely different moral character (;vide 
inf. I 12). Nor do Roscher’s scoff's at ‘ideals,’ that to be true 
they must vary with every national peculiarity, and must 
come out in a new and corrected edition every few years 
{l.c. § 25), hit the view I have taken of Economics, since it 
is not the eternal moral truths that change, but only the 
field (or, more truly, only one part of the field) of their 
action ; and these changes can be examined no less than 
other historical changes, and to examine them is precisely 
one of the main tasks of Politics and Economics. Secondly, 
the diversity, as far as it exists, can be explained, and the 

* He seems to be among those who ignore the distinction between an 
art and moral science ; and he misleads us by repeating Bacon’s warn- 
ing not to turn aside to practice, like Atalanta after the golden apple ; as 
though practice were the same as morality. 

+ See Adolf Held, Sozialismus, Sozialdemokraiie und Sozialpolitik, 
p. 49 seq. 

1 4 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 8a, 9. 

danger of error lessened by the explanation. The same 
objection might be raised, if not against all philosophy, at 
least against all moral philosophy. No doubt there is 
diversity of opinion, but no doubt also that the main reason 
for it is this — that the intellect in these matters is a follower 
and dependant of the will, and that the main safeguard or 
remedy is therefore in uprightness of will. Long ago Plato 
marked the moral blindness caused by self-love ; long ago 
Aristotle taught that those who were led by passion were 
unfit for ethical studies and a master of wisdom and 
language has in our own day reiterated this fundamental 
truth. Cardinal Newman, speaking of Pascal and Mon- 
taigne, says {Grammar of Assent, p. 304, 3rd edit.) : “Here 
are two celebrated writers in direct opposition to each other 
in their fundamental view of truth and duty. Shall we say 
that there is no such thing as truth and error, but that 
anything is truth to a man which he troweth } and not 
rather, as the solution of a great mystery, that truth there 
is, and attainable it is, but that its rays stream in upon us 
through the medium of, our moral as well as of our in- 
tellectual being ; and that in consequence that perception of 
its first principles which is natural to us is enfeebled, 
obstructed, perverted, by allurements of sense and the 
supremacy of self, and, on the other hand, quickened by 
aspirations after the supernatural ; so that at length two 
characters of mind are brought out into shape, and two 
standards and systems of thought, — each logical, yet con- 
tradictory of each other, and only not antagonistic because 
they have no common ground on which they can conflict.” 
Light then and truth there is in moral science, and in 
Economics as one part of it, for those who will, and by no 
means only .fanciful ideals and idle unrealities ; nor am I 
writing for those whose philosophy rests on a blind belief in 
arbitrary assumptions and a blind denial of the first principles 

of reason and morality. 

I 9. The Italian Luigi Cossa, whose views are worthy of 
attention, if for no other reason, for his great acquaintance 
with economical literature, expresses gladness that Senior, 

* Plato, De leg. V. pp. 731E-732A. Aristot. Eihica Nicoin. I. x. c. 10 (9). 

§ 9.] Definition and Province of Economics. 15 

Mill, and Cairnes have not been true to their strict separation 
of economical science and the art of government : a happy 
fault to which we owe many fine applications of economical 
theories {Gnida alio studio deir Economta Pohtica, pp. 9“ ^2) ; 
and he thinks that from the definition of Political Economy 
springs its double office or function, namely, first as a science 
which, looking at the causes and laws of economical pheno- 
mena, and secondly an art, which from economical laws 
deduces guiding principles for public and private action {ibid. 
p. 9). And he defines Political Economy as “ the science of 
the social order of wealth, the science namely that studies 
the general laws of this order so as to deduce therefrom 
guiding principles for the good government of public and 
private life. That is to say, in other words. Political 
Economy is concerned with the social phenomena occasioned 
by wealth, with the double aim of examining their first 
causes and their relations w'ith public and private prosperity ” 
{ibid. pp. 4-5).* He thinks that Political Economy is one 
among a number of economical disciplines, having wealth as 
their common object (whence they are called economical), 
and each.studying it from a different aspect ; that Political 
Economy has as its province not physical laws, technical 
processes, and merely individual and domestic relations, but 
general laws and social relations {ibid. pp. 4-6), 27) ; that it is 
quite distinct from Ethics {morale), though in its applied 
part subordinate thereto {ibid. pp. 28-31.) 

But even Cossa seems involved in obscurity and contradic- 
tion. Senior, Mill, and Cairnes, though inconsistent in prac- 
tice, are at least consistent in their theory, separating 
‘Political Economy’ from Ethics, but he by his definition 
makes it a part of Ethics (for what else is a science giving 
principles for the good government of public and private 

+ “ \Jeconomia politica . ... h la scienza delP orduie sociale delle 
ricchezze, quelLi cio^ che ne studia le leggi j^ener all, per poi dedurne dei 
principii direttivi pel buon governo delle aziende pubbliche e private. 
11 che vuol dire, in altre parole, che I’economia politica si occupa dei 
fenomeni sociali cui dh luogo la ricchezza, col duplice scopo di investigarne 
le cause prime e di considerame i rapporti colla prosperiA pubblica e 

1 6 Grotindwork of Economics. 9, 10. 

life?), and then declares it not to be a part; misled, it 
seems, like many others by confusion on ‘ science ’ and ‘ art ’ ; 
not seeing that truths as to right action can be the object of 
science as well as any other truths, and cannot be ‘ subordi- 
nate’ like the rules of any art, which tell the Avay to a 
particular end, but which a higher end may forbid us to follow. 
And, secondly (not to speak of his making wealth the object 
of economical science when really its object is one depart- 
ment of morality), he introduces a misleading distinction 
between social and domestic relations {rapporti sociali and 
between Political Economy (as defined above) and 
Domestic Economy, “which studies the fact of wealth in its 
relations to the family, seeking the best means of managing 
the family property in the interest of the members ” {ibid. 
p. 5) ; as though the family were not pre-eminently a ‘social 
relation,’ and as though many of the relations of wealth to 
the family, for example, the laws and customs of inheritance, 
the powers of the paterfamilias over the property, or the 
conditions of domestic industries, were not precisely some of 
the most important portions of “ the social order of wealth,” 
and “the good government of public and private life.” 
There is, of course, an art of housekeeping (comprising 
cooking, marketing, washing, dusting, nursing, &c., or the 
superintendence of these) which may be called, if it is 
thought fit. Domestic Economy ; and, again, we may with 
Cossa {ibid. pp. 5, 6), give the name ‘ Industrial Economy,’ or 
‘ Technology in the widest sense,’ to the application of the 
physical and mathematical sciences for teaching the most 
profitable way of working in the various industries ; we may 
even, as he notices is sometimes done, include both Domestic 
and Industrial Economy under the generic term, ‘ Private 
Economy’ {economia privata, Privatbkonomik), though the 
term is badly chosen, and had much better be ‘ the econo- 
mical arts ’ : if only we remember that these various terms 
are merely arts or collections of arts, quite distinct from 
economical science, which uses them as we have seen (§ 4) 
in its own way for its own ends. 

§ 10. The definition of Political Economy as “the science 
which regulates the production, distribution, and consump- 



§ 10.] Definition and Province of Economics, 

tion of wealth,” not to speak of other objections, would 
include the physical sciences on which the economical arts 
are based; and Mill {Unsettled Questions of Polit. Econ., 
Essay V.) has long ago shewn its faultiness. 

To define it, like Mr. Macleod {Contemporary Review, May, 
1875, p. 893), as the science which treats of the laws which 
govern exchangeable quantities, or the science of exchanges 
or of values (so also Whately), is an arbitrary limitation, as 
though I were to say Economics related only to agriculturists, 
and had nothing to do with the morality of trade and 

Arbitrary also is the view that makes labour the object of 
Political Economy (Dunoyer), for then we should have to 
exclude the great and important department on the enjoy- 
ment of wealth, while on the other hand, we should have to 
include, if not a great part of Physiology, at least a great 
part of Politics, as the labour of the civil and military ser- 
vices, of the clerical, medical, legal, and other callings, would 
have to be considered no less than that of the agricultural, 
commercial, and manufacturing classes. 

Another opinion, which is growing more common, and has 
a delusive similarity to the truth, makes ‘ Political Economy ’ 
a portion of Social Science, or ‘ Sociology,’ having as its 
subject-matter one portion of the subject-matter of that 
wider science. So far I see none but verbal objections ; and, 
moreover, the method urged by those who hold the opinion 
in question (notably in England, Mr. Cliffe Leslie, and Mr. . 
Ingram), is in a great part the right one. But they are im- 
plicated in some of the philosophical delusions of the day, 
notably those of Mr. Herbert Spencer ; they imagine an 
inevitable and ascertainable course of human action in 
society, whence they can be fitly called Evolutionists ; they 
cannot see beyond appearances (phenomena), whereas true 
Social Science presses onward to realities {ens morale). Let, 
however, all further examination of the errors of the Evolu- 
tionists be postponed till the right method (logical procedure) 
of Economics has been set forth ; when, also, it will be more 
convenient to examine the errors of Bagehot, Jevons, and 
others on the province of the science. 


1 8 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 

8 II. Less important than the task of fixing the place of 
Economics among the sciences is the task of breaking up t is 
particular science into suitable divisions. For if the defim- 
tion of its province is neither misleading nor obscure, the 
subsequent partition of that province is hardly likely to do 
more than make the science somewhat easier, or somewhat 
harder to be taught and learnt. The chvismn I have adopted 
(and on which I refer the reader to the Table of Contents 
and to the beginning of each Book), gives an Introduction on 
the definition, method, and history of the science, and four 
Books, the first on economical Elements, the second on 
economical Constitutions, the third on economical Circulation, 

; the fourth on economical Maladies ; and for the convenience 
of students, a portion of Politics will be added as a fifth 
book on the Revenue of Governments. It is likely a better 
partition might be found, but this is the best I knovv of, 
assuming the province of Economics to be as set forth 
above For, naturally a different province might need a 
different partition. As it is, there is great diversity of parti- 
tion, perhaps the commonest being that of Say, namely, m o 
the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth. 
Some leave out Consumption ; others distinguish Exchange 
or Circulation {Giltermnlauf) from Distribution ; others add 
Population as a separate head.* To judge of the convenience 
of these terms and divisions is not needful here, except 
briefly to note that they draw attention too much to wplth 
or commodities {Giiter\ and are, therefore, unfit for a science 
which looks to the home as much as to the workshop. And 
as regards one further and frequent division of the science into 
two parts, one general, treating of industries as a whole, the 
other special, treating the same questions in relation to the 
various industries (so notably Rau and Roscher), I will give 
the just* objections of Luigi Cossa { 1 . c. p. 22-23), that this 
division involves useless repetitions, renders likely the intro- 
duction of needless technical details, and brings the danger 
of considering in the relations of only one industry what is 
common to all; and that what is peculiar in different 

• See L. Cossa, Guida alio studio delP econ polit., ch. 11., for these and 
Other partitions. 

§ ii.J Defi^iition and Province of Economics. 19 

industries is best explained in illustrations, digressions, and 

* Against those who say Political Economy looks only to such laws of 
production as apply to all kinds of wealth, while those applying to the 
details of particular trades and employments belongs to other sciences, 
Mill (Unsettled Questions of PoL Ec.^ pp. 127-128) objects that no such 
division exists elsewhere : mineralogy, e.g.^ is not broken up into two 
parts, one treating of the properties common to all minerals, another of 
those peculiar to each particular species of minerals. ‘‘The reason is 
obvious ; there is no distinction in kind between the general laws .... 
of mineral nature and the peculiar properties of particular species. There 
is as close an analogy between the general laws and the particular ones 
as there is between one of the general laws and another : most commonly, 
indeed, the particular laws are but the complex result of a plurality of 
general laws modifying each other.” 

C 2 



Gvouiidwovk of Ecouoviics. 





Explanation of the Right Logical Method § 12, 13-Errors on Method: 
Hypothetical Method of J. S. Mill, § 14, 1 5-Cairnes’ Method of 
Allowances, § 16-20-Prevalence of this Error accounted for, § 21- 
Theories of Bagehot and Jevons, § 22, 23- Intrusion of Mathemat cs 
on Economics, § 24- Fundamental Misconceptions of soine Socmlo- 
eists’ 5 2;— Historical Agnosticism (The Kathedersociahsten), § 25 
—Historical Gnosticism (Criticisms on Roscher, Herbert Spencer, 
Ingram, and others), § 27-S9-The Difficulties of Generahzation, 

§ 3 °) 31 — Conclusion, § 32. 

S 12. The word method as applied to a science has two 
senses, one meaning the way in which the truths of the 
science are found out, the other the way m which they are 
made known. The first can be called the logical method or 
way of research, the second the didactic method or way ot 
teaching.* They are by no means unconnected, and m treat- 
ing of the first there will be opportunity of saying what is 

necessary on the second. _ _ 

From what has already been said upon the position ot 

economical science as a branch of Ethics (| i) 
relation to the other sciences and the arts (§ 4, 5 ) we can find 
without difficulty its fit logical method. We begin by taking 
j for granted what is known, whether by reason or revelation, 
I on the moral nature of man and his position and destiny on 
earth. Further we take for granted the results of physical 
science relating to man and the external world. Then we 
look at the probable conduct of men in regard to the support, 

* Cossa, Guzda, p. 41. The use of the term method by Roscher to 
mean mode of treatment {Behazidliingsweise), is vague, and therefore 
undesirable. He mixes up the province (or contents) of the science with 

the way of teaching it. 

^ 12.] Method of Economics. 21 

perpetuation, and enjoyment of life. And we get at the 
truth by an examination of facts, that is by studying how 
men in reality have acted and do act in regard to these 
matters. But the examination must be methodical. To 
look at all economical facts is plainly impossible. To look 
at a few taken at random would plainly be insufficient 
ground for drawing conclusions. Thus it is necessary to 
make a careful selection of facts suitable in quality and 
quantity^ that is of the fit number and fit sort. And to do 
this the observer, besides the capacity for judging of the 
truth of statements and of the real character of actions, 
must have some rule by which to judge what is to the purpose 
and what not, some clue to guide him through the labyrinth. 
This rule or clue can be obtained by remembering the 
physical and, above all, the moral truths from which we start 
and the end at which we aim, namely, to learn the morality 
of domestic, industrial, and social life. Whence is plain that 
those who are in error on morality are no fit teachers of 
economical science. But if the facts have been selected by 
a capable observer, we use them to convince ourselves that 
what from our knowledge of men and things we had thought 
likely is really likely ; or we draw conclusions straight from 
the facts, and then in order to guard against mistake we 
compare these conclusions with what the moral and physical 
nature of man, and the properties of external things, would 
have led us to expect. Finally, having discovered what we 
can on the likelihood of human' action in regard to the 
support, perpetuation, and enjoyment of life, we reach the 
main and proper task of economical science, and endeavour 
to learn what is right and wrong in the actions of men 
concerning the house and the farm, the workshop and the 
market place, the banquet hall and the amphitheatre. And 
we must keep in mind that morality depends not only on 
the intention of the doer {finis operantis) but also on the 
thing done {objectum or finis operis) and the surroundings 
{circnmstantiae). Moreover, according to the difference of 
time and place, not only may the surroundings be different, 
but the thing done, though the same in name or appearance, 
may be very different in reality. It follows that to judge 
rightly of morality we must not imagine all ages and countries- 


2 2 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 12 , 13 . 

are like our own, but recognise the diversity of motives and 
desires, of customs and ideas, and that therefore according 
to these diversities, the applications of the unchangeable 
principles of right action will be very different.* And this 
method applies to political no less than to economical science, 
with this only difference, that the set of actions it examines 
are in a different department from those examined by econo- 
mics ; but the two sciences are in intimate connection and 
mutual dependence, the results of economics often being 
needful for reaching a conclusion in Politics, and conversely. 

§ 13. Let an illustration show the working of the method 
I have described. Reason tells us that it is wrong for a 
man, for mere pleasure, to deprive himself of his senses, 
wholly or partly ; revelation tells us that man’s nature is 
fallen and prone to vice ; physical science tells us the 
properties of certain narcotics as opium or chloral hydrate, 
noxious except when used for medicinal ends, and yet an 
enticement as satisfying certain physical cravings ; the 
examination of “ facts,” in other words, the study of past 
and present economical history, shows us examples of how 
the abuse of such narcotics has increased with the facilities 

* It has been well remarked : “ One nation differs so much from 
another, as to be often unable to judge of the moral character of the 
other’s actions. What, for instance, would be pride in the inhabitant of 
one country would only be patriotism in the inhabitant of another ; or 
what would be falsehood in one country is only the characteristic way of 
putting things in another. It is not that the immutable principles of 
morality can be changed by national character or by climate ; but that 
outward actions signify such different inward habits in various countries, 
that a foreigner is no judge of them. Thus a foreign history of any 
people is for the most part little better than an hypothesis, and is not 
unfrequently a misapprehension from first to last. ... As it is with the 
countries of the world, so it is with the ages of the world. Each age has 
its own distinctive spirit. It has its own proper virtues and its own 
proper vices. It has its own sciences, inventions, literature, policy, and 
development. Each age thinks itself peculiar, which it is : and imagines 
it is better than other ages, which it is not. It is probably neither better 
nor worse. In substantial matters ihe ages are pretty much on a level 
with each other. But each has its own way, and requires to be dealt 
with in that way. ... We must not make light of the differences of the 
ages. Each age needs persuading in a manner of its own. It finds its 
own difficulties in religion. It has its own peculiar temptations and follies.’ 
— F. W. Faber, The Precious Blood, pp. 19-20, 2nd ed. 


§ 1 3 .] Method of Economics. 

of obtaining them and decreased with the restrictions or 
prohibitions of their use imposed by authority ; and from 
the facts we draw the probable conclusion that the action of 
the authorities is the cause of the amendment ; and then 
confirm our conclusion by seeing how it agrees with what 
we know of human nature, namely, with the motives of 
reverence for authority, of fear of punishment, of aversion 
to the trouble now needful to obtain the forbidden indul- 
gence ; also with the greater capacity to resist temptation 
in proportion as the unlawful object is more continuously 
and further removed from the senses. Moreover, by the 
same reasoning process we shall reach the conclusion that 
the action of authorities against the evil in question is un- 
likely to bring other evils, or at least none of any weight, 
compared with the abuse of narcotics. Then at last the 
science called Economics is able to pronounce as a truth that 
it is right on the part of all authorities (religious and civil, 
domestic, social and industrial) to oppose, not the vice of 
opium-eaters and chloralists, for that is the common and 
obvious duty of every one, but the unrestricted production 
and sale of the alluring narcotics, and to limit the traffic in 
them to what is needed by the doctor and the surgeon. 

Let those who dispute the assertions made in the fore- 
going illustration remember that these are not the point in 
question, which is about the proper mode of reasoning ; and 
let them look at the form, and not trouble about the matter 
of the illustration. Moreover, if only the right method be 
adopted, it seems to me of little consequence what name, or 
whether any name at all, is given to it. Let each, at his 
pleasure, then, call it concrete-deductive, or complete, or 
mixed, or realistic, or comparative, or historical. But I 
shall use none of these, lest I mislead, but simply speak of 
the right method, not presumptuously, for all naturally think 
their own method the right one, whatever they call it, but 
as a short phrase for the method I have explained as seem- 
ing to me the right one. On which enough has here been 
said, as objections will best find their answer in the criticism 
of opposing theories.* But before coming to these I will 

* How far the foregoing resembles the method recommended for 
sociology by Comte or by Mill [see Mill^s article in the Westminster 

24 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 13, 14. 

add the general remark on reasoning which seems of par- 
ticular weight for Economics and Politics, that we must keep 
the golden mean between the excess and defect of precision. 
Thus on the one hand, mindful that “ exactness must not 
be looked for in all discussions alike any more than in all 
works of handicraft,” and that “a cultivated mind will only 
seek that degree of exactness which the nature of the matter 
admits ” (Aristot. Eth. Nic. Bk. 1 . c. i [c. 3] ), and that “ all 
statements as to emotions and actions can be definite only 
so far as these are definite” {Ibid. Bk. IX. c. 2), let us not 
weary ourselves with seeking the exact boundaries between 
the lawful and unlawful, the harmless and harmful ; nor ask 
for the statistics of or affection. On the other 
hand, let us remember that “ every rational discussion should 
start with a definition, so that the object of the discussion 
may be understood ” (Cicero, De offic. 1 . I. c. 2), and let us 
thus avoid being entangled by those indefinite and mislead- 
ing terms, which are the bane of economical and political 
science and the source of fruitless controversies : like Ricardo, 
whose ambiguity on the word “ value ” makes his work “ a long 
enigma ” (Whately) ; or Mill, who defines the word “ profit ” 
in one way and explains it in another ; or Bastiat erecting a 
fabric of sophistry on the double meaning of the word 
service (well exposed by Cairnes, Essays in Polit. Econ. 
Essay IX.); or Roscher, who makes the term “wants” or 
“ requirements ” {Bediirfnisse) a fundamental notion, and yet 
fails to define it, and uses it, now to mean what is desired, 
now what ought to be desired. 

I 14. Let us now examine the chief errors on the method 
of Economics. All these errors can be roughly divided into 

Kcyiew, April, 1865, pp. 384-387, reprinted as Auguste Comte and Posi- 
tivism, and Mill’s Logic, Bk. VI. ch. ix. and x.), is not necessary to be 
discussed. The best exposition I know of the proper method of Econo- 
mics, is given by F. G. Schulze, Nationalokonomie, § 9-1 1, published 
1856. How to apply the right method is, perhaps, nowhere better seen 
than in Aristotle’s Politics. For the method of Politics, as I have said, 
is exactly the same as that of Economics. Mark Aristotle’s copious 
illustrations from real life, and his separation of technical action from 
moral action — of political arts looking at a special end {eg., the arl of 
maintaining a tyrannis {Politics VI II. (V)c. 9) from political science 
looking at the end of man. 

§ H. 1 5-] 

Method of Economics. 

two groups, namely, excesses on the deductive (or a priori) 
side of reasoning, and excesses on the inductive (or a pos- 
teriori) side. As to authors, particular attention shall be 
given to what is erroneous in the methods of Mill, Cairnes, 
Bagehot, Jevons, Roscher, Ingram, and Herbert Spencer. 
Let us begin with the errors on the deductive side. 

The view set forth by Mill in the fifth Essay of his Un- 
settled Questions of Political Economy may be summarized 
as follows. Political Economy is concerned with man solely 
as a being desirous of getting wealth. It abstracts from all 
motives except the desire of wealth and the antagonistic 
principles, namely, aversion to labour and the desire of the 
present enjoyment of costly indulgences. It shows how 
men would act if impelled only by the aforesaid motive and 
counter-motives. For to judge how men will act under a 
variety of desires and aversions, we must show how they 
would act under the exclusive influence of each one in par- 
ticular. Political Economy reasons from assumptions, not 
facts. Its conclusions, like those of geometry, are true only 
in the abstract. To apply them they have to be corrected 
by other motives that influence the result. So far as it is 
known, or may be presumed, that the conduct of man in 
the pursuit of wealth is under the collateral influence of any 
other of the properties of our nature than the desire of 
obtaining the greatest quantity of wealth with the least 
labour and self-denial, the conclusions of Political Economy 
will so far fail of being applicable to the explanation or 
prediction of real events, until they are modified by a correct 
allowance for the degree of influence exercised by the other 
cause. Only rarely, for the sake of convenience, these 
corrections (for instance, as regards population) are inter- 
polated into the exposition ol Political Economy and the 
strictness of scientific arrangement departed from. So far 

§ 15. Against this view, which, as being based on (or 
starting from) an hypothesis, may be called the hypothetical 
view, can be urged the following objections.* {a) There is 

* The two first of the following objections are from Senior {Four 
Introd. Lectures on Polit. Ec., lect. iv.), who understood Mill and 
Ricardo better, I think, than Cairnes did ; the latter seemed to deny that 



26 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 15 . 

great danger of starting with hypothesis and then reasoning 
as though it were reality, as Ricardo did ; and {b) there is 
danger of error because there is no test of the correctness of 
conclusions ; whereas, if the conclusions are meant to be 
real, not imaginary, and are at startling variance with actual 
facts, we are warned that there must be some mistake in our 
premisses or our reasoning. Further, as Mr. Syme ( West- 
minster Review, July, 1871) urges, (c) hypotheses are admis- 
sible only when containing nothing contradictory to fact, 
and when sufficient to explain the phenomena without the 
aid of any other hypothesis. But Mill’s hypothesis is 
obviously contradictory to fact, and involves a whole series 
of hypotheses ; for the force and direction of the motive of 
self-interest, as well as its existence has to be assumed : all 
men are to be precisely similar, and the aforesaid motive 
ever to act with the same strength and in the same way ; 
which is untrue ; for the “ selfishness ” of one man seeks 
immediate gratification, of another a competence in old age, 
of a third the foundation of a family ; and in the same 
individual are different directions at different times of the 
same motive, not to speak of different motives. 

Syme ; and notice also that Mill’s hypothesis 
men to know their pecuniary interests and the way 
them : in glaring contrast with the realities of ignorance, 
prejudice, and self-deception. Moreover (di) it is impossible 
to find out how men would act under the exclusive dominion 
of one motive ; and {e) even if the whole series of hypo- 
thetical sciences of man were completed, each looking at 
him as he would be if led by one motive (as by the desire 
of honour, or of power, or of sensual gratification, or by 
family affection, or by philanthropy, or by malevolence), it 
would still be impossible to sum up the results and pass 
from hypothesis to reality. Finally, (/.) Mill has only 

they started from hypothesis. I should add that I am not criticizing 
Mill’s personal views, which were either fluctuating or contradictory ; but 
only his written essay on economical method. It may be true that in 
his other writings can be found not merely a departure from, but also a 
confutation of, the method taught in that Essay (see infra, § 20) ; yet 
still the essay remains, and a second edition appeared in 1874. Mill’s 
inconsistency is noticed by Mr. Ingram, Address on Polit. Econ. 
pp. 14, 24-25. 


§ 15 , 16 .] Method of Economics. 27 

examined the homo oecononiicus, or dollar-hunting animal, 
without attempting to complete, or even to continue the 
series of hypothetical sciences ; and yet boldly treats of real 
life, in defiance of his theory. And perhaps he may have 
assented in his later years to the more plausible theory of. 
Cairnes, which shall be examined forthwith. 

§ 16. The method of Economics as set forth by Cairnes, 
{Chciractey ciiid Logical Method of Polit. Ecou., 2d. ed., Lect. 
ii. iii. iv. v.) can perhaps briefly be stated as follows. 
Political Economy starts from certain mental and physical 
premisses or ultimate facts (cardinal principles, leading 
causes), drawn alike from the world of matter, and the world 
of mind, and knowable through our consciousness of what 
passes in our own minds and through the information which our 
senses can convey of external facts. From these premisses 
we deduce economic laws, which are true in the sense a law 
of mechanics or astronomy is true, namely, on the hypothesis 
of the absence of disturbing causes. Then we compare the 
conclusion with facts ; and here statistics are most useful as 
auxiliaries, helping us to verify the accuracy of our reasoning 
from the fundamental assumptions of the science, and also 
rilscover the effect on wealth of .subordinate mfuencts 
(physical or mental, political or social), as distinct from the 
more cardinal principles. So an economic law does not 
assert the order in which the phenomena occur, but a 
tendency which they obey, and therefore when applied to 
external events is true only in the absence of disturbing 
causes, thus representing an hypothetical, not a positive truth. 
The doctrines of Political Economy are to be understood as 
asserting not what will take place, but what would, or what 
tends to take place. And being deduced from certain prin- 
ciples of human nature, as they operate under certain phy- 
sical conditions, they can be established only by proving the 
existence of such principles and conditions, and shewing that 
the tendency asserted follows as a necessary consequence ; 
and they can be refuted, not by statistics, but only by proving 
that the said, principles and conditions do not exist, or that 
the tendency is not a necessary consequence. The economic 
law does not fail because the tendency is neutralized, any 
more than the law of gravitation fails when its force is 


28 Groundwo 7 'k of Economics. [§ 16, 17. 

neutralized by the action of friction. And as to the afore- 
said ultimate facts, though the causes influencing wealth are 
indeed innumerable, and all of them cannot be found, yet we 
can find the leading ones, namely, the desire to obtain wealth, 
and at the least possible sacrifice (aversion to labour) ; also 
the propensities which, with our bodily conditions as they 
are, determine the law of population ; and further, the 
physical qualities of the soil, and other natural agents. And 
besides these which are of paramount importance as to the 
production and distribution of wealth, other subordinate 
principles can be ascertained and appreciated with sufficient 
accuracy, and allowance made for them as disturbing causes. 
Examples of such subordinate influences are : the political 
and social institutions of a country, in particular laws on 
land tenure ; great discoveries in the art of production, as 
the steam-engine ; the influence of custom modifying human 
conduct on the pursuit of wealth ; ideas of decency, comfort 
and luxury, developing as society progresses, and modifying 
the natural force of the principles of population. We can 
thus attain, if not to absolute scientific perfection, at least to 
the discovery of solid and valuable results.* 

I 17. This theory of Cairnes, which we will name the 
Method of Allowances, can perhaps be looked on as the 
theory in possession in England and France,! though its hold 
over English economists is being weakened by the rival 
theory of evolution, and perhaps in a few years it may no 
longer be worth the trouble of refutation. 

Let us begin by noticing a verbal ambiguity which is 
not a necessary part of the theory. Long ago Whately, 
{Lectures on Polit. Econ., p. 164, 4th ed.,) noticed how the 
word tendency had two senses : either the existence of a 

* In much the same way Senior in his Four hitroductory Lectures on 
Polit, Econ,^ pp. 62-63, proposes as the base of the science the statement 
that wealth and costly enjoyment are universal and constant objects of 
desire, that they are desired by all men and at all times ; and he thinks 
we shall thus be able to affirm, not that for example a capitalist if he 
will gain wealth by doing a certain action, will do it ; but that in the 
absence of disturbing causes he will do it ; and that we shall frequently 
be able to state these causes and their probable force. 

t In Italy, Luigi Cossa is an avowed follower of Cairnes’ method. 
(Gutda^ Part I. ch. iv. § 3.) 


§ 17 , 1 8 .] Method of Economics. 

cause which if operating unimpeded would produce the result, 
in which sense man has a tendency to fall prostrate ; or else, 
the existence of such a state of things, that the result may 
be expected to take place, in which sense man has a tendency 
to stand erect rather than to fall prostrate. The first sense 
is the most scientific, and implies no probability or improba- 
bility ; we could say with equal truth, man has a tendenej- 
to stand or a tendency to fall. The second sense implies 
probability, nor do I see the use of the term, or of saying 
that Political Economy is a science of tendencies, when we 
can speak of probabilities, equiprobabilities, and improba- 
bilities. It is, however, in this second sense that Cairnes 
uses the word tendency, and must be understood accord- 

The objections to his theory, and to others akin to it, may 
perhaps be reduced to three heads ; the first, that the 
mental cardinal principles are inadequate, the second, that 
they are untrue, the third, that to make allowances as pro- 
posed is inadmissible. And I draw much from two in- 
structive articles of Mr. Clifife Leslie, one on the Philosophi- 
cal Method of Political Economy in Hermathena, No. 4, 
Dublin, 1876, the other in the Fortnightly Revieiv, Jan. 


§ 18. First then the mental cardinal principles, in other 
words the assumptions as to human action concerning wealth, 
even were they true are inadequate as a foundation for 
deductive reasoning. For even were it true that the main 
mental causes affecting wealth were the desire for it and the 
aversion to labour, what can be concluded from these 
generalities t To reach a conclusion we should have to 
assert or assume that the said desire and aversion always 
led men with the same force in the same direction, which has 
already been refuted (§ 15 objection c). Wealth, which is 
a general term for an almost innumerable variety of objects, 
is treated as though it were simple and of one kind. All 
the needs, appetites, passions, tastes, aims and ideas which 

* David Syme, in the Westminster Rev., vol. 40, p. 217, objecting to a 
science of general tendencies, means the first sense (which is Mills), 
and seems to misunderstand Senior and Cairnes, who use it in the 









I . 

I , 



30 Gi'oundwork of ' Economics. [§ 18 , 19 . 

the various things comprehended in the word wealth satisfy 
are lumped together.” Similarly as to aversion to labour ; 
as though there was no distinction between the kinds of labour, 
and kinds of aversion. And as to the ‘principles of population,’ 
these are not a simple force working one way ; for the sexual 
passion, the desire of offspring, the desire of female com- 
panionship, and the love of family fame or prosperity, are by 
no means alike in their nature or result. So these grand 
cardinal principles cannot logically lead us to any con- 

I 19. Secondly: it is untrue to say simply that the main 
mental causes affecting wealth are the desire for it and the 
aversion to labour. If, indeed, we add to these causes the 
‘ principles of population,’ and mean by this the numerous 
and often conflicting motives connected with family life, and 
the relations of the sexes ; the proposition, though still un- 
true, is less preposterous ; but only less so by making more 
preposterous the plan of reasoning deductively from causes 
so numerous and so conflicting. In proportion then as this 
second head of objections is weakened, the first head is strength- 
ened. But even if we allow this wider view of the case of the 
science, and stretch the aforesaid cardinal principles to their 
utmost ;f there still remain many other ‘ mental causes’ or 
motives as to wealth, of by no means ‘ subordinate ’ im- 
portance. Not the desire of wealth, but the fear of punish- 
ment was the primary motive for the production of wealth 
among the slaves of classical Greece and Italy, and of the 
West Indies and ^o'^hhern States of North America. The 

* They may be mere truisms, quite fruitless for science. Thus 
Cairnes {l.c. p. 78) says ; — “ Every one feels that in selecting an indus- 
trial pursuit, where the advantages are equal in other respects, he will 
select that in which he may hope to obtaift the largest remuneration in 
proportion to the sacrifices he undergoes.” IfV^ interpret what I have 
italicised, in a way that will make his proposition true, it becomes the 
truism, that if the influence of all motives but one leave us undecided 
that one will be the motive we shall follow. 

+ So Mr. Cliffe Leslie’s Just remark, “the exertions of that hardest 
worked of all labourers, the poor man’s wife, can hardly be explained 
by the love of wealth and ease” {^Fortnightly Rev., Jan. 1879, p. 29), 
though conclusive against Mr. Lowe, might be evaded by Cairnes as 
explainable by ‘ the principles of population.’ 

^ 19 .] Method of Economics. 31 

fear of imprisonment keeps the luckless Hindoo debtor in 
lifelong bondage to the usurer, for whom he becomes a most 
diligent producer of wealth. Patriotism -drew numbers of 
young Germans from safe and lucrative posts abroad to 
fight in 1870 for the Fatherland. Patriotism keeps millions 
from the pursuit of wealth, and interrupts their industrial 
life by forced military service. Patriotism brings back the 
Tyrolese from the ends of the earth to his barren native 
valley. The Ipve of honour has kept many men from trades 
and employments which though profitable, have been held 
degrading to freemen, or to the well-born ; while in other men 
it has overcome the aversion to labour and induced them to 
work off a debt of honour. The love of power (like that of 
honour), can induce us to increase our wealth, as is obvious ; 
but also to abstain from increasing it, as the English land- 
lord preferring low-rented and subservient, to high-rented 
and self-asserting tenants, or to squander it as Caesar or 
Alcibiades. The love of labour for itself, not for the sake 
of the wealth it may bring, nor for the religious exercise it 
may afford, but simply for its own sake, is a frequent and 
powerful motive, and seen not merely in scientific,. artistic, 
and literary pursuits, but in the manual labour of the 
mechanic and husbandman, signally of the peasant-owner, 
and even in the counting-house and law office which to some 
seem so dreary. So the love of labour can claim to be a 
‘ cardinal principle,’ as well as to the aversion to labour.* 

* Naturally the love is no more to be exaggerated than the aversion, 
as when Fourier hoped by his system to raise even sewer cleaning to a 
‘ passion.’ But, on the other hand, Cairnes verges on the absurd when 
he says {Character, etc., of Pol. Ec., p. 76), “ Every one who embarks in 
any industrial pursuit .... knows that he does so from a desire, for 
whatever purpose, to possess himself of wealth ; he knows that accord- 
ing to his lights, he will proceed towards his end in the shortest way 
open to him.” As though (to keep within the United Kingdom) a bad 
English trader could not help cheating and lying, if that were the 
shortest way to work, according to his lights ; and a bad Scotch 
manufacturer could not help extracting from his workmen the maximum 
of produce for the mininum of wages ; and a bad Irish landlord could 
not help rack-renting his tenants. And' as though many an Irish tenant, 
did not, when ‘ embarking ’ on the cultivation of land, agree to pay, in the 
shape of good-will and rent, so much, that he could scarcely have chosen 
a longer way to wealth. 

32 Groundwork of Economics. |§ ig. 

Excitement can be so strong a motive as to make great 
changes in the “ distribution ” of wealth. Thus we hear of 
the Germans of . the time of Tacitus and of the modern 
Burmese gambling away first their property, and then the 
liberty of their children, their wives, and themselves. Thus, 
too, in defiance of their “ interest,” numbers subscribe to 
lotteries, and even engage in trades which yield on an 
average not profit, but loss. Custom or routine (that is, the 
aversion to change), is often, and in all departments of 
Economics, of powerful influence, and notably in all matters 
of enjoyment and expenditure, as those know who would 
seek to check the wasteful outlay of the Hindoos on their 
weddings and of the English on their food. The sense of 
fairness and justice is sometimes, in default of religious 
motives, of great importance as in modern England in the 
relations between masters and workmen. Natural philan- 
thropy (or benevolence) may in like manner be a powerful 
economical force, and be the cause as in England and the 
United States of large masses of property passing from the 
hands of individuals into those of the public. Finally, who 
can tell the gigantic power of religious motives, from the 
oppressive bondage of the darkest superstition to the liberty 
of the truth } Religion, not pecuniary interest, may fix the 
time for buying and selling, for ploughing, sowing and 
reaping, and even, as in modern India, may determine the 
choice of crops.* Religion may suspend all or much or 


§ 19, 20.] Method of Ecoftomics. 

Religion may extinguish among multitudes the desire of 
wealth and the aversion to labour as among the tens of 
thousands of Christian monks in Egypt in the fourth century. 
And certainly neither the economical desire for wealth, nor 
the aversion to labour, nor the principles of population, 
heaped up around the shrines of Greece the treasures which 
became the plunder of later ages ; nor have caused the 
transfer of wealth to the Buddhist temples and monks ; nor 
were the reason that much of the wealth of Europe was 
once in the hands of the clergy, or in our own day induce 
the faithful after so many spoliations to repair the sacred 
patrimony of the Church and the poor. And I might speak 
of how religion might exercise the most decisive influence 
on the ‘ principles of population,’ were it not that enough 
has been said to shew that the principles asserted to be the 
only main ones as to wealth are not the only such, but 
merely some among many. 

§ 20. Thirdly, it will not mend matters to make allow- 
ances for these others. In a wise moment Mill has said : 
“ It is not allowances that are wanted. ... It is unphiloso- 
phical to construct a science out of a few of the agencies by 
which the phenomena are determined .... we ought to 
study all the determining agencies equally, and endeavour, 
so far as can be done, to include all of them within the pale 
of the science ; else we shall infallibly bestow a dispropor- 
tionate attention upon those which our theory takes into 
account, while we misestimate the rest, and probably under- 
rate their importance. That the deductions should be from 
the whole and not from a part only of the laws of nature 
that are concerned, would be desirable even if those omitted 
were so insignificant in comparison with the others, that they 
might, for most purposes and on most occasions, be left out 
of the account. But this is far indeed from being true in 
the social science. The phenomena of society do not 
depend, in essentials, on some one agency or law of human 
nature, with only inconsiderable modifications from others. 
The whole of the qualities of human nature influence those 
phenomena, and there is not one which influences them in a 
small degree. There is not one the removal or any great 
alteration of which would not materially affect the whole 




Groundwork of Economics. 

20 , 21 . 

aspect of society, and change more or less the sequence of 

social phenomena generally.”* 

So far Mill. Nor let us hear the false analogy that in 
various other sciences allowances are made and a distinc- 
tion drawn between pure and applied, and that therefore 
we must distinguish pure and applied Political Economy. 
When we really know the main and constant causes which 
act always with the same force and in the same direction, 
we can make allowance for what is subordinate or variable, 
as for friction in mechanics. But in bionomics first of all 
the alleged main causes are not, like physical causes, invari- 
able in their action (§ 5), and then the alleged disturbing 
causes are, as we have seen, no less constant and important, 
and might just as well be made the base of ‘pure Political 
Economy ’ and the others only find their place in applied 
Political Economy.’ •!* Thus we might just as well take as 
our base that all men seek the welfare of their country, 
and deduce the maxim of pure science that no trader will 
sell arms to the enemy ; and then, before coming to applied 
Political Economy make allowance for pecuniary interest ; 
as, vice vcTsd, deduce from the love of wealth that they will 
sell in the best market, though it be to the enemy, and then, 
before applying our theory, make allowance for patriotism as 
a disturbing cause or a kind of friction (as is done by 
Cairnes, Character and Logical Method of Polit. Econ. p. 9 ^)’ 
And so we may say with Mr. Cliffe Leslie {Fortnightly 

* J. S. Mill, System of vi. ch. viii. ad fin. He is combating 

the ‘ abstract-deductive ’ or ‘ geometrical ’ method in sociology, practised 
by Hobbes and Bentham. 

t Wolowski, in his interesting preface to the French translation o* 
Roscher’s Naiional6ko7tomie^ Paris, 1857, well combats Rossi’s analogy of 
mathematical deductions supposing a vacuum, and neglecting certain 
facts and resistances “ Or, du moment oii il est question d’int^rets 
humains, il n’est pas possible de supposer le vide, de negliger les faits les 
plus vulgaires et les resistances les plus communes, ni de s’egarer dans 
Tabstraction ; les correctifs de Teconomie politique appliqu^e peuvent ne 
pas effacer ce pechd originel, ou bien ils risquent fort de voiler les principes 
eux-memes. Et encore dans la balistique [science of projectiles] vous 
pouvez mesurer la resistance qu’oppose le milieu ou vous etes appeie h 
fonctionner ; la force d'impulsion et le but, tout obeit k la meme loi, tout 
se plie aux memes precedes de calcul. Mais en est-il ainsi quand vous 
touchez k ce qu’il y a de plus intime et de plus sensible dans I’homme?” 
(p. Ixi.) 


§ 20, 2i.] Method' of Economics. 35 

Review, Jan. 1879, p. 41), that “to isolate a single force, even 
if a real force and not a mere abstraction, and to call deduc- 
tions from it alone the laws of wealth, can lead only to 

error, and is radically unscientific/** 

I 21. But a widespread error is not properly confuted till 
reasons are shewn for its prevalence. Now the error in 
question, of which Cairnes is the most reasonable supporter 
that I know, and which makes pecuniary interest the 
dominant motive in regard to wealth, can be accounted for 
on several grounds. First, in a certain sphere the alleged 
motive is truly enough predominant, namely, in the relations 
of traders in what may be called wholesale markets in a 
society like that of modern England. And what is true of 
a part has been taken as true of the whole, and all the more 
so from the undue importance attached to that part in Eng- 
land through the giant growth of English commerce. More- 
over, there can be men or even a class of men in whom the 
motive of money-making is all-powerful, and rules them till 
their grave. Such men were especially conspicuous in Eng- 
land in the first half of this century ; and what was true of 
them was taken as true of all, even in different countries and 
former ages. This narrow-mindedness in various degrees 
reaching to absurdity^* is no new failing and need not sur- 
prise us 5 for long ago St. Augustine {^Coufcssioiies, 1 . iii. c. 7) 
rebuked those who measure the conduct and customs of the 
whole race of men by their own 5 and noticed how men take 

* A similar false method in the field of Politics, originating \yith 
Kant, is well criticised by Ferdinand ^Valter, IsuituEf'echt und Polihk, 

§ 12. Bonn, 1871. See Appendix B. 

+ As Senior {Encyclop, Metropolitana,vo\. vi. 1850; PoliL Econo?ny, 
pp, 12, 13b saying ; ** To seem more rich . . . • than those within their 
own sphere of comparison, is with almost all men who are placed beyond 
the fear of actual want, the ruling principle of conduct.” “To appear 
rich is the ruling passion of the bulk of mankind.” Of Bentham it has 
been said (by Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 2nd edit. p. 634, note 64), that 
“ with the most naive dulness, he supposes the modern bourgeois, in 
particular the English bourgeois, to be the nomral type of man.” Adam 
Smith is not narrow-minded enough to be true to his own absurd assump- 
tions on self-interest, as in bk, ii* ch. v. p. 167 ; The consideration of 
his own private profit is the sole motive which determines the owner of 
any capital to employ it, either in agriculture, in manufactures, or in some 
particular branch of the wholesale or retail trade.” 

D 2 




" I 

' i 


» V 

i I 


36 Grotuidwork of Economics. [§ 21 , 22 . 

offence at former ages and foreign peoples, not being able to 
understand the reason of their conduct, so different from that 
to which they are accustomed.* And this deduction of a 
general conclusion from particular premises is a natural in- 
firmity of human reasoning ; while in the case in point the 
error has a ground of truth in recognising that there are, 
in spite of the historical school, principles of human nature 
common to all times and places ; only it errs as to which 
principles. Lastly, the apparent simplicity and completeness 
of the deductive theory, in se ipso totus, teres atque rotundus^ 
is one cause, though not, as Mr, Leslie implies, the only cause 
{Fortnightly Review, Jan. 1879, pp. 35, 37), of its attractive- 
ness ; for men are allured by system and uniformity. 

§ 22. Let us now turn from the errors on the deductive to 
those on the inductive side. But first let us look at two 
writers who in appearance may occupy the golden mean, but 
not in reality : I mean Bagehot and Jevons. The theory 
of the first may perhaps be summarized as follows. Political 
Economy, or English Political Economy, for different ones 
can be constructed, is a theory of commerce as commerce 
tends more and more to be when capital increases and com- 
petition grows. It is a theory of the principal causes affect- 
ing wealth in certain societies ; and where the economists 
have erred is in not seeing that these causes are only true in 
a society of grown-up competitive commerce such as we 
have it in England, and that only here can other causes be 
put under the minor head of ‘friction.' The science of 
Political Economy as we have it in England is the science of 
business as business is in large and productive trading com- 
munities. It assumes a sort of human nature such as we see 
it everywhere around us, and simplifies that human nature ; 
it looks at one part of it only, and assumes that man is 
actuated only by the motive of money. We know that this 

* In the same way Mill {Atiguste Comte and Positivism. Reprinted 
1865, pp. 82,83) notices how some Political Economists fall into the error 
“ of regarding . . . their present experience of mankind as of universal 
validity ; mistaking temporary or local phases of human character for 
human nature itself j . . . deeming it inipossihlc, in spite of the stron<^est 
evidence, that the earth can produce human beings of a different type to 
that which is familiar to them, in their own age, or even, perhaps, in their 
own country.” 


§ 22 , 23 .] Method of Economics. 37 

is not so, but we assume it for simplicity’s sake as an 
hypothesis. {Fortnightly Review, Feb. 1876.) 

Omitting other criticisms, I think this theory open to a 
triple objection. First, the limitation of ‘ Political Economy’ 
is so arbitrary as to be intolerable. Why should it be confined 
to males in modern England, as Mr. Cliffe Leslie well asks 
{Fortnightly Review, Jan. 1879, p. 37) And then the limita- 
tion is gravely deficient by its vagueness ; for the term com- 
petition is anything but simple ; and the terms business and 
commerce in the widest sense include almost every dealing 
in any way connected with wealth, while in the narrowest 
sense they do not even include manufactures, and only mean 
the dealings of wholesale merchants and of the so-called- 
money-market. Thirdly, the said limitation only lessens but 
does not remove the unfitness of the method proposed. 
There is the assumption of what is known to be untrue, and 
the attempt to mend this failing by allowances ; against 
which enough has already been said (§ 20). Nor let any one 
object that I have allowed the ‘motive of money’ to be 
predominant in those very wholesale transactions of modern 
trade to which Bagehot confines Political Economy. For 
even then he would err in making this truth, which we 
know by inference is so, into an hypothesis of which he 
says, “we know that this is not so.” But in fact he does 
not confine his theory to the operations of the ‘ market,’ 
but treats also, for example, of ‘ labour ’ ; and here even in 
modern England to assume only the motive of money is 

I 23. Mr. Jevons, girt round with strange words and 
numbers and diagrams, is difficult to approach or attack. 
And he seems often so near the truth that I am unwilling to 
think he combines the errors of the old economists and new 
sociologists. He comes to terms with the latter by the 
cession of the larger part of human action as to wealth, and 
which, under the name of economic Sociology, he allows to 
be a branch of the science of society ; and, like Bagehot, he 
retains only a portion, though not quite the same portion, 
to be the province of what he calls Economics {Theory of 
Political Economy, pp. 21,22, 2nd ed.). This is composed 
of deductions or calculations from self-interest, and is a 





Groimdiuork of Eco 7 iomics. [§ 23 , 24 . 

mathematical science. It can be described as the mechanics 
of utility and self-interest {Ibid. p. 23, Fortnightly Review, 
Nov, 1876, p. 626) j and it treats of the lowest rank of feel- 
ings. The Calculus of utility aims at supplying the 
ordinary wants of man at the least cost of labour. Each 
labourer, in the absence of other motives, is supposed to 
devote his energy to the accumulation of wealth. A higher 
calculus of moral right and wrong would be needed to shew 
how he may best employ that wealth for the good of others 
as well as himself. But when that higher calculus gives no 
prohibition, we need the lower calculus to gain us the utmost 
good in matters of moral indifference.” {Theory of Political 
Economy, p. 29, 2nd edit.) 

Let us pass by for the present other criticisms upon Mr, 
Jevons, nor trouble ourselves with his feeble and contradic- 

tory utilitarianism, and only notice two truths which under- 
lie his theory of Economics, and his misuse of them. First, 
that there are principles of human action as to wealth that are 
by no means transformed by time or changed by race and 
locality , secondly, that in certain transactions among men 
pecuniary advantage is the immediate predominant motive. 
But as to the first, Mr. Jevons errs in separating them from 
the varied and changeable principles, as though these were not 
dependent on those, and as though ‘ economic Sociology ’ 
were possible apart from ^ Economics.’ And as to the second, 
how perverse to spend time on examining what would be 
done if men were what they are not, instead of what is really 
done where the said motive is really predominant ! So I 
think that, as far as his economical theories are not a part of 
social science, they are mere fruitless speculations. 

§ 24, In connection with Mr, Jevons, a word should be 
added on what is called the mathematical method of Political 
Economy. The point at issue is mainly concerning the best 
way of teaching (didactic method) rather than the right way 
of research (logical method). Now it is true that in parts of 
economical science we have to deal with quantities, and that 
here mathematical symbolism can be used, IMoreover, in a 
few cases the use of mathematical figures may perhaps be 
useful to help us to understand or to remember. But as a 
rule they only make more obscure and unattractive what 

§ 24 , 25 ,] Method of Economics. 


they were meant to illustrate ;* while the more important 
parts of the science, where we are immediately considering 
goodness and happiness, are incapable of quantitative mea- 
surements. Misleading, then, is the assertion of Mr. Jevons 
that Political Economy is mathematical because it treats of 
quantities (/. c. p. xxii. seq. 4 seq) ; as though it treated of 
nothing else but quantities. Moreover, this abuse of mathe- 
matics is likely to make us exaggerate the importance of 
one class of observation, namely, statistics in the narrow sense 
of returns that can be reduced to figures ; and to neglect 
those much more important observations, not of impersonal 
aggregates but of personal life in the shop or the field, on 
the seas or by^ the fireside. Long ago, in the first edition of 
his Ouvriers curop^ejis (1855, p. 11), Le Play noticed how 
limited was the field for the application of statistics, abstract- 
ing as they do from those surroundings which may precisely 
be of the most interest for social science ; and how direct 
observation, such as made by the English Royal Commissions, 
is the better method. To despise or reject statistics would 
indeed be folly ; but because we need the dry bones, this is 
no reason for looking on them as the living flesh. And thus, 
just as we must not suffer the domain of Ethics, of which 
Economics are one province, to be invaded by the votaries of 
physical science, so also we must repel the invasion of the 

§ 25. Let us turn to errors on method which can be 
roughly classed as those on the inductive side. And mark, 
the degrees of error are very great, from the unhistorical 
folly, extreme in Carey and Prittwitz, and mitigated in Mr. 

* This and other criticisms upon Mr. Jevons are made in the excellent 
review of his Theory of Polit. Econ. in The Academy j 26 July, 1879, 
by Mr. Cliffe Leslie. The Times might be printed in shorthand, with 
great saving of ink and paper — but the public ! Mr. Cliffe Leslie 
expresses a pious wish, wherein I heartily concur, that Ricardo’s system 
had been given only a mathematical shape ; for this would have been an 
effectual bar to its mischievous influence. 

t Arguments against the ‘mathematical method ’are given by Roscher, 
Nationalbkonotnie, § 22 ; Cairnes, Character and Logical Method of Polit. 
Econ. 2nd edit. lect. v. ; Contzen, Einleitnng in das Staats — und Volk- 
ivirths. Stadium, § 2, who sensibly remarks that we should look to the 
important differences between Economics and Mathematics, rather 
than to the unimportant resemblances. 


Groundwork of Economics. 

[§ ^ 5 - 

Herbert Spencer, to the more specious illusions of the 
learned Roscher, and the comparative correctness of SchafHer, 
Sir Henry Maine, and Mr. Cliffe Leslie. Moreover, there is 
rnuch in the writings upon method of some of these and 
similar authors (notably the German ‘ Kathedersocialisten ’) in 
complete accord with the method I have upheld (§ 12, 13) ; 
but here I am only concerned with them so far as they are 
wrong , while so far as they are right they cannot claim 
(still less can I) to have found out anything new, but merely 
to have returned to the old path of logical reasoning.* 

The logical errors of ‘ inductive ’ economists may perhaps 
be put under two heads, the first including the defect, the 
second the excess, of their conclusions. And for conveni- 
ence I Mull style the first historical agnosticism, the second 
historical gnosticism ; noticing, by the way, that their seem- 
ing contradiction by no means makes it impossible for the 
same author to fall into both errors. But, before considering 
these, let me say a word on certain fundamental errors and 
misconceptions which I have not to confute, indeed, but only 
to notice. Plainly, as Economics are a part of Ethics, those 
who are ensnared in a false ethical system (as Adam Smith) 
will gravely err in matters economical ; while those who (in 
reality if not in words) follow no ethical system at all, 
making a clean sweep of morality by the denial of free-will 

* Thus, long ago, Aristotle {Ethic. Nicom. x. 9) bid us look to real 
life if we would reach the truth as regards moral action ; to h' oKrjets iv 
roh npaKTols « r&v ^pycov xal rov ^iov Kpl»,raf iv tovtois yhp t6 Kiptou. 
'iKontiv df, rh npouprjpiva xpV fV't rh ?pya Kal t6p ^iov iTu^ipovras, Ka\ 
crvvabovTwv p.(v ro'is epyois dnobfKTiov, bia(f)a>vowT<op be \6yovs vTroXrjnriop 
And, as if foreseeing the follies of Bentham and Ricardo, he says in 
regard to social science {Pobt. I. i., 3b), that here, as elsewhere, the man 
will reason best who examines the process of growth, and this from the 
very beginning : d bi,^ rc, dpxv^ rh npdypara cf^ ^Xifu.p .^crnep ip 
roiff aAXotff Kai €P tovtois icaXXior’ av ovt<o The need of the 

unity of science, and of not treating ‘Political Economy’ apart from 
Sociology,’ was rightly urged by Auguste Comte, the precursor of the 
modern Sociologists and Kathedersocialisten. But this unity was familiar 
to the scholastic philosophy, and the return to the notion of 'ensemble' 
or consensus should not be called originality, but repentance (^. Claudio 
Jannet, Le Correspondant, tome 112, pp. 888, 889). Yet Mr. In^^ram 
(Address on Pol. Ec., p. 13) would have us believe that the first adequate 
conception of the nature and conditions of social science was by Comte ! 

25 -] 

Method of Economics. 

and of the distinction of right and wrong, are unfit to 
observe and reason in political and economical science. 
And as regards what is called social evolution, or the process 
of change in the relations among men unintended by them, 
and the result of their actions having unintentionally set at 
work (or made actual) causes of action hitherto dormant (or 
potential ) : it is first of all a misconception to think that the 
existence of such ‘ laws ’ of progression implies the absence 
of free-will ; whereon I have already spoken {sup. § 5). A 
second misconception is that any providential interposition 
in the course of human affairs is destructive to social science. 
Thus Mr. Herbert Spencer {Study of Sociology, 5th. ed. 
p. 394) frivolously derides as illogical the partnership 
between the ideas of natural causation and providential 
interference ; as though the said ‘ interference,’ instead of 
being opposed to, did not rather presuppose a natural 
order of events which is usually undisturbed, though of 
course, like the physical order of the world, to be ultimately 
referred back to divine Providence.* And it is a further 
misconception to think that any doctrine of physical or 
moral evolution is in opposition to Christian teaching ; 
when much rather the religious doctrine of our First Cause 
and Last End lights up the darkness that else must envelop 
the starting point and the goal of any process of evolution ; 
while Christian theology can be said to have long ago set 
forth the whole universe as in ceaseless progression towards 
an end ordained beforehand.-f* But let us return to the 

* With characteristic inconsistency, Mr. Spencer admits that there 
can be no prevision of the occurrences which make up ordinary history, 
namely, biographical facts, the events of a man’s life {ibid. p. 56, 58). 
But why, then, cannot Providence intervene in such occurrences without 
disturbing the laws which Mr. Spencer thinks govern the progress of 
society in general ? Again, he implies that a given policy can affect the 
normal course of social evolution {ibid. p. 71) ; and says that it is quite 
possible, within limits, to ‘ perturb, to retard, or to disorder the process ’ 
{pbid. p. 401). Nor does he think that such disturbance destroys the 
possibility of social science. Why, then, should analogous ‘ disturbances’ 
on the part of divine Providence be destructive of the science } 

t A general reference against the false (though fashionable) philosophy 
of Mr. Herbert Spencer can be given to the works of Mr. St. George 
Mivart and his series of articles in the Dublin Review, from Oct. 1874 to 
Jan. 1880. On how far and what sort of evolution is admissible, see in 

1 t 

42 • Groundwork oj Economics. [§ 25 , 26 . 

economists who call themselves inductive, realistic, or his- 
torical, and are by no means necessarily involved in any of 
the misconceptions and fundamental errors of which I have 
just spoken. 

§ 26. The logical error which I have called historical 
agnosticism is well exemplified in the famous economist 
Roscher, who in assenting to Mill’s ‘ concrete-deductive ’ 
method, makes (besides another) the following proviso ; 
“ Every explanation, that is, every satisfactory connecting of 
the fact to be explained with others that are already clear, is 
only sufficient provisionally. In proportion as our view is 
enlarged our explanations must go further. In a hundred 
years’ time, if the science has meanwhile grown, the expla- 
nations that satisfy us will be as much looked down upon as 
we look down on those, for example, of the time before 
Adam Smith.” {Nationalokonomie, § 22, note 10.) But 
Roscher forgets that the rules of right reasoning are the 
same for every generation ; and that we have no right to 
be satisfied with an ‘explanation’ {Erkldmng) which our 
children may find to be wrong. If there are no sufficient 
grounds for a conclusion, we may put up with a guess, but 
not look on a guess as satisfactory. If there are sufficient 
grounds for a conclusion, this cannot become incorrect by 
any subsequent discoveries. Some of the explanations 
before Adam Smith were more reasonable than some of 
those after him ; but in any case we may only look down on 
them as far as being erroneous ; and they can be so only 
because there is error either in the premises, or reasoning, 
or both. But such error is no necessity in any field of 
research : we may often lack a true explanation, but never 
need accept a false one ; and if we use our faculties aright, 
we shall be able to find, and to find in the field of Econo- 
mics, many true premises, whence can be deduced many 
true conclusions. 

particular his Lessons from Nature, ch. xii-xiv. and the last chapter of 
his Genesis of Species. A popular summary of the theological view of 
creation (respectively, of the universe) is given in Father Faber’s Creator 
and Creature, pp. 429-437, 4th edit. Some recent criticisms on the 
Spencerian Agnosticism are given in The Month, June, July, Aug., Sept, 
and Nov., 1882. 

Method of Economics. 

So much for Roscher in particular. The agnosticism 
which is common to the entire historical school of econo- 
mists may perhaps best be summarized in the words of Cossa 
{Guida alio studio deW Econ. Polit. ch. iv. § S) : “As in 

law the historical school does not recognize principles of 
reason which have an absolute and universal value (philo- 
sophy of law), but only admits that law which is the organic 
product of the national conscience, or positive law, so also in 
economy the new school denies the existence of absolute 
principles, of ideal types to be conformed to by the econo- 
mical government of States. It only recognizes a National 
Economy, special to each people and each epoch, and thus 
linked to the respective physical, ethniccd, and historical con- 
ditions, and to the different degree of their civilization. The 
pretended general principles are erroneous and incomplete 
abstractions of the actual circumstances of the particular 
author’s own country. And thus the true historical econo- 
mist should content himself with describing the various 
stages of economical civilization and with finding the prin- 
ciples and applications suiting each particular epoch.” 

It is here sufficient comment to say that whereas human 
nature and the relations of men and the external world are 
partly constant, partly variable, the historical school treats 
them as wholly variable ;* and to notice three reasons for 
this error. First, the excesses and absurdities of most of 
the economists in the first half of this century, measuring 
humanity by their own time and locality, and dressing up a 
ridiculous homo oeconomicus, just as in political science 
Rousseau had dressed up a ridiculous homme de la nature, 
were likely to cause a reaction and an opposite excess, which 
would see nothing common or ‘ natural ’ to all men.f 

* Cossa’s comments are anything but satisfactory, as might be expected 
{cf supra, § 9, 17 note). But he notices one good retort : “If Roscher 
observes that the food of an infant is not fit for an adult, Messedaglia 
answers that the alimentary function in both is the same, and that it is 
precisely for physiological science to discover the laws of this function.” 

t See the excellent articles by Claudio Jannet, in Le Correspondant 
for Sept. 1878 (t. 1 12, pp. 870 seq. 1,062 seq.). He well remarks the 
practical mischievousness of the evolutionary doctrines : the communist 
might urge that private ownership and family life were mere ‘ historical 
categories,’ which were to pass by evolution into a community of goods 

i ! 


1 : 

I f 

Groundwork of Economics. [§ 26, 27* 

Secondly, the diversity of views in all parts of Ethics, which 
has already been noticed {sup. | 8«), presents a spectacle 
likely to put doubt or disbelief in any absolute and universal 
truth, whether political or economical, into the minds of 
those who, for lack of true religion or philosophy, are 
unable rightly to account for this diversity. Thirdly, it is 
quite true, as we have seen {sup. § 5), that according to the 
diversities of time and place, the moral law requires very 
different applications and wears veiy different aspects ; and 
the probable conduct of men both in public and private life 
is very different. These differences have been the object in 
our time of special attention through the great (and most 
fortunate) increase of our knowledge of social life in past 
times and distant places ; and by a natural excess the funda- 
mental resemblances have been ignored or denied. But this 
denial, if carried to its logical conclusion, would strike at the 
root of all certitude ; and the stores of learning heaped up 
by the diligence of historical students would be destroyed 

by the inroads of universal scepticism. 

S 27. The second head of the errors, to which the historical 

school are liable, relates, not to the denial or neglect of 
known truths, but to the assumption or assertion of either 
what is known to be false or of what is not known to be true. 
This I call historical gnosticism, comprising idle assumptions 
and illogical conclusions. And here I will again begin with 
Roscher. This writer has a theory on civilization and pros- 
perity, distinguishing rude times, highly civilized or flour- 
ishing times, and falling (or fallen) times ; and makes a 
whole series of assertions concerning their respective charac- 
teristics. But those who compare different passages of his 
Nationalokonomie will find the same people at the same 
time to be in two stages of civilization {Kulturstufen). For 
example, we are told {ibid.^^y) that free competition grows 
with civilization, and diminishes with sinking peoples, as in 
the later Roman empire. But we have been previously told 
{ibid. I 73) that among almost all peoples, as they passed to 

and of wives. I may remark that I doubt whether Sir H. S. Maine 
knows what is meant in Christian philosophy and theology by the law of 
nature, and that it differs from the use of the same term by the French 
‘philosophers’ of the eighteenth century. 

! '• 

^ ■-! 


Method of Economics. 


higher civilization, a mitigation of servitude* has been 
effected by the public power. But with the growth of com- 
petition in ancient Greece and Italy, the said mitigation was 
not seen ; while one of the grandest examples of it on 
record was precisely in that later Roman empire which he 
tells us was a declining time. Again, the United States have 
a characteristic of ‘ little civilized ’ peoples in the lowness of 
the rent of land ; of ‘highly civilized ’ in the social unrestraint 
allowed to unmarried girls ; of ‘ sinking times ’ in the eman- 
cipation of women and frequency of divorce {cf. ibid.'^ 155, 
250). In short, his theory of ‘ civilization ’ {Kultur) is not a 
logical conclusion from exhaustive observation, but either an 
incorrect assumption, or else a fallacious inference.-f* Oppor- 
tune were Whately’s warnings {Introduct. Lectures on Polit. 
Econ. pp. 153-157, 4th ed.) against the danger of misapplied 
learning, and of unconscious theorizing, and that knowledge 
of facts is no remedy for logical inaccuracy, and that it avails 
not to pile up building materials if we know not how to build. 
Nor can Roscher’s learning (which is indeed admirable) secure 
him from the vulgar error of reasoning from specific expe- 
rience, which Mill in two places in his System of Logic (bk. 
iii. ch. X. § 8, bk. vi. ch. vii.) has held up to deserved 
reprobation. Thus he says {Nationalokonomie, § 84), that 
everywhere with the advance of civilization the sphere of the 
aims of the State is enlarged. But this seems a mere rash 
generalization, affirming universally what he knows (or rather 
imagines) concerning certain particular nations during certain 
particular periods. It is quite true that when and where the 
State undertakes the charge of criminal justice, instead of 
leaving it to the family corporation or other private bodies» 
then and there is an increase of its sphere and (let us say) of 
civilization ; and it is also quite true that the conscription 
and compulsory education and frequent expropriation, when 
first introduced, are an increase of the said sphere, and have 
been largely introduced among nations whom Roscher would 
call advancing in civilization. But what is the use of such 

* This word itself, namely, Unfreiheit, is very vague and misleading ; 
but for the present point it is enough that it includes slavery. 

t In like manner he constructs a fancy period, called the mediaeval 
period, not a result of facts, but a shape to which facts must be moulded. 

i ! 


46 Grouftchuork of Economics. [§ 27 , 28 . 

and suchlike particular examples for the establishment of an 
historical induction, unless he can shew that he has observed 
a great many cases, and that only few or unimportant ones 
are unobserved, and that in all those observed he has found 
the said advance of civilization and enlargement of the 
sphere of the State to be invariably together Even then he 
would not be justified in more than a probable conclusion, 
namely, that the advance and enlargement aforesaid probab y 
always went together. As it stands, his as.sertion is prepos 
terous For not merely is information as yet lacking on the 
growth of many important civilizations (as the Egyptian, 
Assyrian, Chinese, Cambodian, and Central American), but 
in the known cases there are facts contrary to his theory. 
Instead of the sphere of the State ever growing with civil- 
ization (or with what he would call civilization), we see this 
sphere sometimes indeed growing, but sometimes also 

shrinking ; now taking in a new field, now " 

one. Thus against the instances of increased sphere cited 
above may be set the decreased sphere in regard io ex- 
penditure of the subjects (sumptuary laws), to their lending 
transactions (usury laws), and to their industrial pursuits 
(laws prescribing the time, place, and mode of production), 
as also the rise of great industrial bodies (joint-stock com- 
panies) able to perform and performing what once could on y 
be done by Government.* Nor can I see any evidence to 
prove that in the future there may not be fresh abandon- 
ments of fields of action by the State, as well as fresh occu- 
pations ; or that either or neither will preponderate. 

8-78 The foregoing criticisms have been given to illus- 
trate the logical errors in a leader among historical econo- 
mists. And as we are concerned here with method and not 
with theories on social science, it would be out of place to 
examine how many other ‘ inductions by simple enumeration 
can be found in the pages of Roscher, or to give any detailed 
criticism of other theories of social evolution. As far as 

* Thus by looking only at these facts and using Roscheds fallacious 
method we might reach a conclusion just the reverse of his, and proclaim 
Ts 1 law that advancing civilization is marked by the diminution of the 
sphere of Government. And this, in fact, has been done by Mr. Herbert 

Spencer (Principles of Sociology., § 259 seqi). 


§ 28.1 

Method of Economics. 

they are worth attention they will receive it in their fit place ; 
while here it is sufficient to notice them incidentally as 
illustrating the fallacies which I have grouped under the 
name of historical gnosticism, or the error of setting forth as 
known what is not known, or even what is false. Perhaps the 
most striking example of rude empiricism is the roseate 
theory of certain American economists, who are misled by 
a narrow-minded observation of their own country, where the 
conjunction of the arts of the old world with the unex- 
hausted and unoccupied soil of the new, has caused a 
dazzling increase of wealth. And thus they imagine with 
the growth of civilization that cultivation is extended to 
more fertile lands, that capital tends to increase faster than 
population, that wages tend to rise, and so forth ;* like the 
logical error of the mercantile school (ittf. § 36), whose con- 
clusions were likewise drawn, and likewise drawn irrationally, 
from observation. 

Very different from this rude empiricism are the theories 
which, while nominally based on observation and experience, 
really mean the subjugation of facts to a preconceived theory. 
Conspicuous among such is the theory of Mr. Herbert Spen- 
cer, which he calls ‘super-organic evolution,’ being the appli- 
cation to social life of the theory of evolution which he holds 
to be true in biology, and of which a leading feature is the 
gradual transition from what he calls indefinite incoherent 
homogeneity to definite coherent heterogeneity. And, like the 
unhappy victims of Procrustes, the various social facts as they 
fall into the hands of Mr. Spencer must be made to fit into 
the bed of super-organic evolution ; and if they are too long 
or too short, must be cut down or stretched out. Even Mr. 
Cliffe Leslie, who bows the knee to Baal and speaks of Mr, 
Spencer as “ the most eminent living social philosopher ” 
{Hermathena, No. 4, p. 287), has to differ from him and notice 
{Fortnightly Review, Jan. i879,pp. 43, 44) that the movement 
from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is not an uni- 
versal law, and that the movement of language, law, and 
political and civil union is mostly in an opposite direction ; as 

* These follies are well noticed by Roscher, Nationalbk. § 263, note i ; 
who is better as a critic than as a constructor. Analogous follies were 
held by Banfield in England, and Prittwitz in Germany. 


48 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 28, 29. 

the unification of language in contrast to the perpetual flux 
of language among the Africans, with whom new dialects 
arise at each swarm from the parent hive ; and the spread of 
French or English civil law over a great part of the civil- 
ized globe ; and the unification of dress instead of the old 
distinctions according to rank, profession, and district ; and 
the modern amalgamations instead of differentiations of 
employment, as of industrial and political functions, when 
the same man acts as a merchant in the morning and a legis- 
lator in the evening, and where all the able-bodied men have 
for a portion of their life to be soldiers. Plainly, I may add, 
Mr. Spencer has not reached his theory of social evolution 
from the study of social facts, but constrains these to bend 
to his theory. And he betrays his own ignorance of eco- 
nomical history when, for example, he asserts {Study of Soci- 
ology, 5th ed. 1876, p. 255) that in early times bondsmen were 
treated as though they existed simply for the benefit of their 
owners, and {ibid. p. 348) that increase in industrial energy 
causes diminution of harsh coercion, and that this latter fact 
is a fundamental trait of social progress. In reality the 
alleged characteristics of early times can historically be shewn 
to have been absent when we first get a view of the bondsmen 
of Greece and Rome, and to have arisen and grown till it 
became a characteristic of the most brilliant periods, literary, 
political, and commercial, of the Hellenic and Italian races. 
And as regards the diminution of harsh coercion, the false- 
hood of Mr. Spencer’s proposition is plain to any one who 
compares, for example, the treatment of the provincial 
Roman population in the fifth century by the unindus- 
trious Germanic invaders, with that of the native races during 
nearly four centuries by European colonists, who assuredly 
have not been lacking in industrial energy. And precisely 
the great increase of industrial energy in England under 
George III. was marked, not by a diminution but by a fearful 
increase of harsh coercion, and new and unutterable cruelties, 
as those suffered by the workhouse apprentices, rivalling the 
worst days of Roman slavery.* 

§ 29. The danger of direct refutation, to which Mr. 

* Mr. Spencer repeats the errors in question in his Principles of 
Sociology, § 260. 

^ -4 


Method of Economics. 

Herbert Spencer exposes himself, can indeed be avoided by 
confining historical inductions to vague generalities, to 
truisms, or to tautology. But this is but the mournful 
alternative of avoiding the sacrifice of truth only by 
sacrificing what is original and clear. And thus we can say, I 
think, of many statements of the ‘ new school ’ of economists, 
that if they are interpreted so as to give us information, 
they lead us into error, and if interpreted so as not to lead 
us into error, they give us no information. So Brentano 
{Arbeitergilden der Gegeyiwart, II. p. 31 1 seqi) is at great pains 
to establish logically the historical law “ that in a condition 
of freedom the dissolution of an old order necessarily in all 
times calls forth the same organization in guilds of those 
who suffer under that disorganization.” But, as far as this is 
true, I see nothing but the truism that those men are likely 
to unite in some form or other whose common interests are 
threatened, and who are not kept by force from union. Again, 
Mr. Ingram says ; “We can by judicious action modify in 
their special mode of accomplishment or in the rate of their 
development, but cannot alter in their fundamental nature 
the changes which result from the spontaneous tendencies of 
humanity. An attempt to introduce any social factor which 
is not essentially comformable to the contemporary civiliza- 
tion, will result, if not in serious disturbance, at least in a 
mere waste of effort. Any proposal of social action, there- 
fore, should repose on a previous analysis of those spon- 
taneous tendencies, and this is possible only by the historic 
method.” {Address on Polit. Econ. pp. 21, 22.) Whereon a 
long commentary might be written, but mine shall be brief. 
First, I ask, how does Mr. Ingram know that, if there are the 
said natural processes of national growth and development, 
we can alter them in the degree alleged.^ Nor do I under- 
stand how we can effect any alteration, if, as Mr. Ingram’s 
great master teaches, we never do and never can determ.ine 
the cohesions of the psychical states which arouse an action, 
or, to put it in English, if w'e have no more real choice as to 
our thoughts and intentions than a leaf to resist the wind. 
But let this pass.* Then, secondly, I ask whether the career 

* Similarly, Mill tells us {Logic, bk. vi. ch. ix. § i), that “the actions 
and feelings of human beings in the social state are, no doubt, entirely 


50 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 29 . 

of Mahomet was according to the spontaneous tendencies ot 
the Arabs, or negro slavery part of the natural development 
of the European and negro races, or the laws of succession 
established by the French Civil Code,' or of lending estab- 
lished by the English in India, were changes resulting 
from the spontaneous tendencies of humanity. To say they 
were, is a mere arbitrary, if not paradoxical, assertion. To 
say they were not, is more reasonable ; but then robs Mr. 
Ingram’s proposition of its value, since the spontaneous 
tendencies are so reduced in importance, and the field for the 
action of Church and State so greatly widened. Nor do we 
require telling that legislation cannot alter everything and in 
any way, and that in the application of the natural law 
regard must be paid to the history and jjeculiarities of each 
particular nation. But I will not accuse Mr. Ingram of 
burdening us with pompous truisms, for I think he is caught 
on the other horn of the dilemma, and falls into historical 
gnosticism. To illustrate the passage already cited, he 
notices how historical research has shewn in the progress of 
mankind a natural movement from common to separate 
ownership of land. I will not quarrel with his mode of 
stating the historical truth, which we shall have subsequent 
occasion to examine in detail, but will pass on to his con- 
clusion. “ The safe prediction is,” he says {ibid. p. 22), “that 
the Swiss Ailmcnd, the Russian Mir, and other forms of 
collective ownership, will disappear, and that personal ap- 
propriation will become the universal rule. The social 
destination of property in land, as of every species of wealth, 
will be increasingly acknowledged and realized in the future ; 
but that result will be brought about, not through legal 
institutions, but by the establishment and diffusion of moral 
convictions.” But, to begin with the passage on the social 
destination of wealth, his assertion, if it means, as I think it 
does, that we can be sure private owners will more and more 

gov'erned by psychological and ethological laws.” And yet he puts 
{ibid. ch. vi. § 2) among the aims of social science to tell us “ by what 
means any of those effects [which the existing state of a country was 
likely to produce in the future] might be j)revented, modified, or 
accelerated, or a different class of effects superinduced.” But how ! 
{cf. Mivart, Lessons from Nature, pp. 120- 127, 388, 389, on Mr. Herbert 

§ 29 , 30 .] Method of Econoinics. 5 1 

use their property pro bono publico, increasing in public spirit, 
generosity and charity, is so devoid of grounds a priori or 
a posteriori that I have not the patience to refute it. The 
passage on the disappearance of collective ownership is more 
reasonable, but is still untenable, even though we confine it 
to land. I do not say that collective ownership will not 
disappear, but I say that there is not sufficient evidence for 
declaring this likely, still less certain. Even supposing the 
progression from collective to individual ownership had been 
regular and unbroken, and hitherto we had observed no 
contrary movement ; still there would not be evidence for 
asserting that the movement would go on till all collective 
ownership had disappeared, and that no contrary movement 
would set in, or new forms of collective ownership arise 
suited to changes in social relations and in agricultural art. 
Still less when we see in our own time so many signs of a 
contrary movement ; the former course of alienation of 
national and municipal domains checked and even begun to 
be retraced, acquisition of various industries by Govern- 
ment (railways, telegraphs), and the giant growth of the form 
of collective ownership represented by joint-stock com- 
panies, and already in some cases extended to land ; not to 
speak of the growth of monastic institutions (Belgian and 
French conventual industries), and the fact that much of the 
land of England has passed in modern times from the hands 
of single owners into those of trustees. And thus, con- 
cerning the future of land ownership, while I think we can 
in many points tell what ought to be and can be, I confess I 
cannot tell what actually will be, and think Mr. Ingram’s 
confident prediction as baseless as that of the Socialists who 
foretell the ‘ nationalization ’ of the land. 

§ 30. Indeed the complicated nature of social facts, and 
the grave difficulties in the way of observation, might warn 
us of the danger of general conclusions. And, by a note- 
worthy coincidence, one and the same author, Mr. Herbert 
Spencer, has warned us of the pitfalls, and yet has himself 
fallen in again and again.* With his falls we are not now 

* In general it can be said that, in his Principles of Sociology, he falls 
into the errors of observation and reasoning exposed in his Study of 
Sociology; but although the ‘Study’ is by no means an intolerable 

E 2 

\2 Groundwork of Economics, 30 - 

:oncerned, but with his warnings ; and these (amid many 
incidental misstatements) he gives in nine chapters (iv to xii.) 
af his Study of Sociology, and sums them up in the conclusion. 
Under ‘objective’ difficulties or causes of error, he notices 
{a) the extreme untrustworthiness of witnesses from care- 
lessness, fanaticism, or self-interest ; how even, where there is 
impartial examination, {b) there is a very general proneness 
to assert as facts observed what are really inferences from 
observation, and (c) to observe evidence of certain kinds and 
not attend to that of opposite kinds much larger in quantity, 
blinded by exterior trivialities to interior essentials ; how, 
even where accurate data are accessible, (d) their multitudi- 
nousness and diffusion in space make it impracticable clearly 
to grasp them as wholes ; while (e) a still greater hindrance to 
their true apprehension is their unfolding in time, which may 
take centuries, and can only be grasped by combining in 
thought multitudinous changes that ^re slow, involved, and 
not easy to trace. Under ‘subjective difficulties, he notices 
how {/) automorphic interpretation, that is, using each his 
own nature to interpret the conduct of others, must indeed 
be used, but must also be more or less misleading ; (g) the 
frequent want of sufficient intelligence to grasp the concep- 
tions of sociology, complex as they are beyond all others, or 
to take in the immense variety, both actual and possible, of 
social life in different times and places ; and how {/i) our 
emotions, as fear or hope, hate or love, falsify our con- 

§ 30 > 3 ^-] Method of Economics. 53 


as to the truth, or true character of facts, has already been 
sufficiently spoken of (as a, b, c, and f), and extends from 
deliberate falsehood, though various degrees of blind passion, 
to the more pardonable errors, as of travellers who imagine 
absent what they see no trace of, or imagine words and 
actions have the same import as the analogous words and 
actions in their ovvn country.* The liability to reason 
illogically from facts has also already received sufficient 
illustration. There remains the intermediate head of diffi- 
culties, the fit selection of facts. 

§ 31. Well has Cornewall Lewis observed {Methods of 
Observation and Reasoning in Politics, ch. vii. § 20) on this 
difficult task, that not all which is true should be recorded ; 
and that the historian must know what is worth observing, 
and select out of the vast mass of occurrences only those 
having an important bearing upon the destiny and character 
of the nation whose story he is relating ; and that {ibid. § 25) 
this needful power of seizing the material facts and rejecting 
the immaterial, requires that he frame in his mind a theory 
explaining the concatenation of events, and by applying 
this theory determine which events are material and which 
immaterial.'!* Well, too, has Walter Bagehot y\x^^ 6 i{Fortnightly 

* “ See how various are the statements made respecting any nation in 
its character and actions by each traveller visiting it. There is a story, 
apt if not true, of a Frenchman who, having been three weeks here, 
proposed to write a book on England ; who, after three months, found 
he was not quite ready ; and who, after three years, concluded that he 
knew nothing about it.” {Study of Sociology, p. loo.) Mr. Spencer pro- 
ceeds to note the difficulty of comparison, as “ every society differs 
specifically, if not generically, from every other” ; and how the “compari- 
sons of our vague and incorrect conceptions concerning one society with 
our kindred conceptions concerning another society, have always to be 
taken with the qualification that the comparisons are only partially 
justifiable, because the compared things are only partially alike in their 
other traits (pp. loi, 102). Warnings and examples of the errors of 
travellers are given by Mr. Mivart, Lessom from Nature, pp. 90, 91, 93, 
136-139, 160; and Mr. Robert Flint, Antitheisiic Theories, Lecture vii. 
The rules of historical evidence are no unimportant branch of Logic. 

t He remarks that facts must be passed through a succession of 
sieves of increasing fineness before they are ready for history, as is done 
to every litigated question before it is submitted to a court ; this being 
the main use of professional advisers, who extract from the mass of 
statements what is pertinent to the question at issue. 

Reviezv, Feb. 1876, pp. 222-224) against what he calls tne 
‘ enuinerative ’ or ‘all-case’ method in Political Economy, 
that the mere indiscriminate collection of facts has not been 
the method that has succeeded in physical sciences, but 
abstractions and hypotheses ; that if we waited to reason till 
the ‘ facts ’ as to business, for example, were complete we 
should wait till the human race expired, as facts are constantly 
accumulating; that statistics are mere ‘scraps of scraps, 
and that a complete record of commercial facts, or even one 
kind of them, is quite hopeless. Similarly, Cairnes opposes 

theory (noticed sup. § 28), his ‘ intellectual scent perceives 
only what will fit in with evolution, and the rest must be 
passed by as ‘ unorganizable. ’ Again he is right, though again 
not original, when he urges, in the last four chapters of 7 he 
Study of Sociology, the need of preliminary discipline for the 
students of social science ; only the wrong discipline, none 
other, namely, than to be stripped of wisdom and morality 
by a full acceptance of his own system of philosophy. 

§ 32. And now I reach the end of this weary task of 
criticism, which may seem to some to have been insufficient, 
to others unnecessary, and in which I fear lest by feeble 
arguments I may have only strengthened the false positions 
which I have assailed. But without fear I can say to those 
who are really in good faith and good dispositions for in 
this, as in all branches of the science of right and wrong, it 
is idle to speak to those whose reason is obscured by pride 
and passion — that there are two antidotes to the false 
teaching, both of ‘ Political Economists ’ and ‘ Sociologists : 
one the study of Christian philosophy, the other the study 
of history ; not of all history, which is impossible, nor of mere 
crude scraps or of cooked collections, nor, again, anyhow ; 
but a serious examination of the real social life of one or 

given periods. 

more given countries during one or more 
And in the light of reason and reality the delusive light of 
false systems will disappear. 

If any one objects that in attacking the conclusions both 
of the old and the new economists I have destroyed with- 
out rebuilding and have made believe that we can, or at 
least do, know next to nothing in regard to social science, I 
answer, that I have opposed historical agnosticism as well as 
historical gnosticism (vicL sup. | 26) ; that I do not deny the 
existence of sociological or economical laws in the sense of 
likelihood of action — indeed Mr. Spencer’s formula of change 

in some of their leading traits. Having observed d prion what must be 
the character of those ideas, we shall be as far as possible prepared to 
realize them in imagination, and then to discern them as actually exist- 
ing.” I think he would hardly deny that the volumes entitled Descriptive 
Sociology, published under his direction, are not the basis, but based 
upon his theory of evolution. 

§ 32 .] Method of Economics. 57 

against such intolerable limitation I have already said 
enough {sup. | 8 ). And if asked what guide is to be 
followed in the difficult task of selection and interpretation 
of social facts, I can refer to what has already been said 
(I 12), and repeat that relation to moral action is the measure 
of importance, and that our guide is human reason, not in 
its natural weakness, much less when distorted and darkened, 
but when disciplined by a good will and enlightened by 
revelation. Nisi Dominus acdificaverit domum, in vamini 
laboraverunt qui aedificant earn. 

nightly Review, Jan. 1879, pp. 45 , 46 ) that the science of society will not 
yet enable us to predict, but says it is in its youth and has a long and 
arduous future before it. His victim, Mr. Lowe, might turn on him and 
ask how he knows this. 

56 Grotmdwork of Economics. [§ 3 ^- 

from likeness to unlikeness of parts can, I think, be made 
true if reduced to a likelihood in certain cpes up to a cer- 
tain point ; — but that such laws are comparatively few and 
limited, whereas there is an immense body of truth, namely, 
the moral character of social action, which is ascertainable, 
and which forms the proper object and main body of social 
science. In other words, we can tell much as to what has 
been and what ought to have been, but little as to what must 
have been ; and in the future also, while we can tell little of 
what must be and will be, we can tell much of what may be 
and what ought to be. If, then, we refuse to consider 
Politics and Economics as branches of Ethics, the field of 
these sciences is reduced to narrow and uninviting limits : 
though of political (including juridical) and economical history 
there is abundance, of science there remains little.* But 

* After describing the ‘objective difficulties' of the social science, Mr. 
Spencer comes to the natural question : Is it not manifestly impossible 
that a social science (in his sense of the term) can be framed ? (Study of 
Sociology^ 5th edit. p. iii.) His answer is feeble; he thinks we can 
know certain general facts left after errors in detail, that, e.g.^ there was 
a Feudal System ; and that we can know its traits in their essentials, 
especially by comparing different contemporary societies, and by noting 
what witnesses tell us not intentionally, but by implication (ibid, p. 112). 
But students of history know the emptiness and obscurity of ‘general 
facts ' : dolus latet in generalibusj and how precisely by details we reach 
the knowledge of real life. Doubly unhappy is his choice of the ‘Feudal 
System' as an illustration ; for this vague term is applied in many ways 
to many and very different states of society ; and anything is clearer 
than what are its ‘ essential traits ' ; while he himself, in the same 
volume (pp. 256, 257), gives a picture of ‘ the baron of feudal days ' that 
might almost serve for the Comic History of England. — Some excellent 
remarks against Comte's historical abstractions, as fetichism, polytheism, 
monotheism, feudalism, Catholicism, and the like, are to be found in 
Cornewall Lewis's Methods of Reasoning and Observation in Politics,^ 
ch. vii. § 24. And Roscher, in the last three sections of his National- 
okonomie^ gives several sensible- comments on idle dreams, and rash 
generalizations, and theories that can neither be proved nor refuted, and 
notably warns against false analogies and misleading parallels, where, 
perhaps, trifling resemblances are regarded and radical differences disre- 
garded. This warning might apply to the ‘ comparative method ' to 
which Mr. Spencer (loc. cit.) refers us. — But the reason why I cannot recog- 
nize Mr. Spencer's Social Science may be “an absence of faculty com- 
plex enough to grasp its complex phenomena” {ibid, p. 132). — Mr. Cliffe 
Leslie evades refutation by a flight into the future. He admits {Fort- 

Groundwork of Economics. 



General Remarks, § 33 — Antiquity, § 34 — Middle Ages, § 35— Mercantile 
Period, § 36— Physiocrat Period, § 37— Adam Smith and the Indus 
trial School, § 38, 39 — Revolt against this School, § 40 — Five 
Divisions of Modern Economists, § 41-45 — Conclusion, § 46. 

I 33. In this chapter I do not propose to give a detailed 
history of economical science, for this would exceed the 
limits of a volume; nor even an outline, for this would 
require the existence of a good and trustworthy history to 
draw from, or the knowledge that would be sufficient to 
compose such a history ; and both fail me : but only to give 
fragments of an outline, hoping that others with the gifts 
and acquirements requisite for literary or doctrinal history 
(^Dogmengeschichte) may undertake this arduous but useful 
task. And in much I follow the Historical Introduction which 
forms the second part of Luigi Cossa’s Guida alio studio 
dell Economia Politica, to which I give once for all a general 
reference, but also the warning that this lively, clear, and 
learned Introduction is likely much to mislead us, through 
the author’s errors on the nature and method of the science 
{vid. sup. §9, 17 note); through his implication that what 
is only one school of Economics is the entire science ; and 
through his strange omissions, saying nothing of the most 
important economical writer of modern France, namely, Le 
Play, nor of the great school of Scientific socialism based on 
the works of Lassalle and Karl Marx. And thus the greatest 
caution is needed in following Cossa in his judgments of 
doctrines and books, and all the more because his style is so 

p'rom what has been already said upon the character 

§ 33.] Economical Literature. 59 

of economical, and no less of political science (§ 5 . 12), it is 
plain that both must be progressive, in the sense that fresh 
matter for them is continually accumulating. If, indeed, 
historical erudition were failing, these sciences would be 
like a spot of sunlight, ever illuminating fresh matter, but 
also ever letting old matter sink back into the darkness of 
the past. And in times when there is little change in 
home life and industry, in laws and government, and little 
increase in knowledge of previous or contemporary societies, 
there is little increase of the field for social science. On 
the other hand, the increase is very great when, as in the 
century from 1780 to 1880, there occur, in triple conjunction, 
immense changes in economical and political constitutions, 
an unveiling of much of the life of past societies, and a 
great enlargement of our knowledge of existing nations. 
But the social science is not new because it has received so 
much fresh matter upon which to work, as botany would not 
be made a new science by changes in the flora of a country, or 
by the discovery of new countries with plants as yet unknown. 
Nor, again, is ancient social science wrong because, in com- 
parison with modern, its field is narrow ; for it is not few but 
false premises that are a necessary cause of error ; and the 
moderns have, in fact, fallen a prey both to false premises 
and wrong reasoning more than the ancients. Thus it is 
no mistake for Aristotle to say nothing of credit-payments 
in an age that had no experience except of cash-payments. 
But, also, it is plain that of two writers equal in correctness 
of principles and reasoning, the second is a better teacher 
in Politics and Economics than the first, as being able to 
impart more truth, provided naturally that in the interval 
the writings and social history of the past have in no way 
fallen into oblivion. 

And now, as even fragments require some order, I will 
suggest six periods for provisional use : Antiquity, the 
Middle Ages, the Mercantile Period, the Physiocrat Period, 
the Reign of Adam Smith, and the New or Anarchical 
Period in which we live. And I look only to Western as 
opposed to Oriental Literatures. Whether these may not 
contain a treasure of economical works, I can neither say 
nor search. 

6o Groundwork of Economics. [§ 34. 

§ 34. The loss of most of the literature of classical Greece 
and Rome makes it impossible to give any complete account 
like that which laborious students can give of more recent 
literature, especially since the invention of printing. But 
we must not think that Politics and Economics were less 
studied of old than now because we have so small a remnant 
of the ancient writings in our hands. 

In the most active literary period of Greece, and the same 
may be said of Rome, industrial life was much simpler than 
our own, for many reasons, notably through the presence of 
slavery, the absence or unimportance of commercial credit, 
the undeveloped and unchanging condition of manufactures, 
and the performance by women at home of a great part of 
the textile industries. Nor was the field for Economics en- 
larged by scientific history ; for this was absent. Thus 
Thucydides, a model in the history of his own times, could 
no more appreciate the Homeric Age than Hume or Gibbon 
could appreciate what are called the Middle Ages. But 
though the field for Economics was narrow it was well cul- 
tivated ; several good economical discussions are to be found 
in Plato, especially in his Lazus; the Oecommictis of Xenophon 
is, as far as it goes, an excellent treatise, and there are other 
economical writings by this author of no small merit ; while, 
above all, Aristotle, besides treating many special questions 
with light and skill, has the great merit of mapping out the 
field of social science and putting Economics in their right 
place;* and though by no means free from errors, even grave 
errors, takes the first place among the ancient economists. 

Less important and still more fragmentary is what is to 
be found on Economics in the remains of the classical Latin 
literature ; but the detached economical remarks in Cicero 
and Seneca, in the Natural History of Pliny, and in the 
writers on agriculture {scriptores rei rnsticae), are signs that 
interest was taken and knowledge possessed in various de- 
partments of economical science ; above all, the fragments 
preserved of the classical Roman jurists, notably in the 

* Whether, indeed, he was the first to make the triple division into 
Ethics, Politics, and Economics, cannot, I suppose, be affirmed for certain ; 
and Xenophon had in a measure anticipated it in the three works the 
Memorabilia, the Cyropaedia, and the Oecouomicus. 

highest rank in ancient Latin literature, were tamiliar with 
economical problems, as for example Paulus in his celebrated 
passage on money {Digest, 1 . 18, tit. i, i). 

I 35. The light of Christianity, and the new relations 
arising as slavery withered away, gave a wider field for 
economical science. But while 1 know that an extensive 
literature, mainly in Greek, but partly in Latin and the 
Oriental languages, arose, much of which is still extant, and 
that a Christian and civilized state lasted in imperial propor- 
tions from the fourth till the eleventh century, I confess that 
of the economical writings of this long period — and it is 
incredible that they were absent— I know next to nothing ; 
though, indeed, on the nature, limits, and responsibilities of 
ownership, on almsgiving and lending, on the duty and 
dignity of labour, on the fit relations of masters to servants 

Economical Literature 

62 Grotmdwork of Economics. [§ 35 . 

of mutual independence and competition.* In the thirteenth 
century economical science rose to a higher level than would 
have been possible in pagan antiquity ; Aristotle was under- 
stood, corrected, and supplemented ; and if, through the 
simplicity of mediaeval life, and the absence of historical 
erudition, the science was less in extent than later, it was 
also less involved in error. The stream of wisdom flowed in 
three principal channels. One was that of moral theology, 
great portions of which are by their nature much the same as 
social science, only that the common subject-matter, namely, 
human action, is looked on from a purely supernatural point 
of view. The second channel was the majestic body of the 
Canon Law {corpus juris canonici), so far as it dealt with 
economical relations (as marriage, testaments, successions, 
sales, leases, and land-tenure, wages, usury, etc.), together 
with the commentaries on it. The third channel was in the 
shape of commentaries on the Ethics and Politics of Aristotle, 
and separate treatises on Politics, wherein not a little of 
Economics was very naturally included. A vast field is here 
open to literary students far more profitable than that of the 
writings of later economists, and far less explored.’]* Here I 
will but notice, besides Albert the Great, and St. Thomas, 
who illuminates whatever he approaches, the names of Egidio 
Colonna, John Buridan, Nicolas Oresme (whose admirable 
work on money has been well edited by Wolowski, Pari.s, 
1864), John Gerson, and, in the middle of the fifteenth century, 
St. Bernardino of Siena and St. Antoninus of Florence. 
The two latter had an advantage over earlier writers in having 
a wider field for their science, as they lived in a country 
flourishing with wealth, industry, and commerce.]; 

And now, before looking at the periods of illusion or 
anarchy, let us notice that, though the Middle Ages ended, 
the three channels above-named were not stopped up ; and 
those acquainted with the theological literature of the six- 
teenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries may be able to 
point to a continuance of true economical teaching, handing 
down in this department of knowledge the true doctrine of 
reason and revelation, just as in other departments the 
theologians defended the truth against arch-rebels, like Luther 
in theology, and Descartes in philosophy. 

§ 36. The Mercantile Period can serve as a title for the 
times between the decline of the Christian view of Politics 
and Economics, and the rise of the brilliant system of the 
Physiocrats. In Economics it is a period rather of mono- 
graphs than of regular treatises ; but in Politics there were 
many and famous systematic works, and in these much was 
discu-ssed that might fall under Economics. Thus, in the six- 
teenth century, Botero and Gregory of Toulouse maintained 
the Christian tradition against the revived paganism of which 
Macchiavelli had been so conspicuous an example, and from 
which their contemporaries, Mariana and Bodin, were not 
free. Thus, also, we should notice, as important economically, 
the series of famous Protestant jurists, as Grotius, Pufendorf, 
Thomasius, and Christian Wolft', who, with many philoso- 
phical and still more theological failings, yet shine when com- 
pared with the French philosophers who took their place. 
But now let us look, omitting lists of authors and treatises on 
particular subjects, at the main economical product of this 
period, namely, at a body of doctrine not concerning the 
whole science, but the part concerning the economical action 
of the State, especially in relation to commerce. This body 
of doctrine was later called the Mercantile System, or Col- 
bertism, and, perhaps, Serra in Italy, De Montchretien in 
France, and Thomas Mun in England, may be looked on as 

writers are set forth with great clearness and erudition in an excellent 
study of some ninety pages by Victor Brants, Les debuts de la science 
dconomique dans les dcoles franqaises aux XIII.‘ et XIV.‘ siecles. Louvain , 
1881. We find a number of doctrines supposed to be modem discoveries 
perfectly understood, with this difference, that instead of being scattered 
and isolated fragments of knowledge, each is in its place in the arch that 
bridges over the gulf of ignorance. 

* Polycraticus, 1 . vi. c. 20. Tunc autein totius reipublicae salus 
incolumis praeclaraque erit, si superiora membra se impendant inferioribus, 
et inferiora superioribus pari jure respondeant, ut singula sint quasi 
aliorum ad invicem membra, et in eo sibi quisque maxime credat esse 
consultum, in quo aliis utilius noverit esse prospectum. 

t Naturally such explorers must have better preparation and principles 
than Roscher or Endemann, who have darkened rather than lit up 
mediaeval economical literature. 

X See on them an interesting article by Funk in the Tubingen 
Ziitschrift fiir die gesammte Staaiswissenschaft, 1869, pp. 125 seq.^ though 
the author must not be blindly followed. The doctrines of the earlier 

64 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 37. 

its three most conspicuous exponents. Looking to the 
appearances of the world with which they were familiar, and 
seeing how commercial and political greatness belonged as a 
fact to those countries wherein the money in circulation was 
abundant, the economists, whom we call the Mercantile 
School, imagined that the economical well-being of a State is 
in proportion to the amount of the precious metals circulating 
within it, and that, in consequence, to preserve and increase 
this amount to the utmost, is the fundamental rule of econo- 
mical policy. But (with some rare exceptions) they by no 
means held the error often attributed to them, that wealth 
consists in money alone ; nor even can they be charged with 
making light of agriculture, and wishing it neglected in com- 
parison with manufactures and commerce. On the means to 
carry out their fundamental rule, and make abundant the 
money in circulation, they were not all agreed. Some 
approved severe laws against the exportation of gold and 
silver. Others disapproved them, and sought their end with 
more subtlety, wishing to increase exports and lessen imports, 
in order that the balance might be paid in money ; and to 
effect the imports and exports as desired, they recommended 
various measures, as prohibitive duties on the importation of 
foreign manufactures ; permission, or even encouragement, of 
the importation of raw material, which could be worked up 
at home and then re-exported at a much larger sum than it 
had cost ; permission of the importation of food for the 
common people, that wages might be low, and thus the 
‘ cost ’ of production less against foreign competitors ; giving 
grants (bounties) upon the exportation of home manufac- 
tures ; a ‘ colonial system,’ whereby the mother country was 
to have the monopoly of the colonial market for its manu- 
factures, and the colonies were in return to have special 
advantages for the sale of their raw material in the market 
of the mother country ; and commercial treaties, aiming at 
favours to goods and merchants not granted to other 

On the merits and demerits of this theory, for it has both, 
the place to speak will be in the discussion on foreign trade ; 
and let us only say, that it was right in thinking there was a 
connection between abundant money and lively commerce, 

§ 37 *] Economical Literature. 65 

but wrong in thinking the one was the cause of the other. 
Here I wish rather to suggest that the characteristic of this 
period, applying alike to the upholders and opponents of the 
mercantile system, was the desertion of the old subordination 
of Economics to Ethics, and making their Economics nothing 
less than Chrematistics ; that is, no longer looking to moral 
welfare and the science of right action in a given depart- 
ment, but to the art of acquiring and preserving national 
wealth, or of filling the coffers of an unrighteous king. 
Nor is it any wonder that in the eighteenth century, with 
the rapid decline of reason and religion, the princes of the 
continent were well pleased to have each at his side an 
economical Macchiavelli, and to found chairs to teach the art 
of national wealth. No doubt this period witnessed such a 
growth of colonies and dependencies, of commerce and 
manufactures, of complicated methods of private credit and 
public finance, that its economists are likely to afford more 
historical information and grounds for conclusions applicable 
to our own times than the mediaeval economists ; but, on the 
other hand, they shew a lamentable falling off as regards 
fundamental truths ; and to those who would use them, not 
as sources for history, but as teachers of truth, are but store- 
houses of error. And the like may be said of the two 
economical schools to which I now turn, and which were 
founded, the one by Quesnay, the other by Adam Smith. 

§ 37. The system of the French writers known as the 
Physiocrats, or Economists pre-eminently, was sudden and 
short-lived, unlike the gradual growth and long continuance 
of the Mercantile Theory; and although it was so far an 
improvement in being no isolated doctrine or heap of frag- 
ments, but a well-ordered system, and rightly made Econo- 
mics (unless I am mistaken) a part of Ethics ; it was yet 
worse than what had gone before, because its ethical principles 
were thoroughly bad, just as the modern sociologists, like Mr. 
Herbert Spencer, are worse than the economists who went 
before them, like Senior or McCulloch. The Physiocrats, so 
called from their urging the rule of Nature (Koartjmc rije 
(jtvaeuig), held the world to be governed by immutable laws, 
physical and moral, constituting the natural law, which had to 
be obeyed under terrible penalties, and which positive law. 

66 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 37 

whereof the two main institutions were liberty and property, 
must not be allowed to oppose. As to the production of 
wealth, territorial industry, they said, is alone productive, 
that is, alone yields a net produce {produit nei), or surplus, 
after meeting all expenses of cultivation. This surplus is at 
the disposition of the cultivator after deducting from it the 
rent taken by the landlord, and the taxes taken by the State. 
Manufactures, on the other hand, transforming the raw ma- 
terial provided by territorial industry, though useful and 
necessary, produce no new object, only adding to the value 
of pre-existing objects as much as has been spent in working 
upon them, including the maintenance of the workers ; nor 
will competition suffer these to obtain any higher price, or, if 
they do, as by some privilege from Government, they obtain 
it only at the cost to the agriculturists and landowners of an 
equivalent amount. Manufactures, therefore, and commerce, 
are sterile. The increase of a country’s wealth is not in 
money, which is simply an instrument of exchange, but in the 
abundance of the products of its soil ; and the inhabitants can 
be grouped in the triple division of the productive class of cul- 
tivators, the disposable class of landowners, who do not labour, 
and the sterile class, comprising all the rest. And the right 
economical policy is to abolish all restriction and regulations 
of agriculture as well as of manufactures and commerce, all 
real and personal servitudes (rent services and charges, rights 
of common), all corporations, all monopolies ; to multiply 
roads, to spread instruction, to encourage agriculture by 
prizes ; and as every burden must ultimately fall on the 
produit net, or agricultural surplus, to abolish all indirect 
taxes, and to put in their place a direct tax on rent. 

This economical system was received in France with en- 
thusiasm. Opponents, indeed, were not wanting, and the 
Mercantile System was not overthrown by it ; but still it 
deserves to give its name to the period between the publica- 
tion of Quesnay’s Tableau Economique, in 1758, and Adam 
Smith’s Wealth of Nations, m 1776. Comment upon it can 
here be brief. So far as it opposed the mercantile theory of 
money, it was a return to a wiser past ; but this was set off 
by the new error of the unproductiveness of manufactures. 
Grav^er, and not yet extinct, was the error of imagining a 

37 , 38 .] Economical Literature. 


beneficent order of nature altogether different from the 
Providential guidance of the world’s history, and not even, I 
imagine, referred back to God — an order which, if followed, 
would give the maximum of temporal happiness, and which 
men, who were all by nature equal and good, would naturally 
follow, were they not hindered by authorities and associations, 
which stood in the way of individual action and development. 
Whence it followed that all associations, bodies, organizations, 
should be dissolved, and that the economical maxim of 
government should be laissez faire, laissez passer. And thus 
those who care to use the terms may say that the Physiocrats 
were involved in economical Liberalism, or Individualism, or 
Atomism. They would not hear of man being a fallen 
creature, oppressed with ignorance and concupiscence, but 
painted him in absurdly bright colours, and then, to account 
for the undeniable evils of social life, had to paint him, when 
in union with his fellow-men, or in authority over him, as a 
combination of malice and stupidity. 

Among the followers of Quesnay perhaps the most charac- 
teristic was Mercier de la Riviere, and the most famous was 
Turgot, who, in his character of statesman, put in practice 
some of his economical doctrines, notably by his attack on 
the trade guilds of France. The opponents of the Physio- 
crats, though often just in their criticisms, were in the main 
either apologists of the mercantile system (as Genovesi) or 
eclectics combining the ‘produit net ’ with the ‘ balance of 
trade,’ or recommending that home trade be let alone and 
foreign trade regulated. Much more thorough and com - 1 
mendable was the opposition raised in Germany by Justus 
Moser against the cosmopolitan and unhistorical liberalism, 
both political and economical, which was the almost irre- ' 
sistible delusion of the time ; and though he could not stem 
the current of folly, he was the precursor, if not the father, 
of the historical school of jurisprudence. 

§ 38. The image of Adam Smith is obscured by the in- 
cense of his worshippers ; and to judge him in a single 
section may seem a profanation. But none the less he must 
here be judged, and with brevity. First {a) let us admire 
his wide and intelligent observation of the society in which 
he lived, so that The Wealth of Nations is a storehouse of 

F 2 


Groundwork of Economics. 


li h! 

> I 


'■i y: 

’! i. 

V ! 


h : 1.11 

information on the time when it was written ; and ( 3 ) his 
talent and wit, lighting up dull arguments with apt illustra- 
tions, pointed sarcasms, and bright gleams of humour, 
besides shewing great powers of close reasoning. Then (c) he 
had the merit of treating economical questions, not as scat- 
tered and unconnected, but as part of a system, and inti- 
mately connected with Politics ; though in this he did but 
follow the Physiocrats, who in their turn were not original in 
being systematic. Similarly, (d) like them, he is formally 
right, though not original, in making Economics a part of 
Ethics, for he divides Moral Philosophy into four parts— 
Natural Theology, Ethics in the strict sense, Political Law, 
and Political Economy. But (e) he surpasses the Physiocrats 
inasmuch as they had only attacked, but he overthrew, the 
Mercantile System, and also (/) in many subordinate por- 
tions of Economics has given true teachings. Nor do I 
much heed the charges of plagiarism (as by Karl Marx), 
since it may be as meritorious to make truth accepted as to 
discover it. As regards the logical method of Economics, 
modern disputants claim Adam Smith, and praise him 
extravagantly as having followed, each say, their own 
method, when in reality (^) he is inconsistent, habitually 
assuming the motive of pecuniary self-interest as the sole 
one in economical life, and raising an edifice of sophistry on 
this foundation of falsehood ; but is much too wide-minded 
and too keen an observer of real life to press this assumption 
to all its logical consequences, and thus from time to time 
well recognizes the influences of other motives, and in his 
discussion on the expense of defence (Bk. V. Ch. I. Part I.), 
shews himself capable of using the right method, which, 
as we have seen (suj>. § 12), is the same for Politics as 
for Economics. As regards the teaching of the science, (//) 
he is defective by the lack of definitions, by his loose and 
shifting terms, by his repetitions, lengthy digressions, and 
illogical arrangement, and by the omission of several impor- 
tant departments, as of population. Moreover, (j) he is 
involved in confusion, not only, as we have seen, in regard 
to method, but also, as we shall see later (inf. § 262), in 
regard to several fundamental notions of the science, for 
example, assimilating ‘labouring servants’ and ‘labouring 

Economical Literature. 

cattle,’ instead of marking that ‘ maintenance ’ of the latter 
is outlay ; of the former, return for outlay, {k) He was 
also involved in the error of the Physiocrats on natural and 
beneficent liberty, perversely checked by stupid or malignant, 
authorities. For he assumed that men were born equal, the 
other extreme to the modern exaggeration of hereditary 
diversity ; and attributing most economical evils to the 
artificial organization introduced by authorities (civil or 
religious), imagined the remedy was in the removal of all 
restrictions, and recommended cl priori as an ideal the 
‘ system of natural liberty,’ that is, economical lawlessness : 
being the counterpart of Rousseau’s political doctrines. 
And both writers won immense popularity by this ‘ Liberal- 
ism,’ which suited the fashionable doctrines in theology and 
philosophy, the justifiable discontent at many antiquated 
restrictions, and at institutions that refused a due share in 
political and industrial government to an intelligent and 
rising class.* But notice that here again Adam Smith had 
at least sense to be inconsistent and occasionally to allow 
‘ a violation of natural liberty,’ and not become, like some 
of his followers, a ridiculous, because consistent, advocate of 
laissez faire. But let us turn to the deeper foundation of 
his economical views and denounce him as (/) the teacher of 
immorality, egotism, and impiety. Not merely false, but 
detestable is his palliation of unchastity (Bk. V. Ch. I. Pt. 3, 
Art. 3), and his glorification of pride, sensuality and revenge 
{Ibid. Art. 2, pp. 346, 347, ed. McCulloch). He was a true 
rationalist in his scorn of the uneducated and his denuncia- 
tion of the noblest aspirations of man as the ‘ delusions of 
enthusiasm and superstition ’ {Ibid.). He crouched on the 
earth and imagined all high motives, and still more, all 
supernatural life, which he had lost the capacity to under- 
stand, to be but the delusion of fanaticism or the artifice of 
hypocrisy. In like manner he imagined that happiness in 
this life was inconsistent with the practice of Christian 
asceticism ; and this without the sorry excuse of being a 
man of the world ; for he was a teacher of moral philosophy, 

* The criticism I have marked {k), is to be found more in detail in 
L. Brentano, Die Arbeitergilden der Uegenwart, ii. pp. 50, 150, 162 seq., 
321, and note 350. 

§ 39 -] Economical Literature. 7 * 

greed, of envy and vanity, varied with outbursts of fanaticism, 
as the ‘ destructive frenzy ’ of the Crusades. And his 
sketch of the progress of religion and education (Bk. V, 
Ch. I. Part 3, Art. 3) is still more senseless and repulsive. 
Rightly, then, can he claim honour from those who still in 
their blind hatred of religion teach falsehood in philosophy 
and history ; and he deserves, like Voltaire and Rousseau, 
like Gibbon and Hume, to fill a niche in the temple of 

I The doctrines of Adam Smith spread rapidly 
through the Western world, as might have been expected 
from their thorough conformity to the spirit of the time 
(§ 38, ad k), and also from the political revolutions in Europe 
and America and the economical revolution which was 
started in England by a series of discoveries in the arts at 
the very period when The Wealth of Natiotts was published. 
For anarchical doctrines are suited to an age of revolution. 
Moreover, Adam Smith can be said to have founded an 
economical school whose doctrines may, perhaps, be calleti 
the Industrial System from making labour the one source 
of wealth or of value ; only we must remember that the 
leading practical recommendation given by the master and 
his disciples, namely, to sweep away all economical restric- 
tions and safeguards, was derived from the Physiocrats ; so 
that were I to make their special doctrine the ground of 
classification, and to speak of the school of economical 
Liberalism or Individualism, I should have to say that the 

which is none the less egotistical because decorous and 
highly refined, and is none the less odious because exchang- 
ing rude and simple selfishness for an elaborate code of 
human respect.* And then, without question. The Theory 
of Moral Sentiments is one among the various theories of 
empirical Ethics ; and thus, besides its own especial charac- 
teristics of insufficiency, equivocation, and inconsistency ,f 
strikes, in common with the aforenamed theories, at the root 
of morality, reduces Ethics to the mere science of propriety 
or convenience, removes all higher motives of action, all 
higher standards of moral perfection, and does all this in 
order to escape the unwelcome necessity of resting morality 
upon the knowledge, and service, and love of Almighty 
God. And now, passing by {m) his other philosophical 
delusions and his blind worship of Hume,| I will mark as a 
final criticism (;/) his travesty of history, which may well 
awaken our indignation and disgust. Pardonable, indeed, in 
that unhistorical age are many and grave errors (as that 
feudal anarchy prevailed under the Plantagenets, or that 
mediaeval villeins were tenants at will) ; but unpardonable is 
the cynical picture he draws (Bk. III. Ch. II-IV.) of econo- 
mical history unfolded by the action of crafty or of stupid 

§ “ If man only acts virtuously, because others sympathize with his 
virtuous actions, 'and if the sense of duty is nothing more than the con- 
sciousness of wishing to excite sympathy on the part of others by one’s 
actions ; then all moral philosophy is but a science of shrewdness 
{Klugheitslehre) for refined egotists, and this is in admirable harmony 
with Adam Smith’s views of Political Economy.” Hildebrand, cited by 
H. Rosier, Ueber die Grundlehren der von Adam Smith begriindeten 
Volkswirthschaftstheorie, 2nd edit. p. 33. I may add that Rosler’s attack 
on Adam Smith, though good in some points, appears to me spoilt by 
several serious errors. 

t So much can be gathered even from the latest admirer of Adam 
Smith’s Ethics, namely, Mr. J. Farrer, Adam Smith, 1881, pp. 188 seq. 

J See Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 2nd ed. ch. xxi. note 76. 

72 Grotindwork of Economics, |’§ 39 . 

The Industrial School may perhaps be said to have been 
supreme for sixty years ; and on the followers of Adam 
Smith during that period let it suffice to say briefly that 
none rose to the level of their master ; that while they, 
indeed, corrected certain mistakes into which he had fallen, 
and added a considerable body of doctrine on points which 
he had neglected, they sometimes corrected him where he 
was right, and added what was mainly superfluous or incor- 
rect ; and that following him in the two errors of the false 
a priori method, and the advocacy of lawlessness, they 
framed a system of ‘ orthodox Political Economy,’ lacking 
the wit to imitate his inconsistency in error. In England 
there is, I think, one special feature in the fortunes of 
economical literature, that the great reaction among the 

§ 39, 40.J Economical Literature. 73 

singularly out of proportion to his deserts, reasoning from 
arbitrary and false assumptions, and, moreover, involved in 
ambiguity and contradiction Say, the clear exponent and 
French mouthpiece of Adam Smith, and who, though exag- 
gerating the doctrine of lawlessness, and involved in some 
particular errors of his own, at least avoided the grosser 
abuses of the deductive method, and the fictitious isolation 
of economical questions ; Storch, the German who spread in 
French through Russia the English economical doctrines ; 
and lastly Rau, the famous professor at Heidelberg, who as 
an economical writer probably deserves a far higher place 
than any of the five others, and whose book ruled in Ger- 
many for twenty-eight years (1826-1854) without any serious 

§ 40. Opponents of the Industrial.School were not wanting 
during the time of its supremacy. In 1819 Sismondi began 
to raise the voice of humanitarian criticism ; but for this the 
times were not yet ripe. In the period of the Restoration 
in France the early Socialists, of whom St. Simon and 
Fourier were the most conspicuous, were active, enthusiastic, 
and not without intelligence ; but yet may be classed as 
dreamers without serious influence on economical science and 
practice, unlike the later Socialists. Two illustrious German 
writers, Adam Muller and Von Haller, were arch-enemies of 
irreligious liberalism whether in the political or economical 
field ; but they wrote before the delusiveness of the pre- 
vailing doctrines had become clear, and, moreover, I think^ 
failed to distinguish rightly between what was bad and what 
was new, between institutions which were always requisite for 
right economical life, and those which according to circum- 

started it in I 777 > ^rid repeated it in subsequent witings ; whereas West 
(also in 1815) really did reach it indenendentlv nf Andprcrm 'F„rth,.r 


Groundwork of Economics. 

[§ 40. 

stances might be beneficial or injurious. Thus we may say 
that the fourth decade of this century was more than half 
completed, and intellectual Europe was still bound by the 
chains of economical liberalism which Ouesnay had forged 
and Adam Smith had riveted. But an age of anarchy in 
the science was at hand, and successful revolts have reduced 
the once dominant ‘ Political Economy ’ to be but one among 
several competitors. And the main causes of this change, 
or some of them, seem to me to be the following : — First, the 
consciousness of the dreadful evils to which the lower classes 
were liable when the institutions which protected them were 
swept away by so-called industrial liberty. England, which 
had been, like Holland before and Venice still earlier, the 
model country for economists, was unveiled ; and the horrors 
disclosed, especially by the Reports of Royal Commissioners 
(as those of 1842 and 1843 on the Employment of Children), 
were told through France and Germany, not losing anything 
by the telling. Secondly, the break of the former alliance 
between the lower classes and those immediately above them 
when these, by the French Revolution of 1830 and the Eng- 
. lish Reform Bill of 1832, had triumphed over the old ruling 
classes. For the delusions of the proletariat were soon 
rudely dispelled, and instead of the golden age that had been 
expected, it was found that the new rulers had in a great 
measure both obtained the power and thrown off the respon- 
sibilities of the old rulers. Thirdly, the growth of the senti- 
ment and doctrine of nationality, unlike the cosmopolitan 
spirit that had gone before. Fourthly, the increased study 
of history and the growth of historical knowledge, especially 
in Germany, where already the abstract and subjective philo- 
sophy of Kant and Fichte had given place in the depart- 
ment of jurisprudence to the Historical School, and, in 

higher branches of philosophy, to Schelling and Hegel. And 
it was found that the realities of the past, no less than of the 
present, were inconsistent with the prevailing economical 
doctrines. Lastly, the revival of the religious spirit, which 
made it gradually possible to expose and attack with success 
the irreligious parts of the Industrial System. Thus the 
period of anarchy and division set in, intensified by national 
distinctions, and to this day economists are in hot dispute as 

Economical Literature. 

to the very foundation of their science, and the best writers 
of one nation are sometimes unknown to that of another. 

In this confusion it is very difficult to make any satisfac- 
tory classification of modern economists, even supposing an 
acquaintance with their writings far greater than I possess. 
For not merely are they very numerous, and with an im- 
mense variety of views, but these are so interwoven that to 
separate the authors and put them under distinct schools is 
no easy task. But as some sort of division is necessary, I 
will roughly and provisionally distinguish five schools or 
divisions, though I fear some economists of note may not 
distinctly find their place in any of them. 

I 41. For the first division I can find no better title than 
Neo-Industrial, nor better description than to call it the 
liberal-cosmopolitan-unhistorical school ; for it is nothing less 
than a continuation of the Industrial School, with this dif- 
ference, that it has been compelled to become apologetic and 
defend its doctrines against attacks, especially on the part of 
the Socialists. And thus where Socialism has been particu- 
larty dreaded we see economical optimism prevalent among 
the Neo-Industrialists, making out for the lower classes a 
miserable past, a happy present, and a golden future. Thus 
in France the noted Bastiat, a master in economical frivolity, 
had to sacrifice the sterner doctrines of Malthus and Ricardo 
in his refutation of the Socialists. Thus optimism has been 
a characteristic of the so-called Manchester school in Ger- 
many, of whom the most noted for his practical activity is 
Schulze-Delitzsch. But in England Neo-Industrialism cannot 
be said to have yielded, as in France and Germany, to puerile 
optimism ; Cairnes, its most consistent champion, has treated 
Bastiat with just severity ; and he does not conceal his 
gloomy view regarding the lower classes. The fundamental 
errors of the Neo-Industrialists on the nature and method of 
Economics have already been discussed (§|6-io, 14-21,23,24). 
Here let a word be added on John Stuart Mill, whose work. 
The Principles of Political Economy (first published in 1848), 
can alone, with The Wealth of Nations, claim amid English 
economical literature the title of a work of genius. It is 
true that he is involved in self-contradiction ; but this is 
better than narrow consistency in error. It is true that he is 


76 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 42 . 

not historical ; but at least he avoids the errors of the His- 
\ torical School. It is true that his view of Government is 

j defective, and of liberty incoherent ; but this is better than 

I German Caesarism and State worship. It is true that his 

philosophy is wrong in general, and in particular that his 
ethical system is rotten ; but he is not a scoffer, like Adam 
Smith, nor a self-blinded and furious opponent of truth, like 
some modern writers ; nor, on the other hand, does he disgust 
us, like some economists, with prating and preaching on our 
moral duties, as though they were our Doctors and Pontiffs ; 
moreover, some of his particular ethical views are better than 
his ethical system ; and his generous, world-wide sympathies 
were almost Christian, and in honourable contrast to that 
dreadful hatred between races which seems, not without con- 
nection with the current views on natural selection, to be on 
the increase. And thus, though no follower of Mill, I will 
not join the ranks of his scornful critics.* 

Among the Neo-Industrialists can be placed, I think, the 
majority of those eonomists who, in seeking or setting forth 
economical doctrines, make great use of mathematics. 
Enough has already (§ 24) been said on this mathematical 
method, and here let us only notice that it can be used, al- 
though it need not be, in any of the five classes into which 
I have divided modern economists, but that those among the 
Historical and Ethical Schools are less likely to use it, who 
care for the realities of life, and who are genuine students of 
human society in the past or the present.f 

* Roscher, in his Geschichte der National-Ockonomik in Deutschland, 
pp. ion, 1012, fails to appreciate Mill rightly. 

t I will not venture to classify Mr. Jevons, who by his vigorous protest 
against “ the Ricardo-Mill school ” shews that he would not like to be 
reckoned among the Neo-Industrialists. In the Preface and first 
Appendix to the second edition of his Theory of Political Economy, he 
gives an account of what he calls “ mathematico-economic ” works. 
Naturally he judges authors according as they have been more or less 
near his own logical and ethical views ; and, as these are distorted, so 
also is his view of economical literature. It is a sort of reductio ad 
abstirdum when he says that J. S. Mill’s chapters on International 

42, 43-] 

Economical Literature. 


• \ 


§ 42. The second division of modern Economists may 
perhaps be called American School, and maybe described 
as optimist and national. It began with a revolt led by Carey 
in America and by List in Germany against the cosmopol- 
itanism and the aversion to increase of population which 
were characteristic of the economists of that period. Right 
in laying stress on national as opposed to individual interests, 
this school by its illogical criticisms and absurd views of his- 
tory and progress may be called the least scientific of the 
five ; nor do I know that it can claim any sympathy on the 
ground of its moral teaching or practical usefulness. 

The third division comprises the hated and unacknowledged 
but still the genuine offspring of Liberalism, the Socialists, 
whom in distinction to the earlier dreamers (§ 40) we should 
call Neo- Socialists. The Socialistic writings of Proudhon 
appeared from 1843 to 1852, his German contemporary was 
Mario, his successors, Lassalle and, above all, Karl Marx, 
the present intellectual head of the Neo-Socialists. An 
examination of their doctrines is not now in place, but rather 
to mark that the leading writers among them cannot be 
dismissed as ignorant, uncultured or unscientific, that if they 
distort history they do but imitate other economical schools, 
that if they are sophistical they at least do not come up to 
the sophistry of their liberal opponents, and that if their 
doctrines are immoral and impious, it ill becomes their 
infidel opponents to complain. 

§ 43. As the fourth division, and under the name of the 
Historical School, I place a number of writers with many 
divergent opinions, but united in the common error of ex- 
aggerating the diversities of human nature, and denying or 
unduly restricting the natural law applicable always and 

suppose, the five lights of the economical firmament. Mr. Jevons is 
quite pathetic on the neglect of the unfortunate Gossen, and with great 
simplicity says, after noticing how there have been always a certain 
number of economists who have applied mathematical methods and 
symbols : — “ The unfortunate and discouraging aspect of the matter is 
the complete oblivion into which this part of the literature of Economics 
has always fallen, oblivion so complete, that each mathematico-economic 
writer has been obliged to begin almost de novof p. xlvii. I venture to 
hope, and even to think, that the “ obnoxious subject ” of “ mathematico- 
economic science ” (p. xlv.) will meet no better fate in the future. 


78 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 43 . 

everywhere. The famous German Historical School of 
Economics was founded in part by Hildebrand and Knies, 
but mainly by its present head, the learned and gifted Roscher, 
whose great knowledge of history, and especially of liter- 
ature, and whose rare and admirable capacity of saying only 
what is to the point, makes it all the more lamentable that 
his lack of a solid foundation in philosophy and theology 
prevents his building a scientific edifice ; so that his 
economical teaching is a mixture of wisdom and folly, of 
masterly expositions and bewildering contradictions ; and in 
this he offers a striking analogy to John Stuart Mill, to 
whom on other points he is so much opposed. On the 
characteristic errors of the German and other historical 
schools enough has already been said {sup. |§ 8 a, 26-29). 
Here let us well distinguish this general division of economists 
from certain subdivisions among them, namely, the /’osidvisls 
or followers of Auguste Comte, whose Cours de Philosophie 
Positive appeared 1839-1842, and who can claim as well as 
the Germans the merit of attacking the unhistorical follies 
at that time dominant among economists ; the English 
Evolutionists or disciples of Mr. Herbert Spencer (on whom 
see §§ 25, 27, notes 25, 28, 30, 31) ; and these can be put with 
the Positivists under the common title of Sociologists; 
lastly, the German school of economists who became 
conspicuous in the great reaction against that economical 
liberalism which had culminated in the North German 
Industrial Code in 1869, and in analogous laws in Austria ; 
a school called by some of its members Social Politicians, 
and with great felicity nicknamed Professorial Socialists 
{Kathedersocialisten) ; for it shares the fundamental errors 
of the avowed Socialists in perniciously exaggerating the 
attributes, functions, and capacity of the State, and in per- 
niciously undervaluing the importance and independence of 
the family ; and although it has carried on a meritorious war 
against Liberalism, and given many excellent criticisms and 
proposals, it can here only claim to have followed the Ethical 
school ; while some of its proposals are anything but excellent, 
and its faith in them as the salvation of society anything but 
rational. This school may be said to have been pre-eminent 
in Germany since the Conference of Economists in Eisenach 

m 1873, to have as its most prominent teachers perhaps 
Schaftle and Adolph Wagner for Germany, De Laveleye for 
Prance, and Luzzati for Italy. In England Mr. Clifife Leslie 
and Sir H. Maine, though belonging to the Historical School 
as a whole, can hardly, I think, be said to belong to this 
particular branch. 

§ 44 The fifth division of economists may be called the 
Ethical School, and, like the first and the fourth, comprises 

one common 

g in this case the defence of the eternal 

economical relations, in 

a great variety of opinions, but united by 
characteristic, bein 
moral law and its application in 
opposition to the callous dollar-hunting of the Industrialists, 
to the evolutionaiy morality of the Socialists and the 
Historical School, and to the idle dreams that social welfare 
is to come from the beneficent omnipotence of the State-god 
or the beneficent absence of State-control.* But with this 
common ground of truth many writers among the Ethical 
econoQiists have fallen into errors. These indeed cannot be 
said to be characteristic of the school, no more than the 
errors, for example, of the so-called Currency School can be 
said to be characteristic of the Industrialists. But as I wish 
to be numbered among the ethical economists, and as I 
believe that they alone are not in radical error, I must 
mention certain accidental failings among them, lest these be 
thought to be essential. In opposing the Industrialists some 
of the Ethical School have erred by defect, building with the 
unsound materials of ‘ orthodox Political Economy,’ and try- 
ing to make them safe by a coating of Christian plaster ; so 
to a certain degree the meritorious economist Charles P^rin : 
while others have erred by excess, confusing the guiltless 
instruments of modern life with the wrong use to which they 
are put, and so deserving the title of fantastic economists ; 
among whom, I suppose, I may place Mr. Ruskin in England, 
and perhaps Kosegarten in Germany. Further, not a few 
have been involved in false views as to the past in general, 
or as to certain particular periods. This historical deficiency 

* I am well aware that the Professorial Socialists claim the title of 
ethical economists ; but let them look to the fmmrl^ittnn nf T7fV.;,-c 




8 o Groundwork of Economics. [§44,45. 

was to be seen in Sismondi, and I believe was a characteristic 
of that amiable band of writers and workers in England who 
were known to our fathers as Christian Socialists, and to 
whom to a great extent were due the regulations of industry 
known as factory-legislation and the removal of the worst 
abuses of the former lawlessness. And history is a weak 
point of the illustrious Le Play. The fourth and last failing 
which I need notice is when certain economical premises are 
maintained which also are among the favourite doctrines of 
the Socialists, as by Rodbertus, if I mistake not, and also by 
Bishop Ketteler, who believed in what the Germans call the 

iron law of wages. 

§45. None of the foregoing failings are essential to the 
Ethical School ; and, freed from their hindrance, it is now 
building with the materials afforded by true history and true 
observation the temple of economical science on the ancient 
foundations of reason and religion. It only remains for me 
to give a few names and dates. In 1837 was publisl^d the 
first volume, in 1838 the second, of Etudes sur 

r economic politique, his final, complete and noble uprising 
against economical Liberalism, which he had tried and found 
wanting. The English Christian Socialists can, I think, be 
looked on as his disciples, and the anonymous translator of 
parts of his economical works {Political Economy by Sismondi, 
transl. from the French. London, 1847) deserves by his 
preliminary essay a high place among our economists./ And 
J. M. Ludlow ought to be mentioned for his excellent 
pamphlet entitled Christian Socialism, published in the year 
1851. Sismondi had disciples in France as well as England, 
and Buret deserves immortality for his new rendering of the 
liberal motto as laissez faire la mishe, laissez passer la mort. 
Among the Germans of the time, perhaps the names of 
Hanssen and Haxthausen, Rodbertus, Wagener, and V. A. 
Huber deserve especial notice. In 1855 appeared the great 
work of Le Play, called Les Ouvriers europeens, giving a series 
of masterly monographs on families among the working 
classes from Spain to beyond the Ural Mountains, from 
Sweden to Turkey, laboriously acquired by personal observa- 
tion, and forming a solid basis of fact on which to build true 
social science. It is true that much of Le Play s reasoning 

§45,46.] Economical Literature. 81 

in this and his subsequent works is weak, shewing that 
reverence for religion, sound common sense, and a store of 
knowledge of actual social life, are not sufficient without 
philosophy, theology, and historical knowledge to form a 
system of social science ; and that his works are only a 
contribution to Economics. But still they are a most valu- 
able contribution, a splendid monument of well-directed 
industry ; and the Ethical economists who have followed him 
in France seem happily inclined to avoid rather than to 
develop his weak points. Among them perhaps can be 
placed Perin, whose work entitled De la richcsse dans les 
socitHes chrdticnncs (first published in 1861), though with great 
want of logical accuracy and though containing much of the 
debris of economical liberalism, has also many admirable 
discussions, notably on population, on distress, and on charity, 
and shews an immense advance on Le Play as regards 
economical history. The dreadful experiences of the year 
1870- 1871 has given a fresh impulse in France to the Ethical 
School, witness the new editions of the works of Le Play, 
the monthly economical publication called L' Association 
Catholique, and the writings among others of de la Ribbeand 
Claudio Jannet, who if the appellation ‘historical’ be used as 
a term of praise, deserve it better than Roscher, Laveleye, or 
Mr. Leslie. In Germany a similar development of true 
economical science has occurred, and though no single work 
that I know of equals the importance of the French writers 
aforenamed, yet the volumes of the economical journal the 
Christlich-sociale Blatter (published fortnightly since 1868) 
form a valuable storehouse of reasoning and information. 

§ 46. And now, having come to the end of these fragments 
on economical literature, I once more admit their imper- 
fection, and make haste to profess the likelihood that I 
have fallen into error, and my readiness to stand corrected. 
And if asked why I have ventured with so little knowledge 
on a field that needs so much, I answer that I have been 
compelled in self-defence to say something, since the popular 
views on the history of Economics are at variance with what 
I hold to be true, and can only be met by giving some sort 
of substitute ; nor can my entire work claim to be more 
than a makeshift. 


4 “ 


Groundwork of Econotnics. 

As a conclusion to this introduction let us notice, since 
we are now in a position to judge, the charges against ‘ Poli- 
tical Economy ’ of being tiresome, dismal, or immoral. If 
these charges have been partly due to interest or ignorance, 
they have also been to a great extent the protest of reason 
and conscience against pseudo-science. Intolerably tire- 
some are not a few of the discussions among the Industrial 
School where the weary reader is dragged through an unreal 
world and tortured with impossible hypotheses. But not all 
economists are tiresome. Dismal indeed are some of the 
views of John Stuart Mill and Cairnes, but not of all 

* economists ; though true economical science must indeed in 

* parts be dismal, as it has to probe the wounds of fallen 
human nature, and to correct the idle hopes of progressive 

! ! virtue and happiness ; and in this sense the term dismal 
I must be applied equally to Politics. Profoundly immoral 
are the fundamental doctrines of many economists on wages 
and population ; and Mill has the credit of not attempting, 
though he supports them, to veil their repulsiveness. Immoral 
also are various other special doctrines, and also the funda- 
mental principle of the Historical School. And in short, as 
Economics are a part of Ethics, how can those whose ethical 
doctrines are false, be expected in their economical teaching 
not to offend against Morality ? Nor from the mischief of 
their practical application is it unreasonable to judge that 
the economical and ethical systems on which they rest are 
untrue ; it would only be unreasonable if we judged that 
true Economics and Ethics were nowhere to be found. And 
amid the struggle of numberless social theories let us 
remember for our guidance how it is written : ex fructibiis 
cognoscetis cos. 




A Good, a Want (Requirement), Utility, Value, § 47, 48 — Wealth, a 
Commodity, Property, § 49, 50 — Preparation, Enjoyment, Produc- 
tion, Consumption, Destruction, § 51, 52 —Labour (and its Kinds), 
Cost, Remuneration, § 53-55 — Revenue (Gross and Net), Expendi- 
ture (Nominal and Real), § 56, 57 — Capital (Fixed and Circulating), 
Exchange, Price, § 58-60. 

§ 47. To define and make intelligible a few primary 
notions of Economics, in order hereafter to avoid confusion, 
is the aim of this chapter, which therefore must have some- 
what the character of a vocabulary. And I will be guided 
by the three rules, first, to give only those terms and dis- 
tinctions which are requisite for subsequent discussion ; 
secondly, to use as simple terms as possible, and in a sense 
as near as I can to the common signification ; lastly, to be 
very sparing in verbal controversy ; for otherwise, as almost 
all the leading terms in Economics are unsettled, this chapter 
would rapidly swell to a volume. In some cases I will give 
what seem the suitable equivalents in some other languages ; 
for the translations will often make the English words better 
understood in the particular sense in which they are used 
in Economics ; and a primary notion ought not to be ex- 
pressed by what is untranslateable. But if the English 
terms which I use are open to correction, still more are the 
foreign equivalents. 

We start with the notion of a good, in the sense of what- 
ever is suitable to our nature. {Bonuin psychologicuni = id quod 
naturae nostrae convenit ac provide appetibile esti) And by 

84 Groundwork of Economics. 47, 48. 

suitable is meant not merely what is desirable for the whole, 
but also for a part of our being, even a lower part. Thus 
vengeance is a good, not indeed for our whole being, 
but for our sensible appetite {appetitus sensitivus) as a 
means of satisfying its angry craving {passio irascibilis) ; and 
though our will is only to be moved by some good, 
that good need not be a noble object {bonuin honestum) 
but some pleasure of the senses {bonuni delectabile). The 
particular goods with which Economics are concerned, and 
which may be called economical goods, are those which 
relate to industrial, social, and domestic life, as food and 
clothing, the fruitful field, the fresh sea breezes, the harp and , 
the sweet sounds therefrom, the skill of the musician, the 
delight of his hearers, parental authority, maternal love. 
And from these examples, as well as from the definition, it 
is plain that a good can be incorporeal, immaterial, or in- 
tangible, and is not limited to what is corporeal, material, 
or tangible. 

§ 48. By the term a want or requirement {necessitas, xpda, 
nn besoin, ein Bednrfniss) let us express the negative idea of 
the absence of some good, whether desired or desirable, and 
thus class together the want of the hungry for food, of the 
unconscious infant for care, of the eager student for instruction, 
of the unwilling schoolboy for learning, of the opium-eater for 
his drug, of the sick for medicine, of infidels for the true faith ; 
nor do I see any advantage in limiting the term to conscious 
desires, still less to what from a moral point of view is 

The word utility {iitilitas, aycptXeia, utilite, Brauchbarkeit) 
can be taken in several senses, of which the most suitable, I 
think, is that which makes it mean simply the capacity of 
any good to serve any human purpose. The term value or 
worth {valor, alia, valeur, Wert//), obscured by endless con- 
troversies, can be taken to express, not a quality or capacity 
of any external object, but simply the importance attached 
by a given person to any good. If this sense be adopted — 
and it seems a way to escape needless discussion and am- 
biguity — we ought not to speak simply of the value of an 
object, but always name the person (the subject) to whom 
the object is valuable. For value only exists in the mind of 

Primary Notions. 

the person ; it is his attitude towards an object of desire, 
a mental habit the result of a mental act called valuation. 
Nor can it be measured and expressed in figures ; for not 
even the person himself, much less other persons, can tell 
the importance which he attaches to any good ; all that 
can be told is, that he attaches more importance to one 
good than to another. And looking back to utility we can 
now say that no one values any object unless it possesses 
utility, and that utility like value cannot be precisely 
measured and set down in figures. Thus bread serves to 
sustain life, but the life may be that of an indolent volup- 
tuary or industrious father of a family, that of a highway- 
man or statesman, that of an heresiarch or apostle : it may 
prolong a life of sickness and pain, or one of health and 

On the phrases value in use, and value in exchange, I will 
say what is necessary at the end of this chapter. {Inf. § 60.) 

§ 49. If we are to avoid confusion in Economics, we 
must be careful to make a double distinction : the first 
between material or tangible and immaterial or intangible 
being ; the second between personal and impersonal being, 
or, in common language, between persons and things, between 
the living human being and the external things which can 
be applied to his use. And we need a word to express 
goods which are neither immaterial nor persons. For such 
goods let us use the term tvealth {divitiae, TrXovrog, richesse, 
Reichthuni) ; and as wealth implies an aggregate of goods, 
let us use for a single good of this class the term a commodity 
{res corporalis, {awnaTiKov) KTrifxa, une commodity, ein Sachgi/t), 
which can be defined as a good which is corporeal and not a 
person, and which can be described as a material, tangible, 
or sensible object external to man, and capable of serving 
some human purpose.* 

* The plural ‘commodities’ is thus nearly synonymous with wealth, 
but not quite, as not implying a sum or aggregate. Wealth is also often 
used to imply possession, and often to imply further that the commodities 
possessed are abundant ; and this is always the sense of the adjectives 
wealthy or rich. Not a bad discussion on the term wealth is to be found 
in the work by Bailey, published anonymously in \82^,A Critical Disserta- 
tion on Value, p. 164 seq. In the title of Adam Smith’s book, ‘ An Inquiry 
into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,’ we could not for 

86 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 49 , 50 . 

If this view is accepted there seems little difficulty in 
deciding what ought or ought not to be called wealth. Per- 
sonal beauty or skill, the custom {clientele, Kwidscha/t) 
of a business, rights, titles, claims, services, workmen, 
slaves, are all goods, and may enable us to obtain wealth, 
but are not themselves wealth. On the other hand, not 
merely fields and factories, food and clothing, houses and 
furniture are wealth, as is obvious, but also the air and the 
water, the trade-winds and the sunlight, though in the main 
incapable of appropriation, that is of being used by one or 

more persons to the exclusion of others. 

By the word property (facnltates or patrimonium, ovaia, 
fortune or I'avoir, Verniogen) I mean appropriated wealth, 
that is the sum of commodities over which a person (physical 
or juridical) claims certain rights of use to the exclusion of 
others. Naturally we must not confuse these rights, which 

^ 50 .] Primary Notions. 87 

able, that is, of such a character as not to exclude the 
possibility of exchange, the definition is less intolerable, but 
still is misleading, laying too much stress on exchange (itself 
not a simple term) which is neither necessary nor universal, 
thus making essential what is only accidental. 

Another view makes wealth include immaterial things, 
though there is disagreement whether, for example, labour 
and skill should be included, and if so, whether all kinds. 
The most reasonable view (of Mr. Thornton in The 
Fortnightly Review, April, 1875) excludes them, but includes 
all legal rights and privileges as far as exchangeable, such 
as credit, custom, copyright, and patents. Omitting other 
inconveniences, this view makes us likely to fall into the 
error dupli, that is, counting the same things twice over. 
Thus if the claim of the fundholder or the mortgagee is 
called wealth no less than the land of the indebted nation or 
individual (the mortgagor), it is plain that wealth can be 
increased indefinitely by public or private borrowing, and 
amid the multiplication of rights we are likely to forget that 
the number of fields, and of cattle, and of bushels of corn 
remain precisely the same, and that whatever the creditor 
gets beyond paper and promises, is so much taken from the 

The use of the word wealth to include persons seems of all 
the most misleading, as means and end, object and subject, 
things and persons are thereby confused. Nor say that we 
cannot help calling the slaves of the American planters a 
part of their wealth. For we need not be bound by the 
fetters of delusive language even though it be legal or 
popular. No doubt in common discourse and at law the 
slaves were the property of their masters in America as well 
as in classic Rome, and an iniquitous jurisprudence may have 
refused them the title of persons. Nevertheless they zvere 
persons ; their loss has to be considered in Economics no 
less than the master’s gain ; and they should no more be 
called wealth or property in the economical use of the term, 
than the independent workpeople in a factory. These are 
as necessary to the wealth of the manufacturer as the slaves 
to the wealth of the planter ; if the plantation would fetch 
no price, or next to none, were no slaves to be bought, the 


88 Gi'ounckuork of Economics. [§ 50 , 51 . 

factory would fetch no price, or next to none, were no work- 
people to be hired ; and the wages paid to the workpeople 
may be as necessary for their existence as the rations served 
out to the slaves. Nor because in the one case the master 
has formally greater rights over those who serve him than in 
the other case, ought we to say that the servants are in the 
one case his property, in the other not. For the difference 
is of degree not of kind ; and even the sale of slaves has its 
analogy among ‘ free ’ workmen ; for when an English farm 
or factory is sold, the seller in fact, if not in law, imposes a 
new master on the farm labourers and factory hands, and 
though they are not actually bought, the price of the pro- 
perty will, ceteris paribus, be higher in proportion as their 
labour is known to be good and cheap. But as we do not 
confuse them with the property for which they are in- 
dispensable, so neither let us confuse the slaves. 

I 51. From the nature of wealth, let us turn to its use. 
By use [iisus, xpttatc, usage, Gebrauch) we mean the act of 
applying any good to our purposes. Thus the use of wealth 

f ■ 




5 = 



1 ‘ 

III «' 

by man is his application of it to any of his purposes. This 
application is done in many ways, and many distinctions 
might be made accordingly, of which, however, only one, I 
think, is necessary at present. We either use a commodity 
as preparatory, that is, in order that some change may be 
effected in it, or in something else, so as to render it or some- 
thing else immediately applicable to our wants ; or else we 
use it as enjoyable, that is, for immediate personal applica- 
tion. The first of these two processes can be called pre- 
paration {pracparatio, TrapaaKtvi't, preparation, ( Vor)bereitung) 
and the wealth so used can be called preparatory wealth ; 
the second can be called enjoyment {fruitio, airdXavmg, jouis- 
sance, Genuss), and wealth so used can be called enjoyable 
wealth. Thus, for example, it is preparation not enjoy- 
ment when a man digs a field, sows the seed, reaps the 
crop, grinds the corn, changes the meal into bread : all these 
processes are preparatory and for the sake of the bread ; but 
the process of eating the bread is enjoyment, not preparation 
for any other commodity ; it is the final and personal ap- 
plication of wealth. Similarly, building or repairing a house 
is preparation ; dwelling in it is enjoyment ; making or 

^ 51 , 52 .] Primary Notions. 89 

mending a garment is preparation ; wearing it is enjoy- 
ment.* And thus, whereas the cotton dress of an English 
maidservant is enjoyable wealth, being used immediately to 
supply her personal wants, the plantation in Virginia, the 
steamer across the Atlantic, the factory in Lancashire, the 
raw cotton, the cotton cloth, the dye, moreover the oats eaten 
by the horses on the plantation, the coal burnt in the steamer, 
the oil used for the machinery in the factory, and also the 
planter’s ledger, the maritime chart on board the steamer, 
and the factory clock, are all preparatory wealth, being used 
not for immediate personal wants, but in preparing the cotton 
dress ; and this alone is used for enjoyment, not those other 
commodities. But let no one call preparatory wealth the 
food and clothing of the negroes on the plantation and the 
crew of the steamer, or of the workpeople at the factory ; 
for human food and clothing are not for preparation but for 


To seek the exact limits between preparation and enjoy- 
ment, and say precisely where the one process ends and the 
other begins, seems to me difficult and unprofitable: and, 
therefore, leaving this question, I would rather notice how 
important is the distinction between preparatory and enjoy- 
able wealth. At a given time a nation is prosperous or 
distressed according to the abundance or scarcity, not of its 
preparatory, but of its enjoyable wealth. The rains may 
have fallen, the crops have been planted, a few weeks may 
bring an abundant harvest, and yet the people perish with 
famine for the lack of commodities which can be enjoyed in 
the present. If, conversely, there is abundance of food for the 
present, and yet from the deficiency of preparatory wealtli, 
the land being parched, the draught cattle dead, there is a 
prospect of distress to come ; this distress will not come as 
long as there is only lack of what is preparatory : it will 
first come when the enjoyable wealth begins to fail. 

§ 52. The word production {productio, Trapayuryn, produc- 

* If I knew a better term than enjoyment, I would use it, as this in 
common language generally implies pleasure, but not so in the sense 
given in the text, in which is implied a final and personal, but not neces- 
sarily a pleasurable application, and thus includes taking unpleasant 
medicine no less than pleasant food. 


Groundwork of Economics. 

tio7i, Hervorbringimg) in ordinary language is equivalent 
to the preparatory use of wealth, and is needed because pre- 
paration is a wide term that applies to the use of any kind of 
goods. But production can and ought to be strictly limited 
to wealth, and such phrases as the production of human 
beings, of education, of pleasure, of discontent, of public 
security, should have no place in Economics. As to the 
disputes on so-called productive and unproductive labour, 
they shall be noticed, as far as need be, presently. 

The word consumption iconsuniptio, KaravdXijjaig, consomma- 
tion,, Verbrauch) is more ambiguous than production in its 
common meaning, though I think it always implies a loss of 
utility in the object consumed, and therefore, though it would 
be convenient if it could be used for the enjoyment of wealth 
as production for the preparation of wealth, such a meaning 
would be too great a violence to language ; for we should 
have to say, for example, that a house was consumed by its 
inhabitants and the sculpture in the Vatican consumed by 
the visitors. Let us then first confine the term to a use of 
wealth, and not speak of the consumption of labour, of time, 
or of happiness ; and then define it as the process by which 
the utility of any commodity is lost in serving its natural 
purpose {finis opens). Thus when men eat bread or wear out 
clothes, the bread and clothes are consumed ; for the natural 
purpose of bread and clothes has been served in the process. 
When cattle eat grass or when coal is burnt in a furnace, the 
grass and the coal are consumed ; for in each case the finis 
opens is attained, being here not enjoyment but preparation. 
Whence too the distinction is plain between consumption and 
enjoyment. Each may or may not accompany the other. 
Thus when a horse devours oats, or when coal is burnt in a 
furnace, or when machinery is worn out, there is consump- 
tion but not enjoyment ; and the consumption here can be 
called industrial. When a man eats bread there is both 
consumption and enjoyment, and the consumption here can 
be called personal. When a man dwells in a house there is 
enjoyment but no consumption. It is true the house will 
not last for ever ; but it does not decay because it is dwelt 
in ; it would decay much faster if it were empty. 

This view of consumption allows us to make a profitable 

^ ^ 2 .] Primary Notions. 9 ^ 

distinction applicable alike to preparatory and enjoyable 
commodities. If they are consumed rapidly we can call 
transient, but if consumed slowly or not at all, \ye can 
call them durable. So when preparatory commodities, in 
other words, means of production, are of the sort that their 
efficacy (to use Mill’s phrase) is exhausted by a single use, as 
oats consumed by horses, fuel consumed in a furnace, tallow 
which used as an ingredient of soap loses its utility as 
tallow ; wheat, which ground into meal can never more be 
used as seed corn ; in short, whenever they can be called 
materials in the widest sense, including what forms no part 
of the substance of the finished product {Hilfsstoffe), they are 
transient means of production ; whereas when they are of the 
sort that their efficacy for a given purpose is not exhausted 
in a single use, as land, canals, railways, ships, factories, 
shops, machinery, tools, draught cattle, milch cows, when 
they give repeated help of the same sort, whenever they can 
be called instruments in the ordinary sense, they are firablt 
means of production. Similarly we can distinguish the 
transient Gn]oydih\e commodities, as mans food and drink, 
household fuel, narcotics, perfumery, from those which, like 
clothes, furniture, houses, pictures, pleasure grounds, or 
jewels, are more or less durable. No doubt the degrees of 
duration are very variable (compare kid gloves and jewellery), 
and the line between durable and transient is not always 
very clear ; but the distinction between them is very useful, 
and clear enough for the purpose. And those who ask, to 
what class belong commodities like cut flowers or paper 
collars, must answer the question for themselves. 

The terms destruction and damage {dcstructio and damnum, 
a,.a,'pi(Ttc and |3Xaj3»], destruction avarie, Zers^ung 
Scliade) when applied to wealth mean total, respectively partial 
loss of its former utility in some other way than by serving its 
natural purpose, as when a city is burnt, a pitcher broken, a 
ship wrecked, a garment torn, a crop devoured by locusts. 
In this sense destruction and damage are one species of loss 
of utility, while total and partial consumption are another , 
and thus a commodity cannot be both consumed and 
destroyed ; if it is the one it cannot be the other. Nor is 
this distinction, which is of great use for economical science. 


92 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 52, 53. 

in any great opposition to the usual sense of the words. We 
do not speak of destroying our food when we eat it ; we do 
not call a threadbare coat damaged ; and though we do say 
that a house has been consumed in the flames, we say at 
least as often and as correctly, that it has been destroyed by 

From our definition it is plain that destruction and damage 
are not confined to natural disasters, such as the results of a 
flood or a storm, but can also be man’s handiwork, and this 
not merely by accident, as when a servant breaks a dish or an 
apprentice spoils good materials, but on purpose, as when 
windows are broken by a mob. Of course some good is 
always aimed at by the destroyer, but as the good is not the 
proper end or natural purpose of the object destroyed, we do 
not call the process consumption, but destruction, whether 
done to gratify boyish love of mischief, or popular vengeance, 
or private spite, or national hatred {delenda est Carthago), or 
military, sanatory, or moral requirements. And thus wilful 
destruction is by no means of necessity foolish, or wicked, or 
disastrous ; it may be very beneficial, as the burning of 
Moscow, the demolition of unhealthy dwellings, the slaughter 
of infected cattle, the destruction of immoral or impious 
books. But however beneficial it is still destruction.* 

Notice, finally, that an object can suffer loss of utility (and 
therefore either consumption, destruction, or damage) with- 
out undergoing any physical change, as an almanack^ when 
the year has run out, a road over a mountain when a tunnel 
is made below, or the idols and talismans of pagans when 
they abjure their paganism. 

I 53. The term labour or work (labor, ipyaout, travail, 
Arbeit) is not easy to define. But this is no excuse for those 
who leave it altogether undefined, nor for Mill, who leaves it 
obscure. He says (Polit. Econ. Bk. I. c. I. § 1) that it is 
either bodily or mental, muscular or nervous, and that “ it is 
necessary to include in the idea not solely the exertion 
itself, but all feelings of a disagreeable kind, all bodily in- 
convenience or mental annoyance connected with the em- 
ployment of one’s thought, or muscles, or both, in a particular 

/ * To make consumption include all destruction, as Koscher {Natiojuxldk. 

I § 206 seq.) does, seems to me an unfortunate use of terms. 

Primary Notions. 


occupation.” This leaves us in the dark as to whether that 
ploughman labours whose ploughing is a pleasure to him, and 
whether playing is labouring, not to speak of this descrip- 
tion of labour being applicable to the action of those who 
weep round a tomb, a strange use of the term. Adam 
Smith is vague ;* MacCulloch (Note i to his edit, of The 
Wealth of Nations) defines labour “ any .sort of action or 
operation, whether performed by man, the lower animals, 
machinery or natural agents, that tends to bring about any 
desirable result.” But this is to distort ordinary language 
and to turn men into machines without any gain that 1 can 
see for the purposes of Kconomics. To say labour in 
‘ Political Economy ’ is only that exertion that demands 
something for itself in exchange (Perry), in its obvious 
excludes the exertions of slaves for their master and of self- 
sufficing peasants for themselves and their families. To 
define it the exercise of any human faculty for a definite 
object (Hearn), would turn all play into work. To limit it to 
human activity directed towards the acquisition or preserva- 
tion of property (Rosier) is nearer the mark, but too narrow ; 
for all unpaid exertions, literary, artistic, political, religious, 
would be evidently excluded, and too obscure ; for a judge 
who performed his office for the sake of his pay would or 
would not be labouring according as we understood the word 
‘directed’ to apply to the end of the operator (finis 
operands) or to the end of the operation (finis operis). 

It is best, I think, to look only to the end of the operation, 
and to define labour as human action of which the proper 
end or natural purpose (which indeed may be in some cases 
determined by the end of the operator, but only in some cases) 
is some good external to itself. Thus, whenever the action 
in itself gives a reward to the agent, it is not labour ; so none 
of the natural functions of the body, as eating ; so no recre- 
ation though it entail the greatest exertion, as hunting, or 
though to the given individual it may be most unpleasant, as 
a tiresome banquet. Conversely, whenever the rew'ard is not 
in the action itself, this is labour, as the tilling of land whether 
by the peasant w-ith joy or by the hireling with sorrow ; and 

* He calls labouring cattle ‘ productive labourers,’ and speaks of the 
labour of nature (Bk, ii ch. v.). 



purpose, though greater accuracy would be welcome and tne 
definition needs an indulgent interpretation. In particular 
those exertions which are not labour must be taken to include 
all immediate preparation on the part of the agent lest we 
absurdly call labour taking our place at a banquet. Thus to 
pass a winter in the South, an action having its reward in 
itself, and therefore not labour, must be looked on as a whole, 
and the incidental exertions of the journey must not be 
looked on as labour any more than the exertion of pouring 
out a glass of wine and raising it to one’s lips. And 
perhaps the rule may be followed never to call an action 
labour which cannot be so called in ordinary conversation ; 
but not conversely. 

§ 54. If it is difficult to give an accurate definition of 
labour, it is also difficult to give a satisfactory classification of 
its varieties, witness the immense controversy on so-called 
productive and unproductive labour, which may perhaps be 
summed up by saying that while both sides use these terms, 
one side use ‘ productive ’ to mean resulting in, or at least 
conducive to wealth, the other to mean resulting in any 

good, or at least any rational good.f 

On this controversy let us first notice that both sides can 
be charged with misusing language. It is intolerable to call, 
as Adam Smith does, the labour- of the judge and the 
general, of the physician and the priest, unproductive, or, 
like Mill, only partially productive, while the labour of the 
weaver or blacksmith is wholly productive. But then the 

* The difference between the same operation, according as the person 
doing it is at work or at play — a professional or amateur is marked by 
Aristotle, Polit. v. (viii ), c. 2, § 2. 

+ This tiresome question is discussed by Adam Smith, Wealth oj 
Nations, Bk. ii. ch. iii., and by MacCulloch in the notes ‘ correcting ’ 
Adam Smith adloc.\ also by Mill, L/nsettled Questions of Poht. Peon. 
Essay iii., and Principles of Poht. Kcon. Bk. i. ch. iii., and by Roscher, 
Nationalokonfonie, § 48-55. 

Primary Notions. 


other side are to blame for using the word productive when 
they might have used words like useful or beneficial, and 
misled no one.* Secondly, Adam Smith is mistaken in not 
understanding the intimate union of the various parts of the 
social body, and in imagining a nation could be considered 
as made up of two separate parts, the one, the productive 
labourers, maintaining the other, namely, the unproductive 
labourers and those who do not labour at all ; as though the 
weaver could go on weaving amid civil discord or foreign 
invasion, with unset limbs, unhealed diseases, or would go on 
without a motive ; and as though we could say that those 
who enabled or induced his labour had no share in the 
process. Seeing some of these difficulties Mill widens the 
notion of ‘ productive ’ labour so as to include “ labour which 
yields no material product as its direct result, provided that 
an increase of material products is its ultimate consequence.” 
{Principles of Pol. Ec. I. iii. 3.) But this eliminates unproduc- 
tive labour altogether ; for who can say that actors and musi- 
cians and the very footmen kept for mere display are unpro- 
ductive labourers, when we see merchants and manufacturers 
hard at work by day and thus increasing material products, in 
order to afford the pleasure or pomp of being served by these 
‘ labourers ’ in the evening. On the other hand the oppo- 
nents- of Adam Smith seem not rightly to distinguish be- 
tween what is corporeal and incorporeal ; for after all we 
cannot feed on public security, nor are good laws a substitute 
for clothing and shelter. And there is a truth expressed in 
the saying of Adam Smith : ” a man grows rich by em- 
ploying a multitude of manufacturers ; he grows poor by 
maintaining a multitude of menial servants.” 

The best solution of the problem how to classify labour 
seems to me to begin by discarding the terms productive and 
unproductive as misleading and unnecessary, and then not 
to divide labour according to its results, for these are too 
vague and disputable, but rather according to the proper 

* The famous retort of List : — “ To rear swine then is productive 
labour, to rear men, unproductive ! ” seems as misleading as the view 
against which it is directed. For men and swine are not in the same 
order of being ; nor are the first reared for the same purpose as the 


in *■ 

96 Gro7indwork of Economics. [§ 54 - 

object, purpose, or end of the particular operation (finis opens). 
According to this principle of division four kinds of labour 
can be distinguished, mdustrial, public, immsterial, and pre- 
datory, having as their end, the first production, the second 
some function of government, the third some personal service 
(ministration), the fourth the unlawful acquisition of others’ 
property. Under industrial labour would come that bestowed 
on agriculture, manufactures and commerce ; under public 
labour that of the civil and military service in the widest 
sense from the highest to the lowest ; under ministerial 
labour that of the clergy and teachers, of literary and scientific 
men, of the legal and medical profession, of musicians, actors, 
and the like ; under predatory labour, that of thieves, smug- 
glers, pirates, false coiners, common usurers, and the like. 

This division does not claim to be perfect, but only to be 
of sufficient exactness for the purpose and not likely to mis- 
lead Naturally a given person may be in more than one class, 
as when a farmer is a magistrate ; and his labour will be 
sometimes industrial, sometimes public. Those employed on 
State domains belong to the industrial rather than the public 
class The military retainers of the ‘ feudal barons of 
Norman times would be readily put by those acquainted 
with history among the public class, forming part of the 
military organization of the time. More difficult is the 
question where to place domestic servants, who have been a 
thorn in the side of economists. Let us distinguish between 
a servant in a humble house who is as busy in the preparation 
or reparation of material things as the spinner or machine- 
maker in a factory, and thus should be placed in the indus- 
trial class : and the lackeys, valets and lady’s maids in a 
great household, who have as their one or their chief function 
to give personal attention to their master or mistress, and 
thus should be placed in the ministerial class. Such a dis- 
tinction of different kinds of servants is still more obvious in 
thcfamilia or slave-household of a great family in Antiquity; 
for it contained not only those servants answering to the 
modern cook or housemaid, but also spinners and weavers, 
smiths and carpenters ; and all these can be put in the indus- 
trial class as distinct from the personal attendants for dining 
and dressing, for the promenade and the bath. Without 


§ 54 « 55 -] Primary Notions. 97 

aiming at exactitude which perhaps is unattainable, let us say 
roughly that all those domestic servants are to be put in 
the ministerial class, whose work is mainly personal minis- 
tration, as well as those who in common language are more 
for shew than use ; not therefore a cook, or housemaid, or 
gardener (unless they are such rather in name than reality, 
being superfluous supernumeraries) ; for the cook must be 
cla.ssed with the baker or butcher ; the housemaid with the 
house-painter ; the gardener with the farm labourer ; whereas 
the labour of a nurse, or valet, or lady’s-maid, is mainly in 
the shape of personal attendance and ministration, and thus 
like that of the barber or musician, of the doctor or the 
priest, is not to be called industrial but ministerial.* 

Let this much suffice on the kinds of labour, though some 
other division may be possible which would have greater 
precision and convenience. 

§ 55. Distinct 'from the notion of labour is that of cost 
(jactura or onus, Kvfiia or ( 3 d^og, frais, Kosten), which means 
personal sacrifice or the surrender of some good by some 
person. Cost therefore is a wide term, including not only 
that sacrifice of our time and personality implied by labour, 
but also the loss of pleasure, or health, or esteem, or friends, 
or in short the loss of any goods, and among them of wealth. 
But, like utility and value, cost cannot be precisely measured. 
We can indeed count the hours of labour but not the per- 
sonal sacrifice, which for example is very different for the 
willing and for the unwilling servant, though both be equally 
healthy, skilful, and strong, and do the same kind of work for 
the same time. Again, we may be able to express in figures 

* If asked to what class belong coachmen and grooms, I would 
say, in the main, they belong to the industrial ; but if the main function 
of a given coachman is to drive my lady, or of a given groom to ride 
out with her, they belong to the ministerial class. In the same way we 
can judge of a maid, according as her main work is to make and mend 
the dresses of her mistress, or to dress her. The difficulty of separating 
personal services from production, is treated with some acuteness by 
Senior, Political Econo}ny, edit, of 1850, being vol. vi. of the E 7 icyclo- 
pcedia Metropolitana,i^'p. 51-53- The difficulty of making any satisfactory 
classification of the population of a country- is seen not only from the 
variety of classifications made by economists, but also from the confusion 
in the census returns of various countries regarding the employments 
of the population. 



g3 Groundwork of Bconoymcs. [§ 55> 5^- 

the wealth which is sacrificed to obtain some other good, but 
we are unable to express in figures the personal sacrifice, 
which, for example, if in the shape of the same monthly sub- 
scription to a benefit society, is very different for two artisans, 
one of whom is compelled thereby (having a larger family or 
smaller income) to forego his accustomed use of tobacco, and 

the other not. ^ , 

Remuneration or reward (remuneration avrihiopta, rcmuner- 

atioiin Vergeltung) means a good received or expected in 
consideration of some cost. The cost may precede the re- 
muneration, as for one who pays for his journey beforehand ; 
or follow it, as for one who does not pay for his food at the 
inn till he has had it. And naturally, as we cannot measure 
exactly the utility of the good received or expected, we 
cannot measure exactly the remuneration itself, and much 
less its relation to the cost. If indeed it is in the shape of 
wealth we can measure the wealth, and ^tate the number, 
size and weight of the commodities, or their price (inf. § 6o) 
in some other commodity, but not the remuneradon. The 
five pounds, for example, which a struggling artist receives 
for his first picture can be measured but not the remuner- 
ation, which may be really much greater to him than the 
fifty pounds which he receives for a picture in the days of his 
advancement, or the five hundred in the days of his renown. 
The labourers in the parable received every man a penny. 
We can measure the penny of each, but cannot tell how 
great a reward it was to each, either in itself, or in proportion 

to the toil whereby it had been won. 

S 56. The substantive revenue (or income) and the adjec- 
tives net and gross, when applied to it, are surrounded by a 
polemical literature; and the common acceptation of the 
terms is not sufficiently clear to be a guide. Still we can I 
think, by making distinctions, obtain sufficient precision 
without any violence to language. Revenue or income* 
(acceptum or proventns, TrpdcroSoc, revenn, Etnkommen) in the 
wide sense can mean the sum of commodities entering into 
the property of a given person during a given time. And 

* I use these two words indifferently, though by a freak of language 
the one is more usually applied to governments, the other to private 



§ 56 .] Primary Notions. 99 

these commodities can be called receipts (accepta, di 
r^cettes, Einnahmen). The source or character of the receipts 
does not matter. They may be the produce of a flock, a 
field, or a fai:tory ; they may be wages received for labour, or 
a gift, or the proceeds of a sale, or rent for the use of a farm 
or house. In this wide sense revenue is sometimes called 
gross. In the narrow sense revenue can mean that portion of 
this gross revenue which a man can dispose of without di- 
minishing his previous property ; in other words, that portion 
of his receipts in a given time left to him after making good 
all incidental diminution of his property. In this narrow 
sense revenue is sometimes called net, and can be best ex- 
•plained as gross revenue minus a number of items, which are 
as follows : — 

(a) The diminution of wealth by wear and tear of machin- 
ery, by the using up of materials, by all, in short, that can be 
called industrial, as distinct from personal consumption (sup. 
§ 52) ; for the using up of wealth by personal consumption is 
a mode of spending net revenue, and thus plainly is not to 
be deducted before this is reckoned up. 

(b) Loss by destruction and damage. 

(c) Loss of what is taken by thieves and bad debtors. 

(a) All property handed over to others for other property 
in return ; but not gifts which are a mode of spending net 
revenue, and thus plainly are not to be deducted before this 
is reckoned up. 

(e) All those payments for labour which are intended to 
bring in revenue, as of a farmer to his ploughman, a lawyer 
to his clerk, an hotel-keeper to his waiters ; but not the 
payments for that labour which consists of personal minis- 
tration to the payer or his family, and thus not the wages of 
a footman or a nurse ; for this is a mode of spending net 
revenue, and thus plainly is not to be deducted before this is 
reckoned up. 

Perhaps the terms nominal and real revenue might be sub- 
stituted for gross and net. For while the net revenue 
remains precisely the same the gross may be swollen by 
artificial circumstances, notably by the spread of buying and 
selling. For example, if a man grows the corn which his 
family consumes, this corn, say forty bushels which could be 

II 2 


Grounchvork of Economics. [§ 56, 57. 

sold for ten pounds, figures in his gross revenue simply as 
produce. But if instead of growing the corn he grows 
cotton sufficient to buy the forty bushels required, and 
obtains them in this way, his gross revenue will now comprise 
the cotton as well as the corn (the cotton, namely, as produce, 
the corn as proceeds of sale), and be doubled, at least in this 
particular -department, while the net revenue, which is the 
real matter of importance to him, may remain unaltered. 

I 57. The word expenditure {expensum or sumptus, Bairdvri, 
ddpense, Ansgabe) must be treated like revenue and taken in 
more senses than one. In the widest sense it means the sum 
of commodities passing out of the property of a given person 
during a given time; and these commodities can be called- 
outgoings {expensa, di SaTrdvai, depenses, Ausgaben). In this 
sense expenditure comprises all that a man with his family 
consumes personally ; all that he gives, or sells, or pays as 
wages ; all that he allows to be used up or worn out in pro- 
' duction ; all that is stolen or destroyed of his property, 

' This widest sense of expenditure corresponds to gross rev- 

I enue and might be called gross expenditure, 

A second sense only differs in excluding all involuntary 
outgoings, namely, by destruction, damage, theft, and bad 
debts. And this may be taken as another sense of gross 

' A third and narrow sense excludes not only involuntary 

outgoing.s, but also all those incurred for the sake of net 
(real) revenue, as the payments of a manufacturer for wages 
1 and raw material. And in this narrow sense, applying only 

to those v^oluntary outgoings not incurred for the sake of net 
revenue, expenditure might be called net. The difference of 
the two kinds of voluntary expenditure can be seen from 
examples ; that on coal for a factory is one kind, being 
incurred in order to procure a surplus of receipts over out- 
goings, while that on coal for household use is the other kind, 
being incurred in order to enjoy a warm house and hot 
dinner ; the payment to farm labourers is one kind, but to 
a musician, the other ; a doctor’s outlay on his professional 
carriage or consulting room is one kind, that on his wife’s 
carriage or reception room, is the other ; rent for a shop is 
one kind, rent for a dwelling-house, the other. In the one 

Primary Notions. loi 

set of cases the outlay is for the sake of net revenue, in the 

other, for the sake of enjoyment. 

Having distinguished the different senses of expenditure, 
the best use of words seems to me the following. Let us 
call all involuntary outgoings involuntary expenditure ; let 
whatever is spent for the sake of net revenue be called 
industrial expenditure ; let whatever is spent for the sake of 
enjoyment be called real expenditure (or net, if this word be 
preferred) ; finally, let nominal expenditure (or gross, if this 
word be preferred) be used in the widest sense, including all 
outgoings, whether involuntary, or industrial, or real. 

If asked under what head of expenditure we are to put 
the payment of taxes and legal charges, I answer, first in 
regard to taxes, that under ordinary circumstances their 
payment is real expenditure ; they are paid not in order to 
make receipts surpass outgoings, but in order to secure an 
immediate personal good of the greatest importance, the 
order, namely, of justice. That a person may not like pay- 
ing them matters no more than that he may not like paying 
his doctor or his tradesmen ; and the payment will be 
enforced in both cases. It is true he is obliged to receive the 
benefits of the order of justice, in a sense in which he is not 
obliged to receive the baker’s bread or the doctoi s ministra- 
tions. Still the outlay for these benefits is not to be called 
involuntary in the sense in which losses by fire or theft are 
involuntary. Only mark, it can happen that taxes are 
grossly unjust, as when levied for bad ends, or by illegitimate 
authorities, or when grossly unequal or excessive , and then 
indeed, like the payments extorted by brigands, they are 
involuntary expenditure. In regard to legal charges much 
the same can be said. They also in the main are paid for 
the sake of the order of justice, that is, for the ascertain- 
ment and enforcement of rights ; and they do not this 
character by the fact, where it is so, of their bci*ig paid by 
the particular persons whose rights are obscure or have been 
violated, instead of by the community as a whole. And 
! thus the annual legal expenses of a railway company are to 

, be considered, like the passenger tax it pays to Government, 

• as real expenditure, not industrial ; and form a part of what 

■ the shareholders spend on the State ; whereas w'hat is paid 





' litij 


11 ' 

^ i. I i 

ji I 





M I 
.^'3 1 


Groundwork oj Economics. [§ 57, 58. 

to the railway clerks, the guards, and the engine drivers, is 
industrial expenditure and has to be deducted before we 
reckon the real revenue of the shareholders. But we have 
considered legal charges in their use, not in their abuse ; for 
when grossly extortionate and unfair, they also, like the 
taxes of a tyranny, are mere plunder, and their payment is 
not real but involuntary expenditure. 

A word of explanation ought, I feel, to be added on the 
foregoing mode of reckoning real revenue and real expendi- 
ture. I am far from wishing any other mode to be held 
erroneous ; for it is a matter, not of doctrine but of words 
and convenience. All I ask is that the more we make 
deductions from nominal revenue before reckoning real 
revenue, the more we must take from nominal expenditure 
before reckoning real expenditure ; and conversely. For 
example, the decay of the plaster and paint that cover the 
brickwork of London houses is a loss that, according to my 
use of terms, is to be deducted from the occupant’s nominal 
revenue before reckoning his real revenue. But it may be 
thought more convenient not to make this deduction ; and 
it does not matter, provided only that the be put down 
as part of his real expenditure. Thus again, and with much 
practical convenience, the payments to the housemaid and 
cook may be added to real expenditure, like the payments to 
the nursemaid or the footman, provided only we do not 
deduct them (as according to my mode of reckoning we 
should do) before reckoning up the master’s real revenue. 
Conversely, all legal charges may be deducted from our 
nominal revenue (I believe they are in the accounts of 
commercial houses) before we reckon up our real revenue ; 
provided only that we do not then go and add them (as I 
have added them) to our real expenditure. 

§ 58. Were modesty characteristic of our times we should 
blush at til* word capital, and not complain that the ancients 
failed to understand an idea about which the moderns are in 
utter disagreement. To give a list of definitions would be 
tedious, and moreover would fail to express the full diversity 
of views, since the same terms in different definitions are 
sometimes used in different senses. It is enough to say that 
economists are not agreed whether capital includes incor- 

§ 58.] Primary Noiions. 103 

poreal goods, and if so, whether goods like the State, and like 
the custom of a business, and like acquired skill and trust- 
worthiness, and like the natural capacity for labour ; or only 
some of these ; whether, moreover, it includes only things, 
or persons as well ; whether among corporeal external goods 
(i.e. wealth) the means of enjoyment, when they are finally 
in the hands of those who are to enjoy them, can ever be 
called capital ; and if so, whether only when in the hands of 
‘ productive labourers ’ (and who these are is disputed), or 
also whenever these means of enjoyment are of a durable 
character, as a dwelling-house (Roscher’s Gebraiichskapital 
as distinct from Productivkapital) ; whether, again, capital 
includes land or only the improvements of land ; whether it 
means only the advance under certain circumstances of 
previous labour (Lassalle), or only the sum of commodities 
needed to sustain labourers in work (Mr. Jevons.)* 

Without engaging in the controversy let us notice some of 
the reasons why it has arisen. First, the radical difference 
between preparation and enjoyment, and again, between 
cost and remuneration, and yet the extreme difficulty in 
each case of drawing any definite line between them. 
Secondly, the fact that what is cost to one person is 
remuneration to another ; thus wages are a remuneration to 
the hired workman, but cost to the master ; the ministrations 
of the physician are cost to him, but remuneration to the 
patient. Thirdly, the fact that revenue can be obtained by 
other means than by personal services and by the prepara- 
tion (including reparation) of wealth ; for it can also be 
obtained by allowing others the use of means of enjoyment, 
as a dwelling-house or pleasure boat. Fourthly, the 

historical antecedents of the term capital, connecting it 
with money and loans {KB(pd\tiov the principal opposed to 
roKoc — caput pecuniae or capitate first used in the Middle 
Ages) and also with cattle {capitate used in this sense in the 
Middle Ages), and thus indicating a source of revenue indeed, 
but not any source, and in particular excluding land ; and 

* See Roscher, Naiionalokonomie, § 42-45 ; Adolf Wagner, Lehrlmch 
dcr politischen Oekonomie, § 27-32 ; Coqueliu et Guillaumin, Diction- 
naire de i’Econ. pot., s. v. capital. 


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Groundwork of Economics. 

§ 58. 

thus in England we are accustomed to speak of applying 
capital to land. 

In a way then the term capital is rather historical than 
scientific,* and I should prefer not to use it in this chapter 
on primary notions, did I not fear to mislead by omitting it, 
and did I not wish to express an idea for which it is fairly 
suitable, namely, of property employed in order that revenue 
may be gained, an idea quite distinct from that of property 
employed in production. The latter indeed is always for the 
sake of revenue, but not conversely. Dwelling-houses, for 
example, are eminently property employed as means of 
enjoyment and not employed in production ; and yet in 
modern Europe some of the largest revenues are derived 
from letting out dwelling-houses. So they are capital to the 
lessors and means of enjoyment to the lessees, and the same 
commodity at the same time can serve as capital to one 
person an 1 as means of enjoyment to another. Let us then 
define capital {fundus, a(j)opiLit], capital, Stanimvertnogen or 
Betriebsfonds) that portion of a man’s property which he 
employs for the sake of net revenue. So it includes the 
dwelling-houses he lets, but not the one he inhabits ; 
the masquerade dresses he lets out, not the clothes he wears ; 
the wages he pays to the actors if he is the proprietor of a 
theatre, not the wages he pays to his own private domestiques 
de luxe ; the pleasure gardens or grouse-moors he lets, not 
those he keeps in his own hands ; the finished goods he 
has for sale in his shop, not the finished goods he has 
just bought for his personal enjoyment. And plainly, 
according to the definition aforegiven, capital includes all 
property used in production, though not only property so used. 
Plainly, also, it includes land as much as any other immov- 
able used for the sake of revenue ; so the land under tillage, 
grass, orchards, or timber, no less than mills, shops, foundries, 
or mines ; and it includes these immovables no less than 
movables like portable machinery or materials. Money is 
often used as capital but sometimes not ; as when hoarded 
or kept to pay for personal services or for objects of personal 

* This has been well remarked by the Socialists ; and it is thoroughly 
unjust when Roscher, 1 . c. § 42, note 2, calls the use of the term by Karl 
Marx ‘ quite arbitrary/ 


§ 58, 59-] Primary Notions. 105 

consumption or enjoyment. How far it can be said to be 
used in production we shall have subsequent occasion to 
examine. Roads, railways, ships, and all means of communi 
cation are generally, when in the hands of private owners, 
as a railway belonging to shareholders, used by them as 
capital (though not always, for example not private yachts or 
the paths in pleasure grounds) ; but by the travellers are 
used according to circumstances in preparation or enjoy- 
ment ; and we have to distinguish the goods train on one 
side, the excursion train on the other, and between them the 
ordinary passenger train carrying half its passengers on 
business and half on pleasure. 

§ 59. If the term capital by itself has been involved in 
obscurity it has been still more so when complicated by the 
epithets fixed and circulating. Instead of wearying our- 
selves with controversies which seem merely verbal, let us 
make the distinctions by which alone we can escape confusion. 
First of all, capital can be said to serve its owner’s purpose 
in one of two ways. In the one it only serves him if it is 
wholly or partially alienated, that is, if all or some of the 
rights of ownership over it are transferred to another 
person. Thus the way in which a nailmaker gets a revenue 
from his nails is by selling them ; a jobmaster from his 
horses by letting them out for hire. In the other way 
capital serves its master’s purpose by being kept in hand, 
that is without wholly or partially changing masters ; for 
example, the tools of the nailmaker and the fuel he uses in 
his work ; the stable of the jobmaster and the oats which 
his horses eat. The foregoing distinction can be expressed, 
if we are so minded, by calling that capital circulating 
which is used in the one way and that fixed which is used 
in the other.* Only, then, in societies where alienation was 
unimportant the distinction of fixed and circulating capital 
would be unimportant also. 

* Adam Smith, Bk. ii. ch. i., might seem to employ the terms in this sense, 
and to be intelligible. In reality he is confused ; for if his fundamentum 
divisionis were alienation (changing masters), he could not say : “ Every 
fixed capital is both originally derived from and requires to be continually 
supported by a circulating capital.” For then alienation would be 
absurdly made an absolute requisite of life. 









Gromidwork of Economics. 

[§ 59 - 


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A second distinction seems to me (following Roscher after 
a fashion) to be the one which these terms are most fitted 
to express. Capital is either used as such and in the same 
manner by its owner only once, and let this be called 
circulating capital : or else repeatedly, and let this be ca'led 
fixed capital (in German respectively iimlaufende and stelmide 
Staminvermogen). Thus the fuel and the iron which the nail- 
maker uses in his work, and his stock of finished nails, are 
his circulating capital, whereas his tools and workshop 
are his fixed capital. The food for his horses belongs to 
the circulating capital of the jobmaster, whereas his stable 
and horses are fixed capital. “ The draught cattle of the 
farmer belong to his fixed capital, the draught cattle’s fodder 
and the cattle for slaughter belong to his circulating 
capital ; in a machine factory a boiler for sale is part of the 
circulating capital, a similar boiler reserved for use in the 
works of the factory is part of the fixed capital.” (Roscher, 
Nationalok. § 44.) This distinction of fixed and circulating 
capital, though it would exist were there no alienation, pays 
regard to this as one mode of using proj>erty for the sake 
of revenue ; and property will be circulating or fixed capital 
to the alienator according as the alienation is once for all 
(a sale) or repeated (a lease or bailment). The nailmaker 
sells a given set of nails once for all ; whereas the jobmaster 
lets out the same horse again and again, and a house let on 
lease is used by its owner to yield him rent every quarter ; 
furnished apartments, every week ; so the nails are circulating 
capital to the seller, the horse, the house, and the apartments 
are fixed capital to their several lessors. 

A third use of the terms fixed and circulating capital 
applies them to express the distinction of durable and tran- 
sient means of production {vid. sup. § 52). But the use is 
not a happy one. For first the word capital is ill-fitted to 
express means of production, as then we should have to 
say that those dwelling-houses which enriched the owner 
by being let out were not a part of his capital ; and secondly 
the words fixed and circulating are ill-fitted to express 
durable and transient, as then we should have to say that 
the finished goods of the ironmonger were fixed capital to 

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§ 59, 60.] Primary Noliotis. 107 

him, though they are of no service to him till he parts with 

Notice, in conclusion, that the legal distinction of mov- 
ables and immovables is not the same as that of circulating 
and fixed capital in any of the senses aforegiven, or as that 
of transient and durable commodities. For example, a 
plough is a durable commodity, and to the farmer is fixed 
capital (in all the three senses of the term), but is a movable 
at law. 

§ 60. The word exchange has various meanings, popular, 
legal, and economical. In a wide sense it means the surrender 
of some good for the sake of another, as when we say a 
man exchanges the world for the cloister ; in a narrow 
sense it means ‘ barter,’ that is, giving up the entire owner- 
ship of one commodity for that of another without the in- 
tervention of money ; and this, I apprehend, is the meaning 
of the term in English law.f But for Economics we need a 
term which, like barter or permutation, shall be limited to 
alienation of rights over property for the sake of other such 
rights, but which, unlike barter or permutation, shall not be 
limited to complete alienation, and to cases where money is 
not used, and which therefore shall be able to include leases 

* Mill is anything but clear on circulating and fixed capital {Pfiuciples 
of Polit. Econ. Bk. i. ch. vi. § i), seeming to give as the two character- 
istics of the first that it does its work by changing hands, and that it is 
used up at once ; of the second, that it does its work without changing 
hands, and that it is more or less durable. But then all the materials 
used in production by those producing for themselves, for example, the 
seed and manure, the crops of maize, grapes, and olives of many Italian 
peasants are not circulating capital, because they never change masters, 
nor fixed because they are not durable. Or if we interpret him to mean 
that one only of the two characteristics are requisite in each case, then 
the said commodities are both circulating and fixed : circulating, because 
used up at once ; fixed, because doing their work without changing hands. 

t At least in the realm of ‘ things personal,’ where an exchange is the 
transfer of goods for goods, and sale the transfer of goods for money. 
The law makes no difference between such exchanges and such sales. 
The exchange, however, of real property is a contract by itself. Roman 
law is better than English on this point in not making any distinction 
between realty and personalty, but worse in making a great distinction, 
not merely in name, but in legal treatment, between a complete alienation 
where money intervened {emptio-vendiiio), and one where it did not inter- 
vene ipermutatio). See the discussion Jnstit. 1 . 3, tit. 23 ; Digest. 1 . 1 8, tit. 1,1. 

io8 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 6o. 

and sales. For this purpose it seems to me best to use the 
word exchange {permutatio, avraXXa7>j, ^change, Tausch, cambid), 
which can be defined, the alienation (or legal cession) of 
rights over property for others in return. Whereon, omitting 
controversy, of which there is abundance, let us only notice 
that exchange in this sense includes what is commonly 
meant by a sale, a lease, an insurance, or a loan ; but not 
gifts, for here there is no return ; nor the hire of labour, for 
here the return is not in the shape of rights over property.* 
The definition of exchange enables us to define the word 
price {prethim, ti/uu], prix, Preis) as the commodity (or com- 
modities) alienated by either party in an exchange. Or, 
to put the idea into another shape, the price of a commodity 
means the commodities given or received in exchange for 
it. The different kinds of prices and the different ways in 
which they are reached will be discussed in the Third Book. 
Here we have only to notice the nature of price and its 
distinction from value. Price presupposes exchange and is 
made up of definite measurable commodities, whereas value 
is indeoendent of exchange and even of commodities, and 


somebody, as of a horse to Titius ; whereas, in order to avoid 
confusion on price, we ought to speak, not simply of the 
price of anything, as of a horse, but of the price of anything 
in something else, as the price of a horse in money or in corn, 
saying, for example, that the price in money is forty pounds 
sterling, or in corn is 150 bushels of wheat. 

Let a word be here added on the distinction which is 
frequently made between value in use and value in exchange ; 
the first being taken to mean utility, the second, the power 
of purchasing. Naturally these expressions in this sense 
do not accord with the definition of value which I have 
adopted (§ 48) ; the sense seems better expressed by the 
terms ‘ utility ’ and ‘ price in money,’ and to oppose the 
terms ‘ use ’ and ‘ exchange ’ is misleading, because exchange 
is one kind of use in a common sense of this word {cf. sup. 
§51). It seems therefore best to discard altogether the 
terms value in use and value in exchange, and without 
burdening ourselves with further technical terms, simply 
to notice that wealth can be valuable to a person either 
directly, being enjoyable, as food or clothing, or else in- 
directly, and this in various ways : enabling him, as a farm 
or a factory, a spade or a spindle, to engage in production ; 
enabling him, as a stock of money, to pay others to produce 
for him or to minister to his personal wants ; enabling him, 
as the wares of a merchant, to procure as its price the means 
of enjoyment or of production. 

And now, having laid in a stock of terms sufficient for our 
immediate wants, let us pass from abstractions and words to 
the realities of life. 

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Groundwork of Economics. 




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A' I 


Factors of Production, § 6i — The Earth as Man’s Dwelling-place, § 62 
— The Dry Land as supporting Animals and Plants, § 63 — The 
Water as supporting Animals and Plants, § 64 — The Earth as 
affording Minerals, § 65 — Destruction by Nature, § 66— Need of 
Production, and Ease or Difficulty of it, § 67— Intensity of Produc- 
tion, § 68 — Intensity in the various Industries, § 69 — Law of Limi- 
tation to the Capacity of Things, § 70, 71— Improvements in the 
Arts of Production : Classification, § 74 — Conditions requisite to 
their being made, § 75— Jottings on the History of Technical 
Progress, § 76-79 — Estimate of Gain and Deduction for Loss, 
§ 80, 81 — Injuries to the Earth by Man, § 82-84 — Possible further 
Technical Progress, § 85. 

§ 61. The capacities of the earth to furnish man with 
wealth, how far this is given without cost, the limits of what 
can be obtained even with cost, how material things have 
received improvement and injury from man, form the objec 
for discussion in this chapter. But we must begin by re- 
moving two misconceptions which stand in our way. The 
first is that the requisites (factors or elements) of production 
are three, one being appropriate natural objects (Mill), or 
external nature (Roscher), the other two being labour and 
capital. But not to speak of the ambiguity of the term 
capital, this view obscures the simple fact that, alike among 
the rudest and the most cultivated peoples, the requisites of 
production fall necessarily under the two heads of persons 
labouring and things appropriate. We can of course sub- 
divide these heads, and in particular can distinguish the un- 
cultivated, untransformed earth from the earth which has 
been touched and adapted by man, and call the first nature, 
the second, though the term is unsuitable, capital. But then 
we ought to make an analogous distinction among labouring 

^61.] The External World. iii 

persons according as they have merely the powers with 
which nature has furnished them, or have in addition been 
trained for production ; and if we distinguish the iron in the 
earth from the iron transformed into a steam engine, or the 
undrained, unenclosed, uncultivated marsh from the well-tilled 
field, we ought to distinguish the unskilled labourer from the 
artizan whose skill is the result of training.* But I doubt 
whether any such distinction is fruitful, and certainly it is 
exposed to the great objection that often we cannot tell how 
much of the capacity of a person labouring or of a thing 
laboured upon is due to nature and how much to art.f Nor 
do I see cause for complicating the simple division into 
persons and things by any subdivision ; and I propose to 
consider things in this chapter and persons in the next. 

The second misconception is that ‘ nature ’ helps more in 
one kind of industry than in another, notably more in agri- 
culture than in manufactures ; as though we could say that 
the properties of the thread, the needle, and the linen gave 
less assistance to the seamstress than the properties of the 
soil and the seed to the farmer, or as though, since persons 
and things are both absolutely needed for production, we 
could measure their relative importance. We might as well 
attempt to decide which half of a pair of scissors has most 
to do in the act of cutting (Mill). We can no doubt measure 
the hours of labour and the amount of means of production 
requisite for a given object, and if two objects, A and B, differ 
in one requiring six hours of labour, the other twelve, and 
the one requiring the consumption of twelve tons of coal, 
the other of six, we can say that A requires less labour than 
B, and more of the transient means of production ; but we 

* Schaffle, Nationalokonomie, 3rd ed. § 37, distinguishes, as the four 
‘elements of technic’: (i) natural personal goods of which the sum 
forms das Naturell; (2) acquired personal goods of which the sum forms 
die Bildung; (3) natural external goods of which the sum forms die 
Nalnr; (4) acquired external goods of which the sum forms das Ver- 

t The confusion on the requisites of production may in part account 
for the curious specfacle of certain English economists and politicians 
denouncing the appropriation of land, that is, the means of agricultural 
production, by a few, and yet failing to denounce the analogous appro- 
priation of the means of manufacturing production. 

1 12 Groundzvork of Economics. [§ 6i, 62. 

cannot say that labour does less or is less important for A 
than for B.* 

§ 62. The capacities of the earth to furnish man with wealth 
can form the subject-matter of many volumes, and can give 
an additional charm to the study of physical science. Here 
let us be content with that brief survey which is necessary 
for the purpose of Economics. And for this purpose the ex- 
ternal world can be put under four heads or divisions, which 
seem more useful than any which might be based on the 
classification of physicists.-}- 

Under the first head we look on the earth as man’s 
dwelling-place. To begin with the climate in regard to its 
effects, distinct though often connected, upon our health, our 
enjoyment and our capacity or opportunities for labour, the 
diversity of different regions is very great. Compare the 
fever-stricken dwellers in the Tuscan marshes with the robust 
peasants of the Apennines ; the icy winds and salt dust of 
Central Asia with the soft and equable climate of Singapore ; 
the South of Mexico where each year there are several 
harvests, with the North of Russia where each year agricul- 
tural work is limited to four months. Only let us avoid 
exaggeration. The healthiness of different countries seems 
to vary much more through artificial than through natural 
causes ; we may grow indifferent to the discomforts or to the 
delightfulness of the climate to which we are accustomed ; 
perhaps as much physical force may be e.xerted by a native 
in the tropics as in the temperate regions ; and if darkness, 
or frost, or tropical rains hinder outdoor work in certain sea- 
sons, these need by no means be periods of idleness. And 
instead of making rash generalizations regarding the influ- 
ence of different climates, it is more profitable to look at 

* Roscher {Nationalokonomie, § 47) is thoroughly misleading when he 
makes three great periods of economical development, in the first of 
which ‘ nature,’ in the second ‘labour,’ in the third ‘capital,’ is predominant. 
For, omitting other criticisms, external nature, as seen, for example, in 
the powers of flowing water, of steam, of electricity, does as much now 
as in the time of the Heptarchy. And if we substitute machinery for 
men, there may be less labour in the production o^ a given object, but 
the labour still required is none the less important and indispensable. 

t Though not closely following, I borrow much fi om .Schaffle, National- 
okonomie, 3rd ed. § 62, 63. 

§62.] The Extez'ual World. 113 

these differences when considering the fitness of many social 
institutions. The regulations of industry, the kinds of re- 
creation, the precautions against dangers to family life, the 
military organization and much else, may need to be very 
different according to differences in heat, moisture, and 

The surface of the earth, like the climate, is very various, 
and in particular with regard to its fitness for communication. 
Compare regions like the prairies, the pampas, or the Aus- 
tralian pasture lands where vehicles can pass for hundreds of 
miles without serious obstacle (Hearn, Plutology, ch. v. § 6), 
with the mountains of Switzerland, the impenetrable silvas 
of Brazil, the marshes of the Netherlands. Water, however, 
rather than dry land has been pre-eminently the pathway of 
mankind, and the settlement of the world seems to have 
mainly been carried along the sea-coast or the banks of rivers 
and lakes. Compare Europe, having one mile of coast to 
every 31 square miles, with Africa, having one to every 142 
square miles ; and th’e .scanty rivers of Australia or Persia 
with the water communication in the basins of the Missis- 
sippi and St. Lawrence, the Amazon and the Volga. We 
must not indeed forget quality as well as quantity of the 
means of navigation. Seas may be dangerous like the Bay 
of Biscay, or deficient in harbours like the south-east coa.sts 
of Africa and of the United States ; or be frozen over for a 
part of the year like the Baltic ; or be liable to dead calms, 
as the South Seas ; or on the other hand possess useful 
currents or trade-winds. And rivers may or may not be 
dangerous, rapid, or shallow ; they may be obstructed near 
their sources which matters little, or near their mouths which 
matters much ; they may or may not have the great advan- 
tage of ebb and flow of the tide in the lower portion of their 
course. Obviously both for seas and rivers it is of great im- 
portance whether they afford an uninterrupted way. If the 
sea broke through the isthmus of Corinth little would be 
added to the quantity but much to the quality of the coast- 
mileage of Greece. As, however, so much can here be altered 
by man, we should look less to whether navigation is inter- 
rupted (river systems as a fact almost always are) as to 
whether the interruptions can or cannot be easily overcome ; 


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1 14 Gi'otmdwork of EconoiJiics. [§ 62 , 63 . 

whether the work is as easy as making the Neva communi- 
cate with the Volga or the Mississippi with the St. Lawrence ; 
or whether there are miles of sand as at Suez, or of rocky hill 
as at Panama, or of rapids as on the river Madeira, in the way. 
And if in other things alike, rivers running east and west 
are inferior in usefulness to those running north and south, 
because these, as the Rhine, Mississippi, La Plata, connect 
lands with greater diversity of produce than those, as the 
Danube, St. Lawrence, Amazon. (Roscher, Ansichten der 
Volksivirthschaft, 3rd ed. I. p. 242.) 

Under this first division of the external world can also be 
placed the force of the wind or water used to set our ma- 
chinery in motion, the use of light as in photography, and 
of electricity as in telegraphy. 

§ 63. The second division of the external world is the dry 
land as the supporter of animals and plants. Let us distin- 
guish the actual presence of useful animals and plants and 
the absence of noxious ones from the^ possibilities of intro- 
ducing the useful, extirpating the noxious, and substituting 
the more for the less useful. This process of improvement will 
be considered later on in this chapter ; the actual distribution 
of land, plants, and animals can be learnt from works on 
physical geography ; and here it is sufficient to notice that 
the absence of useful ones from a given country which is 
physically adapted for them matters much or little according 
as the inhabitants have or have not the opportunity of easily 
introducing them ; as the lack of domestic animals in Aus- 
tralia, serious for the aborigines, of little moment for the 
English colonists. Similarly as to noxious or less useful 
plants and animals, the means of lessening or removing 
them, as clearing a tropical forest, extirpating tigers or 
wolves, may be wanting to one race or one period but pos- 
sessed by another. The physical limits to acclimatization or 
extirpation whether of animals or plants we can pass by. 
But we must presently look to the question not of how far it 
is possible to acclimatize or to extirpate in a given case, but 
of how far it is worth while. 

The capacity of the dry land at any time to support vege- 
table life of service to man can be called its fertility, which 
is a not simple physical quality, but depends upon a combin- 



ation of causes, some of which can be controlled by man 
much, some a little, some not at all. We can exhaust and 
replace the nourishing properties of the soil, and can often 
remedy by draining or irrigation the excess or defect of 
moisture. Much less can be done in changing the consist- 
ency of the surface soil, its capacity to absorb or retain 
moisture or heat, the nature of the subsoil, and the steepness 
of the land, though, for example, the terraces cut in the steep 
sides of hills shew how much can be done where it is 
worth while.* The great factors rainfall and warmth can 
only be a little influenced by man, and then as a rule only 
gradually, by clearing or replanting forests. The advantages 
of a warm climate for agriculture are very great. The crop 
is sooner ripe and allows the same land to be used several 
times a year ; the quantity of the crop is generally greater, 
the quality better ; fewer buildings and stores are wanted, 
and less labour, which moreover is not confined to certain 
seasons. Notice that we have not simply to look at the 
mean temperature, but also at the extremes of heat and 
cold, because some plants can bear great winter cold but 
need great summer heat ; and vice versa. So in parts of 
Siberia with a mean temperature below freezing point, rye 
and wheat do well because the summer is hot, whereas in 
Iceland with a much higher mean temperature no cereals can 
be grown from lack of summer heat. So Hungary is a wine 
country in spite of its bitter winter, whereas in England, 

• while laurels survive the winter, grapes will not ripen in 
the summer.f Without attempting a catalogue of useful land 
plants and land animals, let us notice that the former may be 
roughly grouped under the five heads of food plants as wheat 
or vines, fodder plants as grass or mulberry trees, v/ood plants 
as the oak or the bamboo, textile (or fibre) plants as flax 
or the cotton tree, and miscellaneous as the indigo plant 

* Roscher, N^ationalokonomie, § 35, distinguishes, in judging of the 
agricultural productivity of a piece of land, its capacity to bear a plant- 
nourishing surface {Tragfdhigkeit, emplacement), v,\\\ch. even a naked 
rock like Malta may have ; secondly, its capacity for cultivation 
{Baufdhigkeii), as its consistency and powers of absorption : thirdly, its 
immediate capacity for nourishing plants {unmittelbare Niihrfdhigkeit). 

t On the preceding points see many details in Roscher, National- 
dkonomie, § 32. 

1 2 

ii6 Groundwork of Economics. [§ ^ 3 - 

or indiarubber tree. Narcotic plants as opium or tobacco 
might be classed as miscellaneous or as food plants, or as a 
separate (and sixth) head. As to animals, they can be put 
under four divisions according to their use, though the same 
animal may sometimes come under more than one division. 
They may be used for food, as swine and poultry, sheep and 
oxen ; for affording materials, as the wool, hides, fur and 
feathers, of sheep, oxen, ermine, and ostriches ; for motive 
power, as oxen and horses ; lastly, for amusement, as dogs 
and horses in most countries, as snakes in India, canary birds 
in England, and bulls in Spain. The uses and relative 
importance of different kinds of animals vary immensely 
according to time and place. For example, the use of pork, 
mutton, and wool, of primary importance in Europe, is com- 
paratively small in the tropics. Oxen are used in the South 
for little else than for serving as draught cattle ; in Eng- 
land they are hardly used for this purpose at all. Fighting 
cocks, the delight of half the world and of our ancestors, have 
become distasteful to one class of Englishmen and forbidden 
to the rest. And if we are to make any generalizations as 
to mankind at large, let us say that the ox, from its wide- 
spread use in the past and the present, can be called pre- 
eminently the economical animal, while the horse can be 
called pre-eminently the political animal.* 

In comparing our use of animals and plants it can be said, 
I think, that for none of our main wants have animals been 
more in use than plants. But certainly their relative use has 
been much less for some wants than for others. Thus for 
fuel, housing and furniture, compare the vast use of wood 
with the use in some treeless regions of dried cow-dung for 
fuel, of skins for tents, of ivory or leather for furniture. In 
supplying food the part of the animal kingdom is much 
greater, but still, at least in historical times, has been only a 
fraction of the part supplied by vegetable food. But for 
clothincf the use of wool and leather has rivalled that of linen 


and cotton, though at present the balance has been turned 

* If we look on animals simply as affording motive power, the follow- 
ing may perhaps be given as their order in utility : oxen, asses and mules, 
horses, camels, elephants, llamas (in the Andes), dogs (notably in the 
Arctic regions), goats, carrier pigeons. 


§ 63, 64.] The Exte^'nal World. 1 1 7 

by the partial substitution in Europe of cotton for wool. 
For lighting the fat of animals can compare with vegetable 
oil ; and though for implements wood and hemp may be. of 
more service than leather and bone, the vegetable kingdom 
has no set-off to the motive power afforded by domestic 
animals, the importance of which in economical life we 
shall have occasion to see. 

§ 64. The third division of the external world is the water 
as the home of animals and plants ; and although by no 
means so important to us as the dry land, it is probably 
much more so than is commonly imagined, and moreover 
there seems a likelihood that its relative importance may 
increase in the future. At present there is a striking contrast 
in our dealings with these two great departments. While 
the majority of the human race are engaged in cultivating 
land plants, the cultivation of water plants is as yet so small 
as to be below notice. While on land the plants are more 
valuable to us than the animals, in the water the animals 
are incomparably more valuable to us than the plants. 
While on land the wild animals are of little value to us 
compared with those we artificially preserve, the water 
animals under our control (in fish-ponds, oyster-parks, etc.) 
are of little value to us compared with the free inhabitants 
of the seas and rivers. But these contrasts may diminish. 
I'he art of fish-breeding (pisciculture), using fish in the 
popular, may become as important in Europe as in 
Western Asia, and in the rest of Europe as in France ; means 
may be found to extend our control over the fish in the open 
sea ; and we may learn how to turn to account the gigantic 
stores of what we now contemptuously term seaweed. Mr. 
P. L. Simmonds (The Commercial Products of the Sea 
London, 1879, Part II. ch. xii.) describes the various uses to 
which seaweed has actually been put, notably for chemical 
and medicinal purposes, as for iodine ; for manure, as in 
North-Western France, in Cornwall, in the West of Ireland, 
and in New England ; and for food, as a little in Europe 
and America, but much more in China, Cochin-China 
and Japan. And the Japanese not only therfiselves consume 
various kinds of seaweed but export it to China in large 
quantities, and not only collect it but cultivate it. 

i . 


if 11 , 

' ' 

[ -i 



Groundwork of Economics. [§ 64, 65. 

It remains to be noticed that this third division of the 
external Avorld has hitherto been mainly used to furnish 
fopd, and in a less degree means of lighting ; but for 
little else of general use except sponges. On the other 
hand certain notable articles of luxury have been got from 
the inhabitants of the waters, as Tyrian purple of old and 
sealskins now ; also pearls, coral, mother-of-pearl and 

§ 65. The fourth and last division of the external world 
is the earth as affording minerals, whether from the dry 
land as iron, or from the water as salt ; whether from the 
surface as brick-earth, or from below the surface as tin ; 
whether minerals proper as lead, or improper, that is having 
arisen with the co-operation of living force, as coal. The 
use of proper and improper minerals is in sharp contrast, 
the one class being used mainly for buildings (stone, brick), 
instruments (iron), money (gold, silver, copper), and adorn- 
ment (precious metals, precious stones) ; the other class 
almost entirely for being burnt for fuel or light ; so coal, 
peat, and rock oil ; exceptions are in the use of asphalt for 
pavement, coprolites for manure, amber for adornment. And 
both classes of minerals contrast with the organic life of 
land and water in affording so little for food and cloth- 
ing, salt being the main exception. Another important 
difference is that in the main they cannot be restored, and 
the skill of man is thus confined to the discovery of their 
existence, their locality, their usefulness and the best mode 
of obtaining and using them, and not to. keeping up or 
increasing the stock of them.* And this is of practical 
importance ; for though as yet the exhaustion of any of the 
chief minerals in the world is only a matter for the remote 
future, the exhaustion in a given country may be a matter 
of immediate concern, as of the Laurian silver mines for 
the ancient Athenians, or of the coal mines in modern 

* The increase of the stock of minerals that is actually going on by 
the work of nature, as of peat, lava and stalactites, is, I suppose, too 
insignificant to be of much account. The artificial production by the 
skill of chemists may extend much further,' but is of value for Economics 
as opposed to chemistry only so far as such production is not merely 
scientifically but industrially profitable ; and this is little likely except 
for those which are very rare and mainly used for adornment. 


The External World. 

England and Belgium, or of the petroleum wells in North 
America. Nor must exhaustion be taken to mean that the 
mineral is altogether removed, but that it can no longer be 
obtained in large quantities without costs that swallow up 
remuneration. So a nation whose greatness rests on its 
mineral treasures is ill-assured of the future ; the very nature 
of minerals, their being applicable to comparatively few uses, 
implies that they must be exchanged if they are to be a 
great source of national prosperity ; and this brings the 
risk of being supplanted by other mines in more favourable 
circumstances. Of these circumstances two of the chief 
are the right juxtaposition of minerals, as in England, 
(where iron is found close to coal, and there is abundant 
lime near at hand, three great requisites for the iron trade ;) 
and good means of transport, with which England again 
is abundantly provided, whereas their absence renders much 
of the mineral stores of South America unavailing. 

§ 66. Not as another division but as another aspect of the 
external world is the destructive power of nature. The 
meaning of destruction and damage has been explained 
already (§ 52) ; and we are now concerned with injuries to 
things not to persons ; but also not with all destruction and 
damage, but only with that which is the work of nature as 
distinct from man. Amid the many kinds of natural 
destruction, it is difficult to put order, but four heads can be 
made provisionally. The first is decay, from which few 
things are exempt, but which varies immensely with the 
object, the place, and the season. The combination of heat 
and moisture gives perhaps the greatest likelihood of decay. 
In the rainy season in the tropics “books on the shelf swell 
till three take the space of four, books on the table get 
covered in two days with mould ^ inch deep ; saltpetre 
must be swept off the walls in basketsfull every week, or it 
would eat away the best brick ” (Roscher, /. c. § 209). But 
great dryness, as in Thibet, can be injurious to woodwork ; 
and frost helps the decay of stonework and plaster. Per- 
haps a dry and temperate climate is the least exposed to 
this first head of destruction. The second head comprises 
the of useful plants and animals, and particularly 
when they assume the form of an epidemic. Murrain among 

120 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 

cattle is an ancient and frequent scourge, while the potato 
disease and the phylloxera among vines are recent and 
familiar examples of this kind of destruction. The third 
head comprises all sudden damage by the elements, by fire 
and lightning, storms and hurricanes, by floods and breaking 
in of the sea, by hail, earthquakes, eruptions, avalanches, 
landslips, sandshifts. Very different in different countries is 
the frequency or importance of such disasters, and England 
may owe not a little of her greatness to their fewness or 
insignificance within her borders. She suffers nothing from 
volcanic agency, nothing from avalanches ; and how much 
worse are the fires in Russia, the hailstorms in Germany, 
the floods in France, the storms and lightning in the tropics. 
The fourth head consists of destruction by animals and 
plants.* As a popular classification destructive animals 
may be classed as wild beasts, vermin, destructive birds, rep- 
tiles and insects. The wolves in Russia devour annually, it is 
said, 500,000 geese and 100,000 dogs. {The Academy, AY>n\ 2^, 
1877.) Among the hill-tribes of Burma come at intervals 
of forty or fifty years myriads of hill-rats, settling down 
on a tract for two or three years and reducing it to a desert. 
(C. J. Forbes, British Burma, p. 283.) The injuries by birds 
(as those eating the crops and fruit in England) and reptiles 
(as snakes destroying cattle in India) seem less important, 
whereas the ravages of insects seem the most terrible of all, 
notably of the locust in Arabia and the surrounding countries, 
of the so-called white ants (termites) in parts of Africa and 
S. America, and of the tsetse or poison fly of S.E. Africa, 
the sting of which is fatal to horses, dogs, and oxen. Of 
destructive plants Mr. Hearn {Plutology, ch. v. § 9) gives 
examples from Australia. “ In the warmer latitudes of that 
country a plant {Strychnus lucida) is found which contains 
stiyxhnine in considerable quantities, and has often caused 
great mortality among flocks and herds. At Port Essington 
it is so common that cattle, to ensure their safety, must be 
kept in enclosures, and supplied with artificial food. In 
some districts on the Upper Murray and the Darling, there 

* The distinction between the injury from bliglit and murrain on the 
one hand, and from poisonous plants and animals on the other, is a rough 
one sufficiently exact for our present purpose. 


§67.] The External World. 121 

are plants which produce in horses strange and fatal forms 
of madness. In parts of West Australia, little pea-like 
flowering plants {Graptololium bilobum), containing a deadly 
poison, are found in such abundance as to render the districts 
in which they occur useless for pastoral purposes.” 

The failure of crops resulting from wet or cold seasons, or 
on the other hand from drought, the scourge of warm lati- 
tudes, can hardly be put down to the destructive forces of 
nature, but rather to the suspension of her productive forces. 
Many fires being artificial (due to carelessness or kindled on 
purpose, as by criminals or in war) cannot be classed among 
cases of natural destruction. And the loss of human life 
through noxious beasts, as in India, where many hundreds 
are killed every year by tigers and many thousands by snakes, 
is not to be called destruction or damage, since it is not an 
injury to the property, but to the person of the sufferers. 

§ 67. Several material goods, some of primary importance, 
are at hand ready for enjoyment and not requiring preparation. 
Such are the warmth and light of the sun, the air, drinking 
water, wild fruit trees, caves fit for dwelling in, flowers and 
beautiful scenery. But of these many are only local, and can 
thus be only enjoyed without cost by those on the spot: witness 
the expense of drinking water in many towns and districts 
(deep wells, costly aqueducts and water towers), and the 
sums paid by Englishmen to enjoy the scenery of Switzer- 
land. And even air and sun, though in a sense universal, 
vary so much in quality, that just as the invalid goes at 
great cost to drink the waters at a mineral spring, so too at 
great cost he quits the air of the flats for that of the hills, 
and the sunlight of the North for that of the South. In 
some parts of the world indeed it seems possible that man 
might exist without any preparation of wealth, that is with- 
out production ; but there could scarcely be any clothing, 
but little variety of food, and a scanty, scattered population. 
But for life at all in many parts of the globe, and for 
rational life in every part, wealth must be used not simply 
for enjoyment but also for preparation ; in other words, 
production is requisite for man. And if we suppose the 
same physical constitution and the same training and know- 
ledge of those engaged in production, the ease or difficulty 

1,2 2 Gi'oundwork of Economics. [§ 67 , 68 . 

of the process will depend on the points mentioned in 
the four preceding sections, from a combination of which 
depend the physical advantages of a country. That some 
countries are more favoured than others is undeniable, as 
England than Iceland ; but also many countries are less 
so than they seem, as the tropics, where exuberant fertility 
is counterbalanced by periodical total failure of crops, by 
earthquakes, or by hurricanes, or again by the continuous 
ravages of noxious animals. We must look to the negative 
as well as to the positive advantages. (Hearn, Plutology, 
ch. V. § 10.) And then, as in fact men differ and have differed 
vastly in their capacity for production, the most advan- 
tageous country for one epoch or race is not so for another ; 
for example, an open and somewhat ‘ barren ’ region is 
more advantageous to early colonists or to rude people 
with little mechanical knowledge than a region covered 
with exuberant tropical forest. Another question is whether 
great ease or great difficulty in production, at any rate of the 
first necessaries of life, has not an injurious effect on man. 
“ Those earthly paradises,” says Roscher [Nationaldkononiie, 
§ 36), “ where bread itself is only picked as fruit, allow man’s 
vigour to slumber as certainly as the cold wastes of the 
polar regions allow it to grow numb.” But such questions 
I leave to others, and am ready to accept whatever is proved, 
but nothing more ; and will here only remark that wher- 
ever existence in physical health is possible to man, there 
also, it seems to me, the good life is possible which is the 
end of both Politics and Economics. 

I 68. Let us turn from the external world in itself to the 
action of man upon it. If we look at a farm where the 
ploughing is but a few inches deep, where the land is neither 
drained nor manured, where the cattle and sheep, the carts 
and horses, the farm buildings and farm hands are few, and 
then look at another farm well tilled and well stocked, we 
see that within a given area and given time much more has 
been done in the second case than in the first. A word is 
needed to express this difference, and although the phrase 
high farming as opposed to rough and ready farming is in 
use, a more scientific term is needed, and one which will 
apply to other branches of industry besides those included 

§ 68 .] The External World. 123 

under farming. And so I use the term intensity of produc- 
tion to mean the amount of labour and property which 
in a given state of the arts of production is employed in 
any industry within a given space and given time. Where 
the amount is relatively great, production is intense, where 
relatively little, little intense ;* to increase the amount is 
to intensify, and the process is intensification ; to lessen the 
amount is to lessen intensity. But the comparison is only 
made if there is no change in the arts of production. F'or 
example, if through the advance in agricultural knowledge 
deep ploughing is now less expensive than was surface 
ploughing 200 years back, we are not to say that modern 
farming is less intense than the ancient if, ceteris paribtts, less is 
spent on ploughing (han of old ; for the arts are no longer in 
the same state. Else we should have to say that England 
was more highly farmed in the fourteenth century than 
now.-f* Nor does intensity regard only the property or only 
the labour expended, but both. So there may be intensi- 
fication even though less property be expended, because the 
diminution may be out-balanced by increase of labour, as 
when on a given farm many labourers using only spades 
take the place of a few labourers who used horses and 
ploughs ; or conversely, as when in the carrying business in 
a given town a few men with carts and horses take the place 
of an army of hand porters. Moreover, as we cannot accu- 
rately measure labour (yid. sup. § 55), we cannot in any case 
accurately measure intensity ; and the difficulty is increased 
when we have to compare the employment of labour and pro- 
perty, because we have no common standard by which they 
can be measured, no common denominator to which they can 
be reduced. And thus it is often difficult in a given case to 
judge whether there has been an increase of intensity, whether 

* The Germans use the adjective extensiv and oppose the term 
Extensitdt to Intensitdt. But this is not necessary, and in English we 
could hardly use ‘ extensive ’ in a sense so unlike its usual one. 

+ According to Mr. Rogers, in a note to his edition of The Wealth of 
Naiiofis, Bk. ii. ch. iii., the capital employed in cultivation, compared 
with the market value, was in England in feudal times as three to one, 
at present as one to three, the change being the result of agricultural 
improvement. See his History of Agriculture and Prices, i. pp. 34, 55, 
on the deficiencies of mediaeval husbandry. 

1 2A 


Grounckoork of Economics. [§ 68, 69. 

the greater employment of labour has or has not been 
counterbalanced by a smaller employment of property, and 
conversely. But to imagine that because mathematical pre- 
cision is here unattainable, there is nothing of great moment 
to be learnt, would be an error. Let us then begin by 
seeing how the notion of intensity, which is by no means 
confined to agricultural production, is applicable in each of 
the main industrial departments. 

§ 69. In agriculture look at a wheat farm in Lincoln- 
shire with its stately farm buildings and neat whitethorn 
hedges, and where there is unremitting application of 
manure ; and then look at a farm in the Far West, with its 
rude wooden log hut and sheds, the straw and stubble burnt, 
a stream turned into the farmyard to wash away the manure, 
many stumps of trees encumbering the land. How little is 
done to a rice field in the plains of Burma, where all the 
irrigation is from the annual overflow of the rivers : how 
much in parts of India where the water has to be brought 
at great cost from a distance. In England an acre of land 
used as market garden has much more labour and property 
employed upon it than an acre used as arable land, and 
this more than an acre of meadow land, and meadow land 
more than pasture, and pasture more than woodland. And 
thus we can say that the market garden is cultivated with 
more intensity (or receives more intense cultivation) than the 
arable farm, and so forth ; similarly that there is a greater 
degree of intensity in production at the farm in Lincolnshire 
than at the farm in the Far West. And in Ohio, which was 
once the Far West, but where now the farming is much more 
careful and even artificial manure is used (Correspondent in 
The Tunes, Oct. 15, 1879), we can indicate the change by 
saying there has been intensification in agriculture. 

In rearing live stock, compare a great cattle farm of many 
square miles in the South American Pampas, where for 5,000 
cattle about five herdsmen are sufficient, whose work is to ride 
with their dogs round the estate two or three times a week 
to keep in the herd and to keep out wild beasts, and once a 
year to drive the herd together, mark the yearlings, geld those 
two years old and take for slaughter those from three to four 
years old (Roscher, Ackerbaii, § 17), and an equal area of 

§ 69.] The External World. 125 

land used in England for cattle-breeding, with costly build- 
ings, numerous enclosures, artificial food, careful attendance 
on each individual beast. Similarly, compare an Australian 
sheep farm and an equal area of the chalk downs of Sussex. 

In a forest sometimes nothing is done but to fell and 
remove the timber ; sometimes there is protection to the 
young trees (as by fences) lest they be destroyed by animals, 
as by oxen and goats ; sometimes, besides this, there is arti- 
ficial planting. These are three degrees of intensity in 
forestry. A fishery may be worked by few men with rough 
and ready appliances, or by many men with costly boats 
and nets. In the first case the given area of water is worked 
with less intensity than in the second. We can obtain coal 
sometimes by merely digging at the surface or easily out 
of the side of a hill, sometimes only after having sunk deep 
shafts and spent much on appliances for freeing the mine 
from water and for raising the produce. The working within 
the given space in a given time is done in the second case 
with more labour and property than in the first, and there- 
fore the mode of production is more intense. 

In manufactures we may take two mills of the same size 
and compare the amount spent within each on machinery, 
materials, etc., and the number of workpeople employed ; 
and, according to the outlay, say that production is more 
intense in the one than in the other. Or we may take a 
given district, as .South Lancashire, or the Black Country, 
or East London, and compare the amount of property and 
number of persons employed in manufactures within these 
areas with an equal area in an agricultural county or the 
West of London, and say there is greater intensity of manu- 
facturing production in the one than in the other. 

In transport the main requisites and sources of outlay are 
the way or route, the vehicle, and the motive power. In 
proportion to the outlay within a given time for a given 
distance under these heads there will be greater or less in- 
tensity in transport.* Compare a sea route where the ex- 

* As transport is not confined to production, and as the same means 
of transport are often used for both persons and things, for enjoyment as 
well as production, and as moreover the notion of intensity is applicable 
to personal service as well as to production, we can for transport give a 


126 Groundioork of Economics. [§ 69 , 70 . 

penses are almost confined to the two terminal points, or 
1 again a rough mule path, with a well-made carriage road, a 

canal, or a railway. And among railways compare those of 
i America without fences, with level crossings, single lines, 

I sharp curves, steep gradients, and the English trunk lines, 

fenced in, bridged over, with double or even treble lines, 

' through hills, not round or over them. Compare the 

j former diligence of the Continent with the English stage- 

' coaches, the mule with the horse, the horse with the locomo- 

tive, a small sailing vessel with a vast Atlantic steamer, a 
' punt for crossing a river with a steam ferry-boat. 

Lastly, as regards commerce or the business of facilitating 
* exchanges which may be the final stage of production, how 

different is the amount of labour and property yearly 
engaged in this process within a great town and within an 
equal space of the country. Compare the many well lit 
shops of London, with plate-glass windows, marble pillars, 
and well-dressed attendants ever ready to attend to cus- 
tomers, with the single shop in a country village, or with a 
store in a backwood settlement where the storekeeper is only 
to be found at certain hours of the day. And we can say 
that the intensity of commerce is greater in the town than in 
the village or the settlement. 

I 70. Now can be explained a physical law of the utmost 
importance in Economics, and which can be called the law of 
dwiinishhig returns, or the law of limitation to the capacity 
of things. It can be expressed by saying, intensification 
after a given point yields less proportionate return. Plainly 
there is a limit to the utility of which any given mass of 
property is capable, however much we labour upon it, how- 
^ ever much we apply other property to it. Toil as we may, 

spend what we may, we cannot get a year’s food for a thousand 
men from an acre of land though we choke it with seed and 
manure, or clothing for a hundred thousand from one small 
factory though we choke it with cotton and machinery. 
And long before the limit is reached each fiesh outlay w'ill 
not bring a proportionate increase in the return. Up to a 


special definition of intensity, namely, the amount of labour and property 
which in a giv’cn state of the arts is employed in a given time on the 
transport of passengers and goods between two given places. 

^ 70 , 71 .] The External World. ‘127 

certain point double the outlay may give double or more 
than double the return. For example, if the outlay on 
ploughing has been small, to increase it by a third may in- 
crease the crop by a third or even more ; but to increase it 
tenfold will certainly not increase the crop tenfold. A 
certain amount of outlay is necessary before a mill is of any 
use at all ; spend a third more on the structure and its use 
will probably increase by more than one-third. Double the 
number of workmen, quintuple the amount of raw cotton, 
and you may be more than repaid ; but in time the limits 
are reached when it is profitable, and at last when it is even 
possible, to place another loom, or pound of cotton, or work- 
man within that factory. A steam-engine to work at all- 
needs much outlay ; the fresh outlay to make it work well is 
more than covered by the increased returns ; but if we spend 
more and more on it we soon reach the point when the 
returns no longer increase in proportion, and at last no 
additional returns at all will be obtainable. And thus we 
use many acres to supply us with food, not one acre ; similarly, 
not one but many mills and steam-engines to supply us with 
clothing and motive force. 

§ 71. Two groups of errors are common about this law of 
limitation. One ignores the existence or importance of the 
law, as though an owner would not then have all his land 
untilled except the most fertile plot ; but this optimism can 
be noticed as far as need be later on. The other error makes 
the law only applicable to agricultural or extractive as 
opposed to manufacturing industry, and has greater plausi- 
bility. For it is true that the point at which intensification 
begins to give less proportionate return is seldom reached in 
manufactures, because the alternative of enlarging the area 
of production, setting up another factory or engine, is 
generally available, whereas it is sometimes absent in agri- 
culture, mining, and fishing, and if present is often only 
available at greater cost (by the land or mine resorted to 
being less fertile), whereas in manufactures this has hitherto 
been rarely the case. Also, as a fact, intensification has 
hitherto often enabled production to be carried on at less 
cost in manufactures, transport, and commerce (naturally the 
aits remaining the same), by making greater co-operation 

128 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 71, 72. 

possible, whereas in agriculture this has been, at least in 
historical times, less frequent. How production is helped 
on by co-operation will be seen in the next chapter 
(////. § 97). Finally, improvements in the arts of production 
have in recent centuries been more conspicuous in regard to 
manufactures, and notably transport, than in regard to agri- 
culture, and have served to mask the inevitable limitation. 
But it exists none the less, and the point in question is not 
what improvements may effect, or what has been the course of 
historj% but whether in a given state of the arts within a given 
area and given time there is any check from the nature of the 
external world to indefinite production at unaugmented cost. 
And there is.^ 

§ 72. To the very practical question, what is the fit degree 
of intensity for a given time, place, and industry, I can now 
answer that this must depend on the amount of the product 
of that industry then and there required. To begin with 

* Mill, Principles of Polit. Eco 7 i, I. xii. 3, confuses the historical and 
physical question, and only allows the law of diminishing returns to be 
ultimately applicable to manufacturing histoiy, because the ^materials of 
manufactures' are ‘ all drawn from the land.' As though if 'materials ' 
were ever so abundant a single factory could go on increasing its produce 
indefinitely ; or as though in time all the most advantageous sites for 
factories would not be occupied. Mr. Hearn, Plutology^ ch. vi. § 10, 
rightly urges that the law of diminishing returns is not peculiar to land ; 
but his mode of proving it seems to me unsatisfactory. As to Senior's 
dictum, enforced by capital letters ; “ Additional labour when employed 
in manufactures is MORE, when employed in agriculture is LESS 
efficient in proportion ” {PoliL Econ.^ being vol. vi. of the Encyclop. 
Metropolitafia, p. 81), and his illustration to confirm it, that the effect of 
an increased demand is very different upon manufactures and upon raw 
produce ; that in England, for example, the demand for lace and wheat 
were it doubled in each case would make lace cheaper and wheat dearer : 

I answer that though in modern England this might be so, yet under 
other circumstances just the reverse might happen : the greater demand 
for wheat enabling more men to work at it might enable a very fertile 
district hitherto forest or swamp to be cleared or drained and the wheat 
got at less cost ; the greater demand for lace hitherto met by women 
working at odd times must now encroach upon more precious hours, or 
the work having hitherto been all done at one fully occupied large factory, 
in the best position, with the best machinery known to the arts of the 
times, the factory must now be enlarged at a more than proportionate 
cost, or another built in a less favourable situation, and thus the lace 
grow dearer. 

The External ]Vorld. 

1 29 

agriculture and taking as simplest the case of a peasant 
owner self-supporting, self-sufficing (so as to avoid the com- 
plications of exchange) ; given a certain knowledge of agri- 
cultural art, and a certain amount of corn, fruit, vegetables, 
flax, wool, and meat requisite for hfs family, the degree of 
intensity with which his farm is cultivated will depend upon 
its size and fertility ; that is, more must be done to the land 
the smaller or less fertile it is, in order to obtain a given 
result ; as is plain. And if the family grow more numerous 
and more is required, this addition, presupposing that the 
arts are unchanged, can only be obtained from the same 
land by intensification, that is, more elaborate production. 
This change may at first give a more than proportionate 
result. For example, the greater numbers of the household 
may now render possible some work of drainage, irrigation, 
or clearing hitherto impracticable. But sooner or later the 
point is reached where further intensification gives a less 
proportionate return, as is plain from the last section. Still 
it is worth while to intensify even at increased proportionate 
cost, if more agricultural produce is required and cannot 
otherwise be obtained. But it would be foolish if either of 
these conditions was absent ; foolish, that is, if no more pro- 
duce was required, or if by leaving the old fields to lie fallow 
awhile and by tilling the adjacent unoccupied prairie, the 
produce required could be got with less cost. And what has 
been said of a single family applies to a great community. 
The sparser the population of a given region the less 
elaborate need be the agriculture ; and intensification pre- 
supposes that more produce is required. In some societies 
an indication of this requirement is afforded by the price in 
money of agricultural produce ; and here for a farmer whose 
main aim is to sell his crops, it is only worth while to cultivate 
up to that point of intensity beyond which the increased 
expense of raising any larger quantity would not be repaid 
by the current price. It is, therefore, an error to think high 
farming is the same as good farming, and to confuse intensifi- 
cation and improvement. The elaborate culture of Flanders 
of Lombardy, of the English Eastern Counties, would be 
ridiculous in Minnesota or Poland ; the careful saving of 
refuse so commendable in China, would be foolish in Russia ; 


130 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 72. 

and of two adjacent and similar estates that one is farmed well, 
however roughly, which makes the farmer prosperous, and 
that one ill, however highly, which makes him a bankrupt. 
Nor can we say, supposing the average yield of wheat to the 
acre is in England 30 bushels, in Holland 28jS^, in Belgium 
2oj^, in France 13^, in Hungary 8^, in Russia 5^,* that 
English farming is better than that of these countries. It 
may only be farmed more highly, and the extra yield 
obtained at a more than proportionate extra cost. And 
experience shews the error of premature intensification. 
‘ Enlightened ’ owners in the Baltic provinces settled German 
peasants on their domains to cultivate them more highly 
than heretofore : the settlers had to return penniless, and the 
owners lost heavily by their speculation. In Mecklenburg 
an attempt was made to imitate the high farming of the 
Scotch lowlands, and failed ; as also many attempts at re- 
clamation in the Campine of Brabant on too expensive a 
scale.-f- But what may be folly in a speculator may be 
wisdom in a peasant who loves his country and his family, 
and who, rather than forsake them, will laboriously reclaim 
a barren hill-side, though the work would inevitably ruin any 
joint-stock company which undertook it. But the peasant 

* According to C. P. Bevan, Industrial Geography Primers, Great 
Britain and Ireland, p. 53. Really the French production is much 
higher, perhaps one-third higher, than the figure given. See a letter 
by Mr. Waters in the Daily News, 24th Sept. 1879. 

t These and other examples are given by Roscher, Ackerbau, § 30. 
Adam Smith, though misleading to others and perhaps to himself by 
using the term ‘ progress of improvement ’ for intensification, is aware of 
the distinction. “ Loss must be the necessary consequence of improving 
land for the sake of a produce of which the price could never bring back 
the expense.” {Wealth of Nations, Bk. I. ch. xi., part 3, p. 105, ed. 
McCulloch.) In pleasing contrast to the narrow-mindedness of some 
English travellers are the remarks of Mr. H. C. Barkley, Bulgaria 
before the War, pp. 173, 174, that he first despised the rude style of 
Bulgarian husbandry, but learnt to modify his opinion ; that, indeed, 
better implements, as iron ploughs, might save much time and labour 
(this would be improvement not intensification) ; but that “ it pays better 
to bring fresh land under cultivation, rest the old land and crop a larger 
area, than to expend labour on keeping the old land in a fertile condition 
by deep ploughing and manuring. In few parts is there any dearth of 
land, so the farmer can always break up virgin soil, and give that which 
has been cropped a long rest.” 


§ 72 . 73 -] The External World. 


does not farm too highly ; for he uses precisely that degree 
of intensity which will give him the produce required ; nor 
can he then and there get what he requires in any other way. 
And thus the particular circumstances of every district must 
be known before we can say what degree of intensity m 
agriculture is fitting there. 

§ 73. In the other industries no less than in agriculture 
the quality and quantity of the product required are decisive 
on the fit degree of intensity. As the pampas are gradually 
overspread with farms and immigrants, it will become worth 
while, if they are used for cattle, to expend labour and pro- 
perty in order that the same area may support more nu- 
merous and better cattle. The multitude of men and boats 
at the Caithness herring fisheries would be absurd were 
that country alone the consumer of the fish, but is reasonable 
when England and Europe are waiting to be supplied. But 
it would be a great mistake to double the number of the 
men and boats, or to spend much more on each boat if there 
was no good expectation, either that the take of fish would 
be proportionately increased without decrease of their price 
in money, or else that if the costs would be more in pro- 
portion there would be a corresponding rise in the price. Of 
mining the same might be said, only that here a special 
danger of intensification is the likelihood that a fresh mine 
may be discovered easier to be worked and able to supply 
the same market. Then if there is no great increase in the 
demand for the given mineral, the fit degree of intensity will 
be lower than heretofore ; and the owners of the old mine 
will find to their cost that their preparations are far too 
elaborate for the results. In manufactures, if a village black- 
smith set up delicate and costly machinery in his workshop, 
he would be ruined in a few weeks ; but a great iron-worker 
might be equally ruined by not setting up this machinery. 
In the one case there would be excess, in the other defect of 
intensity. Heaps of wealth and troops of workpeople are 
employed in the cotton manufactures within the narrow 
limits of South Lancashire. This is reasonable because half 
the world buys the produce ; but the intensification may be 
overdone, and mills and machinery stand unused and work- 
people idle. In transport perhaps more than in any other 

K 2 


132 G}'o%indzoo7'k of Eco7iomics. [§ 73 

industry the fit degree of intensity should be carefully looked 
for, because of the likelihood and the mischief of here 
confusing intensification with improvement. It can only be 
profitable to increase the outlay on transport between two 
places if there is an increase in the demand for transport, 
that is, if there are more passengers or goods to be carried 
(quantity), or if people are ready to pay more for more com- 
modious and rapid carrying (quality). For example, the 
great expense of running express trains is only reasonably 
incurred on the supposition that there are passengers able 
and willing to pay for this convenience. The great expense 
of making and keeping a railway supposes far greater traffic 
than what would be necessary to repay the costs of a carriage 
road. While a railway or canal may be required to connect 
two towns, a road is enough for two \ illages, a lane for two 
hamlets, a footpath for two cottages. Unhappily this truth has 
not always guided political and economical potentates in 
the modern construction of railways, witness those up the 
Peruvian Andes, where a mule path would have been suf- 
ficient, or into the North American wastes to the loss of 
credulous shareholders ; and some of those in British India 
to the loss not of the shareholders, but of the native peas- 
ants who have to pay the guaranteed interest. Lastly, in 
commerce the quantity and quality of goods to be exchanged 
determine what degree of outlay on the process within a 
given space and time is fit. The beach is a good enough 
fish market for a little fishing village, but not for a great 
seaport. The splendid market-halls of Paris might with 
advantage be imitated in London ; but if they were imposed 
on Calais or Dover they would bring either town to muni- 
cipal bankruptcy. A jeweller can afford to keep open his 
shop for comparatively few customers and purchases because 
of the fine quality of his goods ; a grocer or baker must 
make ten times as many exchanges if his business is to 
succeed. And from the foregoing examples we can see that 
the more favourable a given place and given commodity are 
for transport the greater is the possible degree of intensity : 
were Lancashire surrounded by mountains it would not have 
the world for its customer ; its favourable position for trans- 
port is a pre-requisite for the intensity of manufacturing 

TJie Extei'ual World. 

production within it ; and another pre-requisite is that cotton 
goods are so fit for being transported, unlike common earth- 
enware or bricks, or, again, unlike fresh milk or fresh flowers, 
which are too bulky or too perishable to be carried far. 

§ 74. But intensification is not the only way in which men 
within a given time and space have obtained an increase of 
means of enjoyment. Were it so the inhabitants of thickly 
peopled countries like England or Belgium would be suf- 
ffiring the extremities of toil and privation, if indeed they 
were able to live at all. In reality the history of mankind 
tells of numberless improvements in the arts of production, 
which can be expressed by the phrase industrial invention or 
technical progress, and which must be regarded not as a mere 
accidental or temporary check to the influence of the law of 
diminishing returns, but rather as an essential part of the re- 
lation of man to the external world. 

I find it difficult, so various are the arts and improvements, 
to arrange them in any satisfactory order ; and the fol- 
lowing heads and distinctions are only tentative and pro- 

To begin with the ways in which an improvement is of 
advantage to us, we can perhaps distinguish eight heads. 
The first and most general can be called the saving of 
labour, whereby a given result can be obtained with less 
labour, as when a crane is used for unloading ships instead 
of unassisted manual labour. The second head is the in- 
crease of result from a given amount of labour, as when a 
better constructed plough or a better chosen manure in- 
creases the yield of the farm. The third is the saving of 
time (simply and distinct from any saving of labour), as 
when skins instead of having to soak for many months can 
be tanned as well in a quarier of the time by being soaked 
in close vessels from which the air can be withdrawn. The 

* The varieties of improvements are discussed by Babbage, Economy 
of Machinery and Manufactures (4th edit. 1835), in the first part on 
‘mechanical principles’; by J. S. Mill, Princ. of Polit. Econ. Bk. I. 
ch. xii. § 3 ; and by Mr. Hearn, Plutology, ch. x. Though I borrow 
much from them, in particular many illustrations, I fail to find in them 
any satisfactory classification of improvements. Some illustrations are 
also taken from Mr. C. P. Bevan, The Industrial Classes, 1876-77. 

1 34 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 74. 

fourth head of improvement is when a better sort of result 
is obtained — improvement in quality — as when, by the use 
of the lathe and the sliding rest, we can make with complete 
accuracy the various parts of some complicated mechanism, 
as of a telescope ; or by the art of printing or moulding can 
produce a number of objects exactly similar ; or by domesti- 
cation can improve the quality of animals and plants till 
they are ten times more useful to us ; or when the duration 
of an article is increased, as of wood by being tarred or 
painted, or of iron by being galvanized. The fifth head is 
when some new means of enjoyment is obtained, as when 
maize or potatoes were first used as food, and the fibres of 
the cotton plant for clothing, and when clay by the inven- 
tion of brickmaking became of use for durable houses, and 
w^hen worthless rags or straw were found to serve for paper. 
The sixth head is the saving not of labour simply, but of 
the danger, unhealthiness, or unseemliness of certain kinds 
of labour, as by the safety-lamp in coal mines ; by the wool- 
combing machine instead of the former unhealthy combing 
by heat, usually done wdth charcoal braziers ; by inventions 
in making pottery, sparing boys much of their former un- 
healthy and oppressive toil ; by the fans which remove the 
steel dust formerly so fatal to the grinders. The seventh 
head is a saving of the materials employed, as when by using 
a saw instead of a hatchet or adze for cutting a tree into 
planks, about one-eighth part only of the wood is wasted 
instead of over one-half ; or when by substituting machinery 
for hand-work half the quantity of ink is sufficient for the 
same amount of printing ; or when by the discovery of the 
hot blast process the consumption of coal per ton of cast 
iron made was reduced from seven tons to two or two and a 
half tons (Jevons, The Coal Question, p. 316). And under the 
seventh head also can be placed the more economical use of 
instruments, as distinct from an improvement in their quality, 
for that belongs to the fourth head ; whereas the contriv- 
ances for saving the wear and tear of machinery come here. 
The eighth and last head is when we can do something that 
we could not do at all before, as when by mechanical con- 
trivances we can raise weights which we could not have done 
previously with any amount of labour, and register time. 

The External World. 

heat, moisture, rainfall, wind-pressure, and strike or hurl 
with a force and with results previously unattainable. 

The improvements in the arts considered in themselves 
rather than in the way in which they benefit us, can, I 
think, be roughly grouped under the following heads : — 
a. Mechanical processes, as the use of tools like a spade or 
a reaping-hook, or the use of machinery like a steam-engine 
or a sewing machine ; or, again, processes, like draining or 
irrigation, or the use of grease to lessen friction, b. Chem- 
ical processes, as smelting iron, manuring, and bleaching 
cloth, making cheese, or soap, or wine, or glass, or pottery. 
c. Motive forces, as the discovery of how to use the draught 
power of animals, and the forces of water, wind, steam, and 
electricity, d. Utilization of fresh material, that is, the 
discovery of the use (or fresh uses) of organic or inorganic 
substances, as of Tyrian purple from shell-fish ages ago, or 
of coal in mediaeval England, or the modern utilization of 
woollen rags for making a rough cloth, e. Introduction or 
improvement of plants and animals, as when the olive was 
transplanted to Italy, potatoes and maize to the Old World, 
cattle and horses to the New ; and when the knowledge was 
obtained that gave to the South the mule and the edible date- 
palm, and to the North the noble breeds of horses and the 
rich harvest of the orchards. 

§ 75. Improvements in the arts do not happen anyhow, 
but only under certain conditions. These are discussed by 
Mr. Hearn in an interesting chapter {Plutology, ch. xi.) under 
the title of the circumstances which determine the extent of 
invention. As the first of these circumstances can be taken 
the state of the physical and mathematical sciences. It 
would be an error to think that much knowledge of these is 
necessary if the arts of production are to be anything but 
rude and feeble. On the contrary, accumulated experience, 
especially when transmitted in hereditary trades, may raise 
many arts to a high degree of excellence, though their 
scientific foundation be unknown. “ Parchment and paper, 
printing and engraving, glass and steel, gunpowder, clocks, 
telescopes, the mariner’s compass, were all known, and the 
processes which they severally imply were successfully prac- 
tised at a period when the corresponding sciences had no 



136 GroiLudwork of Economics. [§ 75 , 

= existence. Even at the present day many processes of our 

most successful arts have not yet received a scientific explan- 
ation. In the manufactures of porcelain, of steel, of glass, 
. and in many other arts, the chemical principles are yet 

I unknown which would explain the conditions of success or 

i failure in their manufacture/’ And Le Play says {La Ri- 

' forme Soctalcy ch. 32 , | 3 , 5th edit.) : ‘‘ Having devoted twenty 

years to studying the methods of metallurgy throughout 
Europe, I have often found that the superior workmen, who 
hand on from one to another the tradition of the art, have 
a clear perception of chemical reactions not yet known to 
scientific men. To say with Mr. Hearn that in all empirical 
arts the limit of improvement is soon reached, seems a rash 
generalization. But he rightly notices how empirical art has 
been the parent of physical science, and how this has repaid 
its filial debt by generating scientific art, which is character- 
istic ot modern times. Thus the electric telegraph is 
directly derived from the experiments of Oersted, and the 
investigations of Ampere. Watt’s greatest improvement in 
the steam-engine sprung from his steady apprehension of an 
atmological principle. The safety-lamp was the result of 
scientific enquiries by Davy, It is owing to the researches 
of chemists that a bale of cotton can be bleached within a 
few hours after it has been manufactured. Liebig has in- 
dicated to the farmers both the manures appropriate to each 
kind of soil, and the localities where the manures are likely 
to be found.” 

A second point is the practical ingenuity of the heads of 
industry enabling them to apply the results of science. We 
see how in Europe and America they watch the course of 
scientific discovery so as instantly to seize on any practical 
advantage which it may afford to industry j whereas in 
China the knowledge of gunpowder and the compass was 
of little use for want of practical ingenuity. 

A third point regards not the head that plans, but the 
hands that execute the work. Since delicate manipulation 
is often essential for improvement, manual dexterity is 
often requisite, and to get skilled workmen a great difficulty 
for new inventions. Thus the alchemists and the earlier 
printers had themselves to make their own apparatus j 

§ 75-1 

The External World. 

when engirteers already knew the properties of iron, they 
were hindered using it for bridges because the founders could 
not cast it in large masses j and Watt could scarcely get 
cast straight the cylinders for his condensing engine. 

A fourth point is the state of the kindred or subsidiary 
arts. No invention can be considered absolutely, for one 
art is dependent upon another. Thus “ the art of naviga- 
tion depends upon certain astronomical observations, and so 
upon the art of constructing astronomical instruments. The 
latter art in its turn depends upon the art of manufacturing 
glass ; and the glass manufacture again involves several 
other distinct arts. To no science does industry owe more 
than to chemistry. But the success of modern chemistry 
is largely due to the superiority of the instruments it has 
been enabled to employ. ‘ Without glass, cork, platinum and 
caoutchouc,’ says Liebig, ‘ we should probably at this day 
have advanced only half as far as we have done.’ ” 

A fifth point is the strength of the motive for improve- 
ment. Mr. Hearn makes this the most important of all. 
Where there is a will there is a way. The great advantage 
to be got by improved communications in a commercial 
country like England may perhaps have led to the invention 
of the locomotive ; but the relation of cause and effect is 
plainer in the not infrequent inventions of labour-saving 
machinery by masters in order to get rid of, or get the 
better of, their highly paid or untrustworthy workmen ; * or, 
again, in discoveries called forth by the desire to evade 
tariffs or monopolies, as wdien Napoleon’s commercial 
policy stimulated the production of sugar from beetroot, 
and occasioned the discovery of how to get soda from 
common salt. Plainly where there is much exchange and 
competition, and where the heads of industry are not pro- 
tected from bankruptcy and ruin, and at the same time not 
debarred from almost unlimited advance in wealth and 
power, the motive to make improvements in the arts may 
be very strong. Mr. Hearn {l.c. ch. xvi. § ii) notices the 
modern eagerness for invention, and how “many of the 

* Two examples of the invention of labour-saving machinery occa- 
sioned by a strike among the workmen are given by Babbage, Econ. of 
Machinery and Man uf. § 362, 363, 

138 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 75, 76. 

large manufacturers in Lancashire and Yorkshire employ 
skilful mechanics at high salaries for the sole purpose of 
suggesting improvements in their machinery.” And plainly, 
also, if the law or the absence of law is such that the in- 
ventor is likely to get little profit for his pains, one great 
motive for invention is removed. 

As a sixth point (not noticed by Mr. Hearn till later on, 
ch. xvi. § I, and called by him the influence of capital 
upon invention) can be added the need of wealth in order 
that the inventor may have time to learn, to think, and to 
make experiments, and may be able to pay the expenses 
of applying the invention to practice. And we see that 
for working almost every important patent the aid is needed 
of some man of wealth. 

If the foregoing circumstances are all present at once it is 
quite natural and not mysterious that many important in- 
ventions are made almost simultaneously by independent 

§ 76. The actual history of technical progress is a sub- 
ject matter worthy of a great writer and of many volumes.* 
Here -I will not attempt even the rudest outline, but will 
only give as best I can a few fragmentary remarks. First, 
it can be said that the history of the arts has till quite 
recent times been national rather than universal. Arts 

* The absence of a critical history of technology is noticed by Karl 
Marx, Das Kapital, pp. 385, 386, note, 2nd edit., who urges its great im- 
portance, and goes so far as to say, p. i66 ; “ Nicht was gemacht wird, 
sondem wie, mit welchen Arbeitsmitteln gemacht wird, unterscheidet die 
okonomischen Epochen.” But he exaggerates in materialistic fashion 
the importance of mere physical instruments, when in reality the different 
economical epochs depend on the moral relations of man, and these, 
though influenced by the industrial arts, are in no servile subjection to 
them. It is true that for prehistorical times the division into the stone, 
the bronze, and the iron age is often made, and this precisely is to dis- 
tinguish epochs according to their physical instruments. But supposing 
the” aforesaid division is Justifiable at all, it is only so because we are 
unacquainted with the moral life, the economical and political relations 
of the three periods in question. Of course a great technical change is 
likely to require a corresponding change in the laws and customs which 
were specially adapted to the previous state of the arts. But the essen- 
tial features of the previous social relations need not be changed. This 
matter will be discussed at length in the book on Economical constitutions. 

The External World. 


have been known for centuries in one country and unknown 
in others. For example, artesian wells, common in China 
from remote antiquity, and known to the ancient Egyptians, 
became unknown in the West for centuries till rediscovered 
in modern times. {See G. P. Marsh, The Earth as Modi- 
fied by Human Action, London, 1874, p. 480.) The miller’s 
art declined much in Italy at some time after the fall 
of the Western Empire, and for a long period the only 
good bread obtainable was made by German immigrants ; 
and in France shortly before the Revolution the amount 
of meal obtainable from a given amount of grain was 
greatly increased by an invention that for centuries 
appears to have been known to the Germans, and was 
known to the ancient Romans. {See Beckmann’s History 
of Inventions, Tvct. Corn Mills. Ed. Bohn, 1846.) Again, it 
is plain there has been no regular progression, but often 
decline, in certain branches of the arts. Examples have 
already been given, and I can refer to the contrast of the 
agricultural skill and knowledge of the present inhabitants 
of Babylonia, with the same country 3,000 years ago. Even 
in England the practice of marling land known in the reign 
of Elizabeth seems to have been lost, and not recovered 
till the beginning of the eighteenth century {Quarterly 
Review, April, 1858, p. 400). And I expect a long list might 
be made of arts lost for a time or altogether. Another point 
is the local limitation to certain discoveries. For example, 
the substitution in England of a green crop (as the turnip) 
for fallow, has been called the greatest improvement ever 
made in agriculture, and compared to the invention of the 
steam-engine and spinning frame {Edinburgh Review, Jan. 
1836, p. 327). But the advantage of this change is limited 
to certain climates, and even there does not apply to every 
kind of soil. Another region of the earth has profited by 
the discovery made in the remote past of how to graft the 
olive-tree, and how to convert the juice of the grape into 
wine ; while a still warmer zone has been made habitable 
by two great discoveries of the Babylonians, one the art of 
making sweet and edible the fruit of the date-palm, the 
other the domestication of the camel (Helm, Kulturpfianccn 
und Hausthiere, Berlin, 1870, p. 180). 


140 Groutidwork of Ecotio inks. [§ 77 . 

§ 77 . Perhaps we can make a sort of negative generaliza- 
tion, and say that till the eighteenth century there had been 
many great changes in the arts of production, but no revolu- 
tion like that which followed and transformed the whole face of 
industry. So the manufactures and modes of transport and, 
though not the plants, at least the methods of agriculture in 
Western Europe in the year 1700 were more like to those of 
Ancient Rome, nay of Ancient Greece and Syria, than to 
those of the present day. I do not know if the Greeks and 
Romans did much more than learn and apply with the 
needlul local modifications the industrial arts which had so 
flourished among the different branches of the Semitic race 
(Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Assyrians), and which had 
perhaps been taught by the Accadians ages before to their 
Semitic conquerors ; nor do I think that in the period com- 
monly called Classical Antiquity, Europe was enriched with 
many such improvements as the new sort of water mills and 
the introduction of the silkworm in the time of Justinian, the 
invention of stirrups soon after his time, the use of windmills 
in the eleventh century, of the compass in the thirteenth, of 
gunpowder in the fourteenth, and then in the sixteenth of 
maize and the cactus for the south of Europe, of potatoes 
and buckwheat for the north;* besides the invention of 
knitting stockings about the beginning, and of the stocking- 
loom about the end of the same century. 

The technical revolution which has been witnessed for 
several generations may perhaps best be characterized by 
saying that it is the result of physical science applied to 
industry. The industrial arts have become, at least many of 
them in many places, scientific instead of empirical {cf. sup. 
§ 75 , ad init.). Karl Marx, though often untrustworthy, seems 
on this point as touching manufactures to have some good 

* Hehn, /. c. p. 385, notices the importance on the rocks and wastes 
round the Mediterranean, of the South American bluish- green prickly 
Opuntian cactus {Opiintia ficus zndica) for hedges, for fodder (from the 
leaves), and for food during four spring months (from the juicy fruit). 
Perhaps one of the most useful improvements of the Western World 
during Classical Antiquity was the spread thither from Persia of the 
domestic fowl, unknown to the ancient Egyptians and the Semitic races 
(not mentioned in the Old Testament), and reaching Greece in the sixth 
centurv B.c. (Hehn, /. c, pp. 22 n, 226.) 

77 > 78 -] External World. 


remarks. On the foundation of a certain division of labour 
instead of the primitive multiplicity of employments, each 
special branch of production obtained its suitable technical 
form, perfected this gradually, and crystallized it rapidly 
as soon as it reached a certain degree of excellence. 
Occasional changes resulted from new materials and from 
gradual changes in the tools. When once the suitable form 
was obtained the industry became rigid, as we see from its 
being often transmitted from one generation to another for 
a thousand years. It is characteristic that right into the 
eighteenth century special manufacturing industries were 
called mysteries ; and only those could penetrate into the 
obscure region who had been correctly initiated. Industry 
on a large scale {die grosse Industrie) tore aside the veil that 
hung around and between the different crafts, and created the 
new science of technology ; and by technology the few main 
forms of motion were discovered, which all productive action 
of the human body must assume, however various the in- 
strument used. New chemical and mechanical processes 
changed the old ways of production and the old boundaries 
of trades, and, moreover, made the normal condition of 
[many departments of] industry revolutionary, so that in- 
stead of its being wise to stick to one’s trade — ne sutor ultra 
crepidam — we need industrial versatility and poly technical 
schools (Marx, Das Kapital, pp. 511-515). 

§ 78 . The middle of the eighteenth century can perhaps be 
taken as the date when the technical revolution began, and, 
beginning in England, raised the country of its birth to an 
undreamt of height of power and wealth. Let us glance at 
the transformation in four conspicuous departments of in- 
dustry. In the preparation of clothing (‘soft’ goods or 
textile industries) three notable and successive processes are 
carding, spinning, and weaving. About 1750 the inventions 
of John Kay and Robert his son, doubled the productive 
power of the weavers. These could now use more yarn than 
could be spun by the spinners ; but in 1767 the weaver 
Hargreaves invented the ‘ spinning-jenny,’ enabling one 
spinner to do the work of eight, and soon afterwards Ark- 
wright, by the invention of the ‘water-frame,’ a still more 
efficient instrument of spinning, “ suppressed the principal 

142 G 7 'oundwork of Economics. [§ 78 . 

manufacturing function of one-half the human race.” (Le 
Play, Les Ouvriers Europ. p. 123, 2nd edit). Spinning had 
been for ages the ordinary and characteristic occupation of 
women, the distaff was their sign, and the legal term 
‘ spinster for unmarried women is a witness that times were 
not always like our own, when not one spinster in a hundred 
has so much as seen a spindle. So if it be true that the wife 
of Arkwright destroyed his models, she did but do battle, 
though it was in vain, for her sex. Meanwhile an invention 
(by Lewis Paul) superseded the ancient and lengthy process 
of hand-carding, and soon the advantages of the ‘spinning- 
jenny ’ and the ‘ water-frame ’ were united in the invention 
made by Crompton and called the ‘mule.’ But a machine 
for weaving instead of the hand-loom was wanting, till 
Cartwright, in 1785, devised the ‘ power-loom,' which in a way 
affected the domestic industry of men as the spinning 
machines that of women, and changed this great branch of 
industry from hand-work into machine-work. Finally, before 
the century ended, the subsequent processes of bleaching 
and (for some goods) printing received such technical im- 
provement that bleaching could be done more than thirty 
times as quickly, and printing could be done with nearly a 
hundred times less labour ; while one great material of 
the textile industries was able to be obtained in sufficient 
abundance by the ‘cotton-gin’ — the invention, in 1792-3, of 
Whitney the American.* 

The practical application of steam as a motive force had 
as an historical antecedent the use of coal for the preparation 
of iron, and has repaid the benefit by making the coal beds 
I the industrial centres of the world. About the middle of the 
j eighteenth century the possibility of smelting iron with coal in- 
' stead of wood was proved in practice (though discovered over 
100 years before); and a gigantic growth in the iron trade 
began. In a few years the use of steam as a motive force was 

* The transformation of the cotton manufactures was followed at a 
certain interval by that of the worsted manufactures, in which the first 
spinning-jenny was put up at Bradford in 1790, the first spinning factory 
established in 1793 : power-looms began to be made use of about 1825. 

(S^e Henry Forbes, in Lectures on the Results of the Exhibition 1851 
vol ii. p. 310.) ’ 


The External World. 

made of practical importance by the discoveries of James Watt, 
who took out his first patent in 1769, and other inventions 
followed, mechanical and chemical, applying to coal, iron, and 
steam, two notable steps forward being, first the spread and 
improvement by Henry Maudslay of the slide-rest (already 
known to the French and Dutch), which, by enabling the 
precise geometrical forms needed in machinery to be them- 
selves machine-made, did almost as much for the extension 
of machinery as the inventions of Watt ; secondly, that of 
the safety-lamp (perfected 1815) by Sir Humphry Davy, 
enabling the most dangerous mines to be worked with com- 
parative safety, and thus vastly increasing the available 
supply of coal.* In smelting iron the plan of heating the 
blast previously to its being forced into the furnace was 
adopted in Scotland in 1830 with extraordinary saving of 
fuel, each ton of iron requiring now only two tons of coal, or 
even less, instead of seven as before (S. H. Blackwell, in 
Lectures on the Results of the Exhibition of 1851, vol. ii. 
p. 173). Another great improvement adopted in England in 
1845, and some years previously in the United States and on 
the Continent, was the application of the waste gases given 
off at the furnace-head to the purposes of raising steam and 
heating the blast {Ibid. p. 174). The proportion of fuel pre- 
viously lost was calculated — it seems incredible — to be no 
less than 81 per cent. (Lyon Playfair, Ibid. vol. i. p. 168). 

§ 79. In the department of transport the revolution has 
been, if not greater, at least more striking ; but is too 
familiar to need many words. Its leading features have been 
the application of iron and steam ; iron railroads were made in 
the last third, iron bridges in the last quarter of the eighteenth 
century ; steam was applied to navigation by Bell in Scot- 
land, and Fulton in America, before 1815 ; and in that year 
George Stephenson took out a patent for his locomotive, and 
the era of steam transport, on land as well as on sea, began. 
This technical revolution is to be well distinguished from the 
great material change which had historically gone before it 
in the English means of transport. The roads were perhaps 

* Much of the foregoing description is borrowed from Mr. Spencer 
Walpole, History of England, vol. i. pp. 56-75 ; and some from Marx, 
Das Kapttal, pp. 399, 400. 

1 44 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 79 . 

worse in the middle of the eighteenth century than in the 
fourteenth or fifteenth, when their good repair was favoured by 
the need, among other reasons, of easy communications for the 
clergy and pilgrims ;* and though canals for navigation had 
for long been in use on the Continent, there was not one in 
England till 1755. But in the reign of George III. hundreds 
of miles of canals and excellent roads were constructed ; and 
hundreds of stage-coaches drawn by horses at a speed of ten 
or twelve miles an hour, daily traversed the country before 
the period of railways.f But those who know the difference 
between intensification and improvement can see the 
difference between this change, which consisted mainly in 
applying more labour and property on the transport between 
given places in a given time, and kept to the ancient 
technical method of the wheeled vehicle drawn by horses on 
a road : and that later change, which consisted mainly in 
applying a new method of transport, with iron rails for the 
way and steam for the motive power. 

The art of agriculture, at least in the northern temperate 
zone, has been also the subject of a technical revolution in 
recent times. Naturally, I am not speaking of the reclama- 
tion of waste lands and the enclosure of commons : the mere 

The External World. 

as a motive power ; secondly, the application of chemical 
science, and the consequent use of artificial manures, new 
treatments of the soil and its plants, new methods of feeding 
live stock. These two changes are plainly not confined to 
the special circumstances of one country, and in fact I 
suspect that in the first Great Britain may have been out- 
stripped by the United States, and in the second by Germany, 
the fatherland of Liebig ; nor do I see any permanent bar 
to their extension to semi-tropical and even tropical regions.* 
Whereas the improvement known as deep draining, and first 
applicable when the brickmaker’s art devised cheap drain 
pipes, though fostered by government and adopted with 
enthusiasm in the fifth and sixth decades of this century, 
is hardly, I think, of world-wide importance, like the dis- 
coveries of Liebig, but only a local improvement for the 
heavy clay soils in the moist climate of the British Isles.f 
§ 80. It is sometimes possible to put into figures the 
technical advantage which an invention bestows. Thus it 
has been calculated (Babbage, Ecorwmy of Machinery and 
Manufactures, § 5) that the force needed to move a stone 
amounts to the follov/ing parts of the stone’s weight : — 

Along the roughly chiselled floor of its quarry nearly . 2/3 

Along a wooden floor 

By wood upon wood 

If the wooden surfaces are soaped 

If rollers are used on the floor of the quarry . . . ‘/j.^ 

If these roll over wood >/.„ 

If they roll between wood ^L. 

I uO 

Mr. Hearn [Plutology, ch. x. § 2) notices the calculations of 
Chevalier in 1841, that in the preceding four or five cen- 
turies the increase in the productive power in the manufac- 
ture of iron had been as 25 or 30 to i ; of cotton, and this 
within a century, as 320 to i ; and that the labour of one 


146 G7Vundivork of Eco7io7nics. L? 

American in the transport of goods was in 1841 effective 
as the combined labour of 6,657 subjects of Montezuma. 
And other illustrations are given by Mr, Hearn. In India 
a good spinner will not be able to finish a hank a day, while 
in England one man usually attends a mule containing 
1,088 spindles, each of which spins three hanks a day, so 
that his labour is to that of the Indian as 3,264 to i. 

“ Forty years ago it is said that three men with the ap- 
pliances then used could with difficulty make in the day 
about 4,000 sheets of paper. With the improved machinery 
now [1864] in use, the same number of men can produce 
daily 60,000.” At the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851 
calculations were made to shew the advantages of agricultural 
machinery: that by the use of the horse-hoe the English 
farmer could get done better for to per acie what 
by hand cost 3^. ; that a threshing machine worked by steam 
power would cost him ']d. per quaiter of corn instead of 
3^. ^d. if the flail was used, and moreover yield five per cent, 
more ; that the reaping machine would cut with one-third 
of the cost of the sickle ; that perhaps as much as ^os. per 
acre was saved on the turnip crop by the use of improved 
cutting machines (John Wilson, in Lectures on the Results 
of the Exhibition of 1851, vol. ii. p. 37 ) » although there 
may have been exaggeration, there was also much truth in 
Mr. Puseys estimate that during the twelve previous years 
a saving of one-half the expenses of the main operations 
of husbandry had been effected by mechanical inventions. 

But let us be on our guard, or such calculations will 
delude us. First, when we are told of a vast improvement 
in a given process, say in grinding corn, we must look to how 
much of the cost of the enjoyable commodity, say bread, is 
comprised in that process. And if it is but a small fraction, 
say one-twentieth, then let us well remember that the 
greatest possible improvement in the given process is com- 
paratively unimportant, and never can lessen the cost of 
the article by quite so much as a shilling in the pound. 

Secondly, we must look at the proportion of the total 
expenditure of the various classes of the population upon 
the commodity which is made cheaper or newly introduced. 
The greatest possible improvements in the production of 

The Extertial World. 

pins or pepper would be comparatively unimportant ; like 
the introduction into England of parsley or asparagus ; 
and though these articles were to cost a thousand times 
less, living would scarce be one-thousandth part cheaper. 
But if the improvement seriously affects some article in 
great use for food, for dress, for habitation, or, if in cold 
regions, for fuel, a real step forward is made in technical 
progress, as the cheapening of cotton and woollen cloth, the 
importation of cheap corn into England first possible after 
great improvements in means of transport, the introduction 
of maize into Southern Europe. 

Thirdly, let us not confuse mere change with improvement. 
Different plants and animals may be reared, different articles 
manufactured, to suit different tastes and habits, without 
any real technical progress. Thus the introduction into 
Europe of tobacco, and perhaps even of tea and coffee, is to 
be looked on, not as an improvement, but as a change. 

Fourthly, let us neither confuse improvement with inten- 
sification, on which I have already given sufficient warning 
(§ 72, 73), nor forget that every human society which ceases 
to expand over the earth and yet does not cease to grow, 
must sooner or later meet the stern law of diminishing 
returns, which can be counterbalanced only by improve- 
ments. These are not therefore to be made the ground of 
vain exultation ; but we ought to understand that the four 
factors, the growth of societies, the law of diminishing 
returns, the escape from this law by the dispersion of men, 
and the neutralization of this law by technical progress, 
result in a providential equilibrium. Whereon I will speak 
in a subsequent chapter. 

Fifthly, our calculations of gain lose what little precision they 
may have had when, as often, there is attached to the change 
some disadvantage which has to be deducted, and which may 
range from a slight drawback to an evil so grave that the 
gain is overbalanced by the loss, and the change is no longer 
an improvement but an inj ury. Let us look at some examples. 

§ 81. The artificial drainage of the surface or subsoil may 
be very advantageous to agriculture, but may injure the 
streams and rivers, by charging them all at once with the 
rainfall which previously reached them only by degrees ; 

L 2 


148 Grotindwork of Economics. [§ 

and they may thus alternate between ilood and dry, both 
disastrous to their valleys, instead of having as formerly 
an almost uniform body of water. (Marsh, The Earth as 
Modified by Hiunan Actiofi, p. 445.) Irrigation, in some 
parts of the w'orld indispensable for agriculture, may in 
time injure or ruin the land by a deposit of salt, like the 
saline efflorescence known in India as ‘Reh’(/. r. p. 468). 
The introduction of rice into Italy has given rise to a 
lucrative branch of rural industry ; but the rice fields are 
hot-beds of disease ; and domestic animals as well as men 

are attacked and die (/. c. p. 467). 

The mechanical improvement known as the substitution 
of machinery for hand-work, may also be attended by 
grave disadvantages. As opposed to a tool a machine can 
be best defined as a contrivance by which the instrument 
working on the given material is not in the hand of the 
workman, but forms part of a mechanism. For this is what 
makes all the difference. As long as the instrument is in 
the hand of the workman, it is bound up with his bodily 
organism ; and the number of instruments which he can 
use and the rapidity with which he can use them, are 
restricted by the limited capacities of this organism. But 
when the instrument is taken out of his hand and, as I 
should say, ceases to be a tool and becomes the operating 
part of a machine, these restrictions are swept away, and 
we see a sewing machine doing I know not how many 
stitches a minute, and a spinning jenny using a dozen 
spindles, a stocking frame many thousand needles, at once.* 

The substitution of machines for tools, or, if I may so 
speak, of mechanical for organic work, may bring advan- 
tage to us in several of the ways already mentioned. (6'///. 
§ 74, first, second, fourth, and sixth heads.) But there may 

* In this description of the nature of machinery, I have followed Karl 
Mar.x, Das /Capital, pp. 384-388, whose interesting remarks seem, as the 
phrase is, to hit the right nail on the head. To say a machine is merely 
a complicated tool, and a tool a simple machine, may do for mechanicians, 
but is useless for economists. Nor is it well to say that for a tool the 
motive force proceeds from man, for a machine from some external 
agent, as wind, water, or an animal ; for then a plough drawn by oxen 
would be a machine, and Claussen’s circular loom, which, set in work by 
a single workman, does 96,000 stitches in a minute, would be merely a tool. 

The External Woi'ld. 

be attendant evils which can be classed in three groups, 
aesthetic, psychical, and physical. First, then, not so much 
the fine arts, as the artistic character of the industrial arts 
may suffer, and the work of the living individual phantasy 
may be replaced by the dull uniformity of a lifeless 
mechanism. “In India,” says Mr. Birdwood {Handbook to 
the British Indian Section, Paris Exhib. 1878, p. 56), “every- 
thing, as yet at least, is hand-wrought, and everything, 
down to the cheapest toys and earthen vessels, is therefore 
more or less a work of art.” So once in Europe.* But 
I will not attempt to estimate the magnitude of the injury 
which machinery has inflicted on the beauty of common 
life ; and I will pass to the second group of evils attached 
to it, and not unconnected with the first, namely, the injury 
to the mental state of the workmen. The great majority 
having to perform some mechanical operation wfliich requires 
little thought and allows no originality, and which concerns 
an object in the transformation of which, whether previous 
or subsequent, they have no part, cannot take a pleasure 
and a pride in their work ; and instead of being idealized 
and made an end in itself, it becomes an irksome means of 
obtaining subsequent enjoyment. It is true that a man’s 
trade is not his entire life ; but I doubt whether any efforts 
in the hours of leisure can make up for the loss of a man’s 
trade as a means of mental cultivation. The third group 
of evils attached to the introduction of machinery comprises 
the injurious effects upon the bodily organism of the work- 
men. I am not speaking of the incidental injuries which, 
though actually suffered in this century by multitudes, 
especially women and children, at work on machinery, are 
yet in no essential connection with their employment ; I 
am speaking of what is inevitable : the noise, the dust, or 

* Mr. Samuel Smiles, who will not be suspected of being laudator 
temporis acti, notices {Industrial Biog., Ironworkers and Toolmakers, 
p. 2 1 ) how the mediaeval blacksmith, in the tooling, chasing, and con- 
summate knowledge of the capabilities of iron, greatly surpassed the 
modern workman, since he was “ an artist as well as a workman ” ; and 
how “ the numerous exquisite specimens of his handicraft which exist 
in our old gateways, church doors, altar railings, and ornamental dogs 
and andirons, still serve as types for continual reproduction.” 

150 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 81 , 82 . 

the heat, and in particular the injury to the nerves through 
the uniformity and monotony of the work, and the suppres- 
sion of all variety in the play of the muscles. What is 
wearisome is not so much great muscular effort, which 
machinery has in fact rendered less needful, but rather the 
ceaseless strain, the uninterrupted continuance of effort* 
-'Another drawback to many of the inventions which have 
transformed modern manufactures is the pollution of the 
streams and the atmosphere, with the consequent destruction 
of fish and vegetation. Thus many green and beautiful dis- 
tricts in England have been changed into horrible blackness 
and desolation, and though perhaps, in spite of their gloom, 
as healthy as ever, yet scarcely fit to be the permanent abode 
of any class of men. And let those sober-minded persons, 
who comprehend alone the argument to the pocket, re- 
member the immense expenditure in England for the purpose 
of evading or undoing the pollution of the atmosphere in 
manufacturing towns and districts : the daily transport of 
thousands outside the area of smoke, the endless washing, 
scrubbing, scraping, painting, renovating, and replacing. 

§ 82. To the five points given in § 80, of which the fifth has 
been illustrated in § 81, and all directed to keep us from 
being blinded by the dazzling spectacle of technical progress, 
I add a sixth. The earth by man’s action upon it has 
become in some ways and places less fit to be his home and 
to give him nourishment. Already we have seen some 
examples (§ 81) of this evil when connected- with' technical 
progress. Here let us look at it apart from such progress. 
And then it can roughly be divided into six heads. 

First comes the exhaustion of the soil by agriculture.t 
The means of nourishment which plants obtain from the soil 
are able to be -exhausted ; and physical science sternly tells 

* If asked why I have said nothing of the terrible social evils, the 
cruelty and oppression, the misery and degradation, which have been 
historically connected with the introduction of m.ichinery, I answer, that 
this chapter is not concerned with social relations, and that these and 
their historical changes will be considered when we are considering 
economical constitutions. And the evils in question are no necessary 
consequence of machinery : they might have been averted, and, as far 
as still existing, ca 7 i be removed. Cf. sup. § 76, nt. 

t See the very interesting discussion in Roscheds Ackerbaii, 7th ed. 
§§ 23“, 41* whence many of the remarks that follow are taken. 

§ 82 .] The External World. 151 

us that unless all is restored, which has been drawn from 
the soil, the cultivation is exhaustive {Ratibbau). So “ not 
merely all the unconsumed remnants of plants (straw, leaves, 
oil-cake, etc., and especially ashes), all excrements of the 
men and animals nourished from the soil, but also the final 
remains of the animals thems.elves, and of all utensils, 
clothes, etc. made from the vegetable or animal products of 
the soil,” must be restored to the land ; and though the 
produce be for long undiminished, the soil only gradually 
yielding up its riches as it is gradually disintegrated, the 
cultivation is none the less exhaustive, only the exhaustive- 
ness is masked. Such agriculture indeed may be for given 
times and places, notably in new colonies and overwooded 
regions, the right sort economically ; and exhaustive farming 
is not the same as bad farming. Still, though the special 
‘ circumstances of a given country or region may allow or 
enjoin exhaustive agriculture, the fact remains that some of 
its capacity for supporting man is lost by that country' or 
region. The capacity indeed may not be lost to the world, 
but only shifted in part or wholly to another district, as 
when a great city fed with corn which has been grown and 
oxen which have been bred in remote provinces, enriches its 
suburban districts with its refuse, and the gain of these 
districts is some compensation for the loss of the remote 
provinces ; or when a country importing bulky produce (corn 
hides, timber,) gains what the exporting country loses.* But 

* The terms leiochotnes, isochomes, and p/eochomes are used by Fraas 
to express the three divisions which can be made of all lands, according 
as they grow poorer, or keep the same, or grow richer, in regard to their 
stock of nourishment for plants, the Greek (= earth thrown up or 

dug out) being used for this stock. Both nature and man cause the dis- 
tinction of the three sorts of lands. River deltas are pleochomous, and 
along every valley are likely to be three parallel zones, the river sides 
pleochomous, then an isochomous zone, and finally the leiochomous hills. 
The tillage of land, by bringing up to the surface the means of nourish- 
ment, causes the surface of the field to be pleochomous, and below it 
two layers, the upper one isochomous, the lower one leiochomous. Round 
every centre of the production or consumption of agricultural produce — 
round every farm and hamlet, and still more round every great town — 
are probably three concentric rings, the inner one pleochomous, the 
outer one leiochomous, and a middle isochomous ring, giving to the 
inner ring about as much as it gets from the outer. (Roscher, Ackerbau^ 

§ 23“.) 

152 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 82 . 

very often what is lost is mostly or wholly lost to mankind, 
as when the Knglish mode of sewage sends annually, it has 
been calculated, into the sea the means of reproducing 
nourishment for 3>5cx)iOOO men. And the loss by the mode 
of draining London has been calculated to be as much as if 
ten million quartern loaves were daily sent floating down the 
Thames into the sea. Although among old countries we 
are unrivalled in our wastefulness, we are not alone j and in 
general it can be said that the great cities of Europe are 
absorbing the fertility of the open country and giving little 
of it back. The dream has been dissipated that guano and 
chemical manures could preserve the land in continual fer- 
tility . they have proved stimulating rather than strengthen- 
ing, and the loss of productive power is bitterly lamented in 
Central Europe (Oestcrreichische Monatschrift fiir Gesells- 
cliafts- Wtssenschafi, Juni, 1882, pp. 297—8) and suspected even 
in England {The Times, March 15, 1883) i nor is it unlikely 
that much of Europe, England included, will soon have in 
self-preservation to find a plan of restoring to the country all 
the sewage and refuse of the town {cf. inf. § 183“, on the 
technical methods of dealing with sewage). It is highly du- 
bious, moreover, whether the exhaustive agriculture so reck- 
lessly carried on in so much of America can be economically 
justified. Still less easy to defend is the treatment of their 
land by the emancipated Russian peasants. And there is no 
doubt of the disastrous results of the exhaustion of the soil 
in portions of India and in Ireland. On the fact in India I 
shall have occasion to speak later {inf. § 304) ; on Ireland I 
will give a passage from Mr. Cliffe Leslie. He says, speaking 
of Ireland {Land Systems and Industrial Economy, 1870, pp. 
80-81) : “Substitute the land system for ‘ slavery ’ and ten- 
ants at w'ill for ‘ slaves ’ in the following passage, in which 
Mr. Cairnes a few years ago described ‘ the kind of eco- 
nomic success which slavery had achieved in the Southern 
States of America,’ and the passage will read as true as 
before. ‘It consists in the rapid extraction from the soil of 
the most easily obtained portion of its wealth, by a process 
which exhausts the soil, and consigns to waste all the other 
resources of the country where it is practised. By proscrib- 
ing manufactures and commerce and confining agriculture 

The External World. 


§ 82, 83.] 

within narrow bounds, by rendering impossible the rise of a 
free peasantry, by checking the growth of population, in a 
word, by blasting every germ from which national well-being 
may spring ; at this cost, with the further condition of en- 
croaching through a reckless system of culture on the stores 
destined by Providence for future generations, slavery may 
undoubtedly for a time be made conducive to the interests of 
the man who keeps slaves.’ Mr. Caird fell naturally almost 
into Mr. Cairnes’ first words when he said of the results of 
the Irish land system : “ What the ground will yield from 
year to year at the least cost of time, labour, and money, is 
taken from it.” Thus exhaustive agriculture {Raubbau) is 
no remote possibility, but in many countries a present evil. 

§ 83. The second injury to the world is the diminution of 
its stock of minerals. Though the physical loss in one place 
cannot in this case be ever compensated by the gain of 
another, yet hitherto, I suppose, if the world be taken as a 
whole, the exhaustion of given mineral stores has been more 
than compensated economically by the discovery of fresh 
ones, and by the increase of technical skill enabling us to 
reach mineral veins and beds which otherwise would have 
been of no avail. Still, the potential wealth {siip. § 49) of the 
world has in this department been lessened ; and for given 
nations the exhaustion of their mines may be as I have 
noticed (§ 65) a serious anxiety, and in particular of the coal 
beds, the foundation of modern industry, and yet evidently, 
as far as profitable working is concerned, in countries like 
England, Belgium and France, incapable, at least at the 
present rate of consumption, of lasting to any very remote 
time.* And the rapid exhaustion one after another of the 
petroleum districts of Pennsylvania, shews that this great 
present source of American wealth is likely at no very re- 
mote time to be dried up. (See an account of the oil wells 
given in The Times, 23rd Aug. 1882.) 

* Mr. Jevons sounded a serious warning, in his work The Coal 
Question, 2nd ed. 1866, especially in ch. xii. But he seems to exaggerate 
the importance of coal, so that the book is on the whole, I think, more 
misleading than instructive ; nor do I think he makes out his case 
(ch. viii.) that there is no substitute for coal to be expected, and that pro- 
gress will only increase its supremacy. 

154 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 83 . 

The extermination or diminution of useful animals or plants 
is a third head of injury. I will take illustrations from Mr. G. 
r. Marsh’s interesting work, The Earth as Modified by Human 
Action, London, 1874*). Silphium, the famous medicinal 
plant of Lybia and Persia, seems to have died out, and the 
vegetable which produced the balm of Gilead has not been 
found in modern times, though a careful exploration has 
been made of the places where it used to grow (p. 77). 
Between the years I 74 ^f ^r^^l 1768, the marine animal known 
as Steller’s sea-cow {Rhytina Stelleri) was extirpated by the 
energy or greed of commerce (pp. 105, 106). The extirpation 
of beavers was feared, till it was averted or postponed by the 
fortunate invention of the silk hat by a Parisian manufac- 
turer (p. 92). The seal, the walrus and the sea-otter are 
actually in danger of extirpation (p. 106), and many instances 
can be given of the recklessness and destructiveness of man 
towards fish (pp. 107 seqi). A mischievous popular error has 
magnified the injury done to the grain crops by birds,*f* and 
by destroying the birds men have destroyed their protectors 
against the terrible insect world. “ The general tendency of 
man s encroachments upon spontaneous nature has been to 
increase insect life at the expense of vegetation and of the 
smaller quadrupeds and birds” (p. 134). 

A fourth evil, the converse of the last, is the spread of 
mischievous animals and plants by man. For example, the 
American river weed Anacharis adsinastruni has become a 
serious hindrance in the English rivers (Marsh, /. c. p. 72) ; 
the teredo has been carried to almost every part of the globe 
by the very ships which it gradually eats away (/. c. p. 137). 

* It is a pity Mr. Marsh ever and anon digresses from the subjects he 
knows and treats so well, and speaks of matters as to which he is plainly 
in the dark, namely, the Roman Empire, the ‘feudal system,’ and the 
Catholic Church. In one lengthy note, near the beginning, he piles up 
a repulsive heap of stale and stupid calumnies. Like so many others, he 
has yet to learn that history requires at least as serious a study as physical 

t Really some birds feed almost exclusively on insects, and others, 
though they do attack the grain, more than compensate by the number 
of insects which they also devour (/. e. pp. 15 seq.). Mr. Marsh notices 
p. 1 33) the injury to forests through the destruction of birds ; and how 
(P- 139) woodpeckers do not injure the trees, which they only bore in 
order to extract the worms and the like, already there. 

The External World. 



§ 83 > 

With the barbarian invasion came the invasion of the black 
rat {Mus rattus), hitherto absent from Europe, and spreading 
the use of the domestic cat as a protection against it. Since 
the first third of the eighteenth century Europe has suffered 
the worse invasion of the brown rat {Mus decumanus), which, 
then first making its appearance on the lower Volga, has since 
spread westward, has taken possession of London and Paris, 
has been carried across the Atlantic, and everywhere elimin- 
ates its less prolific rival. (Hehn, Kidturpflanzen und Haus- 
tJiiere, pp. 344, 345 -)* Australia the introduction of the 
rabbit, luseful enough in some places, has ruined thousands of 
acres of pasture land.*f" Only since the destruction of the 
forests of Asia Minor and Gyrene have those regions suf- 
fered in the present terrible degree from the locusts, which 
now breed unmolested in the open, sunny, birdless plains. 
(Marsh, /. c. p. 298.) 

§ 84. There yet remain to be noticed two more injuries 
resulting to the \vorld from man’s action upon it, and which 
seem graver than any of the foregoing. The one may 
perhaps be called the upset of the hill-side equilibrium, 
the other the upset of the coast equilibrium. The first is 
the result of removing from the hills and mountains their 
clothing of forest ; and much of Mr. Marsh’s aforecited work 
is taken up with the melancholy description of how in this 
way man has changed millions of square miles in the fairest 
regions of the Old World into desert. “ When the forest is 
gone, the great reservoir of moisture stored up in its vege- 
table mould is evaporated, and returns only in deluges of 
rain to wash away the parched dust into which that mould 
has been converted. The well-wooded and humid hills are 

turned to ridges of dry rock, which encumbers the low 
grounds and chokes the watercourses with its debris, and — 
except in countries favoured with an equable distribution of 
rain through the seasons, and a moderate and regular incli- 

* The brown rat has nine young three times a year. It has’ been 
carried by man, as well as the black rat previously, into Ceylon. See 
Ceylon, by an officer late of the Ceylon Rides, ii. p. 1 17. 

t In the Mallee country, in Victoria, rabbits now so swarm that neither 
sheep nor cattle can live there. See the Melbourne correspondent of 
The June ii, 1881. 

156 Groundwoi'k of Economics. [§ 84 . 

nation of surface — the whole earth, unless rescued by human 
art from the physical degradation to which it tends, becomes 
an assemblage of bald mountains, of barren, turfless hills, 
and of swampy and malarious plains. There are parts of 
Asia Minor, of Northern Africa, of Greece, and even of 
Alpine Europe, where the operation of causes set in action 
by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation 
almost as complete as that of the moon ; and though within 
the brief space of time which we call ‘ the historical period,’ 
they are known to have been covered with luxuriant woods, 
verdant pastures and fertile meadows, they are now too far 
deteriorated to be reclaimable by man” (p. 43. Cf. pp. 3-5).* 
The equilibrium of the coast has also been upset by 
human agency. Mr. Marsh thinks that in the regions now 
occupied by Dutch, Frisians, and Low Germans the parts 
not exposed to inundation were once overgrown with dense 
woods ; that ‘‘ the lowlands between these forests and the 
sea-coasts were marshes, covered and partly solidified by a 
thick matting of peat plants, and shrubs interspersed with 
trees ; and that even the sand-dunes of the shore were prb- 
tected by a vegetable growth, which, in a great measure, 
prevented the drifting and translocation of them.” But the 
equilibrium of natural agencies, which allowed only gradual 
changes in the river-banks and sea-coasts, was disturbed in 
the following way : — “ The destruction of forests around the 
sources and along the valleys of the rivers by man gave 
them a more torrential character. The felling of the trees, 
and the extirpation of the shrubbeiy upon the fens by 
domestic cattle, deprived the surface of its cohesion and 
consistence, and the cutting of peat for fuel opened cavities 
in it, which, filling at once with water, rapidly extended 
themselves by abrasion of their borders, and finally enlarged 
to pools, lakes, and gulfs, like the lake of Haarlem and the 
northern parts of the Zuyderzee. The cutting of the wood 

* South Africa can be added to the melancholy list of devastated 
regions. According to the Colonial Botanist’s report, millions of acres 
there have been made desert, and more are being made desert annually 
through the destruction of the indigenous forest. Although the axe has 
helped, the main destructive agent has been fire. See a paper by the 
Rev. J. C. Brown in Ocean Highways, November, 1872. 

§ 84 , 85 .] The Exte 7 'ual World. 157 

and the depasturing of the grasses upon the sand-dunes con- 
verted them from solid bulwarks against the ocean to loose 
accumulations of dust, which every sea breeze drove further 
landward, burying, perhaps, fertile soil and choking up water- 
courses on one side, and exposing the coast to erosion by the 
sea upon the other” {/. c. pp. 424, 425). Along the west 
coast of France the sand-dunes advancing inland have buried 
fields, forests, and villages, have scattered sterilizing sand far 
and wide, and have formed pestilential swamps {/. c. pp. 588, 
589). In Prussia the drifting of the sand is scarce a cen- 
tury old. Frederick William I. being in need of funds, 
allowed the pine forest on the Frische Nehrung to be felled ; 
he got 2CK),000 thalers ; but the state would now willingly 
give millions to undo the work (/. c. pp. 579, 590, S91). 

It may be noticed that many of the grandest works of 
reclamation, the greatest triumphs of engineering skill, are 
but the undoing our own handiwork. Thus, for example, the 
various measures to subdue torrents and prevent inundations 
in Southern PTance since 1865, the dykes of Holland, the 
draining the lake of Haarlem, the draining partly, and partly 
elevating by a deposit of sediment the Tuscan Maremma 
and the Val di Chiana, the preservation and binding of sand- 
dunes, and reclamation of sand wastes along the low shores 
of North Central Europe and Western France (all described 
by Mr. Marsh), are works of. restoration ; and we are but 
undoing the mischief we^have wrought on the flat and the 

I 85. Sobered by the series of gloomy facts we have just 
considered, we are in a better state to judge wisely of what 
is to be hoped from the future course of invention and 
improvement. Many years ago Babbage {Economy of 
Machinery and Manuf. § 465) suggested the utilization of 
the gigantic power which daily raises the tides, and of the 
heat in volcanic regions. Mr. Marsh (/. c. pp. 633-635) notices 
the possible action of man on the weather, and the more 
immediate and practical suggestions of Duponchel (in 1868), 
to cause earth to be deposited over barren land by artificial 
torrents, a process applicable, it is calculated, to some thirty 
million acres in France alone. Schaffle {Nationalbkonomie, 

158 Gi'oundwork of Economics. [§ 85 . 

p. 123, 3rd ed.) marks the' possible utilization of solar heat,* 
and how there may be discoveries in this field by which we 
should have more wood for other purposes, not wanting it 
for fuel, and should be saved having to get coal with ever- 
increasing difficulty, and, lastly, should be no longer obliged 
to carry on manufactures only where firewood, or water 
power, or coal beds are at hand. And I think there are 
actual signs that the dominion of coal is likely to be over- 
thrown, and heat to be mostly drawn directly from the sun, 
and motive power to be furnished by electricity. The 
notion that the progress of chemical science will do very 
much for the supply of mankind with food, and, in particular, 
will be able to get means of nourishment without the help of 
living force, is rejected by Schaffle (/. c. pp. 119, 120). To me 
it seems that science in search of food should have a tree 
depicted on one side of its banner and on the other a frag- 
ment of seaweed. Not to speak of the possible use of the 
wood, the bark and the leaves for nourishment, there is the 
hope of new acclimatizations of fruit trees, as in England of 
some tree that would be to us what the chestnut is to 
Corsica ; and I do not think we can say that there is any 
region of the earth (not arctic or antarctic) which may not be 
reclaimable by some kind of tree, and made fit for habitation 
and agriculture, when we see what the maritime pine has 
done in Gascony and Belgium, and what the varnish tree 
(ciilanthus) is beginning to do in ^e South of Russia {^see 
Marsh, /. c. pp. 607, 6o8),and the eucalyptus in the Roman 
campagna. On the possible utilization of the vegetable 
treasures of the sea I have already spoken {sup. § 64) ; and 
their immense quantity gives great importance to any inven- 
tion in this field. 

I have said enough, I think, to explain what sort of ex- 
pectations are both weighty and well-founded. A multitude 

* This is also noticed by Marsh (/. c. p. 46, note), who, moreover, specu- 
lates (pp. 45, 46) on the suggestion “ to gather, and bind, and make sub- 
servient to our control, the power which a West Indian hurricane exerts 
through a small area in one continuous blast, or the momentum expended 
by the waves, in a tempestuous winter, upon the breakwater at Cher, 
bourg .... or the pressure of a square mile of sea-water at the depth 
of 5,000 fathoms, or a moment of the might of an earthquake or a 

The Extei'nal World. 



of minor possibilities, as the further utilization of many kinds 
of refuse,* can be passed over ; and I need only add as the 
conclusion of our speculations, that although much may be 
hoped from the progress of physical science, yet each art can 
only change once from the empirical to the scientific stage, 
and that for many arts this change is over.f 

* Babbage, Econ. of Machin. and Mann/., addition to § 9, gives the 
details (somewhat unsavoury) of how all parts of the horses slaughtered 
at Montfaucon, near Paris, are turned to account. 

t Mr. Jevons, The Coal Question, pp. 138-140 (2nd edit.), cites and justly 
rebukes Lardner’s idle optimism as to scientific invention. 


Grounchvork of Economics. 

[§ 86 . 



Seven Points of Anthropology, § 86, 87— Variation of Races in regard 
to Multiplication, § 88 — In regard to Capacity and Willingness for 
Work, § 89, 90— Distinction of Age, § 91— Distinction of Sex, § 92 
—Training (Technical and General Education, § 93, 94— Limitations 
to Productive Capacities, § 95— Concerted Labour (Co-operation), 
§ 96 — Advantages of it, § 97 — Limitations and Drawbacks to the 
Division of Labour, § 98-101— Effects of Discord (especially of 
War) upon Production, § 102, 103 — Effects of Carelessness, Dis- 
honesty, Discontent, § 104. 

I 86. Of the two factors or requisites of production {stip. 
§61) the one, namely, the external world, has been con- 
sidered in the preceding chapter ; the other, namely, man, 
has to be considered in the present chapter, which therefore 
has for its object the productive capacities of human indivi- 
duals and races, and the variations, limitations, improve- 
ments, and injuries to which these capacities are subject. 

A portion of the way lies over the thorny ground of 
anthropology, on which I tread with the greatest diffidence, 
and over which I shall hasten as quickly as possible, indi- 
cating rather than entering the various fields of discussion. 
Even so I fear lest I deviate from the middle path that here 
if anywhere is needful, that golden mean between disregard- 
ing the diversity of the race and surroundings, the age and 
the sex of the ‘ labourer ’ or ‘ producer,’ and on the other 
hand exaggerating these diversities ; between laying too 
little stress on the race and its life, too much on individual 
development, and the converse error ; between imagining an 
equality of capacity among races and classes as though there 
was no hereditary transmission of qualities, and on the other 
hand imagining a permanent inability of certain races to 
improve much or at all their mental and bodily powers, to 



§ 86,87.] Man as a Factor of Prodtut ion. 161 

adapt themselves to new conditions, or even to continue 
their existence.* 

Let us endeavour to avoid such excesses, and let the 
following seven points of anthropological doctrine be suffi- 
cient for our guidance. 

§ 87. First, man forms a kingdom by himself, distinct 
from the animal kingdom as much as this is distinct from 
the vegetable kingdom, and the vegetable from the mineral 
kingdom, each higher one possessing its own special charac- 
teristic in addition to those of the kingdoms below. Thus 
the plants possess vegetative life, the animals possess sensi- 
tive life in addition to vegetative, man possesses intellectual 
life in addition to sensitive and vegetative. And thus we can 
only say in a certain sense that man is an animal, just as we 
can only say in a certain sense that an animal is a vegetable. 

Secondly, if with de Quatrefages {The Human Species, 
London, 1 879, p. 36) we take species to mean “ a collection of 
individuals more or less resembling each other, which may 
be regarded as having descended from a single primitive 
pair by an uninterrupted and natural succession of families,” 
we can say that man forms a single species, and (as a 
corollary) that the union of any male and female of this 
species, although they be as unlike as the blackest negro and 
fairest white, can result in an offspring capable, not merely 
of individual vigorous existence, but also of propagating 
itself indefinitely. 

Thirdly, if we take race to mean “ a number of individuals 
resembling each other, belonging to one species, having 
received and transmitting, by means of sexual generation, 
the characters of a primitive variety ” (/. c. p. 39) : we can 
say that man is divided into a number of races. The diver- 
sity of race is due to two heads of causes, of which the one 
comprising those external circumstances, as climate, food, 

* An interesting comparison can be drawn between man and animals 
in regard to their capacities for supporting the life of the individual and 
the race. But I omit it as not being essential to the present discussion, 
only observing that in this matter, as in others, the mean must be kept 
between making too much or too little of the psychical faculties of 
animals, as though they possessed rudimentary reason, or as though they 
did not possess sensitive apprehension and sensitive appetite. 




162 Groimdzooi'k of Economics. [§ 87. 

and habitual occupations, which affect body and mind, can 
be called the surroundings (environment, inihtii) ; the other, 
namely, the physiological transmission of qualities from 
parents to children, can be called heredity. 

Fourthly, the working of these two causes may result in 
very different effects according to circumstances. For if the 
surroundings keep the same, and the race keeps unmixed 
with others, there is likelihood that its qualities will also 
keep the same ; and thus the negroes, at least some of them, 
and in regard to their external appearance, have kept un- 
changed for several thousand years ; whereas if the sur- 
roundings change, the qualities of the race are likely to 
change ; and thus the tall, loose-limbed, fair-haired, blue- 
eyed Gaul has changed into the short, compact, and swarthy 
Frenchman ; and the English and negro race transplanted 
to America have already undergone a metamorphosis. 
Where, moreover, a race is crossed with another, the force of 
heredity is, so to speak, divided against itself, and the likely 
qualities of the half-bred offspring are most difficult to be 


Fifthly, the distinction of race may be reproduced in a 
milder degree between different classes in a given race and 
different localities in a given country. The food, clothing, 
and occupations of an upper class may be so different from 
that of a lower class, that although other of the surround- 
ings, as climate, are the same for both, the two classes may 
come to form two types widely different. And heredity will 
perpetuate the difference unless some change occur in the 
surroundings or some intermixture of the classes. 

Sixthly, the evidence h posteriori seems to shew that any 
race or class is capable of modification, not indeed in an 
instant, but if sufficient time is allowed ; nor anyhow, but if 
the modifying influence is applied to a sufficient number of 
individuals ; nor indefinitely, but as far as any known modifi- 
cation of the human mind or body has actually extended. 
That is, there is the physiological possibility of as great 
changes in the colour and form, in the physical strength and 
mental capacity of any race in the future as have actually 
happened to it in the past ; only this does not imply that of 
such changes there is any historical probability. 

§87,88.] Man as a Factor of Production. 163 

Lastly, every individual, though of a tribe or class the 
lowest in intelligence and technical aptitudes, is capable of 
attaining to the end of man’s existence and of living a good 
life in society. There is no such thing as ‘ the irreclaimable 
savage ’ ; and although in Economics the qualities of a given 
race at a given time (the result of the surroundings and 
heredity) must be remembered if we would judge rightly of its 
social institutions, it is never fatally doomed to degradation, 
decay, or extinction ; and if these evils befall it, they are the 
result* of preventible causes, not of physiological necessity.^ 

I 88. Passing by the variations among races and classes 
in matters that do not immediately concern us, such as 
hereditary capacity for political government, or hereditary 
attraction to certain foods or certain amusements, let us look 
at variations in matters relating to man as an agent of pro- 
duction. And let us begin with what affects the number 

of producers. ... 

The causes which can influence the multiplication of the 

human species are so numerous and complicated, and many 
so difficult of detection, that all statements as to one race 
being more fertile than another must be received with the 
greatest caution ; and when we think that, till quite recently, 
any accurate statistics of births and deaths have been rarely 
obtainable, we may well doubt there being much ground for 
positive conclusions. If a given race is not particularly 
afflicted with illness, nor habitually eats or works too much 

* The art of extermination is a very old one ; but to say the victim is 
physiologically incapable of further prolonged existence, seems a modem 
refinement. It might be well were it a part of every one s education m 
learn in brief the history of the barbarous, sometimes fiendish atrocities, 
of which during 35° years the Europaean races have been guilty Awards 
the natives of America, North and South, of Africa, of Austraha N ew 
Zealand and Polynesia, atrocities m which, sad to say, the English race 
has been second to none, and which have been perhaps worse than ever 
in the last fifty years. Some citations and references on this humiliating 
matter are given by Waitz, edit, by CoUingwood, 1863, 

pp. 149-152, i6s-ffi7, 3U, 315; de Quatrefages, The Human Species, 
i 87 Q w 461-466; Rauch, Die Einheit des Menschengeschlechtes, 1873, 
nn 2;7 2^8 -’61-266; Marx, Das Kapital, pp. 783-785 (only Marx must 
L usual be read with caution) ; John Wisker, in the Fortnightly R^new, 
June, 1882, pp. 71 1-734 i Henry George, Progress and Poverty, 4th edit. 

pp. 449-45 •• 

M 2 


164 Groundwork of Economics. '[§ 88 . 

or too little, nor is given to immorality, and if the usual date 
of marriage is not premature or tardy, nor the period of 
suckling unduly prolonged, I doubt if it can be shewn to be 
more or less fruitful than any other race under the same cir- 
cumstances,* and I feel sure it cannot be shewn to be in- 
capable of continuing its existence. And what I have said 
of race can be said of climate. 

The death-rate of dififerent races, classes, and countries 
varies as much as their birth-rate ; but this is no indication 
that the blood inherited or the climate dwelt in is the cause 
of the diversity ; for with certain exceptions it can be 
accounted for by the dififerent habits of life. In fact, an 
extremely great variation is often seen in the mortality of 
different groups of persons in the same climate and belong- 
ing to the same race and class ; and medical science can 
point out known and adequate causes of a high death-rate, 
such as unhealthy trades, ill-drained and crowded dwellings, 
excess in drink, unhealthy amusements, and especially care- 
less or ignorant treatment of infants. But to the general 
truth, that race and climate make no difference to health, 
there seem three exceptions First, certain tracts of country 
are really unhealthy even to those who live around them. 
Thus the Campagna of Rome is bad for Italians, not merely 
for Englishmen ; and the estuary of the Gaboon is fatal not 
merely to whites but also to negroes. Much more impor- 
tant is the second exception which occurs during a process 
of acclimatization. If a race or a portion of it is suddenly 
shifted to another climate it may, and if the climate is very 
different probably will, suffer much more from certain 

* If, indeed, the facts cited from Ramon de la Sagra by Rauch, Die 
Einheit des Menschengcschlechtes, Augsburg, 1873, P- 226, and from 
Macaulay by Waitz, Anthropology, edit, by Collingwood, London, 1863, 
p. 41, regarding the great fertility of, severally, the white race in Cuba 
and the negro race in Haiti, are trustworthy, .cases of special fecundity 
seem to be made out. Facts like those edited by de Quatrefages, The 
Huma?i Species, p. 87, on mixed unions in some places giving a higher 
average of births than those between two of the same race, do not shew 
diversity in fertility unless it can be shewn that there is no diversity in any 
of the various points (as age of marriage or length of suckling) which I 
have mentioned in the text. Variations in the average age of puberty, 
due partly to race and partly to surroundings, seem better established. 
{See de Quatrefages, pp. 415-418 ; Waitz, pp. 39, 40, 109, 1 10.) 

^ 88 , 89.1 Man as a Factor of Pi'oduction. 165 

diseases than the natives ; and it may have to pass through 
many years and several generations before it is adapted 
to the new climate, and regains the normal healthiness of 
man. Till the acclimatization is complete, the stranger race 
will be less healthy than the native, although the habits of 
the two be equally healthy. And of several immigrant races, 
that one will probably for a long time exceed the other in 
healthiness which has come from a climate the most alike 
to the new country. So the Europeans suffer from marsh 
fever in Africa, the negroes from phthisis in Europe ; while 
the yellow fever in America is the scourge not of black but of 
the white immigrants (Waitz, /. c. pp. 1 24-1 27 ; de Quatrefages, 
/. c. ch. xxxii.). The third exception is in a way the converse 
of the second. Instead of natives being more healthy than 
immigrants because these are unaccustomed to the climate, 
they may be less healthy, as being themselves unaccustomed 
to and therefore unable to resist some new disease which 
the immigrants bring with them. Terrible, for example, 
were the ravages of the small-pox introduced by Europeans 

among the American Indians, and of syphilis in Europe when 
it first came from America ; and quite recently we have 
witnessed the ravages of measles in Fiji, and of phthisis 
among the Polynesians in general. And it may happen that 
a population may be destroyed before it has had time to get 
accustomed to a new climate or to a new disease, and to 
rear a generation in which the normal mortality is regained. 

The duration of life cannot, I think, be shewn to depend 
at all on race or climate. We cannot say that any race as 
such is specially long-lived, any climate as such specially 
favourable to longevity. (Waitz, 1 . c. pp. 122— 124; de 
Quatrefages, 1 . c. pp. 418-421.) 

I 89. In the capacity for labour much diversity has been 
observed ; but whether, or how far, this can be attributed to 
climate or race is difficult to tell. Of course in a locality 
which is absolutely unhealthy, as ague-breeding marsh land, 
or among a §i”oup of individuals who have not yet been 
acclimatized, as Europeans in the tropics, the capacity for 
labour is less than in a healthy locality, or among those to 
whom the new climate is much the same as the old, as the 
West Indies to the negroes. But besides these differences 


1 66 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 89 . 

due to absolute or relative unhealthiness, there are others 
not so easily explainable. In muscular strength, in power of 
endurance, in swiftness, in keenness of the senses, there are 
differences in different races and localities. {Cf. Waitz, /. c. pp. 

1 14-122, 137-143.) But since there are also great differences 
in these physical endowments in the same locality and same 
race, and even in the same family, since also the habits of 
life can cause so much of the difference, and since statistical 
observation is so wanting in this department, I will leave it. 

As regards skill and vigour in working, and willingness to 
work, many writers assert a great diversity between different 
races. Mr. Brassey {Work and Wages, 1873, pp. lOi, 102), 
cites the Factory Report that, owing to the greater vigour 
and steadiness of English workmen, the number of spindles 
which a single person can manage is far greater in England 
than on the Continent ; he notices that as practical mechanics 
the English are unsurpassed, witness the high-paid English 
engineers in the steamers of the Mediterranean (pp. 1 13, 1 14) ; 
that in exhausting and laborious mining thd English miner 
surpasses the foreign all over the world (p. 115) ; that in the 
practical application of inventions, in general administrative 
capacity, and especially in the art of economical manage- 
ment, English manufacturers have shewn a real commercial 
genius rarely shewn abroad (p. 122). Mill {Principles of 
Polit. Econ. Bk. I. ch. vii. | 5) notices how the Italian 
workmen are able, the English unable, to adapt themselves 
to new circumstances. Mr. Hearn {Philology, ch. ii.) says 
that two English labourers or artisans are equal, it has been 
found, to three Scandinavians or Germans ; and that the 
French and Italians are unequalled in those arts which 
require delicacy of touch and refinement of taste. And he 
notices, from Laing, the want of energy among the Dutch 
and German tradesmen, and among the Neapolitans in 
general. Mr. H. C. Barkley gives as his experience that 
the Bulgarians and Tartars are excellent workmen as well 
as the Albanian Christian masons ; that the Turks are 
obliging and good on an emergency, but are unable to stick 
long to one thing, and need most careful supervision ; that 
the Greeks, except Greek boatmen, are generally bad for 
hard steady work, while the Armenians cheat from the 

§ 89 , 90 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 167 

highest to the lowest. {Between the Danube and Black Sea, 
pp. 156,157, 175-177; Bidgaria before the War, pp. 192, 
284-288). The Singhalese are an idle race according to Mr. 
Capper {Old Ceylon, p. 193), requiring constant inspection by 
an European manager. And who has not heard of the intoler- 
able laziness of the negroes in Jamaica, and of the Neapolitan 

fishermen sleeping in the sun } 

§ 90. Many pages might be filled with statements of 
which the foregoing are specimens.* The question is how 
to value such statements. Some are plainly in contradiction 
with others. Some are stupid calumnies, as when the 
Neapolitans, who have been working hard all night, are 
thought lazy by ignorant travellers who see them sleeping 
by day. {See W. J. A. Stamer, Dolce Napoli, pp. 6, 7» 26, 79') 
Some are rash generalizations, as when the qualities, good or 
bad, shewn by some few of a given race in some particular 
employment are made to apply to the entire race or to all 
employments. Still, although most cannot stand the test 
of rational criticism, some differences in national ability and 
willingness to work are admissible. That there are lazy 
races, I confess I do not believe ; but I think it can be 
shewn that some races are much better fitted to work for a 
master than others. The Phrygians and Lydians were found 
much more docile slaves by the Greeks than were the Mace- 
donians and Northern nations. In parts of Spanish America 
the native Indians were supplanted by negroes, although 
physically their equals ; they seemed, that is some of them, 
under certain conditions, to be unfit for service, to sink into 
melancholy, and to perish rather by psychical than by 
physical causes (Waitz, Anthropology, pp. 1 18- 1 20). Further, 
I should not like to deny that the Chinese excel in imitation 

* If it is a question not of mere industrial capacity, but of national 
character in general, the number of statements that could be collected 
would be very much increased. Some of these, and many references are 
given by Cornewall Lewis, Methods of Observation and Reasoning in 
Politics, ch. xvi. § 5 ; but he does not sufficiently explain their delusive- 
ness. Cf the careful statements of Ulrici, Gott und der Mensch, 1866, 
pp. 426-429, who, after noticing the difficulty for a native, still more for a 
foreigner, to acquire a correct idea of national character, ends by saying, 
that “a ‘psychology of nations’ {Vblkerpsychologie) will therefore for 
long, perhaps for ever, have to contend with unsurmountable difficulties. 

1 68 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 90 , 9 1 . 

and obedience to direction, and that among modern English- 
men hereditary capacity for industrial management and 
command is more common than among other Europeans. 
And I think it can be proved that the Jews as a race are 
endowed with singular talent for business, and particularly 
for gambling and usury, so that the other races of Central 
Europe, Teutons and Slavonians, Hungarians and Rou- 
manians alike, are seen writhing in their toils.* A very 
different, but as indisputable a superiority is that of some 
races, or rather of certain groups of men among them, in 
capacity for artistic handicraft, witness the pottery and woven 
fabrics, the jewellery and lacquer ware of India and China. 

§ 91. The productive capacity of man varies greatly, as 
is evident, with his age ; and several questions are connected 
with this variation. As a rule, I suppose, the working 
power is greatest at the age when the bodily organism is at 
its perfection ; but not always. Of course, much is given 
to children and to old people to do, not because those in the 
prime of life would not do it better or quicker, but because 
they can do something else in which their superiority is 
still more conspicuous. Some employments, however, are not 
merely relatively but absolutely fitter for the young or the 
old than for the age between, which could not do the work 
so well. The man of thirty has not got, as a rule, the 
mental habits of wisdom and experience needed for certain 
industrial posts ; and he has lost the bodily habits fitted 
for certain other employments. Thus their lightness and 
nimbleness make boys specially fit to work on board ship, 
or for employments like that of climbing the smooth- 
stemmed, lofty, branchless cocoanut trees to pick the fruit. 
(Capper, Old Ceylon, pp. 188 seq). In Cuttack, the silver 
filigrane work, so skilful and delicate, “ is generally done by 
boys, whose sensitive fingers and keen sight enable them to 
put the fine silver threads together with the necessary 
rapidity and accuracy.” (G. C. M. Birdwood, Handbook to 
British Indian Section, 1878, p. 71.) And the delicacy of 
children’s fingers gives them the advantage over adults, or 

* .Schaffle, Nationalbkonomie, ed. 3, 1873, I. p. 152,' gave his country- 
men a warning upon the Jews at a time when such warnings were less 
common, and thus more needed, than now. 

§ 91 , 92 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 169 

at least male adults, in pointing needles, and in many pro- 
cesses of the silk manufacture. Another point is the 
measurement of variations in capacity ; for example, the 
average number of days in which illness stops work, an 
interruption far more frequent in declining years. Again, it 
may be noticed that the productive power of a given country 
will vary, other things being the same, according as a 
smaller or greater proportion of its inhabitants belong to 
the age most capable of labour. And analogous to the 
physiological fact that abnormal individual development is 
unfavourable to the continuance of the species, it can happen 
that a nation can have for the moment great industrial 
capacity because by its low birth-rate the proportion of in- 
fants who cannot work is small. So the recovery of France 
after the war of 1870-71 was in part due to its feeble birth- 
rate. With a birth-rate equal to the Prussian it would have 
had some half million more helpless infants to support, and 
would have found the task of paying for the war far harder. 
But such abnormal industrial power of a single generation 
is only got at the cost of the future power of the race. 

The questions, not of physical capacity but of economical 
fitness, at what age work should be begun and left off, and 
what work ; and the fit relations of the different ages in the 
workshop and the household — must be considered later on. 

§ 92. In like manner we have not now to consider the 
ethical aspect of the difference of sex in industry, but only 
the physical and psychical aspect, that is, not what is right, 
but what are the special industrial aptitudes of each sex, 
which we ought to know if we are to judge what is right. 
There is indeed considerable danger^ of confusing the two 
questions. Those eager for the so-called emancipation of 
women are likely to minimize the physiological differences of 
the sexes, and their extreme opponents to exaggerate them. 
Similarly, those who have paid most attention to the bodily 
and mental resemblances of men and women are likely to 
think there ought not to be much difference in their several 
employments ; and just the reverse where most attention has 
been given to the differences between the sexes. Nor will 
the actual employments of the two sexes in the past and 
present give us any easy test of their several capacities. 

1 70 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 92 - 

For the practice of different places and times has shewn 
great variation, and even were it uniform we should still have 
to find out whether any given rule were due to moral rather 
than to physical reasons. Thus the fact that women in 
England do not work underground in mines is no proof of 
their being physically unfit for such employment ; for the 
moral evils of their so working are a sufficient reason for its 
being forbidden, as it is, by law. On the other hand their 
having been employed underground before the law forbid- 
ding it is no proof of their physical fitness for it ; for the 
mine owners may have employed them in spite of their in- 
feriority to men, because they could be got to work for much 
lower wages. And what are we to conclude when we see 
that dairy work, which in England is especially done by 
women, is precisely that part of the farm work which they 
do not do in the Pyrenees } Still, although mere statistics of 
the employments of the sexes are as likely to mislead as to 
enlighten us, they can give us help when rightly used in 
connection with other observations.* Thus physiology tells 
us that women are inferior in muscular power to men, and 
this accounts for the absence of female blacksmith.s, railway 
porters, iron-puddlers ; and we can say it is unfit for the 
Welsh girls to help in unloading coal or breaking limestone 
(Bevan, Industrial Classes, i. p. 41), or for the Kabyle women 
in Algeria to carry water from the deep ravines to the top of 
the hills (Lady Herbert, Algeria in 1871, p. 146). Again, 
the nervous temperament of women might be expected to 
exclude them from employments where coolness and presence 

* According to the Census Returns of i86i (which date is as good as 
a more recent one for the mere purpose of illustration), in the United 
Kingdom men were exclusively employed in the army, navy, police, 
building trades, mining, fishing, shipbuilding, as seamen, sawyers and 
coopers, quarriers, railway servants, and in some minor trades. Hardly 
any women were employed as iron, hardware, or machine-makers, as 
brewers or carriers. Women were numerous or even equal in number to 
men in the woollen trade, bookbinding, paper-making, and boot-making. 
Women were more numerous than men in the textile industries as a 
whole (in particular in cotton, linen, silk, hosiery, and lace), in straw- 
plait making, in making garments, and as domestics. The proportion of 
women to men was roughly three to two in the textile industries, four to 
one in the wearing apparel trades, and seven to one among domestic 

§ 92 , 93 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 171 

of mind were in frequent requisition ; and in fact we find 
them excluded from sea-fishing and navigation. On the 
other hand their greater delicacy of touch gives them an 
advantage in certain operations which we might expect to 
see displayed in statistics. Thus the Census Returns of 1871 
gives the number of boot and shoe makers for England as 
197,465 males and 25,900 females ; of shirt-makers, no males 
and 80,038 females. A great deal of this difference must be 
due to physical not moral considerations ; as also the fact 
that the two sexes are about equal in number in the woollen 
and worsted trades, whereas in the silk trade there are double 
as many females as males. In a report upon the cotton in- 
dustry at Roanne, given in U Association Cathohque, tom. ix. 
pp. 341 seq., it is said : “What is wanted in a weaver is atten- 
tion, so as to stop the machine the moment a thread breaks, 
and adroitness, so as to connect again well and quickly the 
broken threads. It can be imagined how for an employment 
needing especially these two qualifications women are won- 
derfully suitable.” Leaving others to discuss the further 
differences of the sexes, I will but name the greatest of all 
the superiorities of women, their capacity for nursing the 
sick and for attending young children.* Finally, let us not 
forget that the decision on what is the fit employment for 
women, what is always and what never their province, and, 
again, what may or may not be, according to circumstances, 

rests with ethical not physical science. 

§ 93. The natural inequalities in productive capacity, due 

to sex or race or individual qualities, can be lessened or 
increased by training, as is evident. “ The senses,” says Mr. 
Hearn {Plutology, ch. iii. | 3), “ become by constant exercise 
acute to an almost incredible degree. Astronomical ob- 
servers can estimate differences of time to the tenth part of 
a second, and differences of space to the five-thousandth part 
of an inch. Operators in the electric telegraph recognize the 
peculiar voices of their several wires. A skilful artisan will 

* Some of the natural differences of man and woman are set forth 
with great simplicity and beauty in the seventh chapter of Xenophon s 
Oecotiotnictts. The strong as well as the weak points of woman s character 
are examined with much acuteness by Ulrici, Goit und der Alensch, 1866, 
pp. 412-419. 

1 72 

Groundwork of Economics. 

[§ 93 - 

in a few minutes complete a work which would be entirely 
beyond the powers of a person unacquainted with that art. 
A professional man every day, almost without conscious 
effort, disposes of matters which, to an unprofessional person 
seem hopelessly perplexed.” And the very perfection of 
skill is likely (he observes) to make us forget the time, the 

labour and the many failures by which the facility of action 
has been attained. 

Although in a certain sense all training having improve- 
ment in any art as its end can be called technical education, 
whether theoretical or practical, whether in the school or the 
workshop, whether imparted by another or acquired by one- 
self, yet the term is generally confined to industrial train- 
ing, and here to .such industrial arts as require some person 
to teach them and some time to learn them. In the follow- 
ing book we shall have to consider the grave question of the 
fit relations between teachers and pupils, and the morality 
and happiness of apprentices. Here we have only to con- 
sider technical capacity, and to gain a few general principles 
j concerning it. First, for the great mass of trades and for 
the great mass of workpeople engaged in them, it is needful, 
if the work is to be good, that regular teaching be given ; 
and only those with exceptional talents are able to be good 
workmen by merely, as they phrase it, picking up their trade.* 

I Further, in some trades efficiency or endurance is only to be 
got by being brought up to it from youth, as the trade of the 
iron-puddler (Bevan, Industrial Classes, i. p. 45) or coal- 
miner, or, again, as the management of horses. Another 
point is the danger to life and limb by the employment of 
the ill-instructed. While a miner or seaman is ‘ picking up ’ 
his business he may be the death of himself and his fellow- 
workmen ; and in Great Britain much of the mortality in 
these two departments, and perhaps in others, may be the 
result of the anarchical state into which technical education 
has fallen.f And if an artisan at last attains to efficiency, 

* The denial of this was part of Adam Smith’s case against apprentice- 
ship ; whereon he is well confuted by L. Brentano, Die Arbeitergilden 
der Gegetvwart, ii. pp. 143-155, from whom 1 draw some of the remarks 
in the text. 

+ On coal mines see the evidence in the Report on Trades Unions, 
referred to by Brentano, 1. c. ii. pp. 14, 124. On seamen see the Petition 


Man as a Factor of Production. 

he may have spent years of labour and spoilt quantities of 
material, which might have been saved had his trade been 
regularly taught him. Having recognized the need of 
technical education, we have next to consider the sort. On 
which point let it suffice to notice the two opposite errors, 
one imagining that because in former ages empirical training 
was sufficient, it is sufficient now, and that scientific training 
is uncalled for ; the other imagining that because scientific 
training is necessary for some positions in the industrial ranks 
it is necessary for all, and that for some at least it is sufficient 
in itself without the addition of any empirical training. 
Much rather, mindful of history and of how in many arts 
the scientific has succeeded the empirical stage {vid. sup. 75, 
77) ; and mindful no less of human nature and real life, let 
us say, that while scientific training is needed for some, 
empirical training is needed for all. There remains a third 
question, whether scientific (theoretical) instruction should be 
given before or after beginning empirical (practical) instruc- 
tion. Here, I think, we must distinguish trades and classes. 
For the bulk of those known in England as mechanics and 
artisans I think we can accept the experience and the words 
of Mr. George Howell, who says {Contemporary Review, Oct. 
1877, pp. 856, 857) : “Technical \i.e. scientific] education can, 
at its best, only be supplementary to a something that has 
gone before, that something being a knowledge of the 
practical details of the trade, which can only be obtained in 
the workshop .... the youth can only be taught the special 
scientific principles which appertain to his craft, and their 
application in the workshop, after he has begun to learn his 
trade ; and this instruction should be continued side by side 
with the experience gained from time to time in his daily 
labour. Apprenticeship \i.e. empirical training] in some form 
or other .... is imperative in learning a trade, as nothing 
can supersede this ; technical [scientific] education will assist 

to Parliament in the summer of 1880 from the Liverpool Seamen’s Pro- 
tection Society, complaining of the loss of life through incompetent 
sailors, and advocating the restoration of compulsory apprenticeship. 
On the general state of our British workshops, in which it is nobody’s 
business to teach the apprentices or ‘improvers,’ see Mr. Henr)' Solly’s 
pamphlet on Technical Education, 1878, pp. 5-9. 

1 74 Grotindwork of Economics. [§ 93 . 

in developing and guiding the latent skill and acquired 
expertness of the boy.” Similarly Le Play, who also can 
speak from experience, would make scientific instruction not 
antecedent but supplementary to the practice of the work- 
shop.* * * § And other authorities speak with equal decision.f 
But in agriculture there seems a difference. The fields are 
the workshop, and every observant child, rich or poor, who 
is so fortunate as to be brought up in the country, goes 
through a sort of agricultural apprenticeship. Here scientific 
teaching might in part be given before practical employment ; 
for the pupils would be able from the experience of their 
daily life to have a real, not a mere notional, apprehension 
of the matter taught. Thus one of the upper class might, 
after finishing his ‘ liberal’ studies, go through a course of 
scientific agriculture before beginning to farm ; J the children 
of a yeomanry might complete their education with a course 
on small farming ; and even agricultural labourers might be 
taught some botany and natural history at the elementary 
school.§ But none of this need prevent the existence of 
schools or courses of husbandry open at least during the less 

* Le Play, La Reforme sociale, ch. 47, § 20-22, 5th edit.— The French 
phrase ‘ I’enseignement professionel ’ seems currently used with the same 
arbitrary limitation as our ‘ technical education,’ to mean only that part 
of training for any art which is theoretical as opposed to practical. 

t Thus Mr. Solly, the actual or former head of the London Artisans’ 
Institute, who urges the need, after the method of that Institute, of a 
workshop or laboratory being annexed to every class-room for Technical 
Education, and of some at least of the teachers being practical workmen, 
does not at all wish this instruction to precede or to dispense with the 
experience of the real workshop, but to be given in the evening to those 
who have been at work during the day. He says expressly that “ no 
class teaching can supersede the actual workshop., and that no technical 
training, outside or independent of the workshop, should ever be set up 
as a substitute for the training to be obtained inside it. All the witnesses 
examined before the Royal Commissioner on Scientific Instruction are 
unanimous on this point,” alike scientific men and large employers. 
( Technical Education, p. 1 5.) 

X Naturally a town-bred youth must first serve some sort of apprentice- 
ship in the country, or the scientific doctrines will be mere words to him. 
The distinction of the town-bred and country-bred youth is noticed by 
Roscher, Ackerbau, § 172. 

§ Cf. Kebbel, The Agricultural Labourer, ch. iv. ; Roscher, /. c. ; 
Schaffle, Nationalokonomie, § 58, p. 109. 

§ 93 , 94 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 175 

busy times of the agricultural year, and at which could be 
learnt the scientific principles specially adapted to the given 
country and countrymen. 

I 94. Another question is how far technical training is 
affected by general instruction, that is how far elementary 
instruction among the lower ranks, and so-called liberal edu- 
cation among the higher, affects their capacity for learning 
and practising any art. Although the question is obscured 
by prejudice, we shall, perhaps, be able, by making the 
necessary distinctions, to obtain a reasonable answer. First, 
then, many posts in modern industry can only be filled by 
those who have learnt to read, write, and reckon ; and, 
whereas, in simpler states of society, where the arts are 
handed down by oral tradition, where the market is fixed 
and small and local, where all dealings between buyer and 
seller are by word of mouth, a man though quite illiterate 
may be an excellent, successful, and independent handicrafts- 
man ; in a complicated state of society where there are 
industrial text-books and wholesale and competitive trade 
needing elaborate book-keeping, correspondence by letters, 
and constant advertising, no man who lacks elementary 
general instruction can be at the head of a business, and 
even in the inferior posts the illiterate are likely to be at a 
constant disadvantage. Less obvious, but perhaps no less 
true, is the advantage which a liberal education gives in the 
subsequent acquisition of technical knowledge. Some evi- 
dence on this matter is given by Dr. Hillebrand {Contem- 
porary Revieiv, Aug. 1880), who maintains that “ the smatter- 
ing of mercantile knowledge, such as book-keeping and 
commercial letter-writing, which is painfully acquired by long 
years of work at school, may be mastered in a few weeks by 
any man of liberal education ” (p. 206)*. And perhaps it 

* After shewing the excellence of the classical languages as means of 
intellectual training, he says (/. c. p. 210, note): “ According to this system 
[the ‘bifurcation’ in France] both sets of pupils were educated together 
up to the fourth class, and it was only on their entering the third that 
they were divided into litteraires and scientipques. The final examina- 
tion of the latter was the baccalaurc'at h sciences, that of the former 
h leitrcs. ... I was a permanent member of the examining commis- 
sion, and so had hundreds of opportunities of convincing myself of the 
inferiority of the bachelicr es sciences in all those subjects in which the 


Groiindwork of Economics. 

% 94 - 

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can be also shewn that a literary education which is less than 
liberal but more than elementary is as advantageous to those 
who are to occupy an intermediate position in the industrial 
army, as a liberal education is to the leaders, and that it 
contributes to make them quick-witted, versatile, and re- 
spected by their subordinates. But let us not think that a 
literary education, however advantageous, is by itself in the 
least a sufficient training for one who is to have workpeople 
under his command. Much rather, if he is to fill well such 
a post, he must possess certain qualities which it is not in the 
povver of literary education to give him. These qualities, as 
Xenophon, in his simple and graceful way, has long ago 
explained {Oeconomicus, ch. 15 and 21), are first to be care- 
ful and diligent, and zealous if he too have an employer, 
for that employer’s interests ; secondly, to have a thorough 
technical knowledge, without which no zeal is of avail ; 
thirdly, that capacity for command, that ro ap\tKoV iivai, 
without which he can expect no peace and little profit in the 
work. Turning to the rank and file of the working classes, 
we must here again be on our guard against illusions con- 
cerning the effect of general education upon their technical 
capacity. The question is not whether intellectual training 
is good for the masses, but whether it affects their physical 
capacities and moral dispositions for work, whether it makes 
them more or less able and willing. As to ability, I see no 
evidence decisive one way or the other, and will only notice 
that, because the illiterate or ill-read are unfit for higher posts, 
it does not in the least follow that in the lower posts they 
are less efficient workmen than the more instructed. And 

pupils of both schools continued to share the same instruction, such as 
history, French literature, etc. And a similar experience may be gathered 
from practical life. One of the first bankers in a foreign capital lately 
told me, that in the course of a year he had given some thirty clerks — 
who had been educated expressly for commerce in commercial schools — 
a trial in his offices, and was not able to make use of a single one of 
them, while those who came from the grammar schools, although they 
knew nothing of business matters to begin with, soon made themselves 
perfect masters of them.” Mr. Hearn, Plutology, ch. iii. § 4, says that 
the acknowledged quickness of the volunteers in learning their evolutions 
and other military duties, as compared with regular troops, has been 
explained by the superiority of their general education. 


§ 94, 95.] Man as a Factor of Production. 177 

the example of the English miners, navvies, and factory 
workers in the first half of the present century shews that 
there can be great efficiency where there is little instruction. 
As to moral dispositions, I doubt if it can be shewn that 
willingness to work, sobriety, docility to superiors, friendli- 
ness to fellow-workmen, and other qualities favourable to 
productive activity, are in any necessary connection with 
literary instruction. School instruction may help one man 
to be sober and diligent by implanting in him a taste for 
intellectual pleasures ; it may fill another with dislike for his 
trade and discontent with his position, so that he seeks solace 
in drink, or vents his spleen by filling the workshop with in- 
subordination or discord. And of course the main influence 
on moral conduct is not school teaching but moral training ; 
nor is it necessary to answer those fanatics who imagine that 
book-learning is the antidote to vice, that a population well 
instructed in letters and physics will live in virtue and con- 
cord, and that the reformation or preservation of morality 
among the masses can be the work of the schoolmaster, and 
not of the parents and the priesthood. For their view has 
neither reason nor experience to support it.* 

§ 95. Man’s capacities as a factor of production are 
limited ; he cannot be taught indefinitely or work indefinitely. 
And first, as to learning, after a certain point in technical 
education each fresh lesson gives less and less proportionate 
return till a point is reached beyond which no further teach- 
ing is worth while, and at last a point beyond which nothing 
is possible to be taught. The previous point beyond which 
instruction is indeed possible but not worth while, depends 
for its position on the quality and quantity of the work in 
the given art required from each individual artisan. If a 
man has occasion to make only the rough furniture of a 
cottage or a cabin, it is waste to push his instruction as a 
carpenter and cabinet-maker to the point which would 
enable him to make the furniture for a palace. If a villager 
owned a few sheep and had much else besides them to 
attend to, it would be absurd for him to spend much time in 

* Le Play’s refutation of the illusions on popular instruction {La 
Rdforme sociale, ch. 28 and 47) might be profitably studied by many on 
this side of the Channel. 





I 78 Grotmdwork of Ecotwmics. [§ 95 - 

learning the scientific principles of rearing stock, though 
nothing might be more suitable to the owner or manager of 
many flocks and herds. Only let us not forget that require- 
ments may be bad and social relations bad ; and thus al- 
though for the given workman or his master a given point in 
his proficiency is most profitable, it maybe the wrong point 
for society in general ; moreover, the interests of master and 
workmen may clash. Thus in London vast multitudes buy, 
as the phrase is, cheap goods and nasty, when it would be 
much better for them to get better goods ; many are housed 
in houses that are not built but ‘ run up,’ when it would be 
better for them to live in better houses. The reason for this 
is not now to the point, only the fact, and the consequence 
that for many workmen or their employers any considerable 
technical skill is not worth while : the extra price of good 
work will not pay among other things for the extra cost of 
learning. And the social relations may be such that an em- 
ployer may get more out of bad workmen because more 
dependent than out of good workmen.* Again, there may 
be excess instead of defect in training. To the individual 
French cook or first-hand at a fashionable tailor’s their 
several proficiencies may be indeed profitable. But in a 
healthy society such arts should not be too elaborate, not 
to speak of others iri which there should be no proficiency 
at all. 

Quantity as distinct from quality of work has also limita- 
tions. After a certain point in manual or mental labour each 
fresh exertion brings less proportionate return : the personal 
sacrifice increases rapidly in proportion to the result, till 
at last no more labour is possible ; and long previously it 
would have ceased to be worth while. Physiology and ex- 
perience tell us that a body of men whose working day is 
from ten to twelve hours long may produce more in a year 

* According to Mr. Solly, workmen say that in most ‘ shops’ technical 
skill is not encouraged, employers not wanting well-educated foremen and 
work of high quality, but foremen who will get the most work out of the 
men. And the employers will reply that the alleged extra skill is an 
excuse for dawdling, and that the public is most to blame, looking to 
cheapness rather than quality. Mr. Solly himself says a scientifically 
trained man works quicker, works more accurately, and saves material 
[Fraser’s Magazine, Feb. 1877, pp. 213, 214). 

--ii nmi f m i ' r 

§ 95.] Mail as a Factoi' of Production. 179 

than if their working day was fourteen or fifteen hours long. 
More may be done in the long run (say a generation) by 
those who enjoy the Sunday rest than by those working 
seven days in the week. And perhaps it might be possible 
to find out for each sex and age and employment the exact 
number of working hours a day, and of working days a 
year which would give year after year the greatest return. 
Only let no one suppose that this amount of working time 
is the right one ; for production is for man, not man for pro- 
duction, and habitually the hours of work ought to be fewer 
and the days of rest far more numerous than would be 
assigned according to the aforesaid calculation. Else, al- 
though there would not be physical, there would be moral, 
overwork. Even if we dismiss the view of public welfare 
and consider only individual profit, the results of the calcu- 
lation would only sometimes tally with what was profitable 
to the individual, for example, if a body of workmen were 
permanently attached to a given master. For in many 
cases, as we see daily, the immediate interest, sometimes 
of the employer, sometimes of the workman, sometimes of 
both, leads to physical overwork. But however much this 
excess may be to their interest, the interest of a Christian 
country is to put an end to it. 

Another limitation to production is in the number of pro- 
ducers, which indeed can be artificially increased in a given 
society by bringing in strangers or by making those work 
who worked not before, but otherwise is strictly limited for 
a time by the previous vital statistics of the given society. 
For nature cannot be anticipated, and no sudden increase in 
the number of marriages can have any serious effect on the 
productive power of the society till after the lapse of some 
fifteen years. 

Naturally the productiveness of a man’s labour may be 
much increased by the improvements in the arts spoken of 
in the last chapter or by concerted action to be spoken of 
immediately ; but in neither case indefinitely. Nor can the \ 
limitations be undone which have been described in this I 
section, and the importance of which as a check to indefinite ; 
accumulation of preparatory wealth (so-called growth of ' 
capital) we shall have occasion to see in a subsequent chapter. » 

N 2 


1 8o Groundwork of Economics. [§ 96. 

§ 96. Let us now, still looking on man as an agent of 
production, consider him no longer merely in his individual 
capacity, but as acting in concert with others ; for this is 
characteristic of his labour ; and without some degree of 
concert he could hardly live. So we have to examine con- 
certed, connected or joint labour, or, as it is often called, 
co-operation ; and can do so briefly as others have treated 
of the matter at length. 

A distinction has been made between simple co-operation, 
where several persons help each other in the same employ- 
ment, and complex co-operation or division of labour, 
where several persons help each other in different employ- 
ments. But there is great ambiguity in the term ‘ different 
employments’; and certainly the co-operation of the signal- 
men along a railway to enable a train to pass is more 
complex, although they all have the same employment, than 
that of the engine-driver and of the guard, although these two 
have different employments. It seems best to distinguish 
more than two degrees and kinds of co-operation. The 
simplest is when two men act in concert by doing precisely 
the same operation at the same time in the same place, as 
lifting a stone or pulling a rope. A higher degree of com- 
plexity is when there is any difference in the operation, as 
when one man rows while another steers, or one blows the 
furnace while another heats the iron ; or, again, when there 
is any difference in the time, as when one sentry or relay of 
workmen succeeds another ; or, again, when there is any 
difference in the locality, as when two men are repairing an 
electric cable at the same time but many miles apart. 
More complicated still is the case where the operation, 
the locality of the operators, and the point of time in 
which they do the work are all different ; as when in making 
shirting there is concert between the American cotton 
planter and English cotton-spinner. And, moreover, there 
is a proportionate increase in the complexity of co-operation 
the greater number of persons act in concert (as twenty 
instead of two pulling a rope), and the greater variety of 
their employment (as marines, gunners, and engine-men on 
board ship, instead of only sailors), and the greater diversity 
of their locality (as when cotton is grown in America, 



§ 9 ^> 97 vl Man as a Factor of Production. 181 

manufactured in England, and sold in India, instead of 
being manufactured where it is grown or sold where it is 
manufactured), and the more various and remote the points 
of time at which they work, and finally the more permanent 

the attachment of each to his separate function. 

I 97. The advantages of concerted labour, some more 
some less obvious, can be stated as follows : — (a) Increase 
of mechanical force, so that e.g. heavy weights can be lifted, 
large boats rowed, piles driven in, when none of these works 
could be done by the same number of men each working 
separately, {b) Simultaneous execution of different opera- 
tions which are of use only if done simultaneously, as when 
one man dives for pearls, while several others manage the 
apparatus for supplying him with air and raising him to the 
surface, (c) Extension in space, as keeping in constant 
repair a road, or dyke, or conduit, {d) Compression in 
time, as when something has to be done quickly, as 
extinguishing a fire, or reaping a harvest, or making the 
most of a shoal of fish, {e) Extension in time, enabling a 
work that would suffer by interruption to be carried on 
uninterruptedly, as in a ship at sea. Further, as special 
advantages of permanent separation of employment (or 
division of labour) : (/) Saving in the cost of learning. 

Had a man to learn twenty trades he would be an apprentice 
all his life and never a workman at all. {g) Increase in 
dexterity through attention to one or few things. Practice 
makes perfect ; to work at many things is not to work well 
at anything ; “ skilful in every work no mortal man can be ” 
( 7 /zW, 23, 670, 671). (//) Utilization of varieties of capacity. 

“ Different parts of the same series of operations require 
unequal degrees of skill and bodily strength ; and those 
who have skill enough for the most difficult, or strength 
enough for the hardest part of the labour, are made much 
more useful by being employed solely in them ; the opera- 
tions which everybody is capable of being left to those who 
are fit for no others.” (Mill, Potit. Econ. I. viii. § 5.) And 
not merely inequalities, but also varieties of capacity can 
be utilized, and speed, agility, muscular strength, great 
stature, good memory, quick intelligence, presence of mind, 
and other bodily or mental qualities can receive each its 




182 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 97 

appropriate employment. (y) Great saving of waste 
(maximum utilization) of labour and means of production. 
This saving is possible because the same act or same 
instrument requisite for a single useful result may be 
sufficient for a great number. If fifty Alpine villagers, each 
owning a cow, acted without concert, fifty cowherds would 
be needed in summer on the mountain pastures ; by division 
of labour one or two cowherds are sufficient. And what 
waste if every house in the village had the implements of 
the carpenter, the blacksmith, and the surgeon. Still more 
if every weaver in Lancashire had a cotton mill all to 
himself. The odds and ends (waste substances, refuse) of a 
multitude of separate petty workshops may be wasted, 
because it would be too troublesome to collect them. But 
if by concert the separated workshops are united, it is 
scarcely more troublesome to collect the plentiful refuse of 
the aggregation than previously to collect the scanty refuse 
of any single workshop ; and immensely more profitable. 
“The same exertions,” says Senior {Polit. Econ. ed. 1850, 
p. 74), “ which are necessary to send a single letter from 
Falmouth to New York are sufficient to forward fifty, and 
nearly the same exertions will forward 10,000. If every 
man were to effect the transmission of his own correspon- 
dence, the whole life of an eminent merchant might be 
passed in travelling, without his being able to deliver all the 
letters which the Post Office forwards for him in a single 
evening.” {k) Industrial enterprises of which the reward 
is more or less distant, are greatly facilitated if by concert 
it is arranged that one set of persons attend to them 
exclusively and uninterruptedly, and are supported by 
another set who can wait for their repayment till the 
enterprise is completed ; for example, till the palace is 
ready for habitation, the great ship fit for sea, the canal or 
railway open for traffic. (/) Increase in the power of using 
local advantages. Of course a single and separate family 
can pay regard within its domain to what soil and position 
are fittest or least unfit for the several crops which are 
indispensable to it. But by division of labour it becomes 
possible for each district to attend specially to that branch 
of production wherein it has special advantages. Thus 

others to breeding cattle, others to brickmaking, and the 
special advantages of certain towns for certain industries, as 
of Burton for brewing and Sheffield for steel grinding, can be 
turned to the general advantage, instead of being confined 
to the inhabitants of those towns. And this is the founda- 
tion of all trade between different localities. (;«) Certain 
minor or disputable advantages, such as emulation excited 
by working together, inventions fostered by undivided atten- 
tion to one pursuit, and time saved that else would be lost 
in shifting from one to another, can be passed by. 

§ 98. The advantages of division of labour have led some 
writers into mischievous exaggeration. In a famous passage 
the sophist Bastiat iyHarnionies econo 7 nigiies, ch. i.) describes 
what a village carpenter receives from society compared 
with what he gives, and triumphantly shews that “ in a single 
day he consumes things which he could not produce himself 
in ten centuries.” And Adam Smith, in an equally famous 
passage (copied, indeed, according to Marx, from Mande- 
ville), concluding the first chapter of the Wealth of Natiotis^ 
describes how the assistance and co-operation of many thou- 
sands of persons is required even for the frugal accommoda- 
tion of the commonest artificer in a civilized country. But 
both passages are sophistical, because they lead us to think 

that the material welfare of the lower classes depends on 

technical contrivances and skill rather than on a good 
economical constitution. In reality there is no security 
that the ‘ accommodation ’ of an artificer may not be most 

I miserable, though ten thousand men have acted in concert 

for his supply. What consolation is it to the wretched 
tailors and needlewomen of the East of London that their 
insufficient food, their scanty and hideous clothing and 
furniture, are drawn from the ends of the earth, the wheat 
from California, the tea frotn China, the sugar from the 
West Indies, the cotton from Virginia, the wool from New 
South Wales, the indigo from Bengal, the wood from 
Norway } There may be a technical triumph, but there is 
I certainly an economical failure ; for the material foundation 

I of a good home-life is wanting. Conversely, is it felt as 




1 84 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 98, 99 

any calamity by the Swedish peasant proprietors that the 
bulk of their substantial food, rye bread, potatoes, porridge 
I (of rye, barley, or oatmeal), cheese, milk, and salt meat, and 
! their warm and serviceable homespun dress of woollen and 
linen,* all come from close at hand, and are the work of 
but some dozen or score of co-operators ? As though it 
mattered to a man whether half the world had had a hand 
in making his coat if the coat was none the better, and he 
none the better able to procure it ! 

§ 99. But not merely is division of labour of itself no 
security for even material well-being ; but also there are 
certain evils connected with it and certain limits to its 
application, which need attention. And first as to the evils. 
Exclusive employment at some single operation may injure 
the body, inducing disease, or weakness, or deformity, 
which might have been avoided or lessened by variation of 
employment. Thus if the cutlers of Sheffield worked at 
cutlery only a week at a time, and were employed every 
alternate week as market gardeners, porters, or labourers in 
the building trades, their health and strength would, I sup- 
pose, be much bettered. But although this evil is a serious 
one, we must not imagine that the whole branch of medicine 
known as industrial pathology is the result of division of 
labour. This would be as unreasonable as to charge 
machinery with all the physical evils which as a fact have 
accompanied its employment {stip. § 81). For, though it is 
true that some trades or branches of trades are unfit to be 
the exclusive occupation of any one, whatever precautions 
are taken,f still in the main the special diseases of each 
trade can be removed or lessened by fit precautions, as 
moderate length of the working day, sufficient pauses during 
the time of work, meals only outside the workshop, use of 
baths and of special clothing for the work, sufficient supply 
of air and light, use of fans to blow away the dust, employ- 

* See Mr. Gosling’s Report, Parliamentary Papers, 1870, vol. Ixviii. 
pt. 2, p. 353. 

t Perhaps smelting copper, grinding steel, manufacturing chemicals, 
dipping lucifer matches, scouring pottery, and cutting glass, are occupa- 
tions of this character. See Bevan, Industrial Classes, I. pp. 58, 85, 125, 
126, 135, 136, 148, 177. 

^ 99.] Man as a Factor of Production. 185 

; ment of no children till over a certain age, and then only 

when a doctor has certified that the given child is not 
specially liable to the special diseases of the given employ- 
ment,* and so forth. And it seems a much more practical 
aim to seek to get these precautions enforced, than to seek 
to give to each workman a variety of occupations. 

A second evil attached to some sorts of division of labour 
is of a negative kind. When a man’s trade is to perform 
I some simple, almost mechanical operation, it cannot serve as 

I an exercise for his artistic and reasoning faculties ; and his 

I mental cultivation must be reserved for the time when he is ¥ 

) not at work. Of this evil I have already spoken in con- 

) nection with the introduction of machinery {sup. § 81), and 

- it is enough to add that although a real evil, yet to those 

who understand man’s position on earth it ought not to 
appear a very serious one ; for it neither hinders a good 
physical nor a good moral life. And as I have already 
condemned the optimists, so now the pessimists in regard to 
' division of labour. It is noticeable that Adam Smith 

appears in both characters, and if the passage in the first 
book of the Wealth of Nations, referred to previously, is 
extravagant, still more so is that in the last book (Chap. I. 

Part 3, Art. 2, pp. 350, 351, ed. McCulloch), where, following 
Ferguson, he declaims on the torpor and degradation of 
those whose occupation gives them no occasion for exercis- 
ing their understanding. And perhaps he is right according 
to his own principles ; only his principles are wrong (t/fi/. 
sup. § 38, point ‘ /’). 

As another evil is sometimes reckoned the increase of 
mutual dependence which results from division of labour ; 
and laments are raised over a workman being a mere 
accessory, able to make nothing, only to contribute towards 
the making. But I cannot see that such dependence is in 
i ^ itself an evil, or that mutual independence is in itself a 

good ; and it seems more correct and intelligible to say that 
^ among the many kinds of dependence which result from 


* A medical e.\amination of children and young persons, before being | 
employed, is required by the Danish Factoiy Act of May, 1873. See, in the 
Chris tlich-soeiale Blatter, 1879, P- an interesting summary of Dr. L. 

* Hirt’s recent lesser work on the prevention of workmen’s diseases. 

1 86 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 99> lOO. 

division of labour some, but only some, are injurious. And 
further, unless the evils connected with the dependence can 
only be removed by diminishing the separation of employ- 
ment, we cannot say that this separation is to blame for the 
evil. For example, the dependence of Londoners for their 
water supply upon some half-dozen almost irresponsible 
joint-stock companies is an evil which indeed pre-supposes 
but is not the fault of separation of employment ; for the 
remedy is not in every house or street supplying itself 
independently, but in a change or reformation in the owner- 
ship of the waterworks. On the other hand, the dependence 
of a country with a large foreign trade on the political 
circumstances of other countries for much of its own 
material prosperity is an evil that can be charged to the 
separation of employments and can only be removed by 
diminishing the separation, that is, in this case, by diminish- 
ing foreign trade and increasing its own self-sufficiency. 
Whether it ought to do so is another matter ; but even if 
the benefit from foreign trade always outweighed this draw- 
back, it would not alter the fact that there was a drawback 
to be outweighed. 

The foregoing concerns division of labour in matters 
economical. Into the discussion of division of labour in the 
several realms of politics, literature, science, and art, as the 
thorny questions of standing armies and bureaucracy, or the 
mean between narrow specialists and shallow smatterers, I 
need not now at least enter. 

§ too. Division of labour cannot proceed indefinitely, but 
is liable to several limitations. Obviously, if there are fewer 
men than operations, the same man must undertake several. 
Obviously, too, the separate employments cannot be more 
numerous than the separate technical processes in each 
branch of industry. Further, if each worker is to be fully 
employed, no greater number can be exclusively employed 
on a given commodity than enough to produce the quantity 
of it then and there required. Thus, to use the old illustra- 
tion, if 48,000 pins a day were all that were required and 
could be disposed of in a given place, and if ten men could 
make them, pin-making could not profitably be divided into 
more than ten separate and exclusive occupations. In Adam 

§ 100 , 1 01 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 187 

Smith’s time the technical process of pin-making allowed at 
least eighteen separate occupations ; but in the case we are 
supposing, if each of these had been assigned to a separate 
workman as his exclusive employment, eighteen men would 
have been engaged in work for which ten were sufficient, and 
thus would have been idle nearly the half of every day. This 
is what is meant when it is said that the division of labour is 
limited by the extent of the market. {Cf. the analogous limita- 
tion to the increase of intensity, sup. § 72, and to the elabora- 
tion of training, sup. | 95.) Further, if the whole or any 
separate process of an industry is not continuous but only 
at intervals, like ploughing, sowing, or reaping in England, 
each uncontinuous even on the largest estates ; or like build- 
ing suspended during the winter in Russia 5 the industry or 
process is unfit to be any one’s exclusive occupation ; for he 
will be idle much of his time. Finally, as division of labour, 
like all kinds of concerted labour, requires certain order and 
concord and trust, the absence or insufficiency of these may 
put a bar to its existence or extension. Co-operation cannot 
be very complicated among savages who are not amenable 
to discipline ; who will not adhere to plans concerted before- 
hand, and whose individual caprice prevents them performing 
each his allotted part in a combined undertaking (Mill, Polit. 
Econ. IV. i. § 2). And similar in its effects to this want of 
self-control may be certain forms of short-sighted dishonesty, 
which may altogether put a stop to trade and to any con- 
siderable co-operation {cf. ibid. I. vii. | 5 )> or at least 
entail a serious outlay on measures of precaution. (On 
this see inf. | 104.) Only let no one suppose that elaborate 
concert and extreme division of labour are tokens of a high 
condition of honesty and morality ; they are only tokens that 
rude and uncontrolled dishonesty are not prevalent. Because 
a country has not got the vices of savages, are we to say that 
it has no vices } It would be as reasonable to denounce co- 
operation as the cause of the bulk of dishonest actions in the 
England of to-day, because, were it not for the opportunity 
afforded by the prevailing system of concerted action, the 

bulk of them would not be committed. 

§ loi. Illustrations have often been given of how the 
enlargement of the market enables increase in separation of 

i88 Groundwork of Economics. g lOi. 

employment, and the rural village with one shop for all 
goods, and one practitioner for all complaints, contrasted 
with the large town where through the abundance of cus- 
tomers there can be establishments exclusively devoted to 
some single article, as tea or tobacco, music or toys, and 
where the dentist, oculist, aurist, and surgeon (not to say the 
chemist and the barber) are distinct from the physician.* 
Here I wish rather to illustrate how technical progress has 
sometimes lessened the number of separate employments. 
Thus in pin-making the distinct operations v\ Inch in Adam 
Smith’s time numbered about eighteen, have shrunk up to two 
or three. “ Previous to 1824,” Mr. Bevan tells us {hidustrial 
Classes, I. p. 91), “it took fourteen persons to make a pin ; but 
by the production of tlie Wright pin machine in that year, the 
services of all but two or three were dispensed with, for this 
machine produced a perfect pin ; and even the pointing, 
which was formerly done by hand, is now mechanically per- 
formed.” Again, “ not many years ago ... . the production 
of a gun was distributed over fifty individuals ; but to a great 
extent this has been altered by the introduction of automatic 
machinery, by which all the various and complicated parts of 
a gun are rendered interchangeable.” {Ibid. p. 98.)f Mr. Cliffe 
Leslie has noticed {Fortfiighdy Review, January, 1879, P- 44)» 
in contrast to the movement towards ‘differentiation of 
functions ’ in the industrial world a generation ago, some 
marked tendencies to amalgamation now. ‘‘Joint-stock 
companies have almost effaced all real division of labour in 
the wide region of trade within their operation. Improve- 
ments in communication are fast eliminating intermediate 
trades between producers and consumers in international 
commerce ; and the accumulation and combination of 
capital, and new methods of business, are working the same 
result in wholesale and retail dealing at home. Many of the 
things for sale in a village huckster’s shop were formerly the 
subjects of distinct branches of business in a large town ; 

* See Roscher, Nationalokonomie, § 60, 61, for many illustrations 
Mill, Princ. of Polit. Econ. bk. i. ch. viii. § 6. 

t Other examples are given by Marx, who lavs stress on the effect of 

machinery in lessening division of labour {Das Kabital, pp, 481-48^ 
2nd edit.). t ^ s, 

§ 101, 102.] Man as a Factor of Production. 


now the wares in which scores of different retailers dealt, are 
all to be had in great establishments in New York, Paris, and 
London, which sometimes buy direct from the producers, 
thus also eliminating the wholesale dealer.” Only we must 
not exaggerate. For division of labour may not so much be 
lessened as changed in form : in place of a dozen petty 
shopkeepers, each with a separate business, there may be now 
a dozen different shopmen each confined to a separate 
department in some great establishment ; in place of separate 
merchants on their own account may come separate agents 
of a joint-stock company or ‘ co-operative association ; 
and though progress in mechanics and chemistry may merge 
together a multitude of once separate trades and require the 
heads of industry to have wide information and versatility 
{vid. sup. § 77), the working hands may still, by the introduc- 
tion of new arts and new functions, be distributed among as 
many separate employments as before. 

§ 102. From concert let us now turn to discord, and glance 
at men not helping but hindering each other in the produc- 
tion or the preservation of wealth. And first let us look to 
wilful destruction and damage as distinct from the ravages 
of nature {vid. sup. § 66), and also from the unintentional 
injury of the earth by man {vid. sup. | 82-84). Intentional 
destruction can be private or public ; it can be private, as 
scuttling a ship to profit by the insurance, setting fire to the 
crops, or ricks, or house of an obnoxious neighbour, or to the 
factory of an unpopular employer, breaking machinery that is 
thought to be injurious to the workpeople, pulling down 
cottages to clear an estate, or workmen’s tenements in a town 
to make room for warehouses or mansions : it can be public, 
as pulling down houses to make a new thoroughfare or rail- 
way, breaking the machinery of coiners, and false weights 
and measures, and, above all, the destruction in foreign or 
civil war, a destruction by no means confined to the ravages 
of the enemy, but often a measure of self-defence, as when a 
country is wasted before the defenders retreat from it. 

If we are to be at all clear in our notions on the econo- 
mical effects of war, we must distinguish between different 
sorts of war and different sorts of places ; and also between 
the direct and the indirect effects. Thus in the wars of the 

1 90 Groimdivork of Economics. [§ 102 . 

Roses, and in some of the Italian campaigns in the fifteenth 
century, in the Crimean war of 1855, and that in Lombardy 
in 1859, the combatants sought to spare not to destroy pro- 
perty, unlike the civil war in America,* and still more unlike 
the desolating inroads of Norsemen or Turks. And then 
destruction by war can be far worse where cultivation is 
intense than where there is little intensity ; for there will be 
far more to destroy. “ To make a temporary sacrifice of the 
country so as to save the people and the State, as the 
Scythians did against Darius, the Athenians against Xerxes, 
and the Russians against Napoleon, becomes harder the 
better stocked the country is with durable wealth.” (Roscher, 
Nationalok. § 44.) A land of artificial irrigation (like much 

* The following statistics from a notice in The Times of Mr. F. A. 
Walker’s official compilation, although the absolute totals may be incor- 
rect, aie, I expect, sufficiently accurate for judging the relative growth or 
decline of wealth in the various States of the Union ; and if so, give an 
idea of how the Southern States (the seat of war) suffered. The total 
real and personal estate’ rose from 16,159 rnillion dollars in i860 to 
30,068 in 1870, that is nearly doubled. But this increase was confined to 
the North and the West, and indeed was there more than double, for in 
the South was a great decrease, as follows ; — 

Name of State. 

Real and Personal Estate in million dollars 

in i860. 

in 1S70. 


• 495 




. 219 


Florida . 



Georgia . 

. 645 



. 666 



. 602 



. 607 

20 Q 

North Carolina 

. 358 



South Carolina 

. 548 



• 493 



• 365 


Virginia . 

• -793 


Total 5,864 


Total without Kentucky and 


- • • • 4,705 


Although possibly a large deduction may have to be made from the first 
row of figures if slaves are reckoned in the money valuation of property 
for i860, there would still remain an immense decrease. 

^ 102 .] Man as a Factor of Production. 19 1 

of India), or where tree-culture is of primary importance 
(like parts of Italy and Greece), is peculiarly exposed to 
temporary ruin. Then, besides the variations of damage, we 
must consider also the loss of life, which by no means cor- 
responds with the damage ; for it may be great when this is 
small, as the Russian losses in the Crimean war ; or con- 
versely, as the almost bloodless but destructive ravaging of 
Attica at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. We 
must, therefore, learn the special character of a war before we 
can estimate its effects. If the loss of life is small and the 
destruction of property though considerable is mainly of 
transient commodities (as annual crops, stores of food, fodder, 
and fuel, materials of manufactures) and of those durable 
ones of which the duration is but brief and which are easily 
replaceable (as pigs and poultry, stocks of clothing and 
bedding), there may be temporary pinching and privation, 
but in a few years all may be as it would have been had there 
been no war, the only difference being that a certain amount 
of wealth which would then have been consumed by the 
inhabitants, has instead been partly destroyed, partly con- 
sumed by the enemy. (Mill, Polit. Econ. I., v., § 7 -*) 
where either the loss of life has been heavy or there has been 
great destruction of wealth that is not merely durable, but 
very durable (as fruit trees and wells, bridges and aqueducts, 
farm buildings and workshops), then it will take many years 
and if the two evils are combined, many decades of years, 
for a country to recover, as France after the English wars in 
the fifteenth century, and Germanyafter the Thirty Years’ War. 
And thus war can be like an earthquake in its fearful injury 
to the land and the people ; and worse, from being far wider 
spread and far more continuous than any earthquakes yet 
known (Hearn, Plntotogy, ch. xxiv. § 4). 

* Analogous is the case of a failure of crops where there are good 
precautions, as once in India the local storage of grain, in view of such 
failure. The population could live from the store, and when the fresh 
crops came in continue on short commons till what they had taken from 
it had been replaced ; and then all would be as before. In the case 
where the transient wealth of the inhabitants was so completely destroyed 
or consumed by the enemy as to induce a famine, this would be like a 
failure of crops where, as in modern India, good precautions were not 

TQ2 Givundwork of Economics. [§ 103. 

§ 103. We have yet to speak of the indirect effects of war 
upon production, notably the effect of the immense ex- 
penditure on the army in time of peace as well as in time of 
war, and the withdrawal of so many men from industry. But 
here we soon come into the region of the conjectural. In some 
cases, no doubt, it can be shewn that a country declining in 
wealth or population is declining because of war taxes and 
military service ; but sometimes other causes of decline may 
be present upsetting our reasoning, and if there is advance in 
wealth and population, I can only see guesswork before us. 
Thus I do not see how it can be proved that modern France 
and Germany would grow more rapidly in wealth or popula- 
tion if their military expenditure were lessened. They 
might ; but also the)’^ might merely change their net ex- 
penditure, not diminish it ; and consume more wine and less 

gunpowder. Or they might work less hard, and so have less 
to consume. 

I will not attempt to enter on the further question of the 
effects of war upon the distribution of wealth among 
different nations and different classes or upon economical 
constitutions, except to notice the uncertainty of our 
speculations. Thus the wars of the Roses were perhaps the 
cause of a great subsequent impoverishment of England, 
by cutting off the ancient nobility and bringing in new 
landlords, who unscrupulously turned arable land into pas- 
ture. The Crimean war, if it led to the so-called ‘ emanci- 
pation of the serfs,’ may have affected the production of 
wealth far more by this indirect result than by the direct 
loss of blood and treasure. A war may on the other hand 
be the deliverance of a really oppressed class, and in many 
other ways indirectly benefit production. It may put an end 
to a tyranny or anarchy which had been paralysing industry, 
as when Greece (assuming the current account to be true) 
was set free from the Turkish rule ; it may give cohesion to 
a distracted country, as may be seen by comparing Mexico 
before and after the attempt to place a foreign ruler over it ; 
and in general a foreign war may be the preventive of far 
worse civil war. And, finally, we must of course remember 
the two truths, first, that national justice and welfare are 
what are to be directly looked to if a war is to be justified. 

§ 103, 104.] Man as a Factor of Pi'oduction. 193 

and wealth and production only indirectly ; secondly, that 
successful w'ar has been several times and most conspicuously 
the foundation, I do not say of national welfare, but of 
national wealth, witness the Roman republic gorged with 
the spoils and tribute of vanquished Macedonia and Asia ; 
the Italian mediaeval republics raised to greatness by the 
Crusades; Holland becoming the great capitalist among 
the States of Europe during and because of its struggle 
with Spain ; England building up its commercial greatness 
not before but after and on the strength of an intoxicating 
course of victory by land and sea, from one end of the 
world to the other ; the United States acquiring their finest 
provinces and the silver and gold of Nevada and California 
by a plain and simple war of conquest. 

§ 104. But let us turn from war and look to some of the 
other ways in which production is lessened by the vices 
and weaknesses of men. Here come those accidents due to 
carelessness or stupidity, and resulting in destruction or 
damage to property and death or injury to persons, and 
varying from trifles, like a child tearing its frock or a 
.servant breaking a dish, to a fatal railw^ay accident, or a 
collision at sea, or an explosion in a mine. Only trifles may 
grow important by their multitude ; and perhaps more 
property is annually destroyed or damaged in England by 
the carelessness of domestic servants than by all the accidents 
combined on the railways and roads, in the factories and 


Considerable waste may also come from mistakes in 
production, whether these come from pardonable miscalcu- 
lations, or from rashness, pride or stupidity. “ If a farmer 
persists in ploughing with three horses and two men, when 
experience has shewn that two horses and one man are 
sufficient, the surplus labour .... is wasted. If a new 
process is adopted which proves no better, or not so good 
as those before in use, the labour expended in perfecting 
the invention and carrying it into practice .... is wasted. 
(Mill, Princ. of Pol. Econ. Bk. I. Ch. iii. § 4.) Conversely 
there is great loss in making machinery which is scarce in 
use before it is superseded by some new invention. Means 
of communication (bridges, roads, railways, canals) may be 


§ I04-] Man as a Factor' of Production. 195 

terated with gelatinous substances, cotton goods weighted 
with ‘size/ woollen garments that will quickly come to 
pieces, gimcrack furniture that will stand no wear, flimsy 
and fraudulent houses that begin to decay almost before 
they are completed, and require endless outlay on repairs. 
Consider also the amount of property used simply for pre- 
caution, the locks and keys, bolts and bars, safes and shutters, 
walls, partitions, palings, watch-dogs. {Cf. Mill, Polit. Econ. 
Bk. I. Ch. vii. § 5.) 

Finally, since the mind can help the body, and since a 
man when his heart is in his work can do it with much 
less expenditure of vital energy than when he has to 
struggle against his disinclination, it is plain that even 
when we are looking not at social welfare but merely at 
productive capacity, it is desirable that labour should be 
joyful, and that discontent and repugnance to labour, like 
violence, carelessness, or dishonesty, are a drain on the pro- 
ductive power of a nation. And thus all doctrines and all 
social relations, which by their very nature are likely to 
injure contentment and willingness to work, stand self-con- 

made and scarce any traffic may be forthcoming, theatres 
built and no audience to fill them, houses and no tenants 
to occupy them ; and vast quantities of goods bought in 
order to be sold may be spoiled for want of purchasers.* 
A change of plan or purpose may render useless much 
previous outlay, as altering the shape of a house or the 
gauge of a railway already constructed. Again, there can 
be great waste of fuel and provisions by badly constructed 
fire places and cooking apparatus, or by bad management ; 
and much may be thrown away which ought to be utilized. 
In which matters England has much to learn from Europe, 
and Europe from China. 

Further, there is a great loss through the various forms 
of dishonesty. Naturally the mere transfer of wealth from 
one person to another is not in itself a loss ; but there 
may be a great waste of labour or property to effect this 
transfer. In the army of burglars and pickpockets, of 
swindlers and usurers, some may work as hard as mechanics 
or sailors, and much more profitably to themselves ; but 
their labour is utterly thrown away. Hours and hours are 
wasted in the toilsome work of deluding and overreaching 
purchasers, as by the Armenian traders in Turkey, or by 
retail dealers or the agents of wholesnlp dpalf-rc • 

§ 105 , io6.] Industrial Dimensions. i97 

is usual in the locality (farmed as highly as by most of the 

If, then, by a business we mean any connected series of 
industrial operations with a given capital and under the 
direction of a single person or body, and by a farm we 
mean the capital (fixed and circulating, land and cattle, 
buildings and crops, ploughs and seed-corn) of an agricultural 
business, we can make the following distinctions. A large 
farm is one of which the mere direction or management 
fully occupies an educated man, one of the higher class. 
If it is so large that others of the same class must help 
him in the management, it can be called a domain (Herr- 
schaft). A middle-sized farm is one of which the direction 
does not wholly occupy the farmer, who has time to do 
some of the rougher and manual work, and who by his 
education and position is not above doing it, though most 
is done by his subordinates. A small farm is one which 
in the main is cultivated exclusively by the farmer himself 
and his family, and fully occupies them. If their land 
only partly occupies them it is not to be called a small farm, 
but a parcel. Naturally we must not confuse farms with 
estates, the capital of a given business with the property of 
a given individual. “ One large farmer may take on lease the 

Groundwork of Economics, 



Meaning of a Large and of a Small Business, § 105, 106 — Nature of 
Grand Industry and Limitation to its Advantages, § 107 — Nature of 
Petty Industry and Limitation to its Advantages, § loS — Dimen- 
sions in Agriculture and Cattle Breeding (Large versus Small 
Farms) : Technical and Economical Comparison, § 109-111 — 
Dimensions in Forestry and Mining, § 112 — Dimensions in Fish- 
ing, § 1 13 — Dimensions in Manufactures (Factories versus Petty 
Workshops and House Industry), § 114, 115 — Dimensions in Trans- 
port, § 1 16 — Dimensions in Commerce (Large versus Small Traders ; 
Shopkeepers versus Co-operative Stores in Retail Trade), § 1 17, 1 18. 

§ 105. From the preceding chapters it is plain that not 
every scale on which production can be conducted is equally 
advantageous, nor every locality equally fitted for every 
kind of production. Before, then, we come to consider the 
enjoyment of wealth, let us examine in the present chapter 
the fit scale of industry, and the fit locality in the next. 

The question of the scale or size of industry has been con- 
sidered of primary importance, and has occasioned endless 
discussions, in which the several champions of large and 
small farms, of machinery and hand work, of stores and 
retail trade, have argued and predicted, often with more 
passion than logic. We must proceed, then, with no little 
caution ; and at the outset let us ask what we mean by 
industry on a large or a small scale. Following Roscher, 
who in the fourth chapter of his Ackerbau treats the question 
of size in farming with great clearness and impartiality, 
let us say that economical measurement is not geometrical, 
and that whether we are to call a farm large or small is to 
•be decided by the social position of the farmer, and by the 
produce of the land when farmed with as much intensity as 

198 Grotmdwork of Economics. 106. 

single family. We can thus distinguish between the 
manager of immense smelting works, his smaller rival, and 
the village blacksmith ; or, again, between the manager of a 
line of steam packets, the captain-owner of a tug or of an 
excursion steamer, and the humble ferry-man with punt and 
pole. Moreover, those vast industrial enterprises like rail- 
ways, of which the mere direction is more than any single 
man can undertake, are like domains in agriculture ; while 
an analogy to the cultivation of parcels is to be seen when 
those small businesses — bye industries — are carried on, which 
only occupy a portion of the time and contribute a portion 
towards the support of a family, as wool-weaving among 
the peasants of French Flanders, wood-carving among those 
of the Black Forest, and window cleaning for men, house 
cleaning for women among the poorer Londoners. Finally, 
just as in agriculture we have to distinguish farms from 
estates, the units of production from the units of possession, 
so in other industries, the capital of one business may belong 
to several persons, or the capital of several businesses to 
one person. Thus in England each railway, though one 
business, is owned by a multitude of shareholders, and a 
large fishing vessel is often the property of several part- 
owners; while, conversely, a great portion of the capital of a 
number of small businesses is sometimes owned by one per- 
son, if he lets out sewing machines to petty dressmakers, or 
carts and barrows to costermongers, or nets and boats to 
petty fishermen. 

Perhaps now what is meant by size in industry is clear 
enough for the purpose. But I wish it were clearer ; though 

§ 106, 107.] Industrial Dimensions. 199 

they are to be called large or small is not immediately 
evident. For example, the first processes in making some 
commodity are sometimes performed in a factory, and then 
some further processes are done in their own homes by work- 
people who are paid by the piece. So a shirt factory in 
Londonderry, accordinsr to a Report published in 1864, em- 
ployed 1,000 factory workers and 9,000 domestic workers 
scattered in the country (Marx, Das Kapital, p. 484). In 
Ivondon bootmaking is often done in this way for large or 
middle-sized shops ; the shoemaker in his own home and 
with his own tools works on the leather or boots which he 
receives, and on returning them is paid so much by the 
piece. Similarly at Lyons and Crefeld the silk weaving is 
mostly done at home by small masters ; but the material all 
the while belongs to the manufacturer, who supplies the silk 
ready for weaving and receives it back when it is woven 
(Roscher Ansichten der VolksivirthscJiaft, II. pp. 15I) 152. 
ed.) Sometimes, on the other hand, the material is the pro- 
perty of the workman and the produce of his work is sold to 
middle-men or to the agents of dealers or manufacturers ; so 
that his labour is rewarded in the shape, not of wages by the 
piece, but of the proceeds of a sale. Thus some of the 
Welsh small farmers weave the wool they have bought or 
have got from their own sheep, and sell the woollen cloth to 
Shrewsbury merchants ; and the better off among the Birm- 
ingham hardware master workmen work on their own raw 
material which they have bought {Ibid. pp. I 39 ~I 5 S)* Such 
workers may be said to carry on each a separate and petty 
business ; and so, too, even those others afore- mentioned who 
work on materials not their own. But if in their workrooms 
they are frequently supervised and directed, then indeed they 
can hardly be called masters or be said to carry on a sepa- 
rate business. 

But it is of less matter what name we give to any class 
of producers or to any group of owners and workmen, if 
only we understand their mutual relations and their real 
position in the social body. 

I 107. The advantages which may be gained by carrying 
on any business on a large scale can perhaps be summed up 
by saying that greater concert is possible, and therefore the 

200 Groztndiuork of Economics. [§ 1 07 . 

advantages given in § 97 can be got to a greater degree 
the larger the business. For example, there can be greater 
separation between direction and execution ; the director, 
head, or manager of the business may have a scientific 
training, otherwise impossible ; and a man fit to direct or 
perform any higher function has not to spend much of his 
time in what an inferior could do as well. Again, the advan- 
tage (marked as j) of labour and the means of production 
being turned to most account is a conspicuous advantage 
of production on a large scale. To enclose a square space 
containing 400 square yards requires a wall 80 yards lono-. 
To enclose an equal amount of ground in four separate 
squares requires a wall of double the length. A workshop for 
twenty men or shed for twenty cows need not be ten times as 
long, broad and high, as a workshop or shed for two and 
will not cost ten times as much. To smelt a given amount 
of iron a few large furnaces cost far less to construct than a 
multitude of small ones, and consume far less fuel. But 
there are limitations to the advantage of enlargement. ' Some 
arc those already noticed as restricting separation of employ- 
ment (§ 100). If each separate process is done by separate 
persons, the mere increase of workers in each department 
will of itself bring no increase in their skill or decrease in the 
cost of their education. And when the practical direction of 
the business grows more than a single head can manage, the 
time has come in many cases for the growth to cease, as a 
plurality of heads outweighs the gain that else would come 
from increased dimensions. Sometimes, indeed, two or even 
three heads are better than one. Sometimes no injury comes 
from a still more numerous body of practical directors But 
m time in every business comes a point when it grows too 
big to be properly managed. Inventions like the telegraph 
or telephone, and accelerated transport of persons and letters 
may widen but cannot remove the limits of management 
Again, as is obvious, a large business implies a (compara 
tively) large market. If a maker of agricultural implements 
has only one village for his customer, he can only produce 
on a small scale. Another class of limitations are those set 
by the physical world. We cannot build up to any height 
or bridge over any space, or control any degree of force 

§ 107 , 108 .] Indiistrial Dimensions. 201 

Inorganic matter cannot be bound together indefinitely: what 

is too big will tumble to pieces. 

Thus we can say that in every business there is a point 

beyond which enlargement means lessened advantage ; and 
if it is passed we can say that the business sua mole laborans 
deserves to be called a monster business {Monstre-Betrieb. cf. 
Schaffle, N atmialbkonomie, § 264, 3rd ed.). 

§ 108. Let us now look at some of the general advantages 
of business on a small scale, {a) The human body does not 
become stronger and taller as a business grows, and small 
implements are easier to handle and move than large ones. 
if) External nature also sometimes puts a bar to large 
implements | as when ports can only be entered or rivers 
navigated by small craft, or when a mountain can only be 
traversed on foot or by mules, or when some natural produce 
is so scattered (as often pearls and fish) that no connected 
work is possible and little or no more can be got in any one 
spot by many men with large implements than by few men 
with small implements, (c) Further, a great saving may be 
secured in the costs of transport. If it is relatively cheaper 
to carry to market five pounds worth of farm produce than 
five shillings’ worth, it is still cheaper, as far as the cost of 
carriage is concerned, not to go to market at all, and to con- 
sume all the produce at home. If to send to a large cus- 
tomer is relatively cheaper than to send to a small one, it is 
cheapest of all when the customers are fellow villagers and 
no sending is required at all. And the smaller the farm the 
shorter the space to be traversed in carrying in crops and 
carrying out manure. {,d) Again, if a workshop for fifty men 
is relatively cheaper to build than one for five men, it may 
be cheapest of all to have no separate workshop at all, as 
when a man’s house serves as his workshop, {e) Similarly, 
though it may be an advantage for a business to be so large 
that to keep the accounts may form a separate department 
und^r specially trained clerks, it is a still more obvious ad- 
vantage for a business to be so small and simple that no 
accounts, or only the roughest, need be kept at all. (/) A 
different kind of advantage can perhaps be ‘ called artistic 
individuality : works of art cannot be produced en masse ; 
and the fancy of the workman has more room for its exercise 



Groundwork of E, 

when he works with his own h 
Further, since the fewer the pers 
the larger is the average share 
is a presumption that those en 
will be r-- 

work than in a large one. So 
property’ almost con' ;; 
other hand, of the idleness 
Finally, as a r- 

this further one, that in 
saving in the cost of 

precautions against bad work 
dispensed with 
But just as there 

and below a certain 
any fresh diminution 

worked by a number of small boats than 
Make the small boats still 
by the first storm, 
when the Indian v 
village potter, but there would 
of) in these costs if three 
took his place, 
exclusively by the 
more w 

ged m any business 

in the returns, there 

la small business 
more contented and diligent and careful in their 

we speak of the ^ magic of 
verting work into play, and on the 

j and negligence of hirelings, Ui) 

consequence of the last-named advantage is 
petty industry there is a presumable 
superintendence, and the expensive 

— or idling {sup.% 104) can be 
in part or altogether. 

.ni-r.fl ' ye limitations to the advantages of 
to those of diminishing the size of a business • 

point there is loss rather than gain by 
t hus a fishery may be much better 

-1 by a few large ones, 
smaller and they will be all sunk 
there is saving in the costs of carriage 
1 lasers are the only customers of the 

1 be no further saving (to speak 

separate and independent 
I he labour on a farm of ten , 

owner and his household is 
ilhng and more careful than that 
acres : but if the little farm 
each parcel is unlikely to give 
it got before, and from being obliged 
as well, if he is to get a livi 
And thus as the 
say that one which 
comes from its 1 
business {Zwerg-Betrieb). 

§ 109. From the two 
looking simply at technical 
not at welfare, we cannot 
better than grand, or grand 
either. We must say rathe 
branch of industrv. and 

from the precepts of a particular art {cf sup. § 4) and recom- 
mending some size which may give by no means the finest 
immediate technical result, but which, being more conducive 
to good home life, is economically preferable. The question 
therefore of petty and grand industry is full of complications, 
and not to be answered offhand. Let us briefly consider it, 
no longer in general, but in regard to each particular branch 
of industry. And first in regard to agriculture. 

In England the question has become, so to speak, the prey 
of political parties ; and a “ conservative ” is in a way com- 
mitted to be a champion of large farms, and an “ advanced 
liberal ” to be a champion of small farms. It is, therefore, 
hardly to be expected that either will make the necessary 
distinctions, or see the real point at issue. But an attempt 

ought to be made. 

must not confuse geographical and econom- 
(See ^up. § 105.) The more fertile a 
intense the prevailing hus- 
area of each class of 
■ acres near Lon- 
arable farm of 200 
rural business is economically 
as I have already said 

(§ ^05), we must not confuse farms with estates, the condi- 
tions of land-ownership {Grundcigent/mmsverhdltnisse) with 
the conditions of husbandry {Landwirthschaftsvcrhdltnisse). 
Thirdly, we must not confuse advantage with intensity — good 
farming with high farming— on which error, and it is a com- 
mon one, I have already said enough {stip. | 72)- The ques- 
tion of technical advantage is whether, on a given district 
with a given degree of intensity, farming is more advantage- 
ously conducted by a few large or by many small farmers 

First, then, we 
ical measurements 
given district is, and the -more 
bandry, the smaller is the geographical 
farm. Thus if a market garden of twenty 
don yields as much net revenue as an l.. 
acres in Lincolnshire, the one 
as larsfe as the other. Secondly, 


acres cultivated 
likely to be 
on a farm of 1,000 
IS cut into three, the owner of 
more attention to the land than 

_ 1 to do some other work 
ug, is likely to give less 
converse of a monster business we can 
IS narrowed to such a degree that loss 
contraction deserves to be called a dwarf 

preceding sections it is plain .that, 
-1 not moral advantage, at wealth 
say simply that petty industry is 
nd than petty, or middle-sized than 
her that according to the particular 
state of the arts, and locality, the 

204 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 109, no. 

Provinces of Prussia, where properties are on an average only 
nineteen Morgen (eleven acres), the average produce of corn 
is far more than in the North-East Provinces, where the 
mean size of properties is at least five times as large (see 
Roscher, Ackerbau, § 49) ; or when the Channel Islands with 
their small farms and large produce are contrasted with the 
comparatively large farms and small produce of the Isle of 
Wight ; or, on the other hand, when England with its grand 
husbandry is triumphantly shewn to produce more corn to 
the acre than France with its petty husbandry. Such com- 
parisons are beside the mark * Finally, we must keep clear 
of confusion in regard to the so-called net produce of hus- 
bandry. Sometimes the term is used, as it ought to be, to 
mean all the net revenue coming from the land ; sometimes 
not all, but only what is left after deducting the necessary 
food of the cultivators (so Mill., Pol. Ec. I. ix. 4). Some- 
times, also, the relative amount of the net produce is looked 
to, that is the proportion, to the number of those engaged in 
agriculture in a given country ; sometimes the absolute 
amount. But I need not enter upon these discussions, as 
they seem to me only a confused way of discussing the two 
distinct questions, first, with what size of farm in a given 
district can a given amount of produce be got with least out- 
lay of labour and property } and, secondly, what are the 
likely effects of the prevalence of any particular size of farm 
on the growth of the population of the district ? Let us 
examine the first of these questions, leaving the other for a 
subsequent chapter. 

§ 1 10. Whoever compares the general advantages of pro- 

* The praise bestowed on small farms by de Laveleye in his Essay on 
Belgium in the Cobden Club volume on Sj^sUms of Land Tenure, loses 
its value by his confusion of good farming and high farming. He must 
have forgotten the remarks of Roscher, A cierlau, § 49, who shews among 
other things the little use of Rau’s famous table of comparison between 
four different sized properties, which professed to shew that the larger 
the farm the smaller was the gross produce per acre, but the larger the 
proportion of the net produce to the gross. Only two of the properties 
were in the same district, and to compare even these two we have to 
assume equal fertility, equal skill and equal intensity of cultivation. — A 
number of references to the immense controversial literature on small 
versus large farms are given by Roscher, Ibid. § 53, note 14. 


^iio.] Indtistrial Dimensions. 205 

duction on a large scale given in § 107 with those of produc- 
tion on a small scale given in § 108 can see that certain 
crops and kinds of live stock, and certain conditions of 

climate, soil, and surface, are likely to favour one size of rura 

For example, in the cultiva- 

the Northern half of Europe in the present 
■ _ : farms have the great advantage 

than middle-sized, and far easier than 


industry rather than another 

tion of cereals in 

condition of the arts large 
of being able, easier • 

small, to employ machinery and steam power in 
reaping, threshing, etc. Similarly in the production of forap 
and roots we may say, within limits, the larger the farm the 
easier the use of machinery. Moreover, the application, not 
only of the mechanical, but also of the chemical, discoveries 
of recent times is to be expected only from the hands of a 
scientifically-trained farmer, which a petty one can hpdly be. 
And I imagine that agricultural chemistry has precisely its 
main field of action upon the annual roots, grasses and 
cereals of the colder temperate zone rather than upon peren- 
nial plants or in sunny regions where only fresh water is 
needed to turn a desert into a garden. In brpding cattle or 
sheep there is great saving in labour, as driving, watching, 
marking, washing, shearing, if the herd or flock is numerous. 
Further, if a district is unhealthy and only fit to be cultivated 
at certain seasons or hours, like the Roman Campagna, then, 
since the costs of transport must be heavy they had better 
be on a large scale, and a given degree of intensity is far 
better reached by the employment on the given area of much 
property compared with labour— substituting machinery for 
j-nen — than conversely. And, in general, I think we can say 
that where intensification is fitly (taking technical success 
as the measure of fitness) in the form of employing more 
property rather than more labour per acre, large or at least 
middle-sized farms have an advantage over small. 

On the other hand, where the spade can be better em- 
oloved than the plough, and so notably in market-gardening. 

206 Grounchuork of Econom 

cases the concentrated force and 
grand industry is difficult of ; 
has the advantage with its small 
labour. In particular arboricult 
or silviculture) in the 
carried on with little 
small farmer who 
almond, fief, 
trees, the careful 

§ iio, iLi.J IndustriaL LJiinensioiis. 207 

ment ; thirdly, although another size would have been more 
profitable in a given district, the costs of changing to it now 
(alterations of roads, fences, buildings, inlets and outlets for 
water) may swallow up the entire extra advantage or more.* 

§ III. But the earth is for man, not man for the earth, and 
the only use of the arts, and of the art of husbandry among 

them, is to contribute towards good life in society. If, 

then, it could be shewn that one particular size of farms was 
certain or very likely to produce discord and misei"y, it would 
have to be condemned by Economics ; and if another was 
shewn to be a certain, or almost certain, pre-requisite of social 
peace and happiness, it would have to be recognized as the 
right one, whatever the efifects on produce. Now I think we 
can say confidently that at least in certain extreme cases 
farms can be of a size that is incompatible with social 
welfare. One extreme is when a few individuals obtaining 
the control of large districts have driven out a multitude 
of the cultivators, and by causing the land to be cultivated 
with less intensity have lessened the aggregate net revenue, 
though gaining so much larger a proportion of it for them- 
selves as to profit by the public loss. In this way Italy 
suffered in the last two centuries of the Roman republic, 
England in the 16th century, the Highlands of Scotland in 

rf^icrn of Heorp-e III., and Ireland in our fathers’ time and 

1 10. 

uniform mechanism of 

applicabon, and petty industry 

--J instruments and careful 

ure (as distinct from forestry 

temperate zone, unless it be 

^ is singularly fitted for the 

1 , ^ vines and olive-trees to hi«: 

and mulbero. trees, to his ’ 

. . attention (prunii 

out injuring the roots, applying 
La Meszerm tn Toscana, 1875, pp 
warded. Again, in the 1 

homesteads in a region of small farms and‘ the 

presence of the cultivators gives an advanftio-o 1 • i 1 ' 

farmers seem unable to mate un “ large 

r jTar-l^m- 

.hat1hf;“ “:rXt“a ’ndlL'" " ^ 

filled with such. For there can be n m "1 I?" 

tions of different crops and animals and“ diterem useHf 'tT' 
same crop {e.g, barley for malt or meal 
animal (eg, cattle for draug 

of heat, of moisture, of surface, with 
seasons, with different degrees of 
of knowledge and skill in the cultivators 
ness to obey and work for others, or in ’ 
pendence, or in their attachmei 
these combinations the question 
and any one acquainted with a 
the world can give illustrations 
Here I will only add three remark 
in any large country the same size 
profitable in every part; second 
particular size is no proof, as w 
another size would not have been 
actual conditions may be the resuli 
ness setting individual above natioi 
or, again, the result of dutifulness 
welfare of the family and the state 

orange and lemon 
g, propping, digging with- 
5ulphur, etc, cf. Sonnino, 
201-211) which is well re- 
management of poultry, the many 

■ constant near 

1 4 . r f* 

ht or for food), with differences 

i uniform or variable 

intensity in cultivation and 

and in their readi- 

their love of inde- 

10 soil. In each of 

ot size can be discussed • 

rural district in any part of 

from his own experience. 

fs ; first, it is unlikely that 

' Garins will be the most 

f, the prevalence of anv 
^ 1 - 11 * 

* Distinct from dwarf or monster farms are those of which it can be 
said simply that they are missized, being too big for one fit kind of 
farmer and farming, and too small for another kind. To pronounce what 
particular sizes deserve such censure requires much local knowledge. 
Mr. Kebble {T/te Agricultural Labourer, pp. 76, 77, 214, 215) speaking 
of England, thinks that when the land is arable from seven to twelve 
acres fs what a man can cultivate by himself ; that arable farms of twenty 
to thirty, or of forty to fifty, or of sixty acres are bad ; while from 200 to 
600 acres is a good size ; but in dairy districts farms of from forty to 
fifty acres with ten or tw^elve cows answer well. {See also Roscher, 
Ackerbau, § 52, and note 2, for opinions of others.)— Not immediately 
connected with the question of size is that of shape, and farms can be 
misshaped as well as missized, namely, elongated, contorted, or in 
scattered fragments, an evil sometimes indeed unavoidable through the 
physical features of the country, but sometimes artificial. Perhaps small 
farms can be said to have been and to be more often misshapen than 

large ones. 

2o8 Groundwork of Economics. [§ iir. 

restoration of the expelled peasantry, and so among other 
things the diminution of the size of farms. Again, if the 
population of a given district cannot increase because the 
farms are so large as to be unmanageable — monster rural 
industry {cf. § 107) — a diminution of size is indeed necessary, 
but only till the farms cease to be monster farms ; and then, 
though they be still very large, if the fit degree of intensity 
is not reached, other causes rather than size are to blame. 
Another extreme is the so-called morcellenient, the spectre of 
certain economists, who shudder at the sight of the crowded 
huts and miniature farms, or rather mere parcels of povertv'^- 
stricken cultivators, with she-goats instead of cows, baskets 
and wheelbarrows instead of waggons, spades and hoes 
instead of ploughs ; scarce able to pay taxes ; falling into 
t>eg'g^iry at the slightest calamity {cf. Roscher, Ackerbau, § 52). 
But we must be on our guard. First, we must not judge of 
whether a rural population is or is not ‘ miserable ’ from what 
those say who seek to justify its elimination. Secondly, it is 
no necessary evil for a whole district to be covered with mere 
parcels, that is, farms too small to give full occupation to the 
family upon it : they need be in no compulsory idleness ; 
for they may add other occupations ; domestic industries {c.g. 
straw-plaiting, lace-making, wood-caving), work in neighbour- 
ing factories or shops, work as fishermen, boatmen, wood- 
cutters, and so forth j and how prosperous mere parcel- 
holders can be is seen in the Swedish cottiers called Torpdre. 
Thirdly, where there really is misery, we cannot say that the 
enlargement of farms is required for its removal unless we 
are quite sure of two points : first, that these farms are so 
small as only to be parcels, and secondly, that an adequate 
supplementary industry is neither present nor procurable. 

But if we put aside monster and dwarf-farming, can any- 
thing be said for certain on the social benefit or injury re- 
sulting from large, middle-sized, or small farms .? To me it 
seems we can reach only probability, not certainty. Thus I 
think it IS highly probable, but not certain, that in any large 
extent of country a considerable number of petty farmers is 
necessary for social peace and happiness. Of course this is 
but one among many requisites ; and there may be an 
abundance of petty farmers and yet social welfare effectually 

§ III, 112.] Industrial Dimensions. 209 

hindered by the oppression of so-called landlords, as in Ire- 
land or Bengal, or of usurers, as in most of India and much of 
Germany and Austria, or of taxation, as in Madras, and by 
many other causes.* But the point is, not that there cannot 
be national wretchedness with small farmers, but that there 
cannot be national welfare without them. And this I think 
highly probable ; only the reasons for it must in this early 
stage of our course be taken on trust. Again, and likewise 
postponing the reasons, I think it probable that at least a 
few large farms are requisite, and also a considerable number 
of middle-sized, if the rural constitution is to be satisfactory. 
But we are dealing with words, and we must wait till the 
next book before we can deal with the realities of rural life. 

§ 1 1 2. From agriculture let us turn to the question of 
dimensions in the other branches of industry. In forestry let 
us distinguish different circumstances. Where a country is 
sparsely inhabited and well wooded and without notable 
export of timber, there the obvious course for each settlement 
and each household is to supply itself from the adjacent 
woodland with timber and fuel as it is wanted ; and forest 
industry on a large scale is prevented by the smallness of 
the market. But where there is a large market, as for the 
Norwegian and Canadian timber exported to a number of 
different countries, or for the forests of Germany and France, 
with large populations close at hand needing timber and fuel, 
there forest industry on a large scale is possible, and is likely 
to be far more profitable, at least if it be forestry (silvicul- 
ture) in the proper sense, that is not the clearance but the 
permanent use of a forest which is preserved in some way, as 
by dividing it into compartments, and each year clearing one 
and replanting another. In such cases industry on a large 
scale has the advantage, among others, of an immense saving 
in the cost of fencing the young plantations. But woods and 

* The enthusiastic English and Irish advocates of peasant farmers 
require to be reminded, first, that small proprietors are quite as capable of 
exacting exorbitant rent as a plutocrat landlord . — See de Laveleye’s naive 
admissions of rack-renting by the petty owners in Belgium, being a 
matter of course {System of Land Tenures, Cobden Club Public, p. 273). 
— Secondly, that landlords are only one among a number of different 
kinds of oppressors ; for example, the legal and official harpies who in 
France devour so large a portion of each small inheritance. 


I 1 


2 10 

2 10 Groundwork of Economics. [§^^ 2 . 

forests have other uses than to be cut for timber, firewood, or 
charcoal, and are connected not merely, as we have seen 
(§ 84), with the integrity of the coast and the mountains, but 
also with a number of sports which make no small figure in 
the sum total of human enjoyment. Of these and their great 
economical significance I will speak later, and here only give 
the opinion that for the poorer classes the preservation of 
much forest land is likely to be a great benefit, and that for 
them it is of less moment whether or not the main forestal 
industry be on a large or a small scale, provided only that the 
forest is protected, and that the bye-industrics connected with 
it are allowed to continue on a small scale ; namely, gather- 
ing dead and fallen wood for fuel ; fruit, nuts, mushrooms, and 
honey for food ; leaves for litter and manure ; turning in 
swine to devour the beech-mast and acorns, and cattle to 

Ind us trial Dimensions. 

middle-sized quarries or brickfields, and miniature ones by 
the side of the solitary country house, homestejTd, or abbey. 

§ 1 1 3. Fishing has been and remains a stronghold of petty 
industry. Under the common term fishing or fisheries* are 
included two industries, often connected, but still of a very 
different character, one conducted from or near the land, the 
other out at sea. The first — shore and river fishing — can in 
its turn be divided into breeding fish (pisciculture) and merely 
catching them. The former we see sometimes conducted on 
a large scale : so the eel-breeding at Comacchio on the Adri- 
atic, where some years ago the fishermen in groups of about 
twelve each under a captain, numbered with iheir families 
(including widows, orphans, and those past work) some 7,000 
souls. (See the account in the first and unabridged edition 
of Bertram, Harvest of the Sea, 1865, pp. 45-49, 457-462.) 
I imagine that were these lagoons not under connected 
management, but conducted by many independent eel- 
farmers, it would be next to impossible to distribute as pro- 
fitably amid the labyrinth of pools, the young eels ascending 
from the sea their birthplace to seek fresher water. Oyster 
farming along the flat shores of Kent and Essex is large or 
middle-sized pisciculture ; I cannot say whether these shores 
might be worked more profitably if petty industry had pre- 
vailed, as in France at the Isle de Re, where in recent years 
a multitude of small oyster-parks, each only 20 to 30 
yards square, have been constructed (Bertram, 1 . c. pp. 353 
scqi) Mussel-farming, as carried on in the bay of Aiguillon, 
seems suited only for petty industry. The mu.ssels collect on 
stakes fixed in the mud ; the main work is to transplant them 
from stakes further out to those nearer the shore, and finally 
to gather them for consumption (Bertram, /. c. pp. 410 scq) 
Here are no constructions which would be cheaper on a 
large scale ; were the stakes sunk 50 feet into the mud and 
raised 50 feet above high-water mark, not a mussel more 
would be attached to them. Careful labour is wanted, not 
great force ; empirical rather than scientific knowledge ; 
and while a big boatful of men would stick in the shallows 
and ouze, a single person can traverse them in a canoe. 

2 T 2 

bar to production on a large scale. Turning to the other 
branch of shore and river fishing, simply catching, not breed- 
ing, I cannot think of any examples except on a small scale ; 
which, indeed, seems in place here, because the animals which 
form the object of the industry are scattered, and little if 
any concerted action is required, and no elaborate machinery, 
but rather simple and unconnected labour. Such is the 
petty shrimping on the English coasts, as also the collection 
of periwinkles, whelks, and other molluscs by women and 
children for the supply of our great towns (Bertram, /. c. p. 384), 
and the taking of crabs and lobsters, which in the intervals 
of other business forms a useful bye-industry on some coasts 
for the fishermen and their families {ibid. pp. 385-387). 

Fishing in the open sea (maritime or deep-sea fishing, la 
grande pcche), implying danger to life, and that the fishermen 
be also sailors, is quite of a different character to shore 
and river fishing (for example, in its main process scarce ad- 
mitting the employment of women), but shows in the same 
way a variation of dimensions, only that the contrast and 
opposition is not so much between petty and grand as 
between petty and middle-sized. For the nature of the 
business hardly admits of its being so large that the mere 
direction would fully occupy an educated man. And thus, 
although we may use the term ‘ large,’ it must not be thought to 
indicate a size corresponding to a large farm or factory. Let 
us look at some examples. Herrings must be cured within a 
few hours of their capture, and thus, if the fishing vessels 
remain out from three to six days, as off Yarmouth, they 
must be decked vessels, having stowage for salt and fish, 
besides water and provisions ; and still more where they are 

^ II3-] 

Industrial Dimensions. 

2 1 3 

easier to fish from (Bertram, 1. c. pp. 271, 272 ; Adam Smith, 
Wealth of Nations, Bk. iv. ch. v., pp. 23 1, ed. McCulloch). But, 
at any rate, on the exposed Eastern coast, decked vessels 
have the advantage of being far safer than open boats and 
perhaps give larger returns.* In the Cornish pilchard fishery 
are two branches, one the ‘ seine ’ fisheries, the seine or sean 
being a large net owned by the commercial classes, under 
whom the fishing is carried on by hired workmen ; the other 
the ‘ drift ’ fisheries, where the boat and net (of no great size), 
belong to the fishermen ; and there is continual animosity 
between them (James Quick, in Frasers Magazine, Feb. 
1877, pp. 219 seqi). On which side lies the technical advan- 
tage I cannot say, only that the law, as often in Great Britain 
and Ireland, favours the larger and richer producers when its 
protection should rather be given to the peasants of the sea.f 
Naturally, where fish can only or can be much easier caught 
by very large nets, or again by immense lines, such as those 
used by the fishing smacks from Great Grimsby — lines 7,200 

* See E. W H. Holdsworth, Deep Sea Fishing, 1874, pp. 276-279. 
Only we must take Mr. Holdsworth’s evidence with much caution as of 
one altogether on the side of the larger fishermen and fishing. 

t The law forbids : (a) the use of seans below a certain size ; {b) the 
use of drift-nets by day within two miles of low-water mark ; {c) the 
approach of drift fishermen within half-a-mile of a boat at sean-fishing. 
Holdsworth, 1. c. pp. 189, 195.— How in Scotland the herring fishery in 
boats was injured by the Government Bounty given to decked vessels 
(busses) is told by Adam Smith, 1. c.—Oi the four principal methods of 
catching fish in the British seas, line fishing, seine fishing, trawling, and 
drift-net fishing (all described by Mr. Holdsworth), we can perhaps say 
that the last is the special method of the small fishermen, the second and 
third of the larger, and that the former legal restrictions or prohibitions 
of trawling, though perhaps chiefly meant to avert the exhaustion of the 
fishing grounds, acted as a protection to petty fishing. The progressive 
diminution of small fishing boats in the four ^ears i8/2 to 1875 inclusive, 
is probably connected with such changes in the law as the permission 
since 1867 of the sean-net in Scotland. I subjoin the figures for the first 
and last year of the four given in Holdsworth’s Sea Fisheries, pp. 18, 19 
(Bevan’s Series) : — 

Fishing Boats registered in the United Kingdom in 1872. 
Number of the First Class (i 5 tons upwards) 5,284 
Number of the Second and Third Classes 

(under 1 5 tons) 35>262 

Tonnage of the boats of the First Class . 145 ) 38 ? 


Q O 
r P 

29,308 J S" 
164,441 tons. 


-14 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 113 , 114 . 

fathoms long with 4,680 hooks— petty fishing is inapplicable ; 
only here as in other industries the business must be well 
distinguished from the ownership ; and in fact in Great 
Britain the ownership of the vessel and the fishing appur- 
tenances is often split up into a number of shares. It may 
be added that deep sea fishing can be a bye-industry corre- 
sponding to parcels in agriculture. Thus, in Ireland, in 1872, 
out of 7,914 boats, 6, 1 16, with crews of 22,747 i^en, were stated 
to be used for fishing on an average less than one month in 
the year, and to be used for the remaining eleven months 
for collecting sea-weed and carrying goods, turf, manure 
and passengers. (Holdsworth, Deep Sea Fishing, p. 346.) 

^ \\ hether the preservation of petty fishing is called for by 
Economics or Politics, and if so, what are the fit means to 
this end, are problems for subsequent discussion, and not to 
be solved by those experts in the art who can onlv tell us 
that this or that mode of fishing will give the largest return, 
and not how' this or that mode of life will best secure the 
lasting welfare of the fisher-folk. 

§ 1 14- The industries comprised under the common title 
of manufactures are so numerous and heterogeneous that 
while little can be said of them in general it would require a 
volume to shew the application of the principles of size in 
industry to each in particular. I will not venture upon 
more than a few fragmentary remarks. First, the inventions 
of recent times {sup. § 76-81) have affected industrial dimen- 
sions far more in manufactures, transport, and commerce 
than in agriculture, cattle-breeding, forestry, mining, and 
fishing. Further, among manufactures some have been much 
more affected than others, notably two great departments, 
one the iron trade, that is, the earlier processes (as smelting, 
puddling, rolling,) in the preparation of iron ore ; the other 
the textile industries, that is, the earlier processes (as carding, 
combing, scutching, spinning, weaving, bleaching,) in tlTe 
preparation of fibres, whether of wool, cotton, flax, hemp, 
jute or any other. In all these processes grand industry has 
gained great advantage over petty; whereas precisely in 
many of the later preparation of iron and of fibres, as the 
hardware and clothing trades, petty industry retains its pre- 
ponderance. Moreover, it is plain, if we remember the nature 

§ 114 .] Industrial Dimensions. 215 

of the respective advantages of a large and of a small scale 
of industry {sup. § 107, 108), that in different sorts and pro- 
cesses of manufactures some of the advantages are of 
decisive weight, others inapplicable. Thus in the present 
state of the arts, where coal can be procured at moderate 
cost, and elaborate machinery driven by steam is applicable, 
and where the largeness of the market and the exact simi- 
larity of each class of goods required enable production en 
masse, the factory has a great advantage over the petty work- 
shop. For large and elaborate mechanism cannot be con- 
tained in the latter, and the expense of fuel, light and build- 
ings absorbs far more of the profits. We may expect there- 
fore on the coal basins, and where coal can easily be imported, 
that not only the two great branches of industry already 
mentioned, the textile and iron trades, but many others will 
be more profitably conducted on a large scale, as engine, 
machine, and implement-making, the manufacture of glass 
and pottery, tanning, distilling, brewing, refining sugar, pre- 
paring tobacco, and also the manufacture of some ready 
made articles of clothing. Even where fuel is dear it may 
still be profitable to use steam power ; and then the very 
dearness of the fuel will enhance the advantage which large 
furnaces have in wanting proportionally less of it. But in 
many industries where machinery is inapplicable, or only on 
a small scale, or where the market is restricted, or where the 
objects of the industry cannot be treated in the lump, but 
individually, and few processes are exactly the same, middle- 
sized or small businesses have a great advantage over large. 
So in most of the endless kinds of washing, cleaning, patch- 
ing, mending, repairing, altering ; so in the production of 
fancy goods, as the articles de Paris ; so in the production of 
genuine and original works of art, not mere reproductions ; 
so in the clothing industries for the supply of the wealthier 
classes, tailoring, dressmaking, and shoemaking. For here 
the absence of special workshops, or proximity to the con- 
sumer, or careful and delicate work, or individual taste, gives 
an advantage to business on a small scale. In regard to the 
great department known as the building trades (including 
masons, bricklayers, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, painters, 
and others) we must distinguish buildings and localities. 

2i6 Groundwork of Economics. 115. 

Small and isolated rural homesteads and cottages scarce 
admit of any industry but what is small, while in construct- 
ing public buildings, large factories, and palatial dwellings 
there must be large industry unless they are to be many 
years before being finished. But for the majority of urban 
and suburban buildings middle-sized industry seems best 
fitted to meet the number of separate and scattered under- 
takings where elaborate machinery (as a steam-driven con- 
trivance for raising the blocks of stone or the bricks) and a 
great company of workmen would be out of place, and yet 
where much technical knowledge is required for directing the 
work and several distinct trades for carrying it out. 

From the foregoing considerations, and from our daily ex- 
perience, it is plain that to say grand industry has swallowed 
up, or is sure to swallow up, petty industry, is incorrect, even 
if limited to North-Western Europe and North-Eastern 
America. True in England in some trades the process of 
substituting the factory for the small workshop is still in 
progression, as in hosiery and bootmaking ; true that the 
cheap hand-made watches of Switzerland are being driven 
from neutral markets by the cheaper watches made by 
machinery in the great American factories, one of which 
employs over 1,000 hands (see account in The Times, Jan. 5, 
1877; : true that in many countries there is yet a great field 
for the spread of factories at the expense of small work- 
shops.* But the tide may turn ; I am not sure that the 
movement in England is all in one direction ; and in France 
(according to a report of M. Ducarre in November, 1875), 
in petite industrie to be gaining rather than losing 

ground."!* Nor is it impossible that electricity may prove a 

* So perhaps in Prussia, where, from the census of 1875, Roscher calcu- 
lates the numbers of those engaged in Grossindustrie at only 826,486, as 
against 2,791,022 in Kleinindustrie, of whom 2,246,959 are in workshops 
where not more than five workpeople are employed. {Anstchten der 
Volkswzrthschaft, II. pp. 128, 129.) It should be noticed that in Prussia 
in eighty-two handicrafts the number to every hundred masters of 
journeymen and apprentices was in the years 1843, 1852, and 1861, 
respectively seventy-seven, eighty-two, and one hundred and four (ibid. 
p. 121). 

t Roscher also {Ansichten, II. pp. 139-141, 152, 153) marks the pre- 
valence in France of petty industry in fancy goods and cabinet-making 
{tableiterie), in silk-weaving, embroidery work, and (in some degree) in 

Industrial Dimeiisions. 

force more favourable than steam to small production, and 
that mechanics may invent other instruments of petty industry 

as important as the sewing-machine. 

S 115 But in manufactures, as in other branches of '’^^us- 
try, the actual dimensions need not be those which would 
then and there give the greatest return ; and for bad reasons 
or good reasons. Thus the proneness to snatch at immedi- 
ate gratification regardless of the future, and the consequent 
preference for inferior goods, in particular for flimsy and un- 
wholesome clothing, which attracts by its seeming cheapness, 
but really entails a greater annual charge than good clothing, 
which seems expensive : gives an advantage to large factories 
where what is shewy, smooth, and unsubstantial can be pro- 
duced at a very low price, while the garments spun, woven, 
and made up at home are plain and costly, though lasting 
for many years and admirably adapted to local and personal 
requirements.* On the other hand, petty industry may 
prevail because a petty tyrant is more efficient in exacting 
for the lowest wages the utmost possible toil from his 
victims, than a tyrant placed higher. Hence the “ sweating 
system ” in the tailoring trade in the East of London, where 
the work is or was carried on in the “ sweater’s ’ own garret 
under his eye by five or six destitute men whom he boarded 

making the so-called Paris shawls. He gives {ibid. pp. 154, i55). as the 
percentage in Paris of manufacturers {fabricants) 

In 1849 i860. 

With over ten workmen . . • 7 4 

With two to ten . . . • 38'75 3i 4 

With one or none . . • • [5°'26] 62 i 

For all France M. Ducarre reckons (1875I in petite Industrie 596,776 
r^plovers and .,060,444 employed ; in large 

and in 12,006 men; in mines, 14,717 masters and 164,819 men. Ihe 
number of those in petty industry' would have to be put at a muc r 
higher figure, if we reckoned as belonging to it eve^^ business vheie not 
!;;^e thfn tin workpeople are employed. Th.s has been done ,n the 

previous calculation regarding Prussia. 

* To the substitution of cotton for coarse linen and wool en stuffs m 

the clothing of the Swedish town workmen the doctors attiibute the 
Increase of chlorosis and anemic diseases ; and the new clothing is only 

in appearance cheaper than the old, being 

Engstrdm’s report. Parliamentary Papers, 1871, Emu- P- 665 ■) 




2 I 8 

^ G^^^OHudwork oy hcoiio7uics, 

and lodged, and who, often forei: 
at his mercy. It would have been 

him to make fifty or sixty men work so hard 
little. Again, were the nailmaking ( ' ' 
conducted m petty workshops behind the 
workpeople, the women 
work now in this i 

concentration of the work in lar 
probably be j ‘ ‘ 

cruel parents, drunken husbands, and 
would be sadly out of pocket by the change 
Crreat Britain and Ireland i 

profitably conducted on a small scale 
scale by the pressure of legal 
of getting justice without 
Good laws and 
influence the di 

clothing trade has f 
employer is bound 1 
or has j 

Sweden, where the owner 
and children under 

gners or Irish, were entirely 
---i next to impossible for 

and get so 
of the Black Country not 

cottages of the 
could hardly be got to work as they 
unwomanly employment. But though by 

. ge factories there would 

gain both morally and technically, the tribe of 

I grasping middlemen 

„ But also in 
manufactures which might be most 

may be kept on a large 

expenses and the impossibility 
paying a high price for it. 
institutions, manners and customs, can 
mensions of manufactures as well as bad. 
every village has a distinct costume, the petty local 
great advantage. Again, where a large 
^ law to prevent those whom he employs 
recently^ employed, falling into destitution ; as in 

of large mines, ironworks and 
res, and within limits large landowners also are so 
: as to prevent their workpeople (including wives 
-- age who live with their parents) becoming 
a chaige upon the local authorities* ; such responsibility is a 
check to grand industry. ^ 

On the other hand, the English factoiy legislation has 
avoured the substitution of factories for workshops The 
contrivances required for safety and health (as fencing round 
machinery fans, ventilation) can be introduced wk less 
expense if on a large scale ; and the various regulations 
restricting or forbidding the employment of children, limit- 
1 g the period and the length of the working day for women 
f persons,’ dictating the times for pausing in work 

oibiddmg meals within the workshop, and so forth, have 
given an advantage to those rich enough to introduce labour- 
saving machinery, as in the pottery trade, turning the wheel 

Papers 1875, Ixv. pp. 10, 

§ 115, 1 16.] Industrial Dimensions. 219 

(the ‘jigger’) by steam power instead of by hand, and 
drying the clay by hydraulic pressure instead of by evapo- 

Whether an abundance of petty manufactures is essential 
to the well-being of a State is a question open to discussion ; 
whereupon, indeed, I will not enter now, except so far as to 
make three observations. First, then, because in several 
countries the ancient organisation of handicraftsmen has 
been destroyed and unspeakable misery introduced by grand 
industry : it does not follow that factory work cannot be as 
happily constituted as the mediaeval guilds ; just as no argu- 
ment against the existence of petty and domestic industry 
can be drawn from the fact that in modern England the fac- 
tory hands are in much better plight than the workmen 
under most ‘ little masters, ’f and that domestic industry, as 
glove-making in Somersetshire,:!: is rather a curse than a 
blessing. Secondly, we cannot use for petty manufactures 
the argument for petty husbandry, that it implies a country 
life and can furnish a population producing mainly for their 
own consumption ; for the artisan may live in the town, and 
must sell almost all he produces. Thirdly, I think it can be 
proved that for economical well-being it is necessary that 
some sort of petty industry be practised at home by every 
mother of a family. Only this need by no means be a manu- 
facturing industry (as straw-plaiting, glove-making) or petty 
trade (such as I shall speak of immediately), even when the 
husband is engaged in urban manufactures or commerce ; 
but may be, (and perhaps for the majority ought to be,) the 
cultivation of a strip of suburban garden, or the manage- 
agement of live stock (poultry, pigs, goats, cows). 

§116. The transport of passengers and goods or the 
carrying trade is conveniently distinguished from manufac- 

* See Karl Marx, Das Kapifal, 2nd edit. pp. 499-502. Cf. C. P. Bevan, 
Industrial Classes, I. pp. 142- 154. 

+ Mr. Bevan gives many instances. Compare, for example, the work- 
men of small with those of large masters in gun-making, lucifer match- 
making, straw-plaiting, and bread-baking {Industrial Classes, I. pp. 102, 
134; 11., pp. 1 17, 179)- 

t Only two or three shillings can be earned by a whole week’s labour, 
often performed by mothers at the cost of neglecting their young family 
(K. G. Heath, The English Peasantry, pp. 60, 61). 





I n 







Groundwork of Economics. 

r i6. 

tures on one side and from commerce on the other. It 
includes every business of which the main function is to 
convey persons and things from one place to another • * and 
in recent times it has gained greatly in importance because 
o le great increase of exchange, an increase partly the 
cause partly the effect of modern improvements in the arts 
of locomotion. In the present state of these arts we see 
tour mam departments of transport, respectively by rail by 
road, by inland waters, and by sea. In the first the main- 
tenance of the way is inseparable from providing the vehicles 
and motive power. The need of all being under one man- 
agement IS obvious ; and industry which is petty or even 
middle-sized is excluded from working this kind of transport. 
Moreover, it costs relatively less to work a long line than a 
short one, and to manage an entire network of lines than a 
fragment of the network; witness the numerous railway 
amalgamations and the absorption of small lines by <.reat 
ones But there is a limit ; and if a traffic manager hts to 
trust to subordinates or is hampered by colleagues, amalga- 
mation has perhaps been carried too far. In the other main 
departments of transport the maintenance of the way is 
istinct from the actual business of carriage, and there is no 
barrier to petty industry except where the sea is habitually 
too rough for small vessels. Moreover, on the road, on canals 
and small rivers, and on seas where the harbours are shallow 
the size of each separate vehicle (waggon, barge, boat,) cannot 
exceed the capacity of petty industry; and in such cases 
grand industry cannot use any different implements but 
only a greater number of the same, worked in connection 
This connection may indeed give a decisive advantage to 
grand or middle-sized industry where speed (so relays of 
horses along the road) and regularity are much in request 

* To attempt great precision in mapping out the field of industry and 
o discuss at length the exact boundaries between (for example) agricul- 

ture and manufoctures, or transport and commerce, seems to me waste 

tune. The dn ision which I have adopted, making eight branches of 
industry (agriculture, managing live stock, forestry, mining, fishinf 
manufactures, transport, commerce,) does not pretend to be aSurate or’ 
complete, but only convenient. Adam Smith’s division into four branches 
{Wtalth 0/ A ahons, bk. ii. ch. v. ad /mC.) has no fit place for bankers 
and gives too much prominence to retail trade. ’ 

§ 1 1 6, II/.] Ind^lstrial Dimensions. 221 

and where there is considerable traffic ; but for casual irreg- 
ular service, and where the traffic is small or speed of little 
consequence, there remains a permanent field for the petty 
carrier. Some of the best class of boatmen on the canals 
and the river near London own the barge which they 
manage, and work it independently on their own account. 
But for the bulk of carriage over deep and open seas large 
or middle-sized industry is a necessity ; for there can be no 
petty industry without petty vessels ; and these are unsafe. 
But still to the size of each vessel are set limits ; which 
indeed can be extended by the improvement of harbours, 
the introduction of steam propulsion and mechanical pro- 
cesses for launching vessels and hauling them up , but not 
extended indefinitely ; and the unwieldy inefficiency of the 
immense steamship the “ Great Eastern is a warning against 

Turning from individual profit to social welfare, this, unlike 
that, seems to be little affected by the dimensions of the 
shipping. The size of the vessel, and whether it is worked 
singly or in concert with others, matter, I think, little. W hat 
matters is that the seamen, who by their position are more 
than most at the mercy of their surroundings, be surrounded 
by good laws and institutions, and not forced, as in much of 
the English merchant service, into a life of vice and misery. 

§ 1 1 7. The word commerce is often used in a wide sense, 
but can be conveniently restricted by distinguishing it from 
manufactures where the main function is to change the form 
of the commodities which have been furnished by the fields, 
the flocks, the forests, the mines, and the fisheries ; and on 
the other hand from transport, where the main function is to 
change the locality of commodities (and persons) . whereas 
the main function of commerce is to facilitate changes in 
ownership, making it easier to buy and sell, to let and hire, 
to lend and borrow, to insure and be insured ; and the 
remuneration of those conducting such business has the 
character, not of freight, but of commission. Such are the 
majority of those known as merchants, w^arehousemen, shop- 
keepers, dealers, pedlars, brokers, financial agents, auction- 
eers, house agents, bankers, insurance companies and under- 
writers, and these, as w^ell as the commercial travellers, 

Industl'ial Dimensions. 

222 G7'ounckuork of Economics. [§ 117. 

shopmen, clerks and others in their employment, form the 
commercial class. Perhaps the single word which best ex- 
presses them all is dealer (respectively, dealer’s servant) as 
opposed to carrier, maker, or grower. 

We are not concerned with the historical development ot 
•various kinds of dealers, but with the scale of their opera- 
tions, whereon a few brief remarks suffice. 

The extremes of dimensions are ver}’ great, and the grada- 
tions innumerable, as we mount up from the disreputable 
depths cf costermongers and market women through the 
respectable shopkeepers and the loftier owners of ‘ depots ’ 
and ‘establishments ’ till we reach the heights of the great 
merchants and bankers. Obviously there can be no grand 
commerce without a large market {vid. sup.'^ J2, 100), 

and in small and isolated communities there is not enough 
commerce to occupy more than a petty dealer. But where, 
through the multitude of exchanges, large dealing is po.ssible, 
it is often profitable ; and for many reasons. A large whole- 
sale warehouse, or large retail shop, has relatively less to pay 
for the articles it collects together, can store them cheaper 
and save labour in selling them (dividing labour of salesmen, 
travellers, clerks, shopmen, and with fewer of them relatively). 
Note in particular the saving in correspondence and adver- 

merce even in great cities and densely populated districts. 
For example, in many branches of the wholesale trade in 
England the facilities for borrowing, and perhaps also the 
insolvency laws almost encouraging bankruptcy, have raised 
up a crowd of small traders, keen-witted and unscrupulous, 
before whose reckless competition the richer capitalists give 
way and retire, disliking the rudeness and unable to compete 
with the frequent dishonesty of their companions.* And 
if a crisis sweeps off a number of small traders a fresh 
growth quickly takes their place. In retail trade a legitimate 
advantage of petty commerce is proximity to the consumer. 
To be able to buy close at hand is a convenience for which 
many are willing to pay dearly ; and where every household 
requires to buy fresh provisions several times a week there is 
necessity for this retail business to be conducted from a 
number of centres, so that the goods, whether fetched by 
poor or sent to rich customers, may not have to be carried 
far. True, indeed, a large business may have a number of 
branches, and thus be locally scattered ; I have before me 
the advertisement of a firm of grocers having thirteen 
‘ establishments ’ in London, eight in the country, and five 
in Ireland. But there are difficulties (as of superintendence) 
which are likely to restrict such de-centralized businesses, and 
supposing unrestricted competition, I think the petty and 
lesser shopkeepers are not in danger of being eliminated 
by the greater and the grand.f 

* See Bagehot, Lombard Street., pp. 8-17 (4th edit.), and an interesting 
leading article in The Times, 5 Jan., 1875. Bagehot’s apology for the 
“ rough and vulgar structure of English commerce ” will be examined in 
a subsequent book. 

t The importance of many petty centres in retail trade can be illus- 
trated by two examples. An English wine merchant, instead of seeking 
to conduct retail business from one centre, has made many hundreds of 
grocers his agents throughout the kingdom ; and has far surpassed all his 
rivals in the magnitude of his business, because there is so little trouble 
in buying his wine. The other illustration regards bread. Le Play has 
noticed {La Reforme Sociale, ch. xxxviii. § 4) that bread factories have 
failed because the sale and distribution of bread requires more labour 
than the making it, and therefore the advantage of production on a large 
scale in this minor operation are outweighed by the advantage the 
small dealer has in the major operation. But in London, where the daily 
or half-daily delivery of milk necessitates a scattered multitude of small 

2 24 Groundwork of Economics. ii8. 

§ Ii8. The elimination of all retail dealers by so-called 
‘ co-operative stores ’ {Consumvcreine) is another matter. The 
rapid progress of these institutions in England and their admir- 
able effect in reducing the sphere of fraud and extortion must 
not mislead us. Their essence lies in this, that the work of 
collecting, separating, packing, holding in readiness, and 
delivering in small quantities, is done by the consumers 
themselves or by their servants or agents, not by an inter- 
mediate class between the wholesale dealers and the con- 
sumers. What the retailer did has still to be done, and 
co-operative stores have arisen, not because the work in 
question was useless, but because it was badly organized and 
much overpaid. A wide field for fraudulent or extortionate 
gains lay open in England because of the ignorance and 
necessities of the poor, the ignorance, carelessness, and pride 
of the rich, and the dishonesty of domestic servants, combined 
with the silence or feebleness of the law, which for example 
punished and punishes adulteration and false weights and 
measures so lightly as to make a mockery of justice. This 
opportunity of overcharging attracted into the retail trade 
a number of traders proportionate rather to the gain to be 
secured than to the work to be done ; and far more shops 
and shopmen, far more horses, carts, and drivers were in 
use than were really wanted for the process of retailing. 
Competition, that is, the legal capacity of any one to assume 
the office of a retailer without giving proof that he was com- 
petent or honest, or that the number of retailers was not 
already quite sufficient in the locality, instead of protecting 
the buyers, induced commercial morcellanent or dwarf com- 
merce ; and exorbitant charges became necessary to support 
an exaggerated industry.* Most shopkeepers had too little 

milk-shops, the head of a large bakery in which machinery is used 
has made many of these shops centres for the sale of his bread, and has 
employment at his bakery for over too journe\Tnen. Unless the small 
bakeries have greatly improved in the last few years their displacement 
by machinery and large bakeries is for the bread-makers and bread-eaters 
a consummation devoutly to be wished. 

* On the borderland between the industrial and predatory classes lies 
an e.vample of how there may be many petty or middle-sized traders to 
do work that could be done as efficiently by a quarter of the number. 

I speak of the 600 pawnbrokers in London, some with several pawn- 

§ 117.] Industrial Dimensions. 225 

custom ; they could not without ruin reduce their charges 
in earnest, that is, charge less for the same quantity and 
quality, not changing these as well as the price ; and many 
were rather material than formal extortioners. These evils 
account for the origin and success of co-operative stores 
which, as the law has failed to give protection, have come 
to the rescue of the habitual incompetence or inexpertness , 
of retail buyers. But when the number of centres and of 
workers has been reduced to the requirements of retail 
work, then, if better laws and customs are introduced, the 
stores in their turn may decline and disappear. This indeed 
is not to be desired, as even with the best laws, the greater, 
caeteris paribus, the number of exchanges between interested 
parties, the more are the occasions of dispute, oppression, 
and dishonesty. We might almost say the less buying and 
selling the better. And perhaps we can say that the larger 
the dealer the more likelihood of his uprightness and justice, 
and that fraud and extortion, though they may be only too 
consjDicuous in wholesale trade,* are less likely to prevail 
there than in retail trade. 

And now, having traced the question of size through the 
various industries, we lay down as a general conclusion, that 
here as elsewhere man though influenced by his surroundings 
is not a slave to them ; that the prevalence of any particular 
size or the mixture of different sizes is no security for well 
being ; and that though it may happen in a given place and 
time that social welfare is only attainable if some change is 
made in industrial dimensions, much more than this change 
is required for its attainment and preservation. 

shops, which traders and shops might with great technical and greater 
moral advantage be superseded by a central mans pietatis with local 
branches. But of this 1 hope later to speak at length. 

* See Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Morals of Trade^ appended to the Hon. 
and Rev. W. H. Lyttelton’s Sins of Trade and Btisiness^ 1874. 




Grotmdivork of Economics, 

§ 119 ] Industrial Locality. 227 


nail trade in Great Britain is confined to a certain district in 
South Staffordshire and Worcestershire, and to a district near 
Bromsgrove and to Belper in Derbyshire (Bevan, Industrial 
Classes, I. p. 72). The locksmith’s trade is almost entirely con- 
fined to South Staffordshire, where it has flourished since the 
seventeenth century, and even the sub-divisions are localised, 
different towns there being celebrated for different specialities 
of the manufacture {Ibid. pp. 77, 78), Redditch is the chief 
seat of the needle trade, though some are made at 
Harthersage in Derbyshire, and at Sheffield {Ibid. p. 91). 
Pottery is chiefly made in the district of North Staffordshire 
called after it, though the china clay has to come from 
Cornwall, and the flints from the chalk districts far away 
{Ibid. pp. 139, 140). The manufacture of lace by machinery 
is almost exclusively at Nottingham and around it {Ibid. II. 
p. 94). Hosiery is a trade limited to one district, large 
indeed but compact, in the counties of Nottingham, Leicester 
and Derby {Ibid. p. 105). And fustian cutting in England 
is limited to Manchester, Warrington, Lymm in Cheshire 
and the adjoining villages {Ibid. p. iii). A glance at a rail- 
way map shews us how certain districts are covered with a 
network of communications, which in others are few and far 
between. Commercial statistics tell us that Norway is the 
seat of a gigantic carrying trade for other nations, while in 
France this industry can hardly be said to exist. More- 
over from history we learn how often industrial locality has 
changed. Italy was transformed in historical times from a 
land of timber, cattle and corn to a land of market gardens, 
vineyards, olive groves, poultry yards, and game or fish pre- 
serves. Cuba till the eighteenth century exported only animal 
produce, in particular, hides ; then it became a producer of 
tobacco, and recently of sugar and coffee. W’ool was once by 
far the chief export of England : in 1879 it about a 2(X)th 
of the total exports of the United kingdom. There is 
still iron in Sussex, but the iron trade has utterly deserted it. 
The harbour of Surat is empty, the Indian weavers a fallen 
race, and the Lancashire mill owners flourish in their stead. 

Volumes might be filled with the industrial geography of 
the present and the past. But I am not writing a treatise on 
history or statistics ; and what concerns us is not so much 



Actual Variation in Locality of Industries, § 119 — Causes : Variety of 
the External World, § 120, 121 — Co-operation helped by Concentra- 
tion. Costs of Shifting an Industry, § 122 — Effect of the Place of 
Enjoyment, § 123, 124 — Effect of Industries being Joint. Influence 
of Means of Transport, § 125 — Personal Reasons for the Locality of 
Industries, § 126, 127 — The Growth of Great Cities, § 128 — Examin- 
ation of the Causes of this Growth, § 1 29-1 32 — Judgment and Re- 
commendations, § 133, 134 — International Localizations : the Case 
for ‘Free Trade,’ § 135 — Arguments against Free Trade, § 136-141 
— Conclusion on this Controversy, § 142. 

§ 1 19. The variations of industry according to locality are 
almost infinite, and instead of a monotonous uniformity, we 
see as we travel a frequent change in the plants cultivated, 
the animals reared, the minerals extracted, and the goods 
manufactured. Some of these variations are familiar by 
sight or hearsay to every one. The tropical regions of the 
cocoa-nut and plantain, the warm lands of date palms and 
rice, the temperate zone of the vine, the olive, and maize, the 
cool circle in which the Isles are placed,, and the 
cold regions with forests of fir and larch, and crops of rye 
and oats, are easy to be distinguished. Similarly we see 
marsh lowiands and mountain slopes used for meadow or 
pasture land, the steep hillside for woodland, the sheltered 
valleys, the open plains, the moist coast land, the dry steppe, 
each for different groups of cultivated plants and animals. 
The distinction between country and town, and their 
various industries, comes from time immemorial ; in some 
modern countries is the further distinction between agricul- 
tural and manufacturing districts. Less familiar is the 
localisation of various kinds of manufactures. Thus the 

2 28 Groundwol'k of Economics. [§ 119, 120. 


the fact, as the reason and the fitness of local variations of 
industry. We must ask why a given crop is grown or 
utensil made in one place rather than another, and why in 
the same place at different periods different industries are 
carried on, and examine what is necessary and what acciden- 
tal in these varieties and changes, and what is fit or unfit, 
right or wrong. This chapter is meant to be a contribution 
towards the solution of these questions. 

§ 120. The first and most obvious ground for the varia- 
tions of industrial locality is to be found in the variations of 
the external world. Different plants require different degrees 
of moisture and temperature, and physical geography draws 
limits for all plants towards the poles, and for most also to- 
wards the equator, beyond which they cannot live or thrive 
in the open air. These limits may change, but only very 
gradually, with changes in climate and in the habits of the 
plant. And within the boundaries of their possible home 
plants may thrive more in one climate than another, as wheat 
returning twenty-five fold the seed in Southern Mexico and 
only about fifteen fold on an average in Itngland. Moreover 
the extremes of heat and moisture as well as the mean may 
decide whether or not a plant can live and bear fruit, as we 
have seen {sup. § 63). And though the climate be the same, 
the chemical, or again the physical, composition of the soil or 
the subsoil may be of many different sorts, each especially 
adapted for certain crops, as in England a heavy soil for 
wheat, a friable soil for barley, dry chalk for sainfoin, and 
peat for rape. Some plants also cannot bear, others as the 
olive and the cocoa-nut palm delight in, the salt sea breezes. 
Illustrations might be multiplied indefinitely, and at all 
times it has behoved both the peasant and the planter to 

Et quid quaeque ferat regio, et quid quaeque recuset— 

Virgil, Georg. I. 53 . 

Domesticated animals, though less dependent than plants on 
their physical surroundings, yet cannot all live, still less 
thrive, anywhere ; and are affected not merely by climate 
but by the conditions of the surface, as the buffalo delighting 
in the mud and water tillage of further Asia (Lord G. Camp- 
bell, Log Letters from the Challenger, 1876, pp. 243, 244), or 

§ 120, 1 2 1.] Industrial Locality. 229 

horses seeking rich pastures and averse to rocky islands, 
which are the fit home for goats, as Ithaca, 

'El/ 8 ’ \6aK7i ovT ap 8p6p.oi eipee?, oure ri Xct/xcoV 

Hrot piv Tprj)(na /cat ov)( iTTTrfiXaTos iariu, 

Alyi^orcs 8 ’ dyadi], Kat /3ov/3oroff' 

Odyssey IV, 605 ; XIII. 242. 246, 

I’ishing is obviously confined to where there are fish to be 
caught, and the extractive industries to where there are 
minerals to be extracted ; and the more abundant the fisher- 
ies, the richer the mines, the more likely they are to be 
worked. But likelihood is not certainty, and in general 
we can say that the external world rather pronounces that in 
a given place a certain crop shall not be grown, and a certain 
animal shall not be bred, and a certain mineral shall not 
be worked, than that in some other given place they shall 
be. There can be no planting of vineyards in Scotland, no 
iron-mining in Holland ; and though these industries may be 
carried on respectively along the Rhine and in the weald of 
Sussex, yet they need not be. 

§ 12 1. In manufactures it is convenient to distinguish the 
material from the instruments and accessories of production. 
A manufacture need not be situated where its materials are 
originally found or produced, but if not, there must be some 
reason to outweigh the disadvantage. If iron-works are not 
close to the iron mines, and the saw-mills not in the forest, 
and tanneries not hard by the slaughter-houses, and spindles 
and looms not in the midst of cotton-fields, there must be 
some reason for it. Sometimes this is to be found in the fact 
that the instruments and accessories of the given manufac- 
ture are in a different original locality from the material, and 
that it is easier to bring this to those than those to this. 
Thus the cotton of the southern states of America comes to 
the iron and coal of England to be spun and woven, and not 
conversely ; and copper-ore, though heavy to carry, comes 
from various parts of the world to be smelted at Swansea, 
and corn is carried from certain districts in Bolivia to be 
ground at a place over icx) miles away, where alone are good 
grindstones ; for these are too heavy to be conveyed far 
over the Bolivian roads. (E. D. Mathews, Up the Amazon and 
Madeira, pp. 256, 257). We can say in general that where fuel. 

2 30 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 1 2 1 . 

a commodity bulky by nature, plays a great part in a manu- 
facture, the locality of the fuel almost decides that of the 
manufacture. So smelting formerly needed to be near forests 
as in the weald of Sussex, once covered with oaks, or among 
the fir-clad uplands of Sweden ; and now upon the coal 
basins or near them.* It may happen that the accessory to 
a manufacture cannot be transported and thus decides the 
situation of the whole manufacture or some process of it. 
Thus the use of water as a motive power placed mills and 
factories along the constant and rapid streams of rainy 
valleys. Open and breezy districts were the seat of wind- 
mills. Flax used to be, perhaps still is, sent from afar to be 
steeped in the soft and sluggish waters of the Flemish river 

The routes and terminal points of transport arc obviously 
in dependence, sometimes absolute, on physical conditions 
(Ccide sup. § 62) ; navigable rivers and seas are not made but 
found by man ; and in making roads, and still more canals 
and railways, he is compelled by the position of mountain 
and valley, of morass and sea-coast, to follow certain courses 
rather than others. It is true that the main lines of com- 
munication are likely to lie between the main centres of 
population ; but the reason for these centres being where 
they are is in many cases precisely that their situation offers 
great facilities for communication. And as commerce pre- 
supposes and is dependent upon transport, it is plain that the 
seats of commerce are greatly influenced by physical geo- 
graphy. In an interesting essay on the geographical situa- 
tion of large towns Roscher {Ansichten der Volkswirt/ischaft, 
3rd. ed. 1878, I. pp. 330 seg.) notices various local advantages 
for traffic, {a) The centre of a cultivated plain is the spot 
where all the main roads, if they are straight, will intersect 
each other. Moscow, Prague, Vienna, and P>erlin owe much 
to their being points of intersection of many lines of traffic. 
(b) The point of junction between maritime or tidal and 

* A curious illustration is to be found in Oporto. Almost all the bread 
used there is baked at Vallongo nine miles off, and brought in every day 
on mule back, and has been so for centuries, because the ovens at 
Vallongo can be cheaply heated with the brushwood abundant on the 
liills around it. Latouche [t-rawmid], T. ravels in Portugal pp. 140, 141 


/ ndustrial L ocal Uy. 

^ freshwater navigation, where the mode of transport has to 

^ be changed, as at London, Antwerp, Glasgow, New Orleans, 

*1 is a necessary stopping-place, and thus a convenient place 

J for exchange ; as is also {c) the point of junction between 

I river and land transport, as Ulm or Hanover, {d) The 

> angle where a great river changes its general direction, as the 

Loire at Orleans, the Rhone at Lyons, the Rhine at Bfde ; or 
{e) where two rivers meet, as at Coblenz and St. Louis ; and 
I (/) the point where the single stream is dispersed, as the 

S; Nile near Cairo, into many mouths, are all places of meeting 

of routes, and thus favourable for commerce. Similarly a 
good harbour, where {g) the good harbours are few and far 
"I between, so Lisbon, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro ; or {h) if 

it is at the head of a deep gulf as Venice, St. Petersburg, 
Inverness; or (y) being on an island, faces the adjacent 
mainland or larger island, as the harbours of Corfu, Negro- 
ponte, Rhodes, and Dublin, {k) The being on or near a strait 
concentrates a stream of trade upon Constantinople and 
Copenhagen, Messina and Cadiz ; (/) an isthmus between 
seas or rivers may give a similar advantage, as to Corinth, 
Lubeck, and Panama, or to Nuremberg between the Danube 
and the Main, Leipsig between the Main and the Elbe, 
Aleppo between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, (in) 
The mouth of a mountain valley is the point of meeting for 
all who approach it, and a suitable place for trade, witness 
the girdle of towns round the Harz Mountains ; and we may 
expect towns at each end of a great passage which traverses 
or turns the flank of a mountain barrier, like the route from 
Augsburg to Milan, from Stauropol to Tiflis, or from 
Toulouse to Saragossa, {n) The importance of fords at 
certain periods and places is seen by the many names con- 
taining the English ford, the German furl, the Latin trajec- 
tum, and the Sclavonic brod ; and although bridges, being 
; man’s handiwork, must be excluded from the natural advan- 

tages of certain places for commerce, we must include amonc 
such advantages that of affording peculiar facilities for a 
bridge, as the island in mid Tiber at Rome. 

Let us notice that many of the foregoing advantages may- 
be pos.sessed by a single spot, as the site of Lisbon, London, 





232 Groundwo 7 'k of Economics. [§ 121 , 122 . 

and Lyons. Also with changes in the arts, notably in engi- 
neering and navigation, the importance of some natural 
advantages grcru's more, of others less ; thus depth has be- 
come indispensable for a good harbour since ships have 
increased in size ; the importance of far reaching inlets of 
the sea has been lessened by the invention of railways ; and 
railways also have converted into a commercial advantage 
(<?) the former disadvantage of a port being towards the 
extremity of a peninsula, witness the rapid rise of Brindisi. 

Quitting the field of physical geography let us seek further 
reasons for the localization of industry. 

§ 122. Co-operation among other possible benefits, may 
enable, as we have seen (§ 97, ad /), each industry to be 
carried on in the locality which has the greatest physical 
advantages for it, so that, for example, the highlanders may 
enjoy the corn of the lowlands, and the lowlanders the cattle 
of the highlands. But we are now concerned with the fact 
that even w'ere there no physical inequalities, no difference of 
soil and climate, co-operation would still render advantageous 
a certain localization of industry. Mining, manufactures 
and commerce on a large scale may be advantageous {sup. 

§ 1 12, 1 14, 1 17 ), and in these industries a large scale implies 
local concentration. But further, both for large and small 
manufacturers, provided the market is large enough to give 
employment to a number of them, there are many advantages 
in being congregated together, especially if the customers of 
each single manufacturer are distant and scattered. There 
can be common use and thus a great saving in means of 
transporting, lifting, landing, lading, weighing, measuring, 
storing {e.g. bonded warehouses), exchanging (market halls, 
exchanges) ; also there can be a further division of the 
labour of making and selling, and the manufacturer need not 
be in addition a merchant and a banker; specialists can 
make and repair the special machinery and attend to any 
special requirements of the given industry.* But the 

At Zurich the erection of factories for spinning cotton called forth at 
first a number of separate mechanical workshops {mecha/iischen Privat- 
loerkstdtten). The smith, the founder, and the turner, gained an unex- 
pected field of work. Soon arose special factories for cylinders, steel 


§ 12 2 .] Industrial Locality. 233 

isolated manufacturer, if his works are not to be stopped at 
every serious breakage or dislocation in his machinery, must 
be burdened with a staff of engineers whom he cannot fully 
employ, or with an extra stock of machinery which habitually 
lies idle, and the more elaborate the mechanical processes 
the greater the advantage of concentration. Moreover, in an 
age of technical revolution inventions are much more likely 
to be made, improving the mechanical or chemical processes 
of manufactures, if there are models and drawings at hand 
to be studied, and physicists at hand to be consulted, and a 
likelihood that a man who has hit on an idea may meet 
quickly another who can give it a practical application, and a 
third who will supply funds, and if there are many eager to 
profit by and wilting to reward the invention. But these 
conditions are to be found in a great manufacturing city, not 
around a factory far apart from others.* 

From the foregoing we see there are advantages not merely 
in the concentration of many kinds of industry in towns, 
but also for special towns being the seat of special industries, 
even though any other town might originally have been 
equally suited for them. Thus Manchester and Bradford 
are geographically as fit, I imagine, to be the centre of the 
British hosiery trade as Nottingham ; but Nottingham hav- 
ing once been selected, now has immense advantages 
from the fact of that selection. And to shift this trade or 

spindles, bobbins, and carding instruments ; finally, for complete spin- 
ning machines. At the great Exhibition of 1867 a machine manufacturer 
of Manchester exhibited seven different machines for bleaching, eight 
for dyeing, ten for drying, five for starching, fifteen for finishing. 
(Roscher, Ansichien, II. p. 65.) 

* Much of what I have said is taken from Roscher, Ansichten der 
Volkswirthschaji, 3rd ed. II. pp. 64-67, and some from Mr. Hearn, 
Plutology, ch. xvii. § 7, who gives, I may add, a citation, referring I 
think to about the middle of this century, on the inferiority of the cotton- 
spinners of Lower Normandy to their Pinglish rivals, due mainly to this, 
that though the free export of machinery is permitted, yet after a few 
months some improvement, easily effected by some slight modifications 
in a place where mechanicians abound, gives the Manchester manufac- 
turers a start, and the French cannot get up to them without importing 
an entire set of new machinery. — Only let us not imagine that the con- 
stant technical changes here alluded to are the normal condition of any 

manufacture from Bruges, it settled in Ghent, and from 
Ghent passed to the neighbouring province of Brabant. 
When heavy taxation drove many cloth factories from 
Holland they went mostly just over the frontier to Limburg, 
the Liege province, and Aix-la-Chapelle. The factories in 
North Brabant have mostly come from Belgium upon that 
countiy being separated by a line of frontier duties from 
the adjacent province of Holland. {Ibid. pp. 6. 7.) 

Naturally like all other cases of division of labour this 
local concentration of industry is limited by the extent of 
the market (sup. § 100). If Belgian cotton-manufacturers 
could only sell within the limits of Belgium they might indeed 
all be collected at Ghent ; but the amount of the cotton 
industry thus concentrated could not exceed the amount of 
its produce required in Belgium. But were the markets of 
Holland and Denmark opened, double the amount of cotton 
goods might be produced at that single Belgian town. And 
plainly with every improvement in the means of communi- 


§ 12 2 , 123 .] Industrial Locality. 235 

in different quarters ; publishers and booksellers for example 
are congregated near St. Paul’s Cathedral, musical instrument 
makers in St. Pancras, watchmakers in Clerkenwell and St. 
Luke’s, coachmakers in St. Pancras and Marylebone, dyers 
and calenderers in Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, leather 
workers in Bermondsey, furniture makers in St. Pancras and 

Shoreditch (Hearn, ch. xvii. § 6 ). 

I 123. Another influence on the locality of industry is the 
locality where its result is enjoyed. All preparation is for 
enjoyment, and the place of enjoyment may decide or 
influence the place where the previous processes are carried 
on. Unless these make the neighbourhood unhealthy or 
unpleasant, there is an obvious advantage in their being 
close at hand, as the cost of carriage is avoided. Where the 
enjoyable commodity cannot be moved it must plainly be 
finished on the spot, as a dwelling-house, although the 
component parts, as the stone, tiling, and woodwork, 
come from afar. Where the commodity can be moved, we 
can say in general that the less transportable it is, and the less 
efficient are the means of transport, the nearer together 
must be the places of preparation and enjoyment. Only 
the words transportable and efficient need explanation. The 
smaller a given commodity is in size, and the lighter in 
weight, and the more valuable to the greater number of 
persons, and the easier divided and re-united, and the better 
shaped for moving, and the less liable to injury by carriage 
or storage, the more transportable it is. And the cheaper 
the transport is between two given places, and the quicker, 
and the less liable to interruption, and the more adapted for 
all sorts of goods, and the less likely to damage any sort, 
the more efficient it is. It follows that round every centre of 
consumption or enjoyment, whether country-house, village, 
town or city, and along every line of communication whether 
path, road-way, high-road, canal, river, or railway, we may 
expect to see clinging those branches of industry the pro- 
duce of which is least transportable. Given the habits and 
agricultural arts of Northern Europe, a large town, unless 
there are striking varieties in the soil and surface of its 
neighbourhood, is likely to be surrounded by certain rings 
of cultivation. Fresh milk and fresh butter, green vegetables 




236 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 123 , 124 . 

and fresh flo^vcrs, and also potatoes, will come from the 
inner ring on the outskirts of the town and along the rail- 
ways. Next we may expect meadows and green crops 
(roots) for fattening cattle and for feeding the milch cows 
and horses of the inner ring. Thirdly comes the district of 
corn, which indeed may be grown nearer the city, but there 
mainly for the straw, here for the grain. Beyond is the place 
for breeding, not fattening, cattle, and for sheep-farming and 
the growth of timber and firewood. Analogous rings of culti- 
vation might be drawn round the towns of other parts of the 
Avorld, to do which in each case would require a knowledge of 
the sorts of agricultural produce required by the inhabitants. 
But whatever the variety according to different regions, in every 
region where large towns are thickly set, there may be no 
room for the outer rings of cultivation between them, and the 
traveller may hardly leave the market-gardens around one 
town, before he enters those around the next. Even when he 
is far advanced into the country, say amid woodlands and 
sheep-farms, he will be likely to find round each village or 
homestead a repetition in miniature of suburban husbandry.* 

§ 124. The position of the rocks, of the beds of clay, and 
of the veins of ore may often induce men to settle in their 
neighbourhood ; but on the other hand the locality where 
men have for other reasons already settled, may decide which 
of these inorganic storehouses are worked and which are left 
alone. And the more transportable the produce, and the better 
the means of transport, the less dependent is extractive in- 
dustry on the locality of consumption or enjoyment. Common 
bricks must be made near where they are to be used, as the 
wall of Babylon constructed from what was dug out of the 
great ditch around it, or London from the brickfields of 
Middlesex, Kent, and Essex j good building stone can be 
brought from further, as from Bath or Portland to London ; 
while the precious metals can come from the furthest distance 
over the roughest mule paths. Similarly in manufactures 
fine porcelain can be transported further than common 

* Many interesting details on locality for agriculture are given by 
Roscher, Ackerbaii, § 40-46 ; for industry in general by Schaffle, National- 

bkonomie, § 265, 266 ; and for manufactures by Roscher, A7tsichie?i (h r 
Volksunrthschaft^ Essay X. 

124 .] 

Industrial Locality. 


earthenware ; cutlery further than agricultural machinery ; 
the materials for the cooper and wheelwright, the carpenter 
and cabinet-maker, the coppersmith and machine-maker, the 
boot-maker and saddler, the tailor and dressmaker, further 
than the finished product of their labour. Caeteris paribus 
the work must be done nearer the place of use or enjoyment 
in the one set of cases than in the other. In commerce this 
place is sometimes of such moment that the dealers carry 
their stock-in-trade about with them, and conduct their 
business at the domicile of each several customer (itinerant 
vendors, of importance in all thinly peopled lands) ; and 
wherever there is dealing in articles of daily household use, 
the dealers (as the baker, butcher, or greengrocer) must be 
stationed near the buyers ; whereas the seller of durable 
commodities can await in his shop the occasional visits of 
distant customers, or meet them half way at a periodical 

Besides saving in the cost of carriage, let us notice another 
advantage of goods being prepared where they are to be 
enjoyed, that the wishes and the tastes of those who are to 
enjoy them can be more easily consulted and met if the pre- 
paration is conducted under their inspection and control. 
This is never so complete as when those who are to enjoy 
are no others than those who prepare, as when a family 
constructs its house and furniture from the wood of the 
commune or the lord, and makes its own clothes from home- 
spun flax and wool. But also when work is done for others 
it may still happen, particularly in regard to works of art 
and decoration, and personal adornment, that the neighbour- 
hood of the patron gives a great advantage ; the centres of 
residence of spiritual or temporal grandees have been 
hi.storically the centres of the decorative arts ; and numerous 
and distinctive local costumes, such as had developed in 
Europe in the seventeenth century, require in each locality a 
special branch of the textile and clothing industries. But 
there are societies where the lower orders, clad with the 
dignity of independence, have in the material order to forego 
well fitting and well made clothing and to be content with 
the ready made goods not inaptly entitled slops ; and these 
can be put together at any distance from the future wearers. 

238 Groumizaork of Economics. [§ 124 , 125 . 

Analogous effect may be due to a very different cause ; 
among the Hindoos needle and thread are little used be- 
cause both men and women have the art of enveloping their 
persons completely and yet gracefully in long pieces of cloth 
just as these come from the weaver (Royle, in Lectures on 
results of Exhib. of 1S51, Vol. i. p. 505); and the weaver 
may be far away. 

§ 125. In looking at the effects of the foregoing causes of 
localization as well as of those which are to follow, we must 
remember that many kinds of produce, and thus many kinds 
of industry, are technically connected together. The closest 
connection is where two or more commodities are the joint 
result of a common operation, as beef, tallow, and hides 
from a slaughter-house, sawdust and timber from a saw mill. 
In such cases it cannot be said that the principal product 
decides the locality of the industry ; it may be so — perhaps 
no sheep would be bred in England if sheep farming yielded 
only wool and no mutton, and none in Australia for the 
English market if the produce was mutton only, and no 
wool — but it need not be so, for the balance of advantage 
may be turned, and the locality of the entire industry fixed, 
by the facilities, for making or making use of some accessory 
commodity. Thus the main reason for the distilleries of 
Europe being located in the country rather than in the town 
is perhaps the greater opportunity which the country affords 
for using their refuse as food for cattle or as manure. {See 
Roscher, Ansiehten, II. pp. 35-37.) The rotation of crops is 
another kind of technical connection ; we may see a given 
crop occupying fields in which it never would have been 
planted were it grown for its own sake and not as prepar- 
ing the ground for something else ; but conversely the 
principal crop in an agricultural course may be drawn to 
districts where the accessory crops are particularly remunera- 
tive. Analogous is the need of particular kinds of freight 
as accessory to the carriage of other goods. So arose the 
potteries of Glasgow to supply a bulky freight to fill up the 
vacant spaces in the ships of the merchant exporters 
(Hearn, Plutology, ch. xvii. § 7). 

Let us remember also the immense influence of the means 
of transport. Not only for area but also for distance 


■ : >1 




■ § 125 , 126 .] Industrial Locality. 239 

economical measurement is not the same as geometrical ; 
and while the one is fixed, the other changes with opening 

■ fresh routes or introducing fresh means of locomotion. And 

* / as some industries cling to the lines of communication 

jcv (§ 12 1), it is plain that every change in these is likely to 

bring some dislocation to those. The inns along a turnpike 
road are deserted for those near the railway ; the extension 
- of a grand route or railway or canal is likely to shift to the 

ii-l new terminus the business of collecting and warehousing 

^ merchandize ; the trade collected at the first bridge over a 

Is great river or estuary may take flight if a bridge is con- 

structed still lower down its course ; the opening of the 
Suez Canal is beginning to give new life to the commerce 
’.i of the Mediterranean ; the American railways and Atlantic 

; ’ steamers are drawing away from England the cultivation of 

; wheat ; rural districts sixty miles from a great towm can now 

supply it daily with fresh milk sent by train. In glass 
making, distinguished by the vast quantity of fuel required, 

' and by the extreme fragility of the product, the second 

characteristic formerly confined the manufacture of very 
large mirrors to the place of enjoyment, that is to cities like 
Venice, Paris and St. Petersburg ; but with the improvement 
of means of transport they can be carried more securely and 
made where fuel is cheap (Roscher, Ansiehten, II. p. 19). 
Railways are lessening the relative advantage of the coast 
over the inland districts in the manufacture of raw produce 
brought (like cane-sugar, cotton, tobacco, or jute) across 
the seas. Railways also and steamships have doubly fostered 
^ the concentration of many industries in great cities by 

! enabling an almost indefinite extension of the market for 

[ urban industries, and also by enabling an almost indefinite 

N'' aggregation of men to be securely supplied with fresh food 

and other transient enjoyable commodities. To which matter 
I shall have to revert (§ 132). 

§ 126. But the locality of industry, as well as its size, is 
subject not only to technical but also to personal influences ; 
and each field in cultivation, each mill at work, affords matter 
! for speculation on the numerous causes, the battles and 

revolutions, the political or industrial anarchy, the penal or 
protective laws, the taxes, tariffs, militarj'^ requisitions, civil 






Groundwork of Economics. 

[§ i26. 

interposition, religious precepts, national sentiments, which 
may have contributed to fix or to preserve the place of that 
given industry. VVe are not indeed now concerned with the 
reasons why one article should be made and one crop grown 
rather than another. This mainly depends on the tastes and 
habits of various populations, and will be considered in sub- 
sequent chapters, when we treat of the enjoyment of wealth. 
Here we suppose given tastes and habits, and have to 
examine, not why the food of an Englishman is different from 
that of a Chinaman, and whether it ought to be, but where 
the oxen and wheat for the one and the swine and rice for 
the other are likely and where they ought to be produced. 
One set of reasons have already been considered ; we have 
now to look at the personal reasons just spoken of. But 
concerning these I will not attempt more than a few brief 

The insecurity of the open country may induce artisans 
to congregate in towns ; a circuitous route, but safe, may be 
preferred by traders to the chance of being plundered on the 
direct route ; a jealous or rapacious government may be a 
barrier to local concentration of industry, goods being less 
conspicuous, and therefore safer when scattered ; heavy tax- 
ation, inducing the removal of person and property to other 
lands, may shift the locality of industries at the same 
time ; governments also may lessen certain industries, or 
hinder their growth, by expelling certain classes of persons, 
as Jews, Moriscoes, Huguenots, Chinese, Christians, Catholic 
Religious Orders ; while conversely, by introducing such 
classes or favouring immigration in general, an industry may 
be planted or fostered, as when Flemings were introduced 
into England, or when Athens, by the favours bestowed on 
the alien residents {justoikoi), became a manufacturing centre 
for Greece; the liability to military invasion may hinder 
certain forms of business, as the English system of habitually 
paying cheques on a banker cannot grow in France or Ger- 
many ; and the security from invasion gives England and 
the United States an advantage over continental Europe. 

Another personal cause attracting industry to some loca- 
lity is the presence there of a large number of possible work- 
men, and the attraction is stronger the more skilful they are. 






and the less the remuneration for which they are willing or 
compelled to work. A new business, intended to be on a 
large scale and to give employment to many workpeople, is 
likely to be in a large town or populous neighbourhood ; and 
old countries with dense population, and, perhaps, a number 
of unemployed or half employed workmen, have in this res- 
pect a great advantage over newly settled countries. And 
where law, and religion, and custom are such that those who 
have wealth and are employers have de facto the maximum 
of power over their workmen with the minimum of respon- 
sibility, certain industries are likely to ‘ flourish ’ more than 
where those who have the control hav^e also the charge cf 
their subordinates. The unrestrained power of English factory 
owners in the earlier part of this century, of the North 
American slave owners before 1861, and of the Belgian 
and Anglo-Indian manufacturers at the present day, has 
encouraged the employment of a large number of workmen 
in some particular industries in these countries. Much of 
the industry now carried on in California would not be there 
but for the willingness of the Chinese to endure so much and 
receive so little {cf. sup. § 89, 90, on difference of race). 
Obviously none of those arts which pre-supposed scientific 
training can be carried on by an uncultivated race ; and the 
careful cleanliness of person and implements needed for 
some industries, as for making the finer sorts of butter and 
cheese, may be an obstacle not easily overcome by some 
rude pastoral populations {cf. Roscher, Ackcrbau, § 177). 

§ 127. Certain plants and animals being more adapted for 
small than large farmers, and conversely, the prevalence of 
certain dimensions of farms is likely to influence the locality 
of industry, over and above variations due to habits of con- 
sumption or to physical conditions of the country. As small 
farms have been absorbed in Ireland, the number of swine, 
compared with that of cattle, has decreased. Tobacco and 
flax are grown in many parts of Europe by peasant farmers, 
as fit to occupy the spare time of their wives and children, 
and especially giving employment in winter (Roscher, Ackcr- 
ban, § 44 and note 3) ; but they would be little likely to be * 
grown on latifundia. The danger of being defrauded in 
buying and selling is a great reason for a simple peasantry to 


242 Groundwork of Economics, [§ ^^7 

produce for their own consumption ; and for many, not only 
among peasants, but also among grand proprietors, not only 
among the country-bred, but also among townsfolk who have 
a footing in the country, as a garden or home-farm, there is 
a peculiar delight in the enjoyment of what comes from their 
own land, and there is no meal pleasanter than when the 

“dapes inemptas apparet.” — Horace, Epod. 2, 48. 

Even in England, where the facilities for buying and selling 
are so many, and the practice so familiar, most well-to-do 
families when in the country supply themselves with fruit 
and vegetables, though often, were they to buy and not 
grow them, their expenditure in money would be much 


Patriotism {Vaterlandsliebe) is a powerful agent among 
settled societies in determining the dwelling-place, and there- 
fore powerfully, though indirectly, influences the place of 
industry. It has many forms, attachment to the paternal 
home and patrimony, attachment to one’s native village, or 
district, or county, or province, attachment to a great king- 
dom or even empire. In its various forms it may fill the 
frozen north and the parched south, the barren moorlands, 
the dismal maritime swamps and the steep and stony 
mountains, with inhabitants, and industry, and contentment , 
it may be absent among nomads, or among a cosmopolitan 
bourgeoisie, or among those classes who, without solid pro- 
perty or fixed abode, are called a proletariate. 

The preference for a town or for a country life may also 
influence the place of industry by influencing the place of 
enjoyment. The reasons for such a preference will be con- 
sidered anon ; it is enough here to have noticed the fact. 
P'urther, a law may directly and avowedly affect certain in- 
dustries in the regions where it is in force. Sometimes the 
growth of certain plants is compulsory, as of wheat once in 
Egypt, whence a tribute of grain had for centuries to be sent 
.to^^Rome (and later to Constantinople), or when, as in various 
parts of Germany in the last century, a man had to plant a 
certain number of fruit-trees at his marriage, and the com- 
munes had to plant the road sides and waste space.s. So 


§ 127.] Industrial Locality. 243 

Wurtemberg is full of fruit-trees to this day (Roscher, 
Ackerbau, § 171, note 2). Sometimes an industry is pro- 
hibited, as the cultivation of tobacco in Great Britain and 
Ireland, or of opium in India outside certain districts, 
or of vines in certain regions of the Roman Empire by 
Domitian, or of rice in Italy, except in remote or swampy 
localities, or the practice of various pestiferous, or disagree- 
able, or dangerous industries near towns. Less direct, but 
more numerous, indeed, overwhelming in number, have been 
the attempts to affect the locality of industries by prohibit- 
ing or by levying dues on exports or imports, or again by 
favouring the one or the. other. Though well known to 
previous ages and extra-European countries, such measures 
have been especially conspicuous in Europe and in the 
colonies and dependencies of Europeans in the last three 
centuries, and have partly been directed to injure some 
foreign or subject country, like the English Navigation Laws, 
which struck, as they were intended to do, a heavy blow 
against the carrying trade of the Dutch, or the prohibition, 
in 1699, to export woollen manufactures from Ireland, 
whereby the woollen industry there was ruined : partly to 
benefit some industry at home, as the modern protective 
tariffs of the United States, Canada, Victoria, and Germany, 
or the French bounties on beet-root sugar. 

Analogous to the encouragement or discouragement of 
special industries by frontier dues is the effect of differential 
taxation. If there is an excise duty on the production of some 
commodities, not all ; the less favoured are likely to be less 
practised. A land tax of no trifling weight, and assessed not 
according to the actual produce, but rather according to the 
capabilities of the land, is a barrier against the diminution 
of intensity in cultivation. The land will be farmed highly 
or not at all ; cattle-runs or sheep-walks will not take the 
place or prevent the extension of tillage or spade-husbandry ; 
and those branches of agriculture specially adapted to high 
farming will be pursued in preference. 

Less familiar among the causes of industrial localization is 
the modern abuse of differential railway-charges, which, 
instead of being in uniform proportion to the cost, sometimes 
favour certain localities and even certain individuals, and, 

. R 2 

244 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 127 , 128 , 

perhaps, habitually are in excess for small quantities and 
short distances: an injustice which is injurious to industrial 
decentralization, and which is one, among many other causes, 
of the concentration of manufactures in giant cities (SchafHe, 
Nationalokonomie, § 304)- 

§ 128. The growth of giant cities, indeed, and the com- 
parative or absolute depopulation of the open country, are 
phenomena which, though not unknown in past history, are 
a characteristic of this century in many countries, notably in 
Great Britain and Ireland, in France and Belgium, in the 
German and Austrian States, in New England and the 
Atlantic States, in Chili and Victoria. Thus, between 1801 
and 1851, the increase of population was for — 

The whole of Great Britain . . . • ^ 9 ^ 4 cent. 

London 246 3 „ 

Sea ports 295*5 „ 

Towns engaged in cotton manufactures . , 382*4 

„ woollen „ . • 299*6 „ 

, „ ironworking „ . . 39 ^ » 

^ „ hardware „ • ,310*2 „ 

„ „ silk „ . . 304 » 

other manufactures . . 324*2 » 

Other towns of more than 20,000 inhabitants . 3 ^^'4 33 

The population of Prussia, exclusive of annexations, rose 
88 per cent, between 1817 and 1867 ; of Berlin, nearly 273 per 
cent. The population of France, excluding Savoy and Nice, 
rose about 24‘4 per cent, between 1818 and 1866; of Paris, 
about 154 per cent. (Roscher, Ansichtcu, I. p. 3 ^ 9 )’ 
land the returns of population for two groups, one comprising 
the districts in which are most of the large towns, the other 
the small towns and country parishes, shew that the first 
group from 1851 to 1861 increased 19 per cent, and from 
i86i to 1871, 18 percent, while the second group increased in 
the respective decades only 4 per cent and 7 per cent The 
apparent diminution in the difference of the rate of increase is 
probably due to some of the rural districts having assumed 

§ 128, 129.] Indush'ial Locality. 245 

astonishment, in others dismay. But all three sentiments* 
as implying some occurrence mysterious and unexpected, 
are out of place. For the recent growth of great cities 
can be accounted for, and was to have been expected ; 
and thus to those who study this phenomenon, it is, accord- 
ing to their ethical condition, a matter of exultation, or in- 
difference, or sorrow, but not of surprise. Many of the 
reasons which help to account for it have been given already 
in this chapter ; and adding others to these I will en- 
deavour, without attempting much precision, to make an 
intelligible catalogue. 

§ 129. Four general heads of reasons for the collection 
of men into cities may be called reasons of piety, of politics, 
of pleasure, and of profit. I. Historically, many towns owe 
their origin (as Hamburg, Bremen, Magdeburg, Fulda, St. 
Gall) and some their greatness (as Jerusalem, Mecca, 
Benares, Lassa, and Rome since Constantine) to the posses- 
sion of an oracle or sanctuary, or to being the seat of a 
religious community or of ecclesiastical government (Roscher, 
Ansichten, I. p. 326 seq). These reasons have no doubt 
within the last two centuries had comparatively less weight 
than at many other periods, and have been comparatively 
inoperative in the work of modern centralization, but only 
comparatively. For, like all the other forces attracting to 
cities, religious forces have gained within recent years a great 
impetus through the revolution in means of locomotion, a 
revolution which, as we shall see anon, by removing the 
chief opposing (centrifugal) forces to urban concentration, has 
allowed freer play to all the attractive (centripetal) forces, 
whatever their character. 

II. To serve as a refuge from the foe, or as seats of the court, 
the Government, the army, or the navy, are political causes for 
the foundation and growth of towns. Thus Moscow has grown 
up around the palace of the Kremlin ; the court and govern- 
ment have made Madrid a great city ; strongholds like Metz 
and Gibraltar, or ports at the extremity of peninsulas, like 
Cherbourg, Brest, Plymouth, and Sebastopol, have grown to 
importance from military rather than commercial reasons ; 
towns have been built on islets and narrow-necked peninsulas, 
on lagoons and hill tops for purposes of defence ; and in 

naval forces of a large State at a single town ; whereas there 
is no such rule of art (though the strongest counsels of true 
policy) enjoining the local dispersion of civil government ; 
and it is possible to concentrate at a given point not only 
the habitual seat of the court and of the higher officers and 
offices of State, but also their subordinates, and, moreover, 
every important function of judicial and legislative authority. 
The dreadful wrong which political centralization inflicts on 
the weaker membdrs of a nation and the weaker races of an 
empire, and the need (within limits) of every dispute being 
settled on the spot, every local matter being decided by 
residents in the locality, must be set forth in Politics not in 
Pxonomics. We are here concerned with political centraliza- 
tion only so far as it collects men into great cities, and for 
doing this it can be most potent. Thus, the Athenians were 
well aware that by forcing their subject allies to bring all 
their main disputes to an issue at Athens, a constant stream of 
litigants and witnesses would flow through the city, bringing 
manifold gain, especially to those koXoI KayaOoi who owned 
houses wdiich might serve as lodgings for strangers. The 
diversity of law between England and Scotland, and between 
the different States of the North American Union, is a 
barrier against leeal centralization ; the local legislatures of 

247 ! 

r playing themselves ; here alone can be enjoyed to the full 

^ the delights of theatrical representations, which seem to act 

! ( like a spell on human nature ; here is a constant succession 

^ of new sights and sounds ; here the restraints fall away of j 

I parental authority and of the opinion of the neighbours, and , 

there is opportunity to indulge unchecked, unpunished, un- 
* observed in every variety of intemperance and licentiousness. 

§ 130. IV. Profit no less than pleasure may be a motive 
for collecting in a town. We have seen the advantage, some- ' 

times the necessity of production and sale being near the 
place of enjoyment (§ 123, 124) ; and thus whenever many 
wealthy persons, for the sake of religion, of politics, or of ^ 

enjoyment, are collected in a town as habitual residents, 
various industries will gather round them, notably building, 
rejjairing, decorating, making articles of fancy or fashion, 
and selling perishable goods. Moreover, personal services, 
good, bad or indifferent, are likely to find a profitable field ■ 

only near the dwelling places of the rich ; and if these are 
j in the town, thither also will follow maids and valets, lackeys 

' and grooms, barbers and bathmen, musicians and actors, and 

manifold teachers and physicians ; thither also the tribes , 

of prostitutes, swindlers, thieves, fraudulent beggars, and false- 
w'itnesses '* thither finally — only these rather belong to 
political and to religious reasons — come the agents of police 
for the protection of life and property, and the ministers of 
religion to work in this pest-house of spiritual disease. 

A second subdivision of this fourth head, namely of the 


* Many of the causes aforegiven of urban centralization are given by ' 

Seneca in a remarkable passage (Consolatio ad Helviam^ 6), wherein he I 

notices the fact and the causes of the influx of population into Rome, as ■ 

follows : — Adspice agedum hanc frequentiam, cui vix urbis {t.e, of Rome) r 

immensae tecta sufficiunt ; maxima pars illius turbae patria caret (live ' 

I away from their native place) : ex municipiis et coloniis suis, ex toto : 

denique orbe terrarum confluxerunt. Alios adducit ambitio, alios 
necessitas officii public! {e.g. to serve as judices), alios imposita legatio, 

(so far reasons of politics : now come reasons of pleasure) alios luxuria ^ 

opulentum et opportunum vitiis locum quaerens : alios liberalium ^ 

studiorum cupiditas, alios spectacula : quosdam traxit amicitia, (now he 

turns to reasons of profit) quosdam industria, latam ostendendae virtuti | 

nacta materiam : quidam venalem formam attulerunt, quidam venalem I 

eloquentiam. Nullum non hominum genus concurrit in urbem, et virtu- 

tibus et vitiis magna pretia ponentem. 


• t 

§ 129, 130.] Industrial Locality. 

§ 1 3 1, 132.] Imhistrial Locality. 249 

to the disadvantages of the country. The appearance of 
higher wages in the town may allure many unwary country- 
men ; others are forced into the town by evictions when they 
or their peasant employers or customers are driven from 
house and home and the land is cultivated with less intensity 
or not at all. Thus in the dreadful period from 1846 to 1851 
hundreds of thousands of Irish were driven from their homes 
in the country, and had no choice but to form the lowest 
stratum of common industrial labourers in the towns of 
Great Britain and the Eastern States of America. 

§ 1 32. Such is a rough catalogue of positive causes of the 
foundation and growth of cities. But most have long been 
in operation ; some are less potent than formerly ; and the 
new fact of the urban centralization of industry requires a 
new cause to account for it. This is to be found not I think 
so much in any positive fact, in any fresh advantage of towns, 
as in the negative fact that in this century several of the 
chief hindrances to town life have fallen, and the old causes 
of attraction to towns are now able to work unhindered. 
Fallen is the former barrier of endless local variety of con- 
sumption which only local industry could adequately supply; 
whereas for multitudes eating and dressing alike, and with 
the same way of life and amusements, there can be produc- 
tion en masse. • So when the bonnets and plaids were yet 
worn there was a woollen industry in the Scotch High- 
lands, from whence now it has almost wholly disappeared 
(Roscher, Ansichten, II. p. 1 1). Fallen, moreover, through the 
grand improvements in locomotion is the twofold obstacle 
to city growth : the difficulty of conveying the produce of the 
town to distant 'consumers and the difficulty of conveying 
the produce of the country, notably provisions, into the town. 
Thus the English woollen industry, attracted by the advan- 
tages of a great town, was mainly centred in London as late 
as the reign of Henry IV. But then it gradually migrated, in 
order to be where living was cheaper, to Surrey, Kent, Essex, 
Berkshire and Oxfordshire ; later on, in order to get advan- 
tages (as water-power) for production, to Wilts, Dorset, Somer- 
set, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire {Ibid. pp. 8-9). Now-a- 
days the locomotive and the steam ship are rapidly levelling 
the costs of living in the town and the country, and are 

248 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 130, 131. 

reasons of profit causing cities to grow, is made up of these ad- 
vantages of concentrating industry, which spring from the 
great increase of co-operation made possible thereby. How 
important these advantages are in the present state of many 
of the arts has already in § 122 been sufficiently explained. 

§131. A third subdivision of the reason of profit is the 
advantage of towns in the possession of certain materials of 
industry, notably the refuse or residue of j)ersonal consump- 
tion. Thus where, as in London or Paris, much meat is 
eaten, the hides, horns, and bones of the slaughtered animals 
remain unconsumed, and afford materials for the various 
stages and sorts of the great leather industry, for preparing 
glue, for making toys and fancy goods, and for much else 
{cf. Roscher, Ansichten, II. p. '^oseqi). Further, some mineral 
treasure may be so concentrated and so abundant that its 
full use requires the presence of a great body of men to 
prepare or enjoy it, that is, requires a town hard by. So 
there are towns by mineral springs, by oil-wells, and above 
all, by mines. Kuttenberg in Bohemia and Potosi in Bolivia 
were great cities because of their silver mines ; Newcastle is 
founded on coal ; and some other colliery districts are so 
densely populated with coal-workers as almost to form a 
town. But the towns which are so thick upon the coal 
basins of England and Belgium are mostly concentrations 
of men for the sake of manufactures, not for the sake of 

Reasons of profit not falling under any of three foregoing 
subdivisions can form a fourth. Such in certain states of the 
law and of manners is the advantage which an employer 
gains by carrying on his business in a town, that here is 
likely to be the meeting place of those who have lost em- 
ployment, and that he can therefore easily increase the 
number of his workmen ; that here, moreover, skilful,’ artistic 
and scientific artisans are, from the presence of the means of 
special culture, obtained with the least difficulty (§ 126) ; 
that if he is penurious or adventurous he can borrow with 
more facility than in the country ; that his antecedents are 
less scrutinised, his conduct less controlled, the scandal of 
bankruptcy or of a conviction for dishonesty less known and 
sooner forgotten. And unfair railway tariffs ( § 127) may add 

250 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 132 . 

indefinitely enlarging the market for town goods, and are 
emancipating many industries from the need of being near 
their raw material. Fallen, also, through the invention of the 
steam engine, is the former obstacle offered by the need of 
working where the motive force of wind or water could be 
used : in open plains, on low sea coasts, along the rapid 
watercourses of hilly districts. True the steam engine 
requires fuel ; but fuel can be conveyed, unlike the wind or 
the waterfall, into the town ; and though an immense advan- 
tage has been gained by districts, as coal basins and their 
neighbourhood, where fuel is abundant, this advantage does 
not so much check the growth of towns as indicate which 
towns are to grow ; witness the extraordinary growth of 
Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, and many other towms 
on or near our coal-fields in contrast to the stagnation of 
many ancient towns in the un-carboniftrous districts (as 
Hereford, Winchester, Lewes, and Exeter). Not to be 
omitted finally is the weakening of other barriers to the 
stream into the city, as contentment with simple pleasures 
and the accustomed measure of wealth, love of that rural 
independence which has most w’ants self-supplied, love of 
home and native village, filial piety and reverence for super- 
iors, care of rich landowners for the material security and 
moral welfare of the country folk around 'and upon their 
lands, and other influences of a like kind, the decline of 
which has contributed, notably in France, to the triumph of 
the town over the country. 

Let us at the close of the reasons positive and negative 
for the growth of cities notice that often a number of the 
reasons may be at work together, as when we find a bishop’s 
see, a fort, and a royal palace all three in one town ; that 
one reason often gives birth or new force to another, as 
when the nobles by coming to dwell in the city, from reasons 
of pleasure or politics, make it profitable for many of the 
middle and lower classes to follow them, or when the influx 
of pupils attracts masters, and the influx of masters in its 
turn attracts pupils ; that sometimes reasons clash, as when 
the advantages which have attracted a gigantic manufacture 
to a given town render it repulsive as a place of residence. 
And railways have indeed in one way favoured decentrali- 



§ 132 , 133 *] Industrial Locality. 251 

zation by allowing a country residence to many whose main 
occupation is in the town. 

§ 133. The growth of giant cities like London and Paris, 
New York and Berlin, ought no longer to excite our surprise. 
And the reasons which have explained their growth may 
serve to keep us from two opposite exaggerations : one 
imagining that the government of a country can distribute 
its population at pleasure, assigning so many to live in the 
country so many to live in the town, and fixing the number 
of towns and the population of each : the other imagining 
that modern urban centralization is entirely due to natural 
laws, against which there is no contending. In reality the 
actual distribution of population in various countries is due to 
a number of causes, some beyond, some within, the control of 
human society, and therefore can be much modified, but not 
altered at pleasure, by civil and religious authority. 

But before pointing out what can be effected let us ask 
what is to be desired, and whether we are to regard the 
relative increase of town over country and of large over 
small towns as a good or an evil. Such questions require 
regard to time, place, and proportion ; and until we have 
treated of economical constitutions (Book II.) can only be 
answered with vagueness, in brief, and by anticipation. Let 
us say, then, that there is a measure of town life indispensable 
to literature, science and the fine arts, and advantageous to 
religious life, and that wherever this measure is not attained, 
an increase of the town population is to be desired. Dan- 
gers indeed are connected with the town even then ; and 
those who dwell there may be physically and morally worse 
off than those in the country ; but national life as a whole may 
be the better, for example, though the townsfolk be less 
healthy than the country folk, the average mortality of the 
whole people may be lessened by the growth and spread of 
medical science, which has its foundation in the town ; and 
though the townsfolk be unavoidably exposed to temptations . 
which are not found in the country, the religious life of the 
nation as a whole may be improved by the religious litera- 
ture and art, the frequent conferences and councils of the 
clergy, the development of theological science, for all of 
which the concentration of clergy and laity in a town is, if 

252 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 133 . 

not an absolute prerequisite, at least a circumstance ex- 
tremely favourable. But when the modest measure of urban 
growth which suffices for such ends is once reached, there is 
no fresh gain by further growth sufficient to outweigh the 
injury to a nation that so large a proportion of its members 
are withdrawn from where health is better secured, and poli- 
tical life less embittered, and national tradition handed 
down more securely, and the love of the fatherland more 
rooted, and family life more vigorous, better guarded, closer 
united, and God, where His interposition is more evident. 
His voice more easily heard. His enemies less strongly 
arrayed, is more likely to receive His due. A country life, 
indeed, is no security against physical misery, witness the 
peasantry of Ireland and Madras now, and of France after 
the wars of Louis XIV.; nor against false religions and per- 
nicious superstitions, witness the Hindus ; and if it is averse 
to the heresiarch and the rationalist, it may also be averse to 
the Christian missionary, as we see from the word paganus 
(transplanted as ‘ heathen’ or the like into the Teutonic lan- 
guages), which in etymology means a country villager. That 
a country life, moreover, is not incompatible even with pre- 
valent infidelity or again even with prevalent licentiousness 
has been shewn by the mournful examples of severally 
France and Great Britain in the present century. But we 
must not judge by exceptions, but look to probabilities ; and 
then reason and experience will drive us to the conclusion 
that in the town there is less likelihood than in the country 
of the mass of the people being virtuous and happy. ^ It 

* One worthy of being heard writes as follows : — “ The life of a farmer 
is more conducive to religion and morality than that of an operative [in 
a town] ; it is more healthful, it is more independent, it is more conser- 
vative, more equable, less exposed to temptation. In the country the 
family life has a sacredness of its own, and its sanctity is protected by 
special safeguards which are denied to the poor in cities. Ancestral 
traditions are handed down from father to son, and ancient manners — 
sure defence of wholesome laws —are held in reverence. The voice of 
God’s minister is more distinctly heard and more w'illingly obeyed. ‘ The 
growth of cities,’ says Buckle, ‘ has been a main cause of the decline of 
ecclesiastical power.’ ‘The city population of France,’ says Michelet, 
‘ which is but one-fifth of the nation, furnishes two-fifths of the criminals.’ 
Special causes have depressed the moral character of the lower agricul- 
tural classes in England, but their superior morality elsewhere, both in 

§ '33-1 

Industrial Locality. 

follows that the number and vastness of modern cities is no 
matter of exultation for those who care for the relicrious 
and moral life of their countrymen, but of sorrow ; for al - 
though perhaps the greater number of the actual evils in 
these cities, as overcrowding (on which I shall speak in a 
subsequent chapter), are removable, if only there is the right 
spirit for the reform, there must be nevertheless a large re- 
sidue of mischievous influences which remain irremovable.* 

Europe and America, is undeniable. The percentage of illegitimacy in 
the city is double that in the country, and in the matter of divorces the 
same proportion holds good, while the city is notoriously the hot-bed of 
prostitution and drunkenness. The number of suicides among the 
industrial classes is nearly twice that of farming populations.” J. W. 
Spalding (Bishop of Peoria, Illinois) in the Dublin Review, Jan. 1881, 
p. 103. And he goes on to speak of the evils to which the simple-minded, 
frugal, and reverent peasants of Catholic Europe are exposed in the cities 
of the United States, saying among other things : — “The parents have 
no power to select their children’s playmates, and warnings against the 
danger of evil company are almost meaningless in neighbourhoods where 
the virtuous and the depraved are necessarily intermingled. The young 
are all taught to read ; and nowhere else is such abominable stuff pre- 
pared for the exercise of this capacity. They cannot remain in their 
overcrowded rooms, and on the street they are made acquainted already 
in their tender years with every form of sin. The rum-shop and the 
drunkard are on every corner, the dance-house is not far away, blasphemy 
and obscenity are in the air, and the white bloom of innocence loses its 
freshness and fragrance, like a delicate flower in a frosty night ” (ibiif. 
pp. 104, 105). Those who would say that these are matters for the priest 
rather than the economist, and complain of theological intrusion, mis- 
apprehend fundamentally the nature of Economics ; whereon I have 
spoken enough in the Introduction (especially § 4, 7, 8“, 12, 13). 

* The contrast between agriculture on one side and manufactures and 
commerce on the other {Ackerbau; Gewerbfleiss), is set forth with great 
learning by Roscher, Ackerbau, § 19-22, whose lack, however, of sound 
ethical principles renders him unable to give a satisfactory explanation 
or judgment. The opposing views of Adam Smith and of his editor 
MacCulloch on agp-icultural and manufacturing populations are curious 
and interesting. See Wealth of Nations, MacCulloch’s ed. 1863, pp. 58, 
1 15, 1 16, 350, 351. Cf. pp. 186, 187. In all such comparisons we must re- 
member that manufactures neither in their ancient nor in their modern 
technical conditions are necessarily carried on in a town ; and that 
therefore the contrast" between town and country is very distinct from 
that between the field and the workshop. On the need of preserving 
petty industry in agriculture, se§ sup. § 1 1 1 ; and how the same reasons 
are not applicable to petty manufactures, §115, still less to petty com- 
merce, § 1 1 8. The advantage of the presence, the dangers of the pre- 

254 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 134. 

§ 134. It follows that measures are to be sought in order 
to check the absorption of the country by the town. Many 
of these are for the science of Politics to discuss, and can 
here be summed up as political decentralization {cf. sttp. 
§ 129, II.). Another set of measures are sanitary and build- 
ing regulations, which, by requiring every dwelling to be 
roomy, healthful, and solid, may give an additional impor- 
tance to the advantage possessed by the country of cheaper 
building ground and building materials, and this all the more 
if masters and employers are made responsible for the dwell- 
ing-places of their servants and workmen. If, moreover, 
they are responsible for the subsequent subsistence of those 
under them, they will no longer be attracted to towns by the 
facility of getting 'hands’ there, whom they can take on and 
turn off at pleasure. Abolition of differential railway charges 
(§ 127) and of unfair pressure of taxes on the country are 

dominance of a rich mercantile class are well set forth by Ferdinand 
Walter, Naturrecht iind Politik^ 2nd ed. § 234 : '' This constant striving 
and speculating after profit may easily divert the attention of the mercan- 
tile class from the higher interests of the state and of mankind. They 
acquire a commonplace view of life, a one-sided estimate of human 
affairs ; they are readily satisfied with themselves and indifferent to what 
rises above their own level. It is an evil, therefoie, for the commercial spirit 
to gain predominance in a State. Yet an honourable position is due to 
the commercial class as a whole. For having studied in the school of 
real life they have acquired there a manifold wealth of experience, and 
they have taken a survey of the situation of the world in general ; whence 
their higher culture is marked by a peculiar and honourable stamp. The 
possession of much movable wealth is connected with the more refined 
requirements of life, with taste, with patronage of the fine arts, with 
charitable donations, with other ends of public utility. It is therefore an 
important work of policy to bind fitly the spirit of the commercial class 
with that of the nation as a whole ; and to do this two measures are par- 
ticularly of use, a proper representative system in which commerce and 
manufactures have their due place beside land-ownership, and, secondly, 
a care for general culture.” He proceeds to recommend that youths 
destined to be merchants learn history, literature, the histoiy of art, and 
political science. {Cf. sup. § 94.) In fine, a State is likely to shew the 
healthiest growth of national life if it is neither exclusively agricultural 
or rural, nor again predominantly urban, nor predominantly manufactur- 
ing or commercial ; but rather where there is a sort of balance or har- 
mony between town and country and between the various branches of 
national industry, with a strong predominance, however, of agricultural 
employment and rural life. 



§ 134, 1 35-] Industrial Locality. 

obvious in their effect. Severe restrictions on reckless borrow- 
ing, and laws of debt, almost exactly the reverse of those 
which for some years (at least since 1869) have prevailed in 
England, would lessen the crowd of townsmen who are not, 
indeed, professional gamblers and swindlers, but are some- 
thing not far removed. Good laws of succession to property 
in land, combined with political decentralization, and other' 
measures of law and custom draw the rich to dwell in the 
country and to keep a multitude there along with them. 
Other laws can check diminution of intensity of farming, 
and the buying out or eviction of the peasantry, and, more- 
over, can foster home colonization, the reclamation of waste 
lands, the turning pasture land into arable and arable into 
garden. Efficacious also for keeping the rural districts well 
inhabited, may be laws and institutions which, as game laws, 
village festivals, and village recreation grounds, favour rural 
amusements ; similarly a stringent enforcement of moral 
police regulations (as to drunkenness, immoral persons and 
books, and much else), which will much lessen the attractions 
of the town. And, finally, as the gratification of bad passions 
is so strong a motive enticing away from the country, and as 
religion is the best means of combating this motive, it follows 
that laws favouring religion favour country life. 

Such are some of the measures, briefly stated, which may 
serve to check unfitting concentration in towns. And the 
very improvement of means of communication, the spread of 
the railway and the telegraph, which have hitherto been such 
powerful helps to the formation of cities, may yet in time 
render possible the existence of many rural factories, for ex- 
ample, giving facilities which may mitigate in regard to 
division of labour the disadvantages of isolation. 

§ 135. Before this chapter on the locality of industry^ is 
finished we must glance briefly at international localization, 
and at the contest between the doctrines of free trade and pro- 
tection ; first noticing that, although not unconnected with, 
they are not the same as the policies which favour respectively 
the town and the country ; for agriculture can be ‘ protected ’ 
no less than manufactures ; and manufactures may be 
carried on in the country no less than in the town. 

The terms protection and free trade can be used with 

256 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 135. 

various and wide significations ; but here let them be taken to 
mean simply : — protection, a system of regulations, of which 
the chief is the imposition of heavy duties upon certain im- 
ported goods, intended to favour certain home industries, 
whether agricultural, manufacturing, or commercial, by pre- 
venting the home industrialists being undersold by foreigners, 
whether at home or abroad : free trade : the absence of such 
a system of regulations. For free trade in this sense the case 
may be briefly put as follows : — 

Interchange of goods between nations arises because each 
is more fitted to produce one thing than another, and finds 
that the cheapest way of getting some commodity, say x, 
which it requires is not to produce it, or all of it, at home, 
but to produce some other commodity, sayj, and send this 
abroad in exchange for the first-named commodity {x). Thus 
France, in order to obtain the amount of iron goods she 
requires, finds the best way is not to produce them all within 
her own borders, but to produce other commodities, such as 
silk goods, wine, eggs and butter, for which she has great 
physical advantages, and to send these to England in ex- 
change for iron goods, for which England in her turn has 
great physical advantages. Both countries profit by the 
exchange, and this mutual profit is precisely what protection 
les.sens or removes, turning the national industry from those 
branches of production in which it has more advantage to 
those in which it has less. The consumers of the protected 
commodities, say of x, are injured by being .shut off from the 
cheaper foreign goods ; and if the producers of x gain by 
getting more customers or higher price.s, there is a correspond- 
ing loss to the producers of those other commodities, say j', 
which, but for protection, would be exported in exchange for;r. 
Protection, therefore, does not benefit even producers as a 
whole, but only one set at the expense of another ; while it 
injures consumers without a corresponding advantage to any 
one. The fundamental error of Protectionists is that they 
look only at .;r and overlook y, forgetting that foreign goods 
are not given us for nothing, but are exchanged for home 
produce or its proceeds. Nor is it any objection, even if it 
is true, that foreign goods have not paid the home taxes ; for taxes have been paid by the home produce which has 




§ 135, 136.J Industrial Locality. 

been exported in exchange for the foreign goods. Protective 
laws can only alter the kind, not augment the quantity of 

goods liable to the home taxes. 

The foregoing argument, when once apprehended, appears 
so conclusive that free traders have been tempted to enforce 
it on the refractory with the weapons of scorn and vitupera- 
tion. And they have some justification in the perversity of 
Protectionists, who have often continued, in spite of argument, 
to declaim against the invasion or flood of foreign produce, as 
though it could come without being paid for, and to lament the 
‘ unfavourable balance ’ of trade, that is, excess of imports over 
exports, as though any artifice, except bankruptcy on either 
side, could prevent a balance being reached of the creditor 
and debtor account, between any one nation and the rest. 
And a lasting excess of imports over exports, instead of 
being a cause of dismay, indicates that the country pos- 
sesses an accumulation of wealth and power ; and is due to 
causes which are not difficult to point out, and which it is 
not in the power of protection to avert or induce.* 

§ 136. But because .some arguments against free trade are 
untenable, it does not follow that all others are. Let us hear 
some of these others. 

A. The argument aforegiven in favour of free trade is 
based on two fundamental assumptions. The first is that 
each country, if laws do not interfere with its imports and 
exports, will produce that for which it is physically best fitted. 
But this assumption is often untrue, and for two reasons at 
least. First, a country may possess many natural advantages 

* An excess of imports over exports lasting year after year, as in Great 
Britain, is due to causes like the following : — {a) The receipt of a tribute 
from some foreign State or dependency, {p) The receipt of interest for 
debts, owed either to the Government or the subjects by foreign Govern- 
ments or subjects ; as when the British Government receives interest on 
the Suez Canal shares, and British subjects that on Russian Government 
stock, or South American railways. {c) The receipt by permanent 
residents, alien or native, of remittances from property held abroad, as 
by rich Russians residing at Paris or Naples, or by Englishmen in 
England from their colonial sugar or coffee plantations, (li) The receipt 
of freight, commission, or other payments from foreigners, not for goods 
exported, but for work done in the shape of carrying, storing, and acting 
as commercial agents and brokers. 




Grounckvor'k of Economics. 

B 136. 

i '"I 

jfli l.i 




i t..: 


(as coal-beds, water power, and water communications) which 
may remain unused, and the industries that might be founded 
on them remain unpractised, because the costs of starting 
such enterprises are an insuperable barrier to their intro- 
duction, as long as the produce of other countries, who have 
the advantage of priority, can be introduced unhindered. 
New industries, like new plants, may require shelter ; when 
acclimatized they may be found to grow even more vigorously 
in their new home than in their old, and the costs of their 
earlier years is well repaid. Till the workpeople are well 
educated to the work, and the technical minutiae of the in- 
dustry adapted to the special conditions of the country, there 
may be a heavy national loss, the produce being got at much 
greater cost than what it took to produce the goods formerly 
exported in exchange for it. But these expenses, which 
would ruin any private enterpriser or private company, are, as 
it were, the expenses of a national apprenticeship, and when 
once the machinery is brought into full working order, and 
the human agents are trained, it may be found that much 
more is got from this form of national industry than from the 
previous production of goods for exportation. Costs of 
transport are saved ; and especially use is now made of the 
rich treasures of external nature, and the perhaps richer 
treasures of national capacities and energies. To gain these 
advantages a protective tarif is likely to be the best means, 
by enabling and inducing enterprisers to introduce the new 
industry and distributing the costs of the introduction as 
equably as well can be over the whole people.* Moreover, 
the temporary, tentative, and acclimatizing protection of 
which we are speaking, and which is allowed by the more 
reasonable free-traders (as Mill, Po/ii. Ecojt., Bk. V. ch. x. 
I i), is more than ever called for in a time when the great 
development of means of transport has greatly lessened the 

* “ Blind free traders always like to assume that every man capable of 
working always busies himself ; whereas idleness frequently excuses the 
wasting of its time by the plea, that a remunerative market of the possible 
new products is improbable, or at least uncertain.” (Roscher, Principles 
of Political Economy, transl. by J. J. Lalor, New York, 1878, vol. ii. 
pp. 432, 433.) This translation has three Appendices, not yet accessible 
in the German original, one of which, on the ‘Industrial Protective 
System,’ contains the above reference and others that are to follow. 

§ 136, 137 .] Industrial Locality. 259 

former natural protection afforded by remoteness, and when, 
also, the assimilation of local and national tastes to a cos- 
mopolitan fashion has nigh levelled the protection afforded 
by variety of tastes.* 

§ 137. Secondly, an industry may be present or prevalent 
in a district, not because this is by nature particularly adapted 
for it, but because a bad economical constitution prevails 
there, and it is the industry in which the oppressors are able 
to extort most from their victims. If indeed oppression were 
as easy and profitable in one industry as in another, it 
would matter little whether protection or free trade pre- 
vailed. But it is not so ; and free trade may foster in each 
several country the growth of those particular trades in 
which in each several country the workpeople — men, women 
and children, are least protected by law, or custom, or religion, 
or the nature of the employment, from overwork or under- 
pay ^vide sup. I 126). Thus we cannot say that because 
indigo under the regime of free trade is cultivated in Behar, 
therefore the land and people of Behar are particularly 
suited for it. For its cultivation is forced upon the unwilling 
peasantry by terrible threats and penalties. A thorough 
going free trader has honestly noticed how free trade 
enabled the Southern slave-masters, while employing their 
thralls in the few crude industries wherein alone their labour 
was efficient, to command all the comforts and luxuries of 

* Compare the following passage from Roscher, l.c. ii. pp. 437, 438 : 
“ The advantages of mere priority weigh most heavily, when the great 
development of all means of transportation almost does away with the 
natural protection afforded by remoteness ; and when, at the same time, 
a certain universality of fashion, which, as a rule, is governed by the 
most highly developed nations, causes national and local differences of 
taste, which could be satisfied only by national or local production, to 
become obsolete. Under such circumstances it would be possible that 
a w'hole nation might be made continually to act the part of an agricul- 
tural district {plattes Land) to one earlier developed, leaving to the latter, 
almost exclusively, the life of the city and of industry. A wisely-conducted 
protective system might act as a preventive against this evil, the tem- 
porary sacrifices which such a system necessitates being justifiable where 
some of the factors of industrial production unquestionably exist but 
remain unused, because others, on account of the mere posteriority of the 
nation, cannot be built up.” And he justly reprobates the term ‘ hot- 
house plant ’ being applied to industries fostered by temporary protection. 

S 2 


Ground'wo 7 'k of Economics. 

civilized existence (Cairnes, Principles of Polit. Eco 7 i., p. 476 )- 
With great simplicity Mr. Hearn {Phitology, ch. xvii. | 9) 
gives the example of Barbadoes to illustrate the beneficence 
of free-trade, and the doctrine of comparative cost, that is, 
that two countries can profitably interchange their goods, 
though one has an absolute advantage in all branches of 
production, if only this advantage is comparatively less in 
one branch than another. The doctrine is true ; but the 
illustration needs comment. Barbadoes some years back 
used to import most of her provisions from the United 
States although she could raise them herself more cheaply, 
because she had, it is said, a still greater advantage in 
raising sugar and molasses. And the nature of the mutual 
advantage is put as follows, that the United States receive 
sugar which would have cost them the labour of (say) 
eleven days by paying for it with flour which costs them 
only that of (say) ten days ; Barbadoes receives flour which 
would have cost her the labour of (say) eight days by paying 
for it with sugar which costs her only that of (say) six days. 
But ‘ Barbadoes ’ means the planters who control the land 
of Barbadoes, and ‘labour’ means the working expenses 
(industrial expenditure § 57) of these planters ; and then to 
these indeed there may be advantage brought by free trade ; 
only mark well that this advantage may not lie in the special 
talents of the inhabitants or special capacities of the soil 
being utilised, but in the particular crop being exclu- 
sively grown, which renders the negroes most helpless. As a 
fact, the planters destroyed the bananas and other food plants 
that flourished in Barbadoes, lest the negroes should use them; 
as a fact, the great mass of the people in Barbadoes have lain 
for years in abject poverty and misery, the helpless victims 
of political and economical oppression ;* as a fact, when 
slavery in Haiti and Jamaica came to an end and was not 
renewed in another shape, the cultivation of sugar shrank 
up to comparativ'e insignificance ; as a fact, its cultivation in 
Queensland and the Mauritius rests on the ‘ cheap labour ’ 
of the oppressed Polynesians imported into the one country, 
and Indian ‘coolies’ into the other. It depends indeed 

* Revelations on Barbadoes were given in the English Press in the 
summer and autumn of 1876. 

§ 137 , 138 .] Eidtistrial Locality. 261 

on many circumstances whether in a given case protective 
duties are a fit means to check such abuses, to check, that 
is, the unhealthy gravitation of industry to the departments 
which for the nation as a whole are the worst remunerated 
or the least secure ; but whenever it is so, economical science 
calls for the introduction of such duties. And thus in the 
modern condition of the states of Europe and America no 
demand on Government is perhaps better founded than j 
that for excluding (or for imposing heavy duties on) \ 
factory produce coming from countries where factory laws 
are absent, or insufficient, or unenforced, when at home such 
laws are efficient. True there is the loss of some profit ; 
for the protecting country gives up participating in the 
plunder wrung from the sweat and the life blood of the 
undefended factory hands abroad. But such a sacrifice is 
its own reward ; and moreover checks the abnormal growth 
at home of those industries in which for some cause or 
other (perhaps difficult to remove) the workpeople are worst 
off ; while it may foster or preserve those in which they 
are well off, to the immediate moral and perhaps ultimate 
material advantage of the nation.* In a similar manner 
protective duties, as corn laws in Ireland, might hinder the 
rooting out of a peasantry, and the lessening the degree 
of intensity of cultivation, as by the substitution of pastoral 
latifundia for arable farms and garden plots ; and indeed 
such evils presuppose a certain degree of free trade ; only 
that to avert them there are other means besides protection. 

I 138. B. The second fundamental assumption of the 
argument for free trade is that it is fit and desirable that 
each branch of production should be carried on only there 

* A protective duty of the foregoing character is called by the Germans 
ein sozialer Schutzzoll. Such a duty was urged in the German Imperial 
Parliament by the illustrious Catholic orator Herr Reichensperger, 

2 May, 1879, who noticed in particular, that the Rhenish spinning and 
glass factories, where the labour of women and children can be made of 
primary importance, suffered from the competition of foreigners, notably 
Belgians, whom the laws (or rather lawlessness) of their own country 
allowed to employ ‘ cheaper means of production ’ than the Germans. 

“ What should we say,” he added, “ if some legislation forbad this or 
that mine-owner to use the labour of women and children, and at the 
same time let it be done by his neighbour ? ” (Apud Christlich-sociale 
Blatter, 1879, P- 35 +) 


Groundwork of Economics, •[§ 138, 

where the physical conditions for it are most favourable. 
But this assumption contradicts that love of one’s native 
land, that amor patriae, which has been and is one of the 
strongest affections of all settled races of men. As a fact, 
the vast majority of those who care for the public good at 
all, desire the accumulation of wealth and population 
chiefly and primarily within their own country, whatever 
its physical conditions, and desire it to be independent and 
powerful ; while of those who profess an ‘ enlightened cos- 
mopolitanism ’ the majority can be fairly suspected of 
cloaking under this pompous phrase a disregard of all 
interests but their own. Free traders indeed as a body are 
not to be reproached as unpatriotic ; few would be found 
ready to sacrifice their own country for the world’s enrich- 
ment ; Adam Smith urges that defence is much more 
important than opulence, approves the Navigation Laws, 
and does not condemn a bounty on the exportation of 
home-made sail-cloth and gunpowder ; moreover, it is 
generally admitted that besides being independent of 
foreigners for the supply of munitions of war, the supply of 
food ought not to be such as to be liable to interruption in 
Avar, as when Athens could be starved into submission by 
closing the Bosphorus ;* while a free-trader like McCulloch 
extends this precaution to any important article, saying 
that “ nothing can be more injurious .... to the real and 
lasting interests of any great nation, than to have any con- 
siderable portion of its population dependent on the friend- 
ship or policy of colonists or foreigners” (Notes to The 
Wealth of Nations, xxv. p. 601). But free-traders are only 
not unpatriotic because they leave one of their first 
principles in the lurch. And being compelled by common 
sense to make the concession in regard to national safety, 

* Various examples of danger to corn supply through war are given 
by Roscher, Ackerbau, § 162, note 5. That modern England, accessible 
through so many channels, from so many sources, with so great rapidity, 
and having so much wealth, and credit, and commercial knowledge, is in 
any danger, is to me not very probable. Elsewhere Roscher notices the 
advantages to a nation in a protracted war of a certain economical 
many-sidedness, and that this is an answer to those who say that 
different States should act towards each other as the different provinces 
of the same State. {Principles of Pol it. Econ, ii. pp. 438, 439.) 


^ 138.] • hidustrial Locality, 263 

they can be logically forced to admit that sound political 
reasons may in any given case forbid free trade. Protection, 
for example, by increasing the trade between fellow-subjects 
at the expense of that between subjects and foreigners, may 
increase the sentiment of loyalty to king or country and 
of community of interest between different classes and 
different parts of the country ; and may lessen the interest 
of subjects in the affairs of other States, an interest which 
may bring national dangers, and incite to national crimes, 
as when, for the sake of trade, unjust Avars are made or 
justly claimed help isAvithheld. Again, protection, by afford- 
ing a secure and steady market, may prevent the emigration, 
or may cause (especially in countries Avith little accumulation 
of wealth) the immigration of masters and Avorkmen, of 
machinery and various other kinds of durable property. 
Thus “ Swiss labour, and,’ still more, Swiss capital have been 
induced by the tariff systems of the great neighbouring 
countries to settle in Miihlhausen, Baden and Voralberg, 
or at least to establish branch houses in these places. 
Similarly Neumark clothmakers were induced to emigrate 
to Russia, and Niirnberg industrial Avorkmen to Austria” 
(Roscher, Principles of Pol. Ec. II. p. 425). The tobacco 
factories which sjjrung up in Canada Avhen a heavy duty 
Avas laid on the importation of manufactured tobacco, the 
raAv leaf being duty free (D. McCulloch in The Fortnightly 
Reviezv, May, 1879, p. 760) were probably manned and 
stocked by persons and Avith property that but for the duty 
would never have come to Canada or Avould have quitted 
it. And to the piteous tale of the loss to the Avorld’s 
Avealth by the unnatural diversion of labour and capital 
from more to less advantageous employment, let us answer 
that our care is for the AV'ealth of Austria or of Baden or 
of Canada, or of some other State, according to our 
nationality, of some land Ave love, though the soil be barren, 
the winter long, though often enveloped in fog or swept by 
keen blasts, and yet dearer to us than any 

Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea ; 
and that we let the Avorld’s Avealth take care of itself. Or, if any 
further Avords are needed Avith cosmopolitan dollar-hunters, 
let us say once for all that the distribution of mankind into 

§ i 39 > 140 -] Industrial Locality, 265 

of each other politically, into which it is fit that mankind 
should be divided ; and also of the nature of the union with- 
in each group, from an empire like the British, containing a 
variety of political constitutions, or a loose confederacy, as 
of Germany before 1866, to a compact and simple state like 
Belgium or Greece. And, in addition, we must remember 
that the larger a protected area the shorter ccUris paribus 
the relative length of the frontier, with consequent saving in 
the cost of guarding it, and the less chance of the apt 
physical conditions for any important branch of industry 
being absent ;* moreover, that any great degree of political 
independence is difficult to harmonise with a Zolherein or 
customs union. Then each claim for protection for the sake 
of national culture can be judged on its merits ; and here I 
will only add against those who forget man’s character as a 
TToXirtKoV ?wov, that, because, as matters now stand, it would 
be absurd on the plea of promoting variety of industry to 
protect Boeotia against Attica, or Flanders against Brabant, 
or Kent against Surrey, it does not follow that it is absurd to 
protect Ireland or Bombay against Great Britain, or Bavaria 
against Prussia ; and that, if in these cases protection is 

notable diminution in that very wealth ot the world m 
general about which our opponents are so solicitous. 

§ 139. C. Besides the grounds of military defence, national 
spirit, and national wealth, v/hich in a given case may call 
for a more or less extended system of Protection, there is a 
further ground in the need of variety of the national indus- 
tries. Each State can rightly desire that every principal 
branch of agriculture and manufactures not forbidden by its 
soil and climate be practised within its borders, in order to 
have a variety of occupations to suit the different tastes and 
capacities of its members, and many fields for the exercise 
of the national talents. If, therefore, the action of free trade 
excludes or reduces to insignificance any important branch 
of industry, as the iron trade, this branch may rightly be 
protected ; and it is no objection that there must be a corres- 
ponding injury to some other branch of industry, the produce 
of which was being or would be exported in order to pro- 
cure iron. For our aim is precisely to prevent the exagger- 
ated extension of one industry which implies the depression 
of another. Moreover, the possibility of a congenial occu- 

266 Grouiidwork of Economics. 140 . 

goods (in particular, clothing, furniture, and decoration), are 
liable to be allured by what is novel, shewy, or apparently 
cheap, and to prefer it to what is really far more suitable and 
better for them, as we have already noticed {sup. § 115 . 124). 
Such injurious goods may come from abroad, and a protec- 
tive tariff may be the best method of keeping them away, 
and of securing the consumption of the better home made 
goods which else, though preferable, would not be preferred.* 
Analogous are the prohibitions to import noxious goods, like 
opium, or books against faith, morals, and loyalty, although 
such prohibitions are not meant to foster any corresponding 
home industry.f 

E. Free trade in another way may be no friend to the con- 
sumer, as it may hinder one of the first duties of good 
government, namely, to secure as far as possible that the 
food of the mass of the people be at an uniform and 
moderate price. For in countries like Hungary, Egypt, and 
British India, with little accumulated wealth, if there is 
habitual exportation of grain, the superfluity of good 
harvests leaves the country instead of being stored within it ; 
and when a bad harvest comes there is not sufficient wealth 
to attract from abroad a supply of food ; while even in the 
midst of a famine, grain may continue to be exported, as 
from Egypt in 1833, from Ireland in 1845-46, and from India 
when millions were starving in 1877-78. Protective laws by 
favouring home trade at the expense of foreign trade may 
hinder or mitigate such calamities.! They may also check 

* “ The royal commission appointed to investigate the misery of Spes- 
sart in 1852 shew that the home-made clothing had gone out of use there, 
and that the wooden shoes, so well adapted to wooded countries, had 
been changed for leather ones. This becoming acquainted with foreign 
wants in a region not adapted to industries, without a large market, 
greatly increased the distress. As soon as such a region becomes an 
independent State, a protective [in the original ‘ productive,’ evidently a 
misprint] system would suggest itself.” (Roscher, Principles of Pol. Econ. 

ii. p. 438 ) 

t Circumstances can be imagined in which on the principle on merces 
solum importantur sed etiam mores ’ all foreign trade might be forbidden ; 
but they are circumstances at present of little likelihood. 

+ Let us hear ' 9 .oi,z\i<tr,Ackerbau,\ 157 : “ Complete international free 
trade in corn would, however, be an unconditional benefit only to nations 
rich in capital, skilful in trade, powerful at sea. The less developed 

Industrial Locality. 


the growth of parasitical middlemen interposed between the 
grower and consumer of corn, and who by their speculations 
may cause disastrous oscillations, and by their combinations 
a disastrous increase in the price of corn, or may cause a 

would often find that to the advantage of these others their own security 
of a food supply was seriously endangered. Since in poor countries the 
price of corn can never rise to such an absolute height as in rich, they 
have ceteris paribus to e.\pect a large exportation rather than importation 
of grain. If therefore the landowners in Denmark, for example, 
followed exclusively their own private interest, they would when the 
crops of Denmark and England had equally failed, send their whole 
store of grain to England, reserving only enough for their own household 
or the like. Mehemet Ali in 1833 caused large exportations to be made 
of corn, although there was actually a dearth in Egypt. So in Hungary 
since the development of the corn trade, prices have become more fluc- 
tuating. At present the whole store of grain can be exported, whereas 
formerly much remained in the silos [pits for storage of grain] ; and to 
re-import in bad years is much harder than it was to open the silos. A 
simple mistake on the part of the owners of corn can moreover have the 
same consequences as well considered selfishness ; and usually infor- 
mation on the real state of the harvests, etc., comes much earlier to 
highly civilized than to backward countries. For a people whose ports 
are blocked in winter by ice, or where the rivers by their great rapidity 
make re-importation difficult, the foregoing remarks have particular 
weight.” And he notices, ibid. § 1 58, nt. 6, how in Mecklenburg in 1800 
the large exportation of corn, bringing great profit to the landlords, 
induced a scarcity and then the so-named ‘butter revolution’ — Orissa is 
an example of the danger of habitual exportation when there are physical 
barriers to re-importation. In 1866 food was deficient at the time of 
year when it could not come by sea, and had to be conveyed by a single 
road along the whole length of country. (Lukyn Williams, Famines in 
India, 1876, p. 61.) Nearly a million persons perished. But the worst 
famines that have followed in other parts of British India are not due to 
physical barriers in the way of bringing in grain, but as in Ireland in 
1846-7, to the incapacity to pay for it. Of old there was a local store in 
each village sufficient for one or two years as well as fodder for cattle. 
If it is free trade which has caused these stores to disappear free trade has 
to answer for the death of millions. At any rate the dreadful examples of 
India and Ireland have shewn the falsehood of the doctrine that free 
trade, combined with good means of transport, is a security against 
famine. Adam Smith’s reasoning. Wealth of Nations, bk. iv. ch. v. 
(pp. 240, 241, ed. McCulloch), that grain, if there were free trade, would 
gravitate to the districts most in need of it, rests on the false 
assumption that the inhabitants of one district are as rich as those of 
another ; when really districts or individuals well fed but wealthy can 
outbid others starving but penniless. 


Groundwork of Economics. 


great divergence ^between the price of corn and bread. Thus 
it is said that in France towards the end of 1879 wheat was 
sold through the combination of middlemen at thirty-four 
and a half instead of twenty-five francs per 100 kilogrammes, 
and that consumers of bread had in places to pay a further 
addition of some twenty per cent. {U Association Catholique, 
I Jan. 1880 p. 78-79)-* Only there are other ways besides 
I protection of averting such evils. 

§ 141. F. Where the social relations of a country are good 
and foreign trade small, protection may be a means of 
preserving the happy existing conditions ; whereas free trade 
may indeed increase the wealth, but also injure the welfare 
of the country, by breaking up the harmony between master 
and servant, employer and workman, proprietor and tenant, 
buyer and seller. This argument can be called protection 
defended for the sake of an economical constitution. Analo- 
gous is the possible use of protection to favour the preser- 
vation or growth of small farmers or small manufacturers in 
opposition to the large. 

G. The preservation of a good, or the reformation of a 
bad, political constitution may also be a ground for protec- 
tion. The matter belongs rather to politics, and is difficult to 
be discussed apart from the details of each particular case. 
It is enough to say in the abstract, that the production of 
certain classes of goods may give a particular political 
character to the producers {vul. sup.,^ 133) ; that this political 
character may in a given country be deficient or in excess ; 
and that to remedy deficiency the best method may be in 
protection granted to these producers, while to remedy 
excess the best method may be in protection granted to 
others. But it by no means follows in history that protec- 
tion has in this way been applied to redress the political 
balance of the state ; and I think it has been a weapon in 
the hands of those who conspired against the liberties of 
Christian Europe.f Only this is no argument against its 
possible use. 

* Other illustrations 1879, pp. 3-^> 3-~- 

t Those who do not love these liberties naturally view in a different 
light the conspiracy against them. So Roscher, Principles of Polit. 
Peon. p. 439, says : — “ It is no mere accident that in almost every instance 



§ 141, 142.] Industrial Locality. 

H. Lastly, returning from the moral to the material order, 
protective duties may be a good means of husbanding 
national resources by checking that reckless use of them 
which may be prompted by private self interest. For in the 
economical no less than in the political order, men can act 
on the principle aprh nous le deluge. As we have seen {s^tp. 
§ 82-84) the land maybe subjected to exhaustive cultivation, 
the fertilising elements of the soil may be sent clean away, 
the hill sides may be cleared of forests and not replanted, 
the fish in the rivers and seas may be extirpated, as well as 
valuable wild animals on land, and mineral treasures may be 
prematurely used up, all to the manifold enrichment of the 
present owners at the cost of the permanent wealth of the 
nation as a whole. Norway may have one day to lament 
her present exportations of timber, and Great Britain of coal — 
where, however, the wastefulness in the home-consumption 
of coal will be a far graver matter for regret — while it is com- 
plained (D. McCulloch, Fortnightly Reviezu, May, 1879, 
p. 750) that Canadian farmers exhaust the land by frequent 
corn crops, as a home market is wanted for the products of 
a fit rotation, which are for the most part more or less in- 
capable of exportation. And protection in some form or 
other may be the best means of checking the exhaustive 
exportation of bulky raw materials.* 

§ 142. Enough, I think, for the purposes of the present 
chapter has now been said upon the great controversy 
between free trade and protection ; enough, at least, to 

those monarchs who humbled the mediaeval nobility and introduced the 
modern era, [a convenient euphemism !] also established a protective 
system.” Various examples are given in the notes that follow, ibid. 
pp. 442-446, e.g., Louis XIV., Peter the Great, Charles IX. of Sweden, 
the Bourbon dynasty in Spain. 

* The answer to Carey’s argument against the exportation of agricul- 
tural produce given by Mill, Princ. of Polit. Econ. V. x. § i, is inconclu- 
sive, because it assumes that there is no diversity between public and 
private interest or between permanent and temporary national enrich- 
ment. — As a set-off to the danger of drawing much corn from abroad 
(§ 138) maybe reckoned the consequent enrichment of the soil of the 
importing country. Von Thiinen (apud Roscher, Geschichfe der National- 
bkonomik, p. 900) suggests that for England there is more security by 
increasing her ‘ capital of humus,’ than by increasing the area of her 
land under corn crops. 

understand that violent denunciations of one policy or the 
other as per se and of necessity foolish and mischievous, 
without any regard to the manifold diversities of period, 
people, and country, are out of place in the sober reasonings 
of science. Even to say that free trade should be the rule, 
protection the exception, or conversely, is more likely to 
mislead than elucidate ; and such a vague and general for- 
mula does not help us in the complicated discussion needed 
j for each particular and actual case. Let me add two remarks 
j to avert possible misapprehension. First, although I have 
1 frequently spoken of protection as a possible or a good 
\ means of reaching some benefit or averting some injury, 
there may be other means as good or better. Thus to pre- 
vent exhaustion of forests a good means may be a high 
export duty on timber ; but it may be as good or better to 
reach the same end by a wise code of forest laws. Secondly, 
I do not deny that protection has by no means been con- 
fined to cases where it was justifiable, but much rather has 
often, perhaps more often than not, been used either with 
stupidity, frustrating its own ends and injuring a more 
valuable for the sake of a less valuable industry,* or with 
the unequitable end of satisfying the clamour and cupidity of 
certain groups — generally of merchants or manufacturers — 
in the nation, at the expense of all the rest. Only no whit 
cleaner are the hands of free trade. 

And now let us quit not only the discussion of inter- 
national localisation, but of all industrial localisation, and 
not only this, but the entire field of the preparation of 
wealth, which has occupied the present and the three pre- 
ceding chapters ; and let us turn from preparation to 

* Examples are given by Roscher, Principles of Pol. Econ. II. p. 453. 


G^'oundwork of Economics. 

§ I 43 -] 271 



Enjoyment as an Art, § 143, 144— Limitation to Enjoyment, § 145- 
Errors on the Importance and Use of Wealth, § 146 — Christian 
View of W'ealth (Necessaries, Luxuries, etc.), § 147 — Difficulty be- 
cause of the actual Inequality of Enjoyment, § 148— Christian Justi- 
fication of Inequality in W'ealth, § 149, 150. 

§ 143. The word enjoyment, as already explained (§ 5 i, 
52), can be taken to mean the final and personal use of any 
sort of good, as opposed to that other use which can be 
called preparation. But, as in the preceding chapters we 
have considered, not every kind of preparation, but only the 
preparation of wealth, so now I propose to consider, not 
every kind of enjoyment, but mainly and principally the 
enjoyment of wealth. And, after having got some general 
notions about the main features and various kinds of this 
enjoyment, we shall be able to consider its relations to the 
preparation of wealth (that is, to production), and to examine 
the momentous balance of revenue and expenditure. 

Looking first from the technical point of view which 
examines what is conducive to some particular end, as dis- 
tinct from the moral point of view which examines what is 
right and wrong (§ 4), let us mark the error of thinking all 
the difficulty lies in getting enjoyable goods, and none in 
enjoying them when got. In reality, the second process is 
often more complicated than the first. To make a fit choice 
among a variety of goods, and a fit use of what is chosen, 
may be more difficult than to assign the fit crop to each 
field or to make a selection of merchandize most likely to 
find customers. Irrational systems of diet, or mistaken 
courses of medical treatment, have often been seen, vv'here 
there has been no lack of desire to get the ‘ best article, or 

272 Groundwork of Ecojiomics. [§ 143 . 

of money to pay for it. It may be no easy task, when we 
are aiming at health, or pleasure, or power, or any other 
particular end, to assign to each item of enjoyment its proper 
place and due importance, to decide what proportion of our 
real expenditure is to be devoted to food, or to dress, or to 
entertainments, or to our house, or to our travels. Mistakes 
are made every day. There is a painful deficiency in some 
goods because there is a needless abundance in others : too 
large a house, too many servants, three carriages where one 
would be sufficient, and where what is spent on the other 
two might allow the enjoyment of many evenings at the 
theatre, or days on the moor or by the trout stream. Mil- 
lionaires may not know what to do with their millions ; and 
to have the skill or fortune to acquire does not imply any 
capacity to enjoy. The owner of a mining claim in Colorado 
(described in The Times), who had struggled for years to get 
a livelihood, ‘living on beans and bacon and glad to get 
them,’ became possessed from the proceeds of his mine of 
Tso,ooo a year; and then ‘could imagine no enjoyment 
equal to that of imbibing wine all day long, and giving 
others the same pleasure.’ Truly an unskilful craftsman in 
the Epicurean art !* ' 

§ 144. Moreover, there is room for much art not only in 
putting order among the various elements of our enjoyment, 
but also in our mode of using each particular enjoyable com- 
modity. Waste not want not is an English proverb ; but 
what English housekeeper has not had to lament the reck- 
less consumption by domestic servants, and the waste of fuel 
rendered inevitable by the faulty construction of ordinary 
grates. The care and cleanliness of the Dutch help much to 
preserve their houses and furniture. And among individuals 
we see that one man wears out his clothes in half the time 
that another does. Only there can be excess in care ; and 
the benefit of things lasting longer may be outweighed by 
the loss of time and temper in our over-careful mode of 
using them. 

Still more important than proper care is the proper appli- 

* Schaffle notices that the important subject of the economical arrang- 
ment of our requirements has been ignored by Political Economy. 
Nationalokonomie, § 50; § 174- 177. 


^ 144, 145 ] Enjoyment of Wealth in General. 273 

cation of use in common. “ There are numberless goods, 
says Roscher {Nationalokonomie, | 207), “ which can serve a 
number of persons either successively or simultaneously, as 
well as one person separately, inasmuch as the increased use 
does not require a proportionate increase of the object used. 
.... A public library, for example, is far more complete 
and accessible than ten private libraries which together have 
cost as much as it. The cook at a restaurant can serve a 
hundred guests with more varied and tasteful fare, and at a 
more convenient time, than would be possible if each ex- 
pended the same sum on cooking at home.* Formerly, only 
the great could travel quickly ; but now this has become 
possible for the lowest classes by use in common.” Mr. 
Jevons {Fortnightly Rex’ieiv, Nov. 1876) amusingly calcu- 
lates that a private watch costs on an average xV of a 
penny for each look, a public clock only ^to ! ^^0 urges 
public promenades, and rebukes the English ideal of happi- 
ness to buy a piece of land and build a high wall round 
it. In truth, we can perhaps say that joining with others in 
the enjoyment of wealth is as indispensable to human wel- 
fare as co-operating with them in production. But let us 
never forget that the advantage from use in common only 
extends to a certain point, and only exists for certain goods 
under certain circumstances. A thousand guests will scarcely 
be so well served as a hundred, and of ten thousand many will 
not get served at all. A dog with many masters will be 
little pleasure to any of them, nor is it the same thing to a man 
whether he ride his own horse or a hired one, and all the 
splendours of the public parks are less to the retired trades- 
man than the rood of suburban garden which is his own. 
Individual peculiarities of mind or body often require enjoy- 
ment apart or individual use ; and our very infirmities, 
especially in our old age, our whims and fancies, cranks and 
hobbies, though rightly checked in childhood and youth, and 
rightly meeting no indulgence in the more perfect life of the 

* He adds in a note that “ you can get for a moderate price at a first- 
rate Parisian restaurant the choice between 12 potages, 24 hors-d’oeuvres, 
1 5-20 entrees de boeuf, 20 entrees de mouton, 30 entrees de volaille et 
gibier, 15-20 entrees de veau, 12 de patisserie, 24 de poisson, 15 de rots, 
50 entremets, 50 desserts, besides the choice between some 60 wines from 
France alone. What princely table in this respect could offer more ? ” 

2 74 Groundivork of Economics. |_§ H4. HS- 

:loister, ought not for those in the world to be suppressed 
ruthlessly by a Spartan uniformity. But, above all, as soon 
as the community of use is extended beyond the limits of 
the family, a loss of the precious goods of home life rnay 
instantly outbalance the seeming advantages of extended 
community. True, the limits of the family need not be so 
narrow as in England they commonly are ; and we shall 
have occasion to mark the great advantages, and among 
them the extended use in common, which accompany large 
households in contrast with small. But whether the fannily 
be a large or small community, whatever lessens its union, 
peace, and privacy, brings a loss for which even the splen- 
dours of the London clubs, or the dainties of the I arisian 
r-Qnnnt. in the opinion of some, afford adequate 

we have got this and considerably more, there comes a point 
when any more corn is of so little use to us that we will hardly 
give anything for it. And, in consequence, we see the price 
of corn in money rises and falls out of all proportion to the 
deficiency or abundance of the harvest. Thus, according to 
Gregory King’s ‘rule’ (Schafifle, Nationalokonomie, § 55) — 

A deficiency in the harvest of 10 | 20 | 3 0 | 40 | 50 \ 
caused rise in the price of corn of 30 | 80 | 160 | 280 | 450 j 

And the estimated total money-price of the French wheat- 
crop in the three years 1817-19 successively sank, though 
(or rather because) each year the crop was more abun- 

In 1817 being 48 million hectolitres, valued at 2,046 million francs 
In 1818 being 53 „ „ l >442 „ 

In 1819 being 64 „ „ i)i 7 ° » 

(Roscher, NationaKkonomie, § 6, note 2.) 

But because there are limitations in number, space and time 
to the utility of goods, we cannot say that with every exten- 
sion of any given good there is a proportionate diminu- 
tion in its utility. With some goods there is with every 
extension, up to a certain point, even an increase of utility. 
In most circumstances an acre .is proportionately more 
valuable to its owner than a square rood. Wants may 
grow with the means of satisfaction. “ A man with two 
shirts will try to get a dozen : a man with none will often not 
care even for a single one ” (Roscher, Nationalok., § 221, nt. i). 
The appetite can be whetted : Crescit amor nummi, quantum 
ipsa pecunia crevit. Passions, as for coins or old china, 
grow with each fresh acquisition ; and remote, indeed, is the 
limit when the frantic desire of adding field to field {furor 
agros continuandi) is allayed. We must also remember the 
different uses of the same commodity, as of water, first for 
drinking, and thus to a man dying of thirst of as great value 
as his life ; then rapidly with each increase less useful, till 
there is enough of it to serve for washing, when it will rise in 
value to him. Then, again, it will gradually lose relative utility 
till there is enough of it to serve for irrigation ; when the larger 
quantity will again become relatively more useful than the 

Similarly, ;£^i,0CX) may enable me to buy back the 

‘ ) 

• •_> 

I i 

276 Groundwork of Economics. [§ H 5 . ' 4 f>- 

long lost, coveted, paternal f 3”^ J^^^ieave 

more than treble the utility of iCgS • . j wrong 

technical calculations, and turn to what is right and g 

frlSrgVexrs'L in theory and practice, in regard 
to^hfen^ymeft of wealth, has been wid.sprea and com 

u V Kir.r.ri red cvcs and bod es naked, except tor a covering 
o '^irt ntver Jn ihey go about having a fresh human sUul 
in r^eir hands, from which they have previous 
putrid flesh, and into which is poured whatev^ is g‘v=" ; 

L drink n M. Ludlow, Briiisk India, I. p. 6o. Cambnoge, 

.858). The 

goods Terl r/mL not goods at all ; as though when jna^ is 
?omposed of 

fo a°sf '^And in the Middle Ages were certain heretics who 


. These 

Si,;", hTaSs an universal and 

with each ‘increment of “"'”f J' , ,„,e loss, on the 

when he says that a 1 gmnb hng isj the lo J 

ground that a gain of y .^5 , , winner is on an 

Iven if we admitted that the commodity got 

average less useful .0 him than n S, ^.btoe the pain of losing 

-T ;m nom the de«ght, of .he escitemen. winch accom- 
panics gambling. 

§ 146.] Enjoyment of Wealth in General. 277 

as impediments to wealth and civilization. Even Roscher 
seems to approve the detestable practice of giving brandy to 
savages in order to arouse them to work for the sake of this 
new gratification {Nationalokonomic, | 213), as though this 
were the only or even one mode of civilizing them, and not 
rather a mode of exterminating them. And he seems {ibid. 

§ 214) to confuse the condition of tribes sunk in savagedom, 
careless of most of the goods that are needed for a decent 
life, and yet brutally indulging themselves in a few others 
that they care for, with the condition of a simple and frugal 
peasantry having sufficient of those commodities which are 
the requisite material foundation for a rational existence, and 
not willing, in order to get more, to sacrifice their peaceful 
tranquillity, and ancient manners, and well-spent leisure. 
Although their wants are few and easily supplied, such 
peasants are separated from the unrestrained, if unskilful self- 
indulgence of savages, by a greater gulf than lies between 
these savages and those who abuse wealth in a highly 
civilized society, whether by their avarice, or ostentation, 
or sensuality. What is meant by civilization and progress, 
and whether they are hindered by Christian doctrine and 
practice, we will examine at the end of this Book. The 
innumerable excesses in the use of wealth can be better 
judged when we have examined the right use. Let us here 
rather notice that apologists or apostles of Mammon-worship 
are no new phenomenon, but have been seen again and again 
in periods of moral corruption onward to our own from the 
time when was written the hideous epitaph of Sardanapalus : 
“ What I possess is what 1 have enjoyed in feasting, in 
trampling on my foes, in gratifying my lusts ” or when the 
arguments set forth in the second chapter of the Book of 
Wisdom were in common use among the degenerate He- 
brews. “The time of our life is short .... and after this 
we shall be as if we had not been .... and no man re- 

* Tovt’ fX“> tpayros Ttpnv %ira6ov. 

Strabo, xiv. 672. See Roscher, Natwnalokonotnie, § 21, note 4. Com- 
pare the ghastly epitaph of a Roman slave {Orelh\ 4816, apud Allard, 
Les esclaves chrdtiens, 1876, p. 166) ; Balnea, vina, Venus corrumpunt 
corpora nostra, set vitam faciunt— The error that luxurious consumption 
is needful for national wealth and prosperity will be examined in a sub- 
sequent chapter. 

K ' 


278 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 146 , 147 . 

turneth. Come, therefore, and let us enjoy the good things 
that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures as in 
youth. Let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments : 
and let not the flower of the time pass by us. Let us crown 
ourselves with roses, before they be withered ; let no meadow 
escape our riot. Let none of us go without his part in 
luxury ; let us everywhere leave tokens of joy : for this is 
our portion and this our lot.” Nor in regard to wealth can 
materialism with any decent shew of logic teach any other 
practical course. Sensuality, though prudent and refined, is 
sensuality still ; and as our lifetime is but as a day, we must 
.still exclaim : Comedamus et bibamus ; eras enim moriemur. 
But let us turn from false doctrines to the truth. 

§ 147. The Christian religion imposes on all men the 
duty of self-sacrifice and detachment from the things of 
the earth, wealth among the rest, for the love of the infinite 
Good. Moreover it gives as a counsel of perfection, which 
only a few are to attempt or attain, to abandon the private 
ownership of anything at all, and the private enjoyment 
of anything but the mere necessaries of life. For the 
multitude on the other hand a certain measure of wealth, 
varying much according to circumstances (as time, place, 
rank), is an useful means towards fulfilling the purpose of 
their existence. Let us examine this measure. 

In wealth as the object of enjoyment we can distinguish 
the three degrees of what is necessary, what is decent and 
what is superfluous. The necessaries of life {bona naturae 
iiecessaria, le n^cessaire, das Nothdiirftige) are the food, the 
clothing, the shelter, and whatever else is needful to keep 
us in good health, not merely to lead a starved and stunted 
existence. That every one should enjoy these, is obvious. 
Secondly, decencies {bona statui necessaria, le biense'ant, An- 
standsgiiter) are the goods proper to a man’s station in life, 
goods, that is, without which a man cannot decently pass 
his life according to the condition and rank both of him- 
self and of others he has to provide for (St. Thomas, Sum. 
theol. 2“ 2“ qu. 32, a. 6). Naturally such goods vary with 
a man’s station, but for the lowest are neither few nor 
unimportant. A house, for example, to be a fit home for 
a family, must be much more than the shelter indispensable 


§ 147 .] Enjoyment of Wealth in General. 279 

for health ; and it is unseemly for the lowest class, though 
health may require no more, to be clad in a shapeless 
patchwork of rags. And so far is it from being a duty to 
forego the enjoyment of this class of goods, that it would 
be inordinate under ordinary circumstances for any one to 
give away so much of his property that from the residue 
he could not live decently {convenienter) according to his 
own station in life and the works that fall to his lot. 
Nullus enim inconvenienter vivere debet.* Thirdly, super- 
fluities {bona naturae et statui superflua, le superflu, das Ueber- 
fluss) are all commodities not falling under the two previous 
heads of necessaries or decencies. But we should be liable 
to mistake if we did not further divide superfluities into 
two kinds, the one to be called ornaments or elegancie.s, 
the other luxuries ; the one if not praiseworthy at least 
justifiable, the other always reprehensible. The line 
between the two is often fluctuating and obscure ; but 
for all that we can get an adequate notion of each. Goods 
which serve primarily towards intellectual or aesthetical 
training, or towards the enjoyment of science, literature, 
and art, are not to be called luxuries ; nor again such 
commodities as serve to afford ordinary comforts in home 
life, and to avert fatigue in travelling, and to give amuse- 
ment within limits which reason in each given case can 
without much difficulty assign. Moreover on certain occa- 
sions of festivity and under other special circumstances, 
elaborate and costly goods may be enjoyed without blame. 
In particular where the good is enjoyed in common with 
other persons there is less likelihood of luxury, more room 
for ornament, and the more, the wider or more exalted the 
community, till we can rightly share in the utmost splendour 
of magnificence and art in the celebration of divine worship.-f* 
On the other hand superfluities are to be called luxuries 
under the following circumstances, {a) When they minister 
to physical excess as qver-eating or drunkenness, or taking 

* S. Thom. ibid. The exceptional cases for giving up such goods he 
explains to be where a man enters into religion, or where a speedy re- 
paration of fortune is possible, or where the sacrifice is called for by the 
extreme necessity of others or by the great necessity of the republic. 

t Cf. S. Thomas, Sum. theol. 2* 2"'", qu. 134, on magnificentia. 

200 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 147 * 

opium otherwise than as a medicine. Nor does the coarse 
quality of the food or drink or ought else which serves 
towards sensual indulgence hinder it from being a luxury. 
Adulterated gin may be the medium of intoxication as 
much as the finest cognac from France, {b) Superfluities 
again are luxuries when there is a disproportion between 
the sum spent on them and the revenue of the man who 
enjoys them. In this aspect the same physical object may 
be a luxury to one man and not to another, in one place 
or period and not in another ; as butcher’s meat every 
day a luxury to the English agricultural labourer but not 
to the noble peer his employer, nor on the pampas of South 
America to the very mendicant, being cheaper there than 
bread • and tea taken morning and evening no luxury now 
tothe’poorest class in England, though it would have been 
lOO years ago. Thus there may be an apparent increase 
in the indulgence of luxuries, when really there is only an 
increase in the wealth of the set of persons we are ob- 
serving, or else a number of commodities formerly costly 
and rare become cheap and commonly used, f) Thirdly, 
superfluities are luxuries when there is a disproportion 
between the sum spent on them and the result. Hoc est 
luxuriae propositum, gaudere perversis (Seneca, Epist. 122). 
To this class belongs all food of which the mam merit is 
the costliness, not the taste or the wholesomeness In the 
Roman empire this folly reached the extremity of drinking 
wine in which pearls had been dissolved, and eating a dish 
made of birds that had been trained to sing or talk (koscher, 
Natiofialokonomie, | 232, where other examples are given). 
Again, personal adornment, as dress or jewellery, when neither 
graceful nor commodious, nor required by the station of 
the wearer or the special circumstances of the occasion, but 
marked with the stamp of mere ostentation or perversity, 
must be called luxurious, as the ridiculous shoes for men m 
the fourteenth century more than double the length of the 
foot or ladies’ trains needing a page to bear them up, and 
the frequent exaggeration of each fashion as it passes. 
id) Finally, all commodities are to be held luxuries which 
in their preparation or enjoyment must needs under the cir- 
cumstances of the time and place entail suffering on others ; 

§ 147, 148. J Enjoyment of Wcdlth in General. 281 

as dresses or papers of such colour or texture as only to 
be made by some unhealthy process ; or lucifer matches 
formerly when the bones of the makers rotted away , or a 
hunting ground formed by destroying the homesteads and 

hamlets of the poor. 

Let the foregoing suffice on the difference between 
luxuries and ornaments as well as between superfluities and 

decencies, decencies and necessaries.* 

§ 148. But are not all men equal ? And on what principle 
is one to have fewer goods to enjoy than another, and to 
be told that fine houses and carriages, that horses and 
hounds, that wine or even flesh-meat, are luxuries for him, 
and only ornaments or decencies for another ? And why 
should he who labours so much enjoy so little, and another 
who labours so little enjoy so much ? The question is an 
old one, and easier asked than answered ; nor, if we dismiss 
religion, do I know any answer which does not amount to 
thist th’at those who have got the good things of this 
life mean to keep them, and that the others are likely to 
fall into a still worse plight if they attempt to disturb the 
unequal distribution. But, after all, this is a mere matter 
of probabilities, of which one man may claim to be as good 
a judge as another. History is not wanting in examples, 
particularly in Greece between Alexander s time and the 
Roman Conquest, of successful attempts by the poor to seize 

* Adam Smith includes under necessaries whatever the custom of the 
country renders it indecent for creditable people even of the lowest 
order to be without ; all beyond comes under the head of luxuries, which 
thus would include the botiu statui ncccssufiti of all classes except the 
lowest. But 1 cannot see how e.^. the Sunday coat which is de rigueur 
for the London labourer is necessary for him in any sense in which a 
gentlemanly coat is not necessary for a gentleman. Senior’s distinction 
of necessaries, decencies and luxuries {Political Economy^ ed. of 1850, 
pp 36, 37), is much clearer and is well illustrated ; but he should have 
used some other word instead of luxuries, as this word is marked with a 
note of moral censure. Roscher’s chapter on “Luxus” {Nationalbk. 
§ 224 seq) is a storehouse of information, but also of error. Like Adam 
Smith and Senior he misleads by using the word luxury to include many 
kinds of enjoyment that are quite praiseworthy. His ideal of enjoyment 
is vulgar and repulsive. His ‘facts’ have to be squeezed into the strait- 
jacket of his three fancy historical periods : rude, flourishing, and fallen 

times {cf. sup. § 27). 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 148 , 149 . 

the property of the rich ; and it is hard to prove to a man who 
is hungry and ambitious that in his own particular time 
and place there is no chance of success for a social revolu- 
tion ; while to argue it unjust, is to insult rather than 
convince him. He may say that if common labour is really, 
as we tell him, not a disgrace, but a dignity, he and his 
fellows are too generous to monopolize this honour, and to 
forego their share of the burden and opprobrium of easy 
indolence ; that thrift and self-help, which we recommend 
to the working classes, are virtues so conducive to the 
enjoyment of life, that he cannot rest as long as any class 
is exempt from the necessity of practising them ; that as 
no one is responsible for his own existence, and no one 
should be punished before he has done wrong, it is unjust 
and absurd as well as pernicious for one youth to begin 
life with a large fortune, another with little or nothing, 
instead of all starting fair in the economical race ; that, in 
short, inevitable sufferings and death are quite enough to 
endure without adding to these evils by the almost in- 
credible stupidity and injustice of laws which can assign 
to one of two infants ten thousand a year, to the other not 
the fraction of a farthing. He may speak like this, and, 
on the hypothesis of Rationalism, we cannot meet him with 
any solid argument from justice or expediency. We must 
fall back on the gallows. 

/ But that hypothesis is false ; and in Ethics, of which 
K Economics is one portion, the right method {sup. § 12, 32) 
/ pays much attention to theological teaching ; nor is it im- 
/ possible, provided theology is our helper, to obtain for the 
S question before us an answer that is sufficient* 

/ § 149. Poverty as well as much other suffering has become 

because of the Fall the normal heritage of man ; but because 
of the Redemption has become also capable of being ex- 
piatory, medicinal, and meritorious ; affording, if rightly 
used, the means of making satisfaction for our debt of 
puni.shment, of subduing our passions, of exercising charity, 
that may rise to be heroic, towards our brethren, living or 
dead, of acquiring for ourselves merit that will last for 

In some of the foregoing remarks I have followed Bishop Ketteler 
Arbeiterjnige, p. 40 seq. 124 seq. 


§ 149 .] Enjoyment of Wealth m General. 283 

eternity. Instead of envying the rich, the poor man has to 
be thankful that he is not burdened with a terrible re- 
sponsibility, and that for him it is easier to escape the triple 
danger of being absorbed by cares, and enamoured of riches, 
and swollen with vain glory (S. Thom. Sum. theol., 2*, 2*', qu. 
188, a. 7 ; qu. 186, a. 3). He can think how this life passes like a 

shadow ; how eternal goods are alone worthy of man’s nature ; 
how a just Judge will one day assuredly make up for every 
inequality ; how the rich man may sink into hell, while angels 
bear Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom. Many pages might be 
filled with the advantages and the glory of holy poverty ; 
and in short the difficulty is not so much how the poor are to 
rest contented in their poverty, as how the rich can endure to 
live in their abundance. But they can, and with reason ; for 
they are no accident or abnormity, but have a providential 
mission in society and the possibility of securing for them- 
selves in the midst of their riches the blessings of poverty. 

And as follows.* 

It lies in the order of Providence that art and literature 
and philosophy should bloom, and that man should subdue 
the earth in a double sense : materially by the spread and 
improvement of the industrial arts , intellectually by the 
development of the physical sciences. But without inequality, 
nay great inequality in fortunes, there would have been 
little progicss perhaps in any of these departments. How 
would painting, for example, have fared without a wealthy 
class to serve as its patron .? And though, in the abstract, 
mechanical inventions and division of labour and production 
on a large scale are possible in a society where no one is 
richer than his neighbour, how little in fact would they have 
been developed, if there had been no rich men to make use 
of them, and if they had not served as a highway to wealth 
for a fortunate few. It is indeed obvious that the accumula- 
tion of material goods in the hands of one man allows him 
to accumulate also immaterial goods, to develop his intel- 
ligence, to refine his taste, to become in a word a man of 
culture, all his natural virtues trained to blossom and bear 
fruit. He stands there with the external goods of wealth 

* Much that follows is taken, sometimes word for word, from Perin, 
De la richesse dans les socieies chret. 11 . p. 45 ^ edit. 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 149, 150. 

and power and the internal goods of prudence and politeness, 
of learning and good taste ; nor can there be any doubt of 
his superiority to the rude and toiling multitude. But then 
let there be no mistake as to the nature of that superiority. 
He too is fallen, and all these goods of his are but as dust 
in the balance if weighed against a single supernatural act ; 
and himself liable to terrible puni.shment if either he set his 
heart on them or fail to use them aright. But use them 
aright he can ; and by voluntary sacrifice can conform to the 
general law of suffering and poverty, and make his wealth 
and culture a pathway towards God. For in obedience to 
the injunctions of Christian charity (in the wide sense of the 
term) he can turn his wealth and capacities to the service of 
his fellow-men in various ways like the following. 

§ 1 50. First, he may use his personal capacities in filling 
well various offices more or less important of Church and 
State and society in general, labouring in theology or philo- 
sophy, in art or literature, in the mathematical or physical 
sciences, in the higher departments of the teaching and healing 
arts, in the higher posts of the law and of civil or military 
service. In particular, unless the higher functions of central 
and local government are to be ill performed, there is need of 
a rich class able to labour without pay, or at least not depen- 
dent on their pay for their livelihood, lest the State become 
the prey of society’s refuse, of lawyers without clients, and 
doctors without patients, and teachers without pupils, and 
tradesmen without customers, and artisans without work.* 
Secondly, in the industrial world the rich man, or rather any 
one with even a moderate endowment of wealth, can exercise 
what has been called Christian patronage, that is, a fatherly 
care over all his workpeople, servants, tenants, and depen- 
dents of any sort : admitting them as far as their condition . 
allows to fellowship in literature, science, and art, giving them 
leisure and at the same time the means and the motives to 
use it well by removing temptations and by providing abun- 
dance of wholesome means of recreation and every facility 
for their religious life.f Thirdly, by generous contributions 

* Cf. Roscher, Nationalokonomie, § 205. Only the reader must know 
how to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

t Cf. the following passage from an article on ‘ London Poor and 



§ 150.] Enjoy ?nent of Wealth in General. 285 

towards means of common enjoyment, as public buildings, 
galleries, gardens, pageants, and above all, the fabrics and 
ceremonies of religion, that these may be seemly at least, 
and if possible magnificent, the rich man may share his 
riches with the poor, and brighten the dulness of their lives. 
Lastly, by charity, in the narrow sense of the term, he can 
spend himself and his goods in the service of those in 

Let us mark that these four ways, in which the rich and 
cultured can fulfil their mission, are by no means only for the 
most opulent class, but that every man in proportion as he is 
raised above others in riches or culture, though only by a little, 
is bound to use these advantages in some such way.* And 
then it is plain that in Christian societies the inequalities of 
property are not a cause of social discord, but of union, 
binding together the various members of the commonwealth, 
and hardly deserve the name of inequalities because the 
occasion of such abundant compensation. Nor do I think, 
provided the great majority of the people have at least the 

London Work,’ in the Dublin Review, July 1874, p. 46 : “ On a Christian 
view of the case the rich are stewards rather than owners of these pos- 
sessions ; the stewards, not to dole out to their workpeople portions of 
broken meat and bread, and cast-off clothing, or fractions of elementary 
teaching to suit their own views ; but to stretch out a hand to those 
whom they employ, and lift them up to the fullest advantages of w hich 
their life allows. To help them, in short, first to possess and then to 
enjoy, in their degree, all the pleasures and gifts which they themselves 
possess and enjoy in a wider measure. The leisure to read, and what to 
read ; the eye and ear for beauty, and the uses to be made of beauty ; 
the desire for cleanliness, neatness, and adornment in easy, simple ways 
and materials. The desire and then the habit of making home bright, 
attractive and pleasant, and of centering there the useful and agreeable 
occupations of the family, in which the father, mother, and children can 
take their parts. The cultivation of music, drawing, wood-cutting and 
carving with this end ; the communication of free, simple, good breed- 
ing, gentle manners, speech, and laughter, and simple good taste in 
dress, and house furniture, and colours ; — all these benefits are due from 
the rich to the poor, or, as it is now expressed, from capitalists to 
labourers. If they were bestowed .... we should not .... see the 
two great divisions of society drawing apart .... preparing for strife.” 

* In extreme cases, and thus per accidens, a man may be bound to give 
up the ornaments and even the decencies of life to help the extreme 
necessity of another. 


Grounchuork of Economics. [§ 1 50 - 

decencies {bona statui necessaria) of the lowest class {sjtp. 
I 147), and provided the principles of Christian charity 
prevail, that we can prove any one sort of distribution of 
wealth will enable men, better than any other, to fulfil the 
purpose of their life. 

§ KSI-] 




Particular Kinds of Enjoyment : Food, § 151 — Five main Divisions of 
Food, § 151-156 — Causes of the Diversity of Habits regarding Food, 

§ 157 — Examination of the Cost, Security, and Fitness of different 
Kinds of Staple Foods, § 158, 159 — Drinks: Waters and Water 
Supply, § 160-162 — Aromatic Drinks, § 163 — Fermented Drinks, 

§ 164, 165 — Right use of Alcohol, § 166, 167 — Abuse of it in the 
Past and the Present, § 168-170 — Legislation against Intemperance, 

§ 171-173 — Modern Temperance Associations, § 174 — Conclusions 
concerning Intoxicating Drinks, § 175, 176 — Suggestions for Modern 
England in Particular, § 1 77-179 — Concluding Suggestions and 
Remarks, § 180. 

§ 15 1. From the enjoyment of wealth in general let us 
turn and look at the enjoyment of particular kinds, as food 
and drink, dwelling-place and pleasure garden, theatres, law 
courts, churches. We are not primarily concerned with that 
sort of enjoyment, of which the object is primarily not a 
commodity but some personal service, for example, the 
service of one’s comrade in a game, of one’s companion in 
an excursion, of an actor or singer, of a doctor, or teacher, 
or lawyer, or priest. But in so far as such services entail 1 
expenditure, we must in this aspect consider them, in order 
to obtain a sure basis for the calculation of revenue and / 
expenditure. And I must ask indulgence for the irregular ' 
and fragmentary character of what is to follow, excusing 
myself, as best I can, by pleading the little to be found on 
these matters in ordinary treatises on ‘ Political Economy,’ 
as though the making of a flute was so much more worth the 
attention of statesmen and philosophers than the playing on 
it or the listening to it. In much I follow the eleventh 

S 15 ^'J Food and Drink. 289 

any liquid that we drink, provided nutrition is its main 
purpose {cf. Dr. Ed w. Smith, 3rd ed. pp. 1-2). Opium, 

therefore, and pills, though solids and eaten, are excluded ; 
whereas milk and broth, though liquids, are to be classed 
among foods. Further let us call by the name of drink 

in Apendix II. to Bishop Ketteler^s Arbeiterfrage^ Mainz, 1864, whence 
I select the following : — 

Annual expenditure of a workman’s family of five persons in Holstein 
about 1847. (Ketteler, /.r. p. 199.) 

Thalers, Silbergroschen. 

Food 1^0 24 

Fuel and light 8 15 

Washing, sweeps, utensils, watchman, sick and 

burial club 4 15 

Clothing and bedding 16 17^ 

Dwelling-place 14 

Taxes, school and church fees 7 

2 88 Groundwork of Economics. 15D 

chapter of Le Play’s Ouvriers Enropiens (2nd ed. 1879), 

to which once for all I can refer. 

Of all the elements of enjoyment, food is the one which 

has been and is for most men the chief .source of expendi- 
ture. “ Countries are populous,” says Adam Smith ( Wealth 
of Nations, Bk. I. ch. xi. Part II), “not in proportion to the 
number of people whom their produce can clothe and lodge, 
but in proportion to that of those whom it can feed.” And 
statistical observations sometimes allow us to express in 
figures and with some approach to accuracy the large pro- 
portion of the entire expenditure made up by that on food. 
The following table from Engel, though old and well known, 
will serve as an illustration (Roscher, Nationaldkonomie, § 214, 
n\ If refers to Saxony in mid nineteenth century : 

Average relative expenditure on each item 

by a middle-class 

Total expenditure . . 201 ii^ 

Annual expenditure of an ironworker’s family of six persons in Derby 
shire about 1850. (Le Play, /. c. III. pp. 416-419.) 

Francs. Centimts. 

Nourishment (food, i,i 45 f 74c. ; tea and coffee, 

I94f. 40c. ; beer and spirits, I92f. 8c.) . . 1,460 94 

Habitation (including fuel, 66f 4c., light and fur- 
niture) 229 93 

Clothing and washing 207 64 

Church, school, doctor, recreation (tobacco, sjf.) .81 44 

Taxes and insurances ... or 

an upper- 

by a well-to-do 
workman’s family 

Item of Expenditure 

Food and drinl- 
Clothing . . . 

Housing . . . 

Fuel and light . 

Education . . 

Public security 
Health . . • 

Personal services 

Total expenditure . . 2,005 65 

Hermann, cited by Roscher, Nationaldkonomie, § i, note 2, reckons the 
annual requirements of the Bavarian people at 177 million florins for 
food, 60 for drink, 50 for clothing, 45 for dwelling, and 37-5 for firing. 
The difficulties in making such calculations at all accurate are very 
great. We must, for example, first of all agree as to the method of 
reckoning, whether in particular we are to give only the tiet revenue and 
net expenditure {vid. sup. § 56, 57), or whether we are to add other 
items to both sides of the account. I think it is desirable to keep 
strictly to the net revenue and net expenditure ; and thus I have struck 
off from the table concerning the Derbyshire ironworker the sum of 
3 francs 20 centimes interest paid for a debt ; for such payments must be 
deducted before net revenue is reckoned. But these matters will find 
their place in a subsequent chapter. 


62 per 



55 per cent. 

























Groundwork of Economics.- LS 

irunk by man, provided it is not a medicine, nor 
,,s of nourishment. Water, 

, classed among drinks, not among foods , mrd 
and beer, thongh both of these contam much 
aerial Having thus distinguished food from 
exTrnine the one in the first part of this chapter, 

r in the second. ^ c a 

avoid being lost in vain generalities ^bo^t too 
empt a rough survey of its chief varieties which 
, be comprised with sufficient accuracy for ou 
der five heads.* Other divisions aa“able or 
heniistry or medicine, as into nitrogenous »d 
neous foods, would be of less use for us, and 

cs would not be more but less , . f 

Die vegetable foods, meaning by staple the cl 
me of the chief articles of diet. And thus if 
mav be in the shape of the gram of cereals, or 
^ or their pith, or bulbous roots, or the seeds of 
, olants. Among grains, the first place m igni ) , 



§ 152.] Food and Drink. 291 

America has even invaded our language and appropriated to 
itself the ancient word ‘corn ’ ; rice prevails in South-Eastern 
Asia, in much of the Indian Archipelago, and in Southern 
and Central China, and seems whenever it can be got equally 
cheap to be preferred to any other grain. Far below these three 
grains in the number of men they support and even below 
wheat are two other cereal plants, namely oats and rye, which 
yet in places are of prime importance, oats in high latitudes 
and high altitudes, as Scotland, Scandinavia, Thibet, and the 
highlands of China; rye in Germany and Russia. Buck- 
wheat and barley may close the list of grains, the latter 
rarely a staple food, and sadly fallen since the days when it 
fed perhaps half the population of ancient Egypt and Assyria, 
Italy and Greece ; being now mainly used to supply man 

not with food, but with drink. 

Among fruits three stand out of conspicuous value as a 
staple food, the date, the cocoanut, and the banana. The 
date palm, the king of trees, with its majestic beauty and 
innumerable uses, is the support of millions in North Africa 
and South-West Asia, and perhaps is more indispensable to 
making habitable the region where it grows than any other 
plant to any other region. The cocoanut palm affords a staple 
food in Ceylon and the Maidive and Laccadive islands ; the 
banana tree or plantain (the two are sometimes distinguished) 
in tropical America, and the West Indies. Less important 
are four other fruits used as staple food, namely, the Spanish 
chestnut in Corsica and parts of Italy and France, the Brazi- 
lian pine nut or Juvia among the Indians of Southern Brazil, 
the palmyra palm in the North of Ceylon, and the bread 

fruit in the South Sea Islands. 

The pith of a tree in two notable instances serves for the 
staple food, namely the pith of the sago palm in the Eastern 
portion of the Indian Archipelago, and secondly, in some of 
the northern parts of South America, the pith of the Mauri- 
tius palm, sometimes called the sago palm of South America. 

Among bulbous roots three at least can be classed among 
staple foods : the potatoe is the chief article of diet in Ireland 
and in its own native home among the Quichuan Indians of 
South America ; the root of the manioc, besides being used 
to make tapioca, yields a flour which is the staple food in 

U 2 

rf^ r 

292 Grounchvork of Economics. [§ 152 , 153 . 

much of Brazil ; the yam in Celebes and in some other of 
the poorer regions of the Indian Archipelago. 

Lastly, the seeds of leguminous plants have often served 
as a principal article of food. The mess of pottage for which 
Esau sold his birthright was made of lentils ; a kind of bean 
serves as a staple food in parts of India, Brazil, and Mexico ; 
and by a curious change stewed beans {ful) are the national 
dish of the modern Egyptians, whereas by the religion of the 
ancient Egyptians precisely this vegetable was prohibited. 

§ 153. The division of foods can be expressed by 

the alliteration fish, flesh, and fowl, and is pre-eminently for 
pleasure, while the first division is for necessit3^ For a 
fraction indeed, though a small one, of the human race the 
j)rincipal sustenance is the flesh of animals, the flesh of oxen 
and sheep for example among the richer classes of parts of 
Northern Europe, England in particular, and among all 
classes in the country round Buenos Ayres, while in China 
pork and chicken, including eggs, may claim as well as river 
fish to be staple foods for the rich ; sea fowl (solan geese) were 
formerly the main food in the Hebrides {Fraser's Magazine, 
April 1878, pp. 457-8) ; river fish, fresh in summer, dried in 
winter, is the staff of life on the river Tarim in Central Asia 
(Prejevalski, From Kulja to Lob-nor, pp. 109- 1 10), and sea fish 
side by side with rice for many of the Malay's and Japanese, 
and without a rival among many fishing villages of Europe. 
Still, in the main, butcher’s meat and game, fish and shell- 
fish, poultry and eggs, are delicacies, of which up to a cer- 
tain point a man will be likely to consume more the larger 
his revenue. A rich Englishman does not eat more bread, 
a rich Burmese more rice, than his poorer neighbours, but the 
one more meat than they do, the other more fish. And this 
division of food, which, mark, does not include the fat or 
milk of animals, but only their flesh, does not seem necessary 
for a race of men attaining great and perhaps the utmost 
physical strength and health ; as is seen from many examples, 
as the Chilian miners, the boatmen of the Nile, and many 
stahvart peasants in France, Italy and Spain.* But whethcr 

* In the Encyclopedia Briiannica, 9th ed. s. v. Dietetics, p 202, Dr. 
Chambers refers to a case where Sicilian navvies, having previously 
worked slackly compared with the English navvies, who spent much on 


Food and Drink. 


any literary class has ever been seen which used no flesh, and 
whether, if not essential, it is not conducive to intellectual 
development, and whether its use can be wisely foregone 
altogether by a race or a class long accustomed to it, are 
questions which an unprejudiced enquirer will not find it, I 
think, difficult to answer. And the amiable sect of vegetarians, 
if they tell us our teeth prove us to be neither herbivorous 
like oxen, nor carnivorous like beasts of prey, but frugivorous 
like apes, having, that is, the fruits of the earth as our natural 
food, forget that man is more than his body ; that history 
has as good a claim as anatomy to say what is natural to 
him ; that apes, as a fact, are exclusively frugivorous, man, as 
a fact, is not ; that unlike them he possesses the art of 
cooking, and is thus able, in spite of his teeth or his abdomen, 
to be omnivorous. 

meat, whereas they saved much of their wages, became far more efficient 
w'orkers after the contractor paid half their wages no longer in money 
but in meat. But such cases prove little unless it could be shewn that 
the previous quantity of food was not insufficient, and that an addition 
of some other food would not have had an equally good effect. In the 
same article are to be found some of the results obtained by Dr. 
Franklin on the comparative value of different foods as a basis of mus- 
cular exertion. The following table (/. c. p. 210) gives the respective 
weight of different kinds of food which has to be taken daily to sustain 
life, or (as the equivalent! to produce muscular force which would raise 
a man of 10 stone 10,000 feet. 

Food. Weight in Price. Food. Weight in Price. 

Pounds. s. d. Pounds. s. d! 

Cod liver oil . . 0*55 i ii| Bread . . . 2*34 o 4J 

Beef fat . . . o’55 o 5I Lean ham (boiled) . 3*00 4 6 

Butter . . . 0*69 I Mackerel . . 312 21 

Cocoa nibs , . 073 i Lean beef . . 3*53 3 

Cheshire cheese . ris o iij Lean veal . . 4-30 4 3I 

Oatmeal . .1*15 03^ Potatoes. . , 5-06 o 5^ 

Arrowroot . . T28 i \Miiting . . . 6*36 9 4 

Flour . . . 1-31 o 3f Apples . . . 7*81 o ii| 

Pea meal . . i'33 o 4^ Milk . . , 8^02 i 8 

Ground rice . . i’34 o 5^ ; White of egg . , 874 4 4^ 

Isinglass . . 1*37 22 I Carrots . . . 9-68 i 

Lump sugar . , 1*50 o 9 | Cabbage . . 12*02 i 

Hard boiled egg . 2*20 i 2| | 

I have rearranged and slightly abridged this table. The prices in money 
arc naturally only approximate and provisional. 






294 Groundwork of Economics. [§i53> ^54- 

But though the human race is omnivorous, individuals, 
according to religion, or race, or climate, or various other 
circumstances, are affected with antipathies more or less 
violent to certain kinds of food. Even farinaceous foods can 
be the object of antipathy. The poor Irish in English 
workhouses feel bitterly the change from a diet of potatoes 
to oatmeal porridge ; a common Englishman is (or till re- 
cently was) avowedly prejudiced in favour of white bread, 
and hostile to the black rye bread of Prussia and Russia, 
thinking its use must be due not to preference or economy 
but to misery (Roscher, Ansic/itcUy I. p. 257)- The use of 
beans has been restricted by religion among the Egyptians 
of old, by philosophy among the Greeks, by prejudice 
among ourselves. But in regard to the flesh of animals, 
antipathies are more violent and conspicuous. Pork is an 
abomination to the Jews, to the whole Mahometan world, and 
to some who are neither Jews nor Mahometans ; but is tlie 
favourite food of the Chinese and of certain classes in 
Europe ; for mutton, the standing dish of Mahometans, the 
Chinese do not care, neither for beef ; and the sight of an 
Englishman devouring his favourite beef is to Hindus 
unutterably repulsive. To an Englishman in his turn it is 
unpleasant to hear of Parisians eating horse-flesh, Chinese 
eating do^s, cats and rats, and of the ancient Romans 

O O' 

delighting in dormice as a special delicacy. 

I 154. The third division of foods can be entitled olea- 
ginous or fatty substances, and, unlike the second division, 
is in some form or other indispensable. It comprises three 
principal subdivisions: first, the milk of various animals 
(as sheep, goats, mares, or cows), and preparations from milk 
(as butter or cheese) ; secondly, fat in various forms (as 
lard, suet, or blubber) ; and, thirdly, oil from animals or 
plants. All over the world milk is man’s chief nourishment 
in his early years ; and not seldom we see an adult 
population using so much of a fatty substance that it 
becomes a staple food for them, blubber, for example, in 
the polar regions, and milk, including the preparations from 
it, in the highlands of Tibet and Kurdistan, of Scandinavia 
and the Alps, and on the pasture lands of Arabia, and 
those bordering the Great Sahara. The average daily 

Food and Drink. 


§ 154. i 55 -J 

consumption of milk by each person has been reckoned 
in some of these instances to be from four to seven pints. 

In the use of fatty substances the dififerences according 
to people, period, and place have been almost as striking 
as in the use of flesh ; and we can perhaps discern through- 
out the world a latent hostility between butter and vege- 
table oil. One extreme is in China, where milk is not 
used in any form soever, and rape oil is in consequence 
in great request (Captain W. Gill, The River of Golden Sand, 
London, 1880, I. p. 245) ; the other in countries like 
England, where milk and butter and cheese are universal, 
vegetable oil hardly used at all as food, and to many an 
object of disgust.* In the middle are countries like Italy, 
where goat’s milk and cheese are used as well as olive oil, 
but not butter, to any great extent. Another contrast is 
in the kind of animal kept for milking. In Homeric times 
it was the ewe and the she goat that furnished milk, not 
the cow ; and to this day in the South of Europe goat’s 
milk .holds the first place, while in the North of Europe 
it is of little account compared with cow’s milk. Moreover 
butter in the form familiar to us, and the delight of the 
Teutonic and Celtic world, is very different from the fluid 
butter of the ancient Thracians, to whom the Greeks gave 
the title of f^ovrvpo^dyoi (Grote, History of Greece, VIII. 
p. 102, 4th edit.), and of other ‘barbarians’ in Lusitania, 
Ethiopia and India, as well as that which now is drunk 
by the Beduin Arabs or, mixed with tea, by the Tibetans. 
The art of making butter clean and firm was perhaps 
discovered by the Finns, who to this day are good butter- 
makers, in contrast to the Sclavonians and Lithuanians, and 
transmitted from the Finns to the North Germans, and from 
them to North-Western Europe (Helm, Kulturpflanzen nnd 
Hausthiere, pp. 91-95). As to the fat of animals its use or 
disuse varies with that of the flesh. 

§ 155. The fourth division of food can be called con- 
diments, of which the chief can be comprised under 
the five heads of salt, vinegar, spices, honey and sugar. 

* The striking contrast in a number of points, food among them, 
between the Chinese and their Tibetan subjects, is well set forth by 
Captain Gill in the excellent book of travel just referred to. 










Groundwork of Economics. 

Salt is the most wide-spread, and has been so in all 
historical times. The evidence of language indeed may 
point to a time when the use of salt was unknown among 
the Aryan race, and also among the Finns ; * and Sallust 
tell us the Numidians were without it {fugurtha, 80, 7) ; 
but for the mass of men it has become a necessary of 
life, and thus has played a great part in history, being an 
occasion of commerce, and also of wars, and being a favourite 
object of taxation, where revenue has held the first place 
in the eyes of the government, the well-being or content- 
ment of the poorer classes only the second. The use 
of salt as man’s food is twofold, one to be a condiment in 
the strict sense, the other to preserve prov isions. The first 
has been less varying than the second, and is little likely 
to decline ; whereas the use of salt provisions has varied 
greatly with the arts of production and habits of life, and 
at present has lost much of the importance it had when from 
the difficulty of keeping cattle through the winter no fresh 
meat was to be got then except game ; when fish was wanted 
all through Lent, and every Friday, and in no inland region 
was any fresh fish to be got at any time except river fish ; 
when voyages had not been shortened by the use of steam ; 
and when ice was as yet unused to keep provisions fresh. 

Vinegar, and other vegetable acids, although not neces- 
saries, are of great benefit. They fail to receive their due 
in England, whereas the receipts of Cato shew their use 
among the lower classes of Italy in his time, and in Russia 
a convict receiv'^es every week an allowance not only of 
28 grains of horseradish, 28 grains of pepper, and io}4 
ounces of salt, but also 26^/2 ounces of vinegar. {Encyl. 
Britann. l.c. pp. 212,213.) 

Spices must not be judged from the little that is wanted 

of them ; for even in modern Europe that little is wanted 


much ; and in medieval Europe pepper and other spices 
were one of the foundations of cookery ; while chillies (or 
the fruit pods of capsicums) are almost as necessary as 
salt in hot countries, especially where the insipidity of a 

* See Victor Hehn, Das Salzy eine kulturhistorische Studie, Berlin, 
1873, p. 16 seq. In some of what follows I have borrowed from this 
erudite monograph. 


^ 155 .] Food and Drink. 297 

diet of boiled rice has to be counteracted. Thus immense 
quantities are consumed in India and Burma. And spices 
have played a great part in the history of commerce, be- 
cause their use has been so wide-spread, the region of their 
production so narrow, and themselves so easily transported. 

Honey has outlived its greatness, and if still in great use 
in Russia and Scandinavia cannot hope to escape long the 
dominion of its two foes, the cane and the beetroot. Of old 
the woods furnished honey, and in historical times the 
Carpathians clad with a forest of primaeval lime trees 
yielded an immeasurable supply. Then came between 
Homer and Hesiod the discovery of bee-keeping (Hehn, 
Kidturpflanzen, pp. 64, 65, 425), which grew to be one of the 
main branches of rural industry ; and honey continued in 
great use in Europe till its place began to be taken first 
by sugar from across the seas, and then in this century by 
sugar prepared at home from beetroot. On honied drinks 
I will speak when we come to the consideration of drink. 

The use of sugar is now almost as prevalent as that of 
salt. In the remote East it had been extracted from the 
sugar-cane from time immemorial ; but was scarcely used 
or known in the West of Asia and in Europe till the 
thirteenth century. Then it began to spread westward ; 
the sugar-cane before the close of the Middle Ages was 
cultivated in Europe ; and in the sixteenth century was 
transplanted to America. Then colonial sugar-planting 
began, and has lasted to this day, unfolding some of the 
darkest pages in the history of man. The consumption of 
sugar by Europeans kept increasing, and in recent years, 
in connection partly as cause partly as effect of the vast 
use of hot aromatic drinks, has advanced with giant strides, 
as well as the new industry of extracting sugar from beet- 
root.* In the British Islands 900,000 tons of sugar are 

J * In the German Zollverein the consumption of sugar in 1 834 averaged 

2-| lbs. per head, in 1865 more than 9 lbs. ; the average in France for 
the years 1817-1821 was i'33 kilogrammes, in 1865 it had risen to 7' 35 
kilog. (Roscher, Nationalok. § 229). In the United Kingdom, during 
the four years beginning with 1861, the raw and refined sugar retained 
for home consumption reached an annual average of about 36 lbs. per 
head ; in the four years ending with 1879 it reached about 63 lbs. The 
imports of sugar amounted in 1861 to nearly I2 million cwts. ; in 1S79 to 

ii/-; f 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 155 , 156 . 

said to have been consumed in the year 1875, and it can 
hardly be denied the title of a necessary of life. 

§ 156. The fifth and last division of food may be taken to 
include all vegetable produce that is neither a staple food, nor 
a vegetable oil, nor a condiment. I will not attempt any 
catalogue of this miscellaneous division, but only mark a few 
leading heads. The staple vegetable food of one country or 
class may be the supplementary food of another. Thus in 
England in various shapes we consume, as supplementary to 
our main diet, potatoes, oatmeal, beans, maize, sago, rice, and 
dates, all of them being in some places a staple food. Thus 
too in the East Indies bananas are merely used as accessories 
to diet, not as one of the principal articles. Another and 
perhaps the chief head of supplementar}^ vegetables com- 
prises fresh fruit and green vegetables eaten raw as salad, 
or cooked. Food of this sort in some shape or other is 
more indispensable than flesh meat or fish, and its absence 
may result in the dreadful disease known as scurvy. The 
particular sort of green stuff or fruit naturally varies much 
with climate and circumstances. One of the best friends 
to Europe has been the humble cabbage, the first of pot 
herbs according to the elder Cato, who describes its 
kinds and uses {De re rustica, 156, 157). In the South of 
Europe, especially in Bulgaria, the consumption of melons, 
water melons and pumpkins is enormous. In the far North 
the abundance of whortleberries, wild strawberries, wild 
raspberries and such like fruits, makes some compensation 
for the absence of orchards. It is equally characteristic of 
England, the land of great cities and innumerable traders 
and unrivalled means of communication, that the national 
fruit, the favourite of the common people, has come to be 
the orange, brought across the seas from afar. Less im- 

over 21 million cwts.— The following figures from P. L. Simmonds, 
Tropical Agi'icultiire., p. 218, shew the tons of beetroot sugar produced 
in the five chief producing countries at two different periods. 






















In comparison with cane and beetroot sugar the production of maple, 
date, and sorghum sugar is insignificant.^ 

§ 156 , 157 .] Food and Drink. 299 

portant than green vegetables and fruit are roots like 
carrots and turnips ; which, however, can be a useful addition 
to diet ; and their introduction into England in the seven- 
teenth century is said to have extinguished leprosy and 
scurvy both by their use as food for man and also by 
enabling fresh meat to be got in winter by affording a 
winter food for cattle (Thorold Rogers in The Contemporary 
Reviezv, April, 1880, p. 681). On the use of seaweed I have 
already spoken {sup. § 64) ; mushrooms, unknown in some 
reffions. are to the inhabitants of the Ural mountains much 
what potatoes or cabbages are to us in England. It only 
remains to speak of one more head of supplementary 
vegetables, those namely that are called alliaceous, as onions, 
leeks and garlic. Of old they were a favourite with the 
Egyptians, and the Israelites sighed after them in the desert. 
They are the delight of Western Asia, and of the common 
people in Russia and in Southern Europe, as long ago of 
Greek and Roman plebeians. But the odour which is the 
penalty of eating them has made them the aversion of 
delicate nostrils and nerves and has given them a conspicuous 
place in comic literature. The aversion to their odour or 
to extreme forms of it is perhaps not confined to the 
classes reared in delicacy, but may be wide-spread. It has 
been said that the onion-smelling breath of the Russians 
is a bar to any social intercourse between them and the 
Germans ; and that the legend of a foetor judaicus clinging 
to Jews had its origin in their universal indulgence in 
alliaceous vegetables.* 

§ 157. After the foregoing survey it is natural to ask the 
reasons for the great diversities, actual and historical, in the 
kinds of food in common use. An answer in detail would 
occupy many hundred pages ; let it suffice to give a sum- 
mary of the two chief sets of reasons ; first, those of produc- 
tion : the geographical distribution of plants and animals, 
the capacity of the land for receiving and acclimatizing 
them, the knowledge of how to grow or breed them pos- 
sessed by the inhabitants, and the skill to prepare them for 
the table ; secondly, reasons of enjoyment : the different 

* An interesting account of these plants, historical, philological, and 
literary, is given by Hehn, Kulturpfia^izen iind Hansthiere^ pp. 1 22-1 33. 


Grounchvork of Economics. 

Li ' 57 - 

proportion of various chemical elements required in food 
according to climate, habits of life, age or constitution, the 
pleasantness, greater or less, of the taste of different foods, 
the amount of revenue that each man can dispose of for 
supplying himself with food, and the knowledge possessed 
by the inhabitants of how to enjoy the animals and plants 
at their disposal. These two sets of reasons are enough to 
account for many of the great differences seen in the diet of 
different periods, regions, nations, classes, and individuals. 
But there may be other reasons. Taxation, by pressing 
unequally on different sorts of food, may increase the con- 
sumption of one and lessen that of another. Religion may 
affect consumption by forbidding some kinds of food at 
certain seasons, or altogether ; and the grounds for such 
prohibitions may either be clear, as for those of the Chris- 
tian religion, or obscure. Moreov'er, sometimes we are at 
a loss for any sure explanation. Thus the wide-spread 
antipathy to horse-flesh may, by conjecture, be ascribed to 
a kind of reverence for the horse as our helper in war and 
the chase, as being so useful as a draught animal, and as 
exhibiting a sort of image of nobility and manliness ; a 
high legard for the ox, as being so invaluable for agriculture, 
may account for the antipathy to the flesh of oxen among 
the Chinese, who, unlike the Hindus, do not abstain from it 
on religious grounds. But. these are only conjectures ; and 
although history and physiology may helj) to explain much 
in regard to the use of food, we may often have to rest 
content with the saying, there is no accounting for tastes. 

But although the food of man has been so various, I think 
we can gather from observation that it has been of a suit- 
able kind among the mass of mankind historically known 
to us, that a wholesome diet has prevailed among them, not 
necessarily the best under the circumstances, but a good 
one. The arts of cattle-breeding, agriculture, cookery, and 
dietetics, imperfect and empirical though they may have 
been, have afforded this much. But this normal condition 
has been departed from in the following notable cases, 
hirst among fallen races, miserable savages, ignorant of the 
arts, living in semi-starvation, either perpetual or varied by 
disgusting excess. “ A Jakute or Tungusian will take 40 lbs. 





I I 


^ 157 .] Eoooi and Drink. 301 

of meat ; three of them will eat up a reindeer at a sitting. 
One of them in twenty-four hours ate the hind-quarter of a 
large ox, or 18 lbs. Pud) of fat, besides drinking an equal 
amount of liquid butter. And the like among hunting 
tribes ” (Roscher, Nationalokon. § 226, note 2). And the 
Tude Polynesians suffer from skin diseases due to poor and 
almost exclusively vegetable diet and imperfect cooking. 
(A. R. Wallace, Malay Archipelago, 7th ed., pp. 367, 449, 509.) 
Secondly, among the middle and upper classes, townsfolk in 
particular, by preferring pleasant to wholesome food, and by 
eating too much of what else would be wholesome. On this 
ancient infirmity of mankind let us here only remark that 
the excesses of epicures are perhaps less hurtful than 
habitual over-eating, common for example in England, 
namely, taking too much of ordinary food, which can only 
be eliminated by a strain on the vital organs, resulting at 
last in disease.* But indignant gluttony can retort that 
many errors in dietetics are due to doctors. And, in truth, 
we may put pseudo-science as a third cause of departure 
from the normal conditions of diet, a cause still at work, 
witness the delusive promises of vegetarians and the protests 
by men claiming to be scientific against the use of mother’s 
milk.f Fourthly, a population may fail to have a sufficient 
diet, not because they have fallen into savagedom, but 
because, through economical or political oppression, they 
are poverty-stricken, or some particular article of great 
importance to a healthy diet, as salt or milk, becomes so 
costly that the poorer classes have to stint themselves in its 
use.J Only we must be careful lest we confuse frugality 

See J. H. Bennet, M.D., Nutrition in Health and Disease, 2nd ed. 
1876, reviewed in The Times, Sept. 1879. 

t On this perversity see Encyclop. Britan. 9th ed. s. v. Dietetics. 
The vegetarians have, I understand, a quarterly magazine of their own 
in London, and are confident, if they have their way, that they will in 
time banish disease, drunkenness, deformity, pruriency, poverty, and 
pestilence from our midst. 

X A dreadful example of disease caused by unwholesome diet is seen 
in the pellagra of Northern Italy, due physically to an almost exclusive 
diet of mouldy maize, and due morally to the combination of usurers, of 
dishonest millers, of unscrupulous bailiffs and tenant farmers, of un- 
dutiful landowners and of a robber government. See on the disease 
and on some of the oppression that leads to it an interesting article in 
the Edinburgh Review, April 1881. 


■ t 



Gj^oundwork of Economics. [§ 157, 158. 

with poverty, or ignorantly set down a population as miser- 
able because to us it would seem misery had we to be 
content with their food.* Fifthly, in a disorganized society, 
where the traditions of empirical art have been broken, and 
women have been driven to work away from the domestic 
hearth, an unwholesome diet may be due, among those well- 
instructed on other points, to ignorance of dietetics and of 
cookery. Finally, the benefit of a wholesome diet may be 
neutralized by excess in drink or narcotics, of which evils 
one will be considered in the present, the other in a subse- 
quent chapter. 

§ 158. All these excesses and defects in regard to diet 
must plainly be condemned by economical science, and the 
means must be sought for to avert or to remedy them. 
7'he importance of dietetics and of rational cookery is also 
obvious, and in some countries, England in particular, there 
is need of a great reform and the removal of many pre- 
judices f But, without venturing on the domain of the 

* The prejudice of certain English travellers that a population eating 
black bread does so from poverty, and not from preference or parsimony, 
is noticed by Roscher, Ansichte 7 i^ 1878, I. p. 257. With equal enlighten- 
ment a Chinaman thinks Tibet in a state of semi-starvation because he 
can get no rice there, though it is a land flowing with butter and milk, 
{See W. Gill, River of Goldejt Sand^ II. p. 93.) If we thought the 
Sumatran villagers were poor and wretched because during a large part 
of the year their entire food is a pot of rice cooked very dry and eaten 
with salt and red pepper, we should make a great mistake. In fact 
their wives and children are loaded with silver armlets and carry dozens 
of silver coins strung round their necks. {See A. R. Wallace, Malay 
Archipelago^ 7th ed. p. 126.) 

t England is the classical land for wastefulness, not only as regards 
sewage {mf § 183), and as regards fuel {inf § 203), but also as regards 
food, both in choosing it, in keeping it, and in cooking it. Dear flesh is 
bought when cheap nitrogenous vegetables, notably haricots, would if 
properly cooked give as much nourishment and be as pleasant to the 
taste at less than half the cost. Absurd prejudices are rife against beans, 
against fish, and against goat*s milk ; this last prejudice being of great 
injury to the rural poor, many of whom can get little cow’s milk. And 
then there is great loss through food being spoiled before it reaches the 
consumers — sometimes as much as 70 tons of fish are destroyed in 
London in a single month as being unfit for food — and again through 
lack of properly utilizing the remnants from the lai der and the ftaginents 
from the table. Finally, the loss of food as well as of fuel by roasting 
before an open fire and by other culinary follies and failings, would 


^ 158 ] Food and Drink. 303 

physician and the physiologist, I may be allowed to doubt 
any great effect upon the health of mankind from scientific 
dietetics and scientific cookery. They may enable the rich 
to fare sumptuously every day without the penalties of gout 
or indigestion ; and they may enable certain ignorant 
populations, like those of Middlesex, to feed somewhat more 
wholesomely, and at half the present cost. But upon the 
mass of the rural, and even urban population, they can, I 
think, confer but little benefit ; and physical science, instead 
of having to teach, may often have only to testify that its 
prescriptions have been anticipated by the empirical skill of 
peasants, whether of white skin or black, brown or yellow, 
in most parts of the world, and by the cooks of many cities, 
like those of Paris and Berlin. 

In regard to staple foods, two points need especial con- 
sideration ; first their cost, and then their security. As 
to cost, the calculation is very complicated. A given area 
which, if used for the production of animal food, would 
support one person, would, it has been calculated, if planted 
with wheat, support four persons ; if with potatoes, twelve ; 
if with banana-trees or sago-palms, one hundred. And 
though these particular figures may be incorrect, there is no 
doubt that there are great differences in the amount of land 

reach a vast sum if it could be reckoned. “ Until the English house- 
wife,” says Mr. Ernest Hart, “learns how wasteful is the roasting jack, 
how costly the gridiron, and how unnecessary the ‘ clear fire’ and the 
blazing mass of coals, without which she can at present usually neither 
i cook a cutlet nor boil a cup of coffee, the first lessons of household 

economy are still unknown to her.” And he urges us to naturalize or 
spread “ the art of making an appetizing, nourishing soup with a few 
f' bones, a crust of bread, and half a cabbage, a croute au pot, such as 

H every peasant can make, and such as every epicure falls back upon from 

I time to time;” also “the wholesome, delicious and nutritive ‘hominy 

I porridge ’ in which peasant and millionaire alike delight in America”; 

and farther “ the art of stewing over a few embers in a pipkin, which 
converts scraps of meat, onion, carrot, and bread-crusts into a savoury 
I stew.” (Cited from the British Medical Review in The Times about 

r July 1879. See also Sir H. Thompson in the A'ineteenih Century, ]\me 

1 1879, p. 982 seqi) — Another great source of waste for many years past has 

r been in the preparation of meal. To secure the bread being white the 

outer and very valuable layers of the grain have been rejected, and not 
, merely the unnutritious outer husk. [See L. S. Bevington, Nineteenth 

' Century, Sept. 1881, pp. 343, 349.) 


304 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 158, 159. 

required for the production of different kinds of food. In 
an equally congenial soil and climate wheat requires more 
land than maize to yield a given amount of nourishment, 
and sheep and oxen more land than wheat. Naturally the 
mere weight or bulk of the crop, or even of the prepared 
food, is not the point in question, but the amount of nourish- 
ment. And this is not to be judged of simply by chemical 
analysi.s, but by physiology, which distinguishes what is 
digestible from what passes away undigested. The addition 
to wheaten bread of the outside layer of the grain may seem 
to add to the nourishing power got from a bushel of wheat ; 
in reality this addition, by introducing an irritant into the 
stomach, may carry off more nutritive material than it 
brought in (Edvv. Smith, Foods, p. 175). But the area 
occupied by the crop forms only one element of cost, and 
one that varies with the abundance of the land ; of much 
weight in Belgium and Bengal, of little in Texas and 
Uruguay. The toil and trouble of cultivation is another 
matter very difficult to calculate, varying much for different 
staple foods, being much more for maize than for bananas, 
and varying much for the same food according to differences 
in the fertility of the soil or in the intensity of cultivation. 
And then, when the crop is at last gathered in and stored 
away, we have yet to calculate the cost of the various pro- 
cesses which may be needful before it is fit to be consumed. 
Many grains require to be ground and then baked before 
they are fit for a staple food. It is not an easy task to 
separate rice from its husk and its inner skin ; but when this 
is once done, it has the double advantage of requiring 
neither grinding nor baking, and the Far East has been 
dispensed from a heavy expenditure in labour and in fuel. 
One of the barriers to the extension of the use of maize in 
Northern Europe is the need of skilful cooking to make it 
palatable, an art in which the negroes of the United States 
are pre-eminent (Simonds, Tropical Agric. pp. 298, 299). 
But it has the advantage of affording excellent food, such 
as the polenta of Italy, without requiring to be baked. 
We must not, however, judge of the cost of the final pro- 
cesses of preparing food by their difficulty or laboriousness. 
They may afford an admirable field for women’s work at 


§ 15S, 1 59-] Food and Drink. 305 

home, or the reverse ; and the facility in England of buying 
bread ready to be eaten without further preparation is not 
of necessity a matter of congratulation. 

§ 159 - regard, secondly, to the security of a staple 
food, that is, the security to a given population against 
famine through failure of crops, the following points are of 
weight : — 

(a) Unlikelihood of a bad harvest. In Burma the unfail- 
ing river overflow insures a certain rice crop : how different 
for the rice and millet of Madras. Potatoes, from their 
liability to disease, are unfit to be the only staple food. 

(d) Capacity of the food for being stored. This varies 
with the country and the crop. Potatoes here, again, are 
deficient in our climate, unless they can be cut up and dried, 
as in part of South America (E. D. Matthews, Up the 
Amazon, p. 213). In India millet can be preserved good in 
pits for years. 

{c) Capacity of the food for being transported, so that 
the plenty of one place may relieve the scarcity of another. 
Wheat, for example, is far more transportable than potatoes 
or rice. 

{d) Habitual use of the staple food, or of some other 
plant that might serve as a staple food, for other purposes, 
as feeding animals, and especially as affording pleasant 
drinks. Thus oats are used to feed horses ; some kinds of 
millet are an excellent fodder crop ; the manioc serves as 
food for cattle as well as for man ; maize in the United 
States is the principal grain used for fattening cattle, swine, 
sheep, and poultry ; and beans are so useful for animals as 
sometimes to have been despised by man. In extremity, 
the food of this sort destined for animals can save a popula- 
tion from famine, though at a terrible sacrifice. A much 
less desperate remedy may be found in the suspension of 
the making of intoxicating drinks from food-substances ; for 
these are often used in this way. The cereals of Europe, 
and also the potatoe, are largely used for distilling spirits ; 
and though a certain amount of the European spirituous 
drinks is derived from fruit trees, as cherry trees, plum 
trees and vines, the great bulk of it is derived from materials 
that might serve as staple foods. Then, again, barley is the 




Grounchuork of Economics. 

[§ 159 - 


foundation of English beer, mixed barley and wheat of 
the German Weiss-bier, rye of the Russian ^nass. More- 
over, the South American chica is prepared from maize ; 
in China a strong spirit is distilled from rice ; and several 
kinds of fermented drinks are made from milk, as koumiss 
in Tartary ; while in Africa beer is made by the negroes 
from millet. 

(<?) Number of staple foods. Several are less likely to 
fail than one ; all the crops, indeed, may fail in hot climates 
through drought ; but in temperate climates the more 
moderate extremes of wet and dry seasons can hardly be 
ruinous to all the main varieties of vegetable and animal 

From the foregoing remarks on the cost and on the 
security of staple foods we can gather how difficult it is to 
decide in any given case whether one food can, with advantage, 
be substituted for another. And let us conclude the subject of 
food with a warning. It is easy to exaggerate the effects of 
different kinds of food upon a nation or upon a class, to assert 
what can neither be proved nor refuted, that national great- comes from the national food, to make virtue dependent 
on the stomach, and to say that reformed diet will bring in 
the millennium. It is true there is a gulf between nomadic 
populations, living mainly on the produce of their flocks and 
herds, and a settled population ; but I doubt if there is 
evidence to shew that among a settled population it is of 
any great moment what sort of staple foods they use. Their 
suffering or well-being, their virtue or their depravity, depend 
on very different causes. The food may or may not be the 
effect of their social or moral condition : it is assuredly not 
the cause. The use of the potato as their staple food was 
no more the cause of Irish misery and Irish famines than 
the use of white wheaten bread was the cause of the misery 
and degradation of the English agricultural labourers in the 
middle of this century ; and the well-being at that time of 
much of the peasantry of Russia and Germany we must 
equally decline to attribute to their use of black rye bread. 
The reckless consumption of flesh-meat by domestic ser- 
vants in England, and the abnormal demand for fat carcases 
(a source of gigantic wastel, are not the cause, but the effect. 

§ I 59 > 160.] Eood and Drink. 307 

of a faulty organization of domestic service and of the 
pernicious custom allowing cooks to have the dripping as a 
perquisite. And illustrations might be indefinitely multi- 
plied ; for man is something more than the resultant of his 
food and his other material surroundings ; * and for our 
learning it has been written : A^ou tn pane solo vivii homo, 
sed m omni verbo quod proccdit de ore Dei. 

§ 160. By drink, as already explained, I mean all liquids 
drunk by man unless taken as drugs or taken primarily as 
means of nourishment. And they can, perhaps, be roughly 
grouped into three divisions, refreshing, stimulating, and 
intoxicating drinks ; or into waters, aromatic drinks, and 

fermented (or alcoholic) drinks. Let us consider them in 

Common drinking water is, in a certain sense, a necessary 
of life, and, in a certain sense, furnished to us gratuitously. 
Inasmuch as it enters into the composition of food and 
drink, it is absolutely necessary ; but it need not be drunk 
in the form of water. In most inhabited parts *of the world 
it can be got within a short distance, and is fit to be drunk 
without preparation ; but in some parts it needs expense, as 
wells, in some it is absent altogether, in many its 
quality is defective and needs preparation to make it pleasant 
or wholesome ; while almost everywhere the convenience or 
need of having it at hand, and not being obliged to go to 
the spring or the stream to drink it, has involved considerable 
expenditure. To draw water has been one of the charac- 

Mr. Wallace, an admirable observer, makes a slip in reasoning, 
when, after observing the abject state of poverty where the sago tree is 
abundant, he attributes the poverty to the easy subsistence afforded by the 
pith of that tree. {Malay Archipelago, yth edit. pp. 359-360, 381, 419, 
529.) The cases he observes are of savages ; and to make his reasoning 
correct, he ought to shew us other cases of savages in much the same 
circumstances except in the two particulars, absence of sago (or some 
food to be got as easily) and absence of abject poverty. As a fact he 
does give various cases of savages without the sago palm ; but instead of 
being better off by the absence of the guilty plant, they are in a state of 
still more abject poverty. See citations, sup. § 157. We are reminded 
ot Humboldts calumny against the banana and the ‘lazy’ Me.xicans 
that has gone the round of Economists. Only Mr. Wallace in his 

economical views is on an altogether higher level than the prejudiced 
liberalism of Humboldt. 

X 3 




Groundwork of Economics. [§ 1 6o, 1 6 1 . 


teristic occupations of women, and may be a heavy task 
where the house or village is on the lofty hill top, the well 
or stream in the deep valley below. In scattered and small 
country dwellings it is often an important part of the labour 
of the household to fetch or pump up water. Perhaps the 
extremity in habitual dearness of drinking water is reached 
at Koseir, an Egyptian port on the Red Sea. The better 
sort of water comes from springs from eight to ten leagues 
distant. Every morning a water caravan arrives, each camel 
bearing six tanned goatskins filled with water. The price is 
from half a franc to two francs a goatskin. Poorer people 
get water from nearer springs, but these are all saline, bitter, 
and hard. Animals are watered from still nearer and worse 
springs, which can be drunk by man only for a few months 
after a fall of rain. (Klunziger, Upper Egypt, pp. 281, 282.) 
What a contrast to Burma, with its unfailing abundant 
streams, where water, which is the universal drink (C. J. 
Forbes, British Burma, p. 84), is got so easily. 

The water supply of large towns requires the intervention 
of authority, as each household taken separately is not in a 
position to supply itself, and common action is necessary, as 
well as powers of compulsion against the recalcitrant. In a 
subsequent book we must consider the question of ownership 
and management, whether private individuals or piivate 
companies should have either, and the control to which they 
must be subjected if they have ; for it is beyond question 
that they must not be uncontrolled. Even in the country it 
may be unfit or impossible for separate households to have 
each an independent supply. The lower parts of a stream 
are dependent on the upper ; and also the underground water 
supply beneath large regions may be all in intimate connec- 
tion : the opening new wells may lessen the supply in the 
old ones (see Prof. W. R. Nichols on Drinking water, etc. in 
A. H. Buck^s Hygiene and Public Health, London edit. 1879, 
I. p. 260). Water is intolerant of isolation ; for the sake of 
their water supply men must act in common. But leaving 
this point let us look to four others : the quantity of water 
required in towns, its quality, its cost, and finally the protec- 
tion of the water supply of the country at large. 

§ 161. First, in regard to quantity, it is plain that the 

Hood and Drmk. 


§ 161.] 

water used as a drink by itself or as an ingredient of other 
drinks or of food, is but a very small fraction of the amount 
daily consumed in a town, even if we add to it what is used 
for cooking purposes. For within each house are the further 
requirements for washing and cleaning, and outside for water- 
ing the streets and gardens, for supplying public baths and 
fountains, for extinguishing fires, for washing out the drains, 
and for various processes of manufactures. Hence only a 
small portion of the expenditure on water supply is to be set 
down to the score of drink. A liberal daily allowance for a 
large town has been calculated at 6o United States gallons 
(that is, 228 litres or about 50 imperial gallons) a head,* of 
which from 15 to 20 United States gallons (12^ to 16^3 
imperial gallons) are for household purposes ; and there 
ought also to be means of furnishing a much greater supply 
for a short time on an emergency, such as a great fire (Prof. 
W. R. Nichols, in A. H. Buck’s Hygiene and Public Health, 
London edit. 1879. Vol. I. p. 2i3).-f* In regard to quality 

* Mr. W. Humber, Water Supply of Cities and Towns, London, 1876, 
p. 17, speaks regretfully of thirty imperial gallons a day being considered 
a wasteful quantity. 

t Naturally towns with few manufactures require less.— The following 
statistics of the water supply of large towns I select from those given 
Ibid. pp. 2 1 2-2 1 3. The American cities are for the year 1874, Naturally 
the supply may vary with changes of population and of waterworks. 


Average daily 
supply per head. 



. 522 



New York (?) 

• 378 


Leeds . 

Jersey city . 

. 326 


Manchester . 


• 317 




• 235 


Edinburgh . 


. 219 


Hamburg . 

Cincinnati . 

. 170 




. 240 


Frankfurt a. M. . 


. 207 




. 194 


Brunswick . 


. 181 




. 132 



Newcastle . 

. 127 


Average daily 
supply per head. 

109 litres. 







1 16 












In ancient Rome the daily consumption has been reckoned at 300 im- 
perial gallons (over 1,350 litres) a head, so liberal was the use of water 
for baths and fountains. (Humber, //nd) 







310 Gi'ouudioork of Econo)n us. 

“ the water should be colourless and clear .... it should be 
soft and contain not too large an amount of mineral matter 
in solution ; it should contain no excremental or other 
animal matter.” {Ibid. p. 223.) The quality of softness it 
may be noticed is rather for the sake of washing and manu- 
facturing purposes than for the sake of wholesomeness as a 
drink, and moderately hard water is thought by some authori- 
ties to be more wholesome (seeW. Humber, Water Supply of 
Cities and Toxons, p. 29), and is likely to taste better ; more- 
over, excellent drinking water may be turbid or coloured ; 
only appearance has to be considered as well as dietetics. In 
regard to cost several difficulties occur. Production on a 
very large scale is imperatively required ; for a dozen 
adjacent streets can be supplied at little extra expense 
beyond what would be necessary to supply a single street, 
whereas if each had its own separate water-works the cost 
would be twelve times as much. And it is further obvious if 
a large city is to be supplied from several sources that a 
separate district be assigned to each, as is done in London, 
so as to save the needless outlay on intercrossing and parallel 
water pipes. Obviously, then, there must be common and 
public action, not individual speculation or private supply. 
But then we have to ask how much is to be spent on water 
works, who are to pay, and how is payment to be made. 
The first question can be answered by saying that an 
abundant supply of good water is owed by each city to its 
inhabitants, and only the plea of impossibility should be an 
excuse ; but this does not mean that the best water possible 
should begot at any expense: it is- sufficient if it is good. 
The payment for the outlay should fall on the inhabitants of 
the city and on no others. The funds of the central govern- 
ment should in no way be diverted to assist those of munici- 
palities, lest a fresh impetus be given to urban concentra- 
tion ; but rather, to react against this, help should be given 
.by the central government to rural water-works wherever 
required.* The mode of payment by charging according to 

* The little state of Wiirttemberg has recently given a good example. 
A new office of State engineer for public water-works was created in 
1869, to superintend the planning and construction of all public works, 
for utilizing river and spring waters, and to advise in matters of water 

Food and Drink. 











§ 161.] 

the amount of water used, besides the expense or inefficiency 
of meters, is open to the graver objection of discouraging 
the copious use of water by the poorer classes ; and thus is 
not the fit mode of charging for household consumption, 
though fit for manufactories. But if we adopt some otiier 
mode of payment, and neither measure the consumption of 
water nor restrict the supply, we fall upon the other horn of 
the dilemma, the danger of reckless waste. An intermittent 
supply allowing the water to flow into private houses during 
a certain portion only of the day is the plan in London and 
many other towns of this kingdom : a miserable device, 
involving either the expense of a gigantic cistern in each 
house, or else the liability through accident, through the 
carelessness of a servant, through a sudden extra require- 
ment, to run short of water with the accompanying grave 
inconvenience and even danger ; above all, the loss of the 
freshness and wholesomeness of the water because stored in 
cisterns which, among the poorer classes at least, are almost 
inevitably foul. (See W. Humber, Water Supply, ch. xvi.) 
It seems best if there is a superabundant supply to allow it 
as in Liverpool to enter the houses unmeasured and un- 
restricted, and at. the same time to have proper regulations 
as to the fittings and their repair, and a rigid system of 
inspection to prevent leakage and unlawful use of the water, 
an inspection made easier since the invention of a meter for 
ascertaining the locality of v;aste. But where the supply is 
likely to be insufficient if there is much waste, all the water 
supplied should be measured, and an ample allowance 
assigned for each person either gratis or for a payment which 

supply, and to furnish with plans and estimates, all gratis, the local 
authorities of any village, town, or city within the kingdom, if they asked 
him. (Prof. Nichols in Buck’s Hygiene, I. p. 230.) Such an office in so 
rural a kingdom, I should expect to turn to the profit of the open country, 
and one of its results was the furnishing the rauhe Alb with drinkable 
water. This is an upland district of porous limestone occupying some 
22 square miles with some 40,000 inhabitants in about 68 villages, who, 
in diy weather often had to fetch up their water from the lowlands. 
1 he State engineer devised a plan, classed the villages into nine groups, 
and by pumps which in some cases raised the water r,ooo feet, has 
secured them a supply, the State in some cases paying a quarter of the 

cost of construction, over and above the gratuitous labour of the engineer. 
{Ibiii. pp. 222-223.) 

312 Groundwork of Economics. [§ i6r, 162. 

would be just the same whether the whole of the allowance 
was used or not a quarter of it ; whereas all the water used 
over and above this allowance should be charged at so much 
a gallon. (Cf. Prof. Nichols, l.c. p. 213-215.) The fourth 
point, the protection of the water supply of the country, re- 
quires serious attention in modern times lest the streams 
shrink up through the destruction of forests {vide. sup. § 84) 
or be polluted with the refuse of manufactories or the sewage 
of towns, or be exhausted by being diverted to supply the 
towns ; and the balancing of claims and apportioning of 
sacrifices between different individuals and between different 
districts or towns, and between town and country, form no 
easy task. But I leave these matters and many others con- 
nected, such as the proper sources of supply under various 
circumstances, the methods of purification (as filtering), or 
the application on a large scale of the process of softening 
hard water.* 

§ 162. Besides common water there are many other re- 
freshing drinks, which are not to be despised because of little 
commercial importance, and some of which are worthy of 
great attention as antidotes to intoxicating drinks. Some 
mineral W'aters, such as soda and seltzer w'ater, belong to 
drinks rather than to medicines. Whey was much used in 
mediaeval England. Buttermilk might be called the national 
drink of Ireland ; and is very common among the poor in 
Scotland, South Wales, and Cheshire ; and universal in 
India. E.xperience has shewn the great possible use of 
drinks of the class of oatmeal ptisan such as w^as served out 
in the year 1872 to the navvies on the Great Western 
Railway when the gauge over a vast distance had to be 
shifted with the greatest possible speed. {Encycl. Britan. 9th 
edit., s. V. Dietetics, p. 203.) In certain ironworks in the 
North of France the workmen are given gratis a pleasant 
and wEolesome drink, composed of a decoction of liquorice 
wdth a slight admixture of acid (Perin, De la richesse, II., p. 

* See the formidable array of books given by I’rof. Nichols at the end 
of his article On Drinking Water and Public Water Supplies in Buck’s 
Hygiene (Vol. I. p. 310 seq.) already referred to. Also Dr. Smith, 
Foods, ch. xxxiii., who notices how hard water, besides being less useful 
than soft water for cooking, causes in other domestic processes an enor- 
mous waste of soap, labour and material. 



§ 162 , 163 .] Food and Drink. 313 

337).* Oriental sherbet, lemonade and various syrups form 
another category of refreshing drinks, and the ideal in their 
consumption seems reached (according to the Builder) in the 
city of Seville, where drink stalls abound, each under a 
picturesque awning, for the sale of a variety of cheap and 
excellent drinks : a multitude of .syrups mixed w’ith very 
cold water ; lemonade or orangeade made in the presence of 
the purchaser ; and orchata, a delicious milky drink, from 
crushed almonds and sugar. These street drink stalls are 
more frequented than the wine shops, and men of admirable 
physique, athletic horse-tamers and toreadors can be seen to 
leap from their horses and drink with the utmost satisfaction 
one of these innocent decoctions. 

§ 163. The consumption of aromatic drinks is one of the 
characteristics of our times, and the Western world (Euro- 
peans and their colonists) can be roughly divided into four 
groups, according as they are under the sw'ay of the tea-leaf, 
the coffee berry, the cacao bean, or the leaf of the mate plant. 
Let us look at a few figures, some being approximately 
accurate, others merely vague estimates ; for while consump- 
tion of commodities wholly imported, as tea in England, can 
be accurately measured, we can only guess at the consump- 
tion in the producing countries, as of tea in China, coffee in 
Brazil, and cocoa in Trinidad and Equador. Mr. Simmonds 
{Tropical Agricult., 1877, p. 81) estimates the production of 
tea at 1,290,037,000 lbs., assuming that the home consumption 
of China is 1,000,000,000, or half what another authority 
allows. Whether right in this, or not, I think he does not 
allow enough for the exports from China by land. For tea 
is the great beverage for the whole of North and Central 
Asia — for Armenians, Persian.s, Tartars, Kalmucks, Turk- 
mans, Mongols, Tibetans, (James Bryce, Transcaucasia and 
Ararat, p. 173-4). In the Western World and its colonies 
Russia, the United Kingdom, and Australia, are tea-drinking. 
In the United Kingdom the consumption per head has 
steadily risen from d 22 lbs. in the year 1840, when the con- 

* It may be added that during the great summer heats the firm sup- 
plies them with a mixture of wine and aerated water at the price of ten- 
pence the litre ; while at all times they are forbidden to quit the works 
to get drink, and are allowed not more than three litres of beer a day. 

314 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 163 . 

sumption of coffee was nearly as much, to 4-44 lbs. in the 
year 1875- In the Australian colonies the average of tea 
taken per head is about 10 lbs. The estimated consumption 
in 1873 in Holland, Canada, and the United States was 
large, but far outstripped in all three by the consumption of 
coffee ; and thus though Holland in particular takes more 
tea per head than Russia, she does not belong like Russia to 
the tea drinking, but to the coffee drinking countries. To 
reckon the production of coffee is not quite such hopeless 
guesswork as in the case of tea, and in 1875 we may put it 
i,350>ooo>ooo lbs., or about double what it had been fifteen 

Food ci 7 id Drink. 


■ following countries was 





’ Russia in Europe . 

0*19 Sweden. 

United Kingdom . 

I '00 t Switzerland . 

' Italy 

roo United States 


1*42 Norway 

Austria ..... 

2U3 Belgium 

France ..... 

273 j Denmark 

Germany (?) . 

4*00 Holland 

(Simmonds, 1 

The production of cocoa and chocolate is smaller 


. 61 I 

• 7 ‘03 
. 7’6i 
. 9‘8o 

• 1348 
. 13-89 

, 2 1'OO 

c. p. 30.) 

of coffee, but more difficult to reckon, because so much of 
the produce is consumed by the inhabitants of cacao growing 
countries. Perhaps it reaches 8o,ooo,ooolbs. This class of 
aromatic drinks is to the Spaniards, Mexicans, and some of 
the Northern South Americans what tea is to Englishmen : 
the Spaniards think it the severest punishment to withhold 
it even from criminals (Simmonds 1 . c., p. 2). Vevbci mate or 
Paraguay tea, from a plant growing there and in parts of 
Brazil, is pre-eminently the aromatic drink of the southern 
part of South America, and the total produce, perhaps 
60,000,000 lbs., is divided among a comparatively small 
population. In the Argentine Republic in 1872 the con- 
sumption averaged 13 lbs. per head, against 2 lbs. of coffee 
and yii lb. of tea. The ‘gaucho ’ of the plains will travel on 
horseback for weeks, asking no better fare than dried beef, 
washed down by copious draughts of mate. {Ibid. p. 126). 

Besides these four leading aromatic drinks are other minor 
ones, as giiarana, from the seed of a plant which grows in 

the basin of the Amazon and Orinoco ; * chicory used in 
England and the continent to mix with coffee, and having 
an aromatic oil of its own ; coffee leaves in Sumatra ; sloe 
and strawberry tea and sage tea in Northern Europe, and 
other substitutes for tea in various countries. (Simmonds, 
1 . c. pp. 26, 27 ; Smith, Foods, pp. 34 1, 358, 368.) Probably 
some of the ‘ sweet and pleasant liquors ’ used in mediaeval 
England by those abstaining from wine (T. E. Bridgett, 
Discipline of Drink, pp. 97, 98) were of the nature of tea. 

Having taken a survey of aromatic drinks, let us remark 
on them as follows. The great delight taken in them by 
the majority of the human race, the widespread opinion of 
their beneficial effect on our powers of working or enduring, 
the absence of any immediate ill effects, moral or physical, 
from their use, are points not open to dispute, and which 
entitle us to look with great suspicion on any medical 
theories that denounce the use of stimulants as a pernicious 
innovation. They have all, I suppose, the common character 
of being excitants of the nervous system, but not all in the 
same degree, and varying also in other characters. f Thus 
the percentage of fat in tea is about 5, in coffee about 13, 
in cocoa about 36. Moreover, the method of taking 
.stimulating drinks may greatly change their effect. Thus 
tea taken by itself is said to waste the system by promoting 
vital action which it does not support ; but when lemon 
juice and much sugar are added, as almost always in Russia, 
or milk, as in England, the compound nourishes as well as 
excites. Sometimes the addition is so great that the stimu- 
lating liquid can rightly be called a food, as the continental 
cafe au lait, half milk, or the yerba mate, not ready for 
drinking till mixed with so much sugar as to have become 
a thick syrup. And in general it can be shid that the vast 
increase in the recent consumption of sugar by Europeans 
is mainly due to the vast increase in their consumption of 
stimulants. These, moreover, form an excellent antidote to 

Many Bolivians cannot begin their day’s work without a glass ot 
guarana (E. D. Mathews, Up the Amason and Madeira, pp. 16-17). It 
is also valuable as a medicine. 

t The physiological effects of tea are examined by Dr. Edward Smith 
Foods, pp. 346-354, and of coffee, pp. 366-368. 

3 i 6 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 163, 164. 

over-indulgence in intoxicating drinks ; and the ‘ coffee- 
palace ’ may, in times and places, be an indispensable weapon 
for overthrowing the ‘ gin-palace.’ No doubt tea and coffee, 
like other good things, can be misused ; and it is said that 
much physical mischief among the English factory popula- 
tion results from their being given to children instead of 
milk. But the main part of the evil is, I take it, not the use 
of tea or coffee, but the disuse of milk ; it remains to be 
shewn that the children would get any more milk if these 
siimulating drinks were banished from the land ; and in 
any case we cannot say that because they are unfit for 
children they are therefore unfit for adults. 

§ 164. The third class of drinks, which can be called 
alcoholic, fermented, or intoxicating, resembles the class of 
aromatic drinks in being of great moment for commerce and 
taxation, but is unlike it in being often the immediate cause 
of great moral and physical evils. We have come to an 
ancient and still open wound of humanity ; and not only 
the upholders of strong drink, but also, by an irony of fate, 
its very opponents seem incapable of writing with sobriety. 
Let us begin with a few facts and figures, and then seek 

Food and Drink. 


found in Greek literature ; it was not unknown to classical 
Rome, and was frequent in Saxon England. But its favourite 
home has lain in the great honey lands of Eastern Europe. 
It was of old pre-eminently a Scythian drink, and has held 
its place among the Sclavonians till recent times, when it 
has followed the decline of bee culture, due to the inroads of 
sugar, and has yielded its place to a horrible successor in the 
shape of ardent spirits (Victor Hehn, Kulturpflanzen uiid 
Hausthiere, 89-91). Koomiss (or kumys), made by the 
Tartars from mare’s milk ; fermented maple juice, once a 
favourite drink of the Red Indians 5 and soma, used in sacri- 
fice by the ancient Brahmans, belong to the miscellaneous 
class of fermented drinks. 

Beer, or malt liquor, was a characteristic drink of the 
ancient Egyptians (l^vdog was the name for it written in 
Greek), and to this day is much used in the Soudan and 
Abyssinia, as well as on the Gold Coast and the Congo. It 
was conspicuous by its absence among the Greeks and 
Romans ; but on all sides they were surrounded by beer- 
drinking populations, Iberians, Kelts, Ligurians, Illyrians, 
Phrygians, Armenians, and, as we have seen, Egyptians ; 
beer also was drunk by the remote Germans, Lithuanians, 
and Sclavonians. With the advance of the Hellenic and 
Latin empire, languages and manners, the domain of beer 
shrank before that of wine, and the process seems not to 
have been interrupted by, or to have been renewed after, 
the barbarian invasions. But improvements came in the 
manufacture of beer ; the use of hops in mediaeval Flanders 
and North Germany created the new European as opposed 
to the primaeval beer ; and in recent times the durability 
and the cheapness of North German beer reconquered South 
Germany, from whence, in the Middle Ages, it had been 
expelled by wine. Moreover, by a strange chance beer is 
held now to be characteristic of Germans and German 
manners ; whereas, at the beginning of European history 
it was pre eminently the national drink of the Kelts.* To 
describe the varieties of beer is not necessary, but only to 
notice that they contain very different proportions of alcohol. 
In England at the present day “ there maybe 10 percent. 

* interesting account given by Hehn, /. c. pp. 79 ~^ 9 > 35°~354- 



Groundworl; of Economics. 164, 165. 

in the strong East India pale ale, and 15 or 20 per cent, in 
many old home-brewed ales stored for private use; but 
usually the amount varies from 5 to 7 per cent, in moderately 
good ale.s, and may only be i to 3 per cent, in small beer” 
(Dr. Edward Smith, Foods, p. 412). The following table 
from^ the Times about 12th August, 1880, gives the pro- 
duction of beer in Europe and the United States during the 
year 1879. The hectolitre is about 22 gallons.* 

(3) German Empire 
(2) Great Britain 

(7) United States 

(8) Austria-Hungary 
(i i) France 

(i) Belgium 
(13) Russia, 


38,946,510 (5) The Netherlands 

36 , 597 j 55 o (4) Denmark 

15.400.000 (10) Sweden 
11,184,681 I (12) Italy . 
8,721,0061 {9) Switzerland. 

7.854.000 (6) Norway 

2.300.000 I 


1. 600.000 

1 . 100.000 




§ 165. Wine forms another division of fermented drinks, 
and holds the first place among them in the literature of 
Western Asia and Europe. According to Hehn (/. c. p. 21;, 
seq.), the native home of the vine is the region south of the 
Caspian Sea, the ancient seat of the Semitic race ; and the 
knowledge of wine with the cultivation of the vine passed 
from the Semitic Phoenicians to the Greeks, and from Greece 
to Italy. By degrees vineyards have spread northwards 
and westward, and, crossing the ocean, have struck vigorous 
roots in California, Mexico, and Au.stralia. They have had, 
indeed, to submit to two notable retrogressions ; one from 
the East, where they have been withered by the Mahometan 
prohibition of wine, the other from parts of Europe ; namely. 
Southern England, Northern France, and parts of Northern 
Germany, as Thuringen and the Mark of Brandenburg, 
whence they have been driven by the competition of wines 
from more favoured regions, in Germany, perhaps, by a 

* If Ireland is meant to be included under Great Britain the return 
seems too small. In proportion to population most beer is made in 
Belgium (167 litres=about 34!^ gallons per head) very little in Italy and 
least of all in Russia C3 litres=about 5I pints per head). The numbers 
prefixed to each country show their place in the order of production per 
head. If Spain and Portugal were included they would I think show a 

smaller production even than Russia. (Cf. A. Baer, Der A/co/w/ismus, 
note 167^.) 

I §165.] jFood and Drink. 319 

I change in the climate (Freitag, cited by Baer, Der Alcoholis- 

I mus, pp. 218, 219).* The proportion of alcohol is very 

( different in different kinds of wine, but in general exceeds 

; that in malt liquors, though far below that in spirituous 

I liquors.t The local consumption of wine cannot, like that 

I of beer, be judged, even approximately, by the local pro- 

duction ; for wine is the object of an immense international 
commerce. In the United Kingdom the consumption per 
head in the years 1845, i860, 1865, 1870, and 1875, was 
respectively, 0*24, 0-23, 0*40, 0*49, and 0‘53 gallons ; in 1880 
about the same as in 1870. 

* The following table from Simmonds, Tropical Agriciilt.^ p. 428, 
gives in round figures the area under vines in most wine-producing 
countries. 1 have added some conjectures. 



Acres of Vineyards 


F ranee 

• 6,379,000 



. (?) 2,000,000 


United States .... 



Hungary, 998,000 acres\ 


Austria, 391,000 acres C 
Austria- H ungary ) 






Portugal • 



German Empire - . . . 



Roumania ..... 

. 247,000 


Greece ..... 



Russian Empire .... 

. (?) 1 20,000 


Switzerland .... 

. (?) 100,000 



. 45,000 


South America .... 

. (?) 30,000 


Mexico and Central America 

. (?) 30,000 


The Cape 

, 18,000 


Australia ..... 

. 16,000 

t There is a perplexing discrepancy of statements in regard to the 
proportion of alcohol in different drinks ; but as we must have some 
figures, the following are perhaps sufficiently correct for working pur- 
poses. Small beer in England and Germany can be said to have usually 
something under 2 per cent, of alcohol ; much German beer about 4 per 
cent. ; the ordinary sorts of English cider, porter and ale about 6 per 
cent. ; Burton ale 8 per cent. ; the lighter sorts of wine as hock, Bur- 
gundy and claret, from 8 to 12 per cent.; sparkling Champagne about 
12 per cent. ; the stronger sorts of wines as Marsala, sherry, port and 
Madeira from 16 to 20 per cent. ; the weakest spirits over 30 per cent. ; 
•most spirits from 45 to 60 per cent. 





320 G roimdw or k of Economics. [§ 165 . 

Spirits can be put as the fourth and last division of fer- 
mented liquors, far surpassing the others in the proportion 
of alcohol which they contain, and only having attained 
their world-wide importance in modern times. From time 
immemorial, indeed, the distillation of ardent spirits from 
rice has been practised in China ; but the process was 
unknown to the Greeks and Romans (though they under- 
stood the distillation of aromatic waters), and appears to 
have first reached Europe through the Arabs, and not to 
have become of commercial importance till the fifteenth 
century at earliest. The distilled spirit first used as a 
medicine was called aqua vitae, from the medical delusion as 
to its efficacy (see A. Baer, Der Alcohotismus, p. 1 19 and 
note loi), and the name has survived in the French eau de 
vie and the Keltic whiskey, a corruption of usquebaugh. 
The European grains and starch-bearing vegetables, like 
potatoes and turnips, are used for distillation, and the 
spirituous liquor, according to diversities of manufacture, is 
called by various names, as gin, whiskey, or brandy. The 
finer sorts of brandy are distilled not from grain, but from 
wine. Among European fruits, cherries and plums are con- 
spicuous for their use for distillation. The only sort of 
spirit imported into Europe in any large quantities is rum, 
which is made from the juices of the sugar-cane. 

It is difficult to ascertain the consumption of spirits in 
any given place and time ; and the frequency of smuggling 
and of illicit distillation may render accuracy impossible. 
In England the consumption in the )-ears just before and 
after 1740 is said to have reached or surpassed a gallon a 
head, a proportion not afterwards attained till the 8th decade 
of this century, whereas in Ireland this was often exceeded 
till the reform of Father Mathew began to take effect ; while 
in Scotland till about i860 an annual consumption of over 
two gallons a head seems for many years to have been the 
rule.* In the Prussian dominions the consumption of spirits 

§ 165 .] Food and Drink. 321 

in the year 1846 has been reckoned at 5 '48 Prussian quarts 
(about 5-25 litres or 1-25 gallon) a head, and at 5 97 in 1855, 
the increase being probably entirely due to greater use in 
manufactures (C. Dieterici, Handbuch der Statistik des preuss. 
Staats, 1 86 r, pp. 480-481). Previously the consumption had 
been much greater, as much as 8‘i Prussian quarts in 1831 ; 
while from 1857 onwards it was something over 6 Prussian 
quarts. In the new German Empire the average for the four 
years 1872 to 1875 was just under 10 litres a head, and thus 
over 2 gallons ; in 1875 alone 1075 litres (Baer, Der Alcoho- 
hsniHs, pp. 238, 248). In Russia the average is perhaps some 
14 litres, or over 3 gallons a head {Ibid. p. 213). In France 
the consumption of spirits has steadily risen during the last 
thirty years from about 2 to about 3 litres a head, but varies im- 
mensely in the different regions, being comparatively small in 
the wine districts, as the following table will show {Ibid. pp. 
166-167) : — 

to p. 471 of the volume, page xi. to p. 481, and so on. Thus the page of 
the Report can be got by deducting 470 from the page of the volume. 
The following figures from Mr. W. Hoyle in the Tunes, 29 March, 1881, 
and Baer, Der Alcohotismus, p. 189, are returns or estimates of the con- 
sumption of the different fermented drinks in the entire United Kingdom 
in three different years. I give round figures for the sake of simplicity. 

In the year 1876 the payments amounted to as much as 147 million 

Kind of Drink. 

Total gallons consumed in 1 
i860. j 1870. 

ihe year, 



British spirits 
Foreign spirits 


British wines, &c. , 

2 1 ,404,cxK> 





8 , 439,000 

1 5,000,000 



1 5,000,000 

Totr^l population in millions of souls. 



3 « 

34 l 

Total payments for the drink in millions of pounds. 





Groundwork of Econo 7 uics. [§ 165 , 166 . 

Consianption of Spurts in France per head. 



. 6*85 litres. 


5 '34 litres. 


5 ’88 litres. 


. 2*92 „ 

2’97 » 

4'35 » 


. 2 46 

272 „ 

3'39 » 


. 0-6 1 „ 

0-92 „ 

I ’38 » 


. 0-8 1 „ 

I ’03 » 

1-29 „ 


• 035 „ 

070 „ 

o’8o „ 

The fiscal returns for the United States would shew an 
average consumption there of 1 1 litres a head in 1844 and 
8*38 litres in 1870, were not our calculations upset by the 
gigantic contraband trade (* whiskey rings *), and we can only 
say that the consumption was more than the figures given, 
but how much more in each case we cannot tell (cf. Ibid, p. 

177 )- 

§ 166. There are some who would have us believe that 
alcohol, except when used as medicine, is a poison, and that 
all the efforts of man to procure fermented drinks from the 
dawn of history to the present day have been w'orse than 
useless ; the consumption of these drinks sheer mischief, no 
mere preponderance of bad results over good, of abuse over 
use, there being no good results from them, no use for them 
at all. But such a doctrine, which bears all the appearance 
of extravagance, requires to be proved rather than refuted ; and 
leaving it, let us listen to sober reasoning and wide experi- 
ence, which will, I think, commend the following propositions 
to our acceptance.* 

{a) Children are better without any alcoholic drink ; and 

* I have been mainly guided by the twelve papers on the Alcohol 
Question by twelve leading members of the medical profession, published 
in the Contemporary Review for November and December 1878, and 
January 1879. — Let us clear the question at issue by noticing three 
possible misapprehensions. First, no argument against the use of 
alcohol can be drawn from the alleged repugnance of all children and 
all animals to all intoxicating drinks, supposing it true. As a fact, it is 
false. See E. Smith, Foods, p. 424. Samuelson, History of Drink, pp. 
1-3. Secondly, because much alcohol undoubtedly is very injurious, it 
does not in the least follow that a little alcohol is somewhat injurious. 
The quantity may make all the difference, just as a man may eat himself 
to death with the wholesomest food. Thirdly, it is no proof, on the 
other hand, of the fitness of alcohol for ordinary drink that it is of great 
use (as I believe it certainly is) in medicine and surgery. 

Food and Drink, 


whether its habitual use is ever of any benefit to those who 
are yet in the growing stage of life, is doubtful. 

(^) Among adults there are certain classes of persons, 
females especially, to whom alcohol in any shape is mischiev- 
ous, and who may be a numerous body in certain societies. 
Just as certain foods, useful for the mass of men, will not 
agree with certain individuals and certain families, so there 
are some who, as doctors would say, are intolerant of alcohol ; 
and it is unfit for certain morbid conditions of body ; for those 
also who are excitable and weak of will, and where there is 
a strong physiological probability that its use will lead to 

{c) Tor the majority of healthy adults in most employ- 
ments a moderate amount of fermented drink is beneficial, 
particularly, but not exclusively, for males, and for those in 
later life, and engaged in head work. The anaesthetic or 
sedative effects of alcohol may make it indispensable for 
the full exercise of intellectual powers ; and it is almost, if 
not quite, necessary for many of those who have to exert 
great muscular force, particularly when, as with metal 
workers, this has to be done in a very high temperature. 
Speaking of workmen in general, Le Play, their faithful 
delineator, says : “ Many facts seem to shew that fermented 
drinks have a good effect on the physical constitution ” {Les 
Ouvricrs Europdens, t. i., p. 317, ed. of 1879). And the acid 
astringent vtnho vcrde, is described as a great restorative to 
the hard working and sober peasantry of Northern Portugal 
by one who knows them well (Latouche, Travels in Portugal, 
PP* 316-319). Moreover, the moderate use of fermented 
drink delivers many from the bonds of irrational timidity and 
unsocial bashfulness, and at the cost of no physical injury, 
but often bestowing physical advantage into the bargain. 
The world is filled with sorrow, and men are distracted with 
vain solicitude about the things of this life. To drown care 
in drink is excess; but not to use God’s gifts under the 
guidance of reason, and to drink in moderation and with 
gratitude the good wine that maketh glad the heart of man. 

{d) For the majority of those adults who are below the 
standard of good health and subject to some kind of debility, 
the habitual use of some kind of alcohol is very beneficial, and 

V 2 



■ 1 




Grotindwork of Econojuics. [§ i66, 167. 

sometimes even necessary for their physical well-being. To 
this class belong much of the town population of modern 
cities, and those moreover, wherever they live, who are 
under-fed and over-worked. Often a glass of malt liquor, or 
cider, or wine of the country, can be got for less cost than 
the extra amount of ordinary food that else must be eaten 
to preserve health ; for alcohol can lessen the necessity for 
food by diminishing the waste of the system that has to be 
repaired by food ; and thus for a temperate workman to 
forego his glass of beer may be anything but an economy. 
For many persons, especially in later life, after fatigue mere 
repose is not sufficient to fit them for a meal, and digestion 
needs to be facilitated by alcohol ; for many others even with- 
out previous fatigue ; and perhaps in our own times those are 
more numerous than ever before, to whom the Apostle would 
have to say as to Timothy : Do not still drink water : but use a 
little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thy frequent infirmities 

(I Tim. V. 23). 

§ 167. The advantages of alcohol set forth in the two last 
propositions that in using it due regard is paid 
to time, to quality, and to quantity, tlence, we can obtain 

three further propositions. 

{e) Alcohol must only be taken at the right time. Whereon 
it is sufficent to notice the general rule that it be taken late 
in the day rather than early, and not in the intervals between 
meals ; and again, not before long exposure to great cold, 
nor, perhaps, at any time by Europeans in the tropics. 

The right sort of alcoholic drink is to be selected. It 
may make a great difference through what medium a given 
amount of alcohol is conveyed and the particular ^ drink 
wdiich is suitable varies with the individual and the circum- 
stances. Thus, the nutritive matter, such as sugar and gum, 
which are contained in malt Liquors, renders them of great 
value for many persons, but also less fit for those of sedentary 
habits after middle age. The fully fermented light wines 
contain much acid tartrate of potash, whereas there is little 
of it in the partially fermented stronger wines ; and these, 
moreover, contain much sugar which is absent in the lighter 
wines. Whether, therefore, an ounce of alcohol is taken in 
the form of sherry or in the form of claret is by no means a 


§ 167.] Food and DiHnk. 325 

matter of indifference. Spirits, again, are not the same as 
wine in their effects ; and, further, among spirits there is 
all the difference between new whiskey, for example, which 
may well be called poisonous, and whiskey which has lost 
the injurious fusel oil by being kept for long in wood ; or 
between good navy rum and the adulterated spirits of the 
London gin palaces.^ 

(^) The right quantity of alcoholic drink is to be taken, 
not too little nor too much. This quantity is very different, 
according to constitution, age, time, place, and many other 
circumstances. For a modern Englishman of the middle or 
upper class, an ounce of pure alcohol, or about what is con- 
tained in half a bottle of good claret, may be, as Dr. Garrod 
calculates, about the maximum quantity to be taken each 

* See Dr. A. B. Garrod and Dr. Edw, Smith. The following citation 
from Dr. R. B. Carter Justly distinguishes what teetotalers mix up in 
confusion. “I have written so far about ‘alcohol/ as if under the 
dominion of the teetotal delusion, that all liquids which contain it are of 
the same general character, and produce the same etfects. Against this 
delusion, however, it is necessary formally to protest. When obtained 
by any simple method of fermentation or distillation, alcohol is mingled 
not only with water, but also with various substances derived from the 
fruit, the grain, or other vegetable matter which furnishes it. Alcohol is 
a very powerful solvent, and it retains most of these substances in solu- 
tion. They influence its action in various ways ; and every one who is 
practically acquainted with the subject is aware of the different effects 
which different kinds of alcoholic drinks will produce. In many in- 
stances, too, the non-alcoholic fruit or grain products undergo great 
modification by keeping ; and this to such an extent that between new 
and old wine, or new and old spirit, there may be little in common but the 
name , , . . Of late years, however, and chiefly by means of a machine 
.... called a ‘patent still/ manufacturers have succeeded in separating 
alcohol from the other products with which it was formerly always asso- 
ciated and thus “spirit is now distilled ver>^ cheaply from materials 
which would communicate a nauseous flavour if anything more than 
alcohol and water were brought over in the process^” This so-called 
‘silent' or ‘pure' spirit is artificially flavoured as brandy, whiskey, or 
rum ; but “ is simply nude alcohol divorced from its natural alliances 
and this cheap and nasty drink is what is in common use among sots. 
“There can be little doubt that the alcoholic liquids in which a natural 
flavour is retained are far less dangerous tnan those, unfortunately too 
common, in which flavour, if it exists, is the result of artificial admix- 
tures.” (Conte 7 Hporary Review^ Jan. 1879, pp. 363-364.) Dr. Radcliffe 
denounces ‘silent spirit’ as the worst and rawest kind of whiskey. {IbiiU 
P* 351) 


Gro2mdwork of Economics. [§ 167, 168. 

day ; but I do not know if such calculations are admissible. 
Obviously, there is excess where there is intoxication, and our 
age is only too familiar with the physical decay and dreadful 
death of the confirmed drunkard.* But there can be excess 
without intoxication. Many Englishmen of good position, 
and who have never been drunk in their lives, suffer from 
gout and diseases of the liver due to habitual previous excess 
in wine or spirits.f And sometimes a man who gets drunk 
is less injured than another who takes much and still keeps 
sober ; nor perhaps is excess ever more mischievous than 
when in the shape of drinking at one time a comparatively 
small amount but repeated at frequent intervals. 

§ 168. History is filled with the abuse of intoxicating 
drinks. In remote ages a Chinese legislator had to lament 
the prevalence of excess, and to endeavour to oppose it by 
exhortation and menace. (James Samuelson, History of 
Drink, London, 1878, Ch. II.) Among the ancient Hindus, 
and later among the Greeks, intoxication, besides other 
worse vices, was connected with the worship of the pagan 
gods. The degenerate Jews in the time of the kings had 
to bear the reproach of the prophet : Wo to you that rise 

up early in the morning to follow drunkenness, and to 
drink till the evening, to be inflamed with wine (A. v. ii.) 
The symposia or drinking parties of the Latino-Hellenic 
world often deserved the name of drunken orgies, and 
many of their revolting details have been preserved to us 
in the pages of Greek and Latin literature. The bar- 
barians around were also no models of sobriety ; they were 
considered by the Greeks in the time of Plato as addicted 
to drunkenness (Plato, De legibus, i. p. 637) ; and five cen- 
turies later Tacitus marked how the intemperance of the 
Germans gave the . Romans a great advantage over them 
in warfare. In several parts of the Roman Empire, when 

* “ When the sot has descended through his chosen course of im- 
becility or dropsy to the dead-house. Morbid Anatomy is ready to receive 
him — knows him well. At the post inorte 7 n she would say, ‘ Liver hard 
and nodulated. Brain dens r and small, its covering thick.’ And if you 
would listen to her . . . tale, she would trace through the sot’s body a 
series of changes which leave unaltered no part of him worth speaking 
of.” (Dr. Moxon, Contemporary Review, Dec. 1878, p. 44.) 

+ Cf. sup. § 1 57 on a similar excess in regard to food. 

§ 168.J Food and Drink. 3^7 

the barbarian invasions had already set in, drunkenness 
was a common vice, as we can gather from St. Chrysostom in 
the East, from St. Augustine in Africa, and from St. Caesarius 
in Gaul. During the long interval between the fifth and the 
sixteenth centuries drunkenness had to be combated by 
Chri-stianity in the Teutonic world. In the twelfth century 
England had become notorious for excess (T. E. Bridgett, 
Discipline of Drink, London, 1876, pp. 78-79) ; whereas in 
Italy, or in many parts of it, we can safely infer the pre- 
valence of moderation in drink from the little mention of 
drunkenness by the great preachers of the eleventh, the 
fifteenth and again the eighteenth centuries {Ibid. p. 75 - 76 )- 
In Hither Asia and North Africa the conquests of 
Mahometanism brought amid innumerable evils the advan- 
tage of comparative sobriety ; just as some eleven cen- 
turies before. Buddhism may have worked a temperance 
reformation in Further Asia. At the present day perhaps 
it may be roughly computed that about two-thirds of the 
Moslem world use no intoxicating liquor ; and at least 
till quite recent times intoxication could hardly be said 
to be prevalent among the Chinese, the Burmese and the 
Hindus. In parts of Europe the revolt against the Christian 
Church in the sixteenth century was accompanied and 
followed, as might have been expected, by an outbreak of 
intemperance notably in Germany and England. James 
I. was frequently drunk and we can say the same of many 
in the upper class, among them politicians and men of 
letters, not only country squires,* till the reformation of 
polite society in the reign of George HI. 

But let us not be deceived by the conspicuousness of 
drunkenness in the past. Detailed accounts of intemperance 
in high places, of elaborate carouses, of the rules and 
etiquette of drinking, of bacchanalian songs, can be pre- 
served, and may shew that drinking was not a rare pheno- 
menon, but do not tell us how many per cent, of the 
population got drunk, or how often. Sir James Paget 
{Contemporary Review, November 1878, p. 688), justly doubts 

* Examples are to be found in Lecky, Hist, of England ift the 
Eighteenth Century, I. pp. 477-478. On James I. and his court see 
Lingard, Hist, of England, VII. pp. 51-53, 6th edit. 





328 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 168, 169. 

the great habitual drinking of our ancestors ; we have 
tales of this as of other extravagances ; the more customary- 
moderation is not recorded, because not remarkable ; nor 
could our vigorous race have been propagated through 
generations composed chiefly of habitual drunkards.* At 
one time the vitality of the English race was indeed 
threatened by drink ; but then the drink was not the 
ancient malted liquors, or mead, or cider, or wine, but 
spirits ; and the drunkenness was not among the rich, but 
among the common people ; and the time lay in the modern 
period of drunkenness to which I now turn. 

§ 169. The abuse of intoxicating drinks among the 
European races or through their agency has assumed in 
modern times a new character making drunkenness far more 
pernicious and repulsive than before, and we can justly 
speak of a iiezv period marked by three characteristics : 
first by the spread of the use of spirits among the lower 
orders ; secondly, by the spread of adulteration of both spirits 
and malted liquor ; thirdly, by the spread of the use of 
spirits among savages and subject races through European 
agency or 'government, as a means of exterminating them 
or of extracting revenue from them. Drunkenness on the 
part of the rich, though in England it was common for a 
century after the new period began, is not a characteristic 
of it ; nay, the degradation of drunkenness that has accom- 
panied it has rather helped to make this vice disreputable 

■ * An unguarded reader is likely to be much misled by Mr. James 
Samuelson’s History of Drink, London, 1878, a book in which much 
useful material is to be found, and many sensible remarks, and a mode- 
ration rare in the opponents of alcohol ; but in which history is distorted, 
bad authorities are blindly followed instead of being strictly weighed, 
the exceptional is put as if it were ordinary', details of excess are given 
without proper explanation of how much or how little they prove, and the 
effect is an exaggeration of ancient, and still more of mediaeval, drunken- 
ness, and a distortion of the course of history. He also falls into an 
extraordinary optimism concerning the sobriety of the modern Germans 
displays his political antipathies, and in many offensive passages his 
religious or irreligious prejudices. A far more trustworthy book, though 
occupying a narrower field, is Father T. E. Discipline of Drink, 

London, 1876, an excellent little work ; and for modern drunkenness the 
laborious and impartial researches of Ur. A. Baer, Der Alcoholtsimis, 

Berlin, 1878. 


Food and Drink. 

and disgusting for the refined classes. The new period has 
set in at different dates in different countries, for example, 
in Sweden about the year 1575 {Cf. Baer, Der Alcoholismus, 
p. 204), in Great Russia about the same time {Ibid. p. 210), 
in France not till about 1825 {Ibid. p. 158). In England 
the Revolution of 1688 can be said to have begun it ; the 
new government favoured the trade of distillery (Lecky, 
History of England m the Eighteenth Century, i. p. 479), and 
the passion for spirits implanted in the nation has never 
been extirpated. Gin drinking grew apace, and in the 
fourth and fifth decades of the eighteenth century reached 
a frightful height, till, as we shall see, wise legislation 
reduced the evil to a more endurable level. Turning to 
barbarous or subjugated races, we meet with the destruction 
of the North American Indians by the English colonists 
and their descendants with the weapon of ‘ firewater ’ — one 
of the most hideous of all the tragedies of history (Samuelson, 
/. c. pp. 206-208. Baer, /. c. pp. 150-15 1). At the present time 
vast quantities of spirits (mainly rum) are exported from Eng- 
land to the West coast of Africa, and consumed by the inland 
tribes {Ibid. p. 9), God knows with what results. In regard 
to South Africa, Sir A. Conynghame says of the Kafirs : 
“ The facility with which these untamed savages can attain 
any amount of villanous drink is one of the most fruitful 
sources of danger. Some of the chiefs, being aware of the 
evil, forbid canteens in their localities, and have repeatedly 
requested that the same prohibition should be extended 
among the adjoining (British) districts. The answer of 
authority has always been, ‘that the natives should place 
a moral restraint on themselves, and not imbibe more than 
is beneficial ; and that trade cannot be impeded, simply 
because it may engender evil consequence among the 
natives’ ” (cited in the Dublin Review, April, 1S81, p. 398). 
In Ceylon the licenses sold by government to set up 
arrack taverns have been a curse to parts of the country. 
(John Capper, Old Ceylon, pp. 13, 80.) In British Burma the 
elders tell with sorrow the common tale that English 
spirits and opium are gradually destroying in the rising 
generation their native good qualities ; and the increase 
among the young of indulgence in opium and spirits 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 169, 170. 

appears only too true. (C. J. Forbes, British Burma, 
London, 1878, pp. 45-87.) Years before, a similar spread of 
drunkenness was shewn by irresistible evidence to have 
followed the British rule in India, where licensed liquor 
shops sprang up in numbers to the profit of the treasury and 
the publicans at the cost of native prosperity and morality. 
(J. M. Ludlow, British India, Cambridge, 1858, ii. pp. 302- 
303, Cf, Baer, 1 . c. pp. 15 3- 154). The Australians and the 
Maoris have withered away before the British colonists, 
and no small part of this lamentable destruction is due 
to British spirits (Baer, /. c. p. 154, and note 140’*)*. 

§ 170. Returning to European races it seems certain 
that drunkenness was a very prevalent and pressing evil 
among the Swedes and North Americans in jthe earlier 
parts of this century, as it is to this day in the British 
Islands, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland ; that it has 
diminished in the United States, and more recently in 
Sweden, • Norway, Denmark and Finland; that there is 
much of it in Germany, and that it has- probably increased 
there in the decade after the establishment of the empire ; 
that Belgium has suffered a disastrous increase of drink- 
shops and drunkenness, that in France, once a land of 
great sobriety, the last fifty years have witnessed a growth 
of drunkenness, till it has become a serious evil.t But let 

* I will not cite Dr. Baer’s severe remarks on British interests and 
British policy, for I cannot answer them. Indeed, the only answer is to 
tr>^ and undo as far as is still possible the wrong that has been done. 

+ See the careful examination of all the above-named countries, and 
many figures regarding them in Baer, Der Alcoholisnms,'^'^. 158-267. 
See also for the United States, Samuelson, Hist, of Drink, ch. xiv., and 
for Sweden, Ibid. ch. xiii. The Swedes appear to have got a still worse 
reputation than they really deserved, and a reasonable computation will 
reduce the amount of spirits they were said to consume a head every 
year from nearly fourteen gallons to something about five. How great 
the evil must have been in America can be gathered from the immense 
efforts there of temperance societies and laws on drink ; and the sensa- 
tional figures cited by Dr. Smith {Foods, p. 428) on the wealth swallowed 
up there fonnerly by the use of spirits, on the lives lost by it, on the 
many widows, orphans, paupers, lunatics, and criminals made by it, 
represent a substratum of fact. — Some account of the fearful height 
which the abuse of alcohol has now reached in Switzerland and Belgium 
is given in The Times, 19 October, 1881,27 December, 1882, 16 February, 


§ I 70.1 

Food and Drink. 



us leave foreigners, and look at home. The matter is 
grave. That there is much drunkenness in Great Britain 
and Ireland is hardly denied ; but as to how much, and 
whether increasing or decreasing beyond the fluctuations due 
to the greater or lesser earnings of the drinking classes, 
opinions differ. We can, I think, safely say this much, 
that drunkenness is one among several other dreadful evils 
which afflict our people ; that it destroys thousands of 
lives, ruins thousands of families, is a frightful source of 
crime and insanity, makes vain the efforts of religion, 
cries to heaven for vengeance on those who foster it* We 
can say also that among certain categories of persons, 
notably in the Royal Navy, it has of recent years un- 
doubtedly decreased, and probably decreased also among 
the higher class of artisans (Samuelson, History of Drink, 
pp. 183-188), and in some rural districts (F. G. Heath, 
Peasant Life in the West of England, edition of 1880, 
p. 366-7, 377-386)t ; that it has probably increased among 

* Mr. Peek’s calculation {Contemporary Review^ Dec. 1876, pp. 30-32) 
that in England and Wales there are over half a million diiinkards, and 
nearly two and a half million members of a drunkard’s family (that is, 
one person in every ten) seems not to be exaggerated. The number of 
arrests for drunkenness, according to the Lords’ Report {Parliam, Papers^ 
1878-79, x.p 504) amounted in England and Wales to 88,361 in i860, 
to 100,357 in 1867, to 131,870 in 1870, and to 203,989 in 1875. 
Naturally the cases of drunkenness indefinitely exceed the arrests. 

t In regard to country population of England we must not forget the 
previous deterioration. Perhaps the worst period of their drunkenness 
was the seventh decade of this century, when the good practice of 
brewing at home had already decayed, and the licentious freedom of the 
beershops was not yet restricted — nay, since 1863 was utterly unbound. 
On the beershops I will speak anon. On brewing ^ft home let us hear 
Mr. Kebbel {The Agricultural Labourer^ 1870, pp. 146-147), who 
indeed despairs of bringing it back. “They [the poor] have got used to 
the beershop, and they will never go back to the brewhouse .... if 
they could be persuaded to , it would be attended with the most 
beneficial consequences, as plenty of middle-aged men, who remember 
the system in operation, are ready to demonstrate. A fanner in the 
south, not more than five-and-forty years of age, assured the present 
writer that when he was a lad of seventeen [/.(? , about the year 1840] 
there was not a public-house in his native village, or within some miles 
of it ; that every family down the village street brewed their barrel of 
beer periodically ; and that the inhabitants used to meet at each cottage 
in turn, from six to eight o’clock in the evening, and play at cards for 


• II 

ii: ' 





332 Gi^oundwork 0/ Econofnics. [§ 170. 

women in private, while the dreadful spectacle of women 
drunk in public remains a national scandal and re-proach*; 
that on the whole there is reason to suspect somewhat less of 
riotous drunkenness, somewhat more of quiet and of domestic 

apples till the cask was emptied, when they went on to the next house. 
Drunkenness, he said, was unknown on these occasions ; and, from an 
intimate knowledge of the man, I am sure that he was not romancing. 
But this Arcadian state of innocence has passed away never to return. 
The knowledge of good and evil has come in the form of a public-house ; 
and Eden cannot be recovered.” In some districts, indeed, the good 
old practice survives. “ Cottage brewing,” says the correspondent on 
agricultural distress in The Daily News, Oct., 1879, “is prevalent to 
some extent in most counties where much malting is carried on, notably, 
I believe, in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, and Shropshire. 
From two bushels of malt a labourer will brew a barrel of light but 
sound ale ; and persons who are familiar with inhabitants of villages in 
which the practice is common are warm in their eulogies of the comfort 
and happiness it confers upon labouring families. They are careful of 
that which they brew ; the children grow strong and healthy, and a re- 
freshing and reviving pot of light wholesome beer in the home neutralizes 
half the temptation to excess at the public house.” Mr. Clifford notices 
the saving by brewing at home in many cottages in Suffolk, Agricult, 
Lock-Out of 1874, pp. 2 14-2 1 5. The prevalence of ^the praiseworthy 
habit of cottage brewing ’ in the hilly parts of Lancashire and the West 
Riding is noticed in a letter to The Times, dated 21 July, 1881, by Mr. 
Joshua Fielden, who laments that when the malt tax was repealed in 
1880, a license of six shillings was imposed on private brewers in a house 
worth less than ^10 a year, i.e., cottage brewers. Though not a quarter 
of what they paid before, the mode of payment is more visible and im- 
pressive, and thus has acted disastrously in discouraging brewing at 

* In London in 1879 ^ke Police Returns show 32,893 arrests for 
drunkenness, nearly half, namely, 15,612, being of females. Liverpool 
shews much the same proportion: in 1875, out of some 22,000 arrests 
there for drunkenness, some 10,000 were of females. But this is no new 
phenomenon, as can be seen from the following figures of arrests for 
drunkenness 30 and 40 years ago. 

England and Wales. Ireland. Scotland. 



















11 , 9^3 



— Baer, Der Alcoholismus, p. 191. 

t The 27th paragraph of the Report of the Committee of the House of 
Lords on Intemperance gives the following conclusions. {Parliamentary 
Papers, 1878-79, Vol. x. p. 5o8\ “i. Recent legislation has had a 


§ 170, 171.] Food and Drmk. 333 

§ 1 7 1. The vice of drunkenness is an open one, its mischief 
obvious ; and war has been made upon it not only by various 
religions, and by private or religious associations, but also by 
law. In China the penalty for incorrigible drunkenness seems 
at one time to have been death (Samuelson, Hist, of Drink, 
p. 22). Total abstinence from intoxicating drinks was im- 
posed by their religion upon Buddhist monks, and from wine 
at least, upon all Mohammedans. Drinking parties were 
forbidden by the Spartan and Cretan laws. 

In England during the Middle Ages the cfiforts of the civil 
power had two principal aims, the one to encourage the wine 
trade with France and raise a revenue from the wine imported ; 
the other to insure to the people wholesome fermented drink 
at moderate prices. The law regulated these prices ; great 

beneficial effect throughout the country by producing good order in the 
streets, by abolishing the class of beerhouses, and by improving the 
character of licensed houses generally. It is not, however, proved that 
it has diminished the amount of drunkenness. 2. Drunkenness has not 
increased in the rural districts of England and Scotland or in Ireland. 
3. In the large towns and mining districts of the N. of England and S. 
of Scotland, after making allowance for the action of the police, the 
changes in the law and its administration, and other local or general 
causes, the statistics show that intemperance increased considerably 
during the five or six years of prosperity which followed the year 1 868, 
There is, however, no evidence to prove that the country is, in this 
respect, in a worse condition than it was 30 years ago. 4. In some 
parts of the country drunkenness has increased among women ; as a 
rule the higher class of artizans are becoming more sober, and the 
apprehensions for drunkenness are becoming more and more confined 
to the lowest grades of the community.” In the 36th paragraph re- 
commending permission to town councils to conduct the liquor traffic 
themselves, the Committee says (Ibid. p. 51 5) : “ When great communities, 
deeply sensible of the miseries caused by intemperance ; witnesses of 
the crime and pauperism which directly spring from it ; conscious of the 
contamination to which their younger citizens are exposed ; watching 
with grave anxiety the growth of female intemperance on a scale so 
vast, and at a rate of progression so rapid as to constitute a new re- 
proach and danger .... seeing also that all that general legislation 
has hitherto been able to effect, has been some improvement in public 
order, while it has been powerless to produce any perceptible decrease 
of intemperance,” — when they are willing to grapple with the evil, it 
seems hard to refuse these towns the necessary^ powers. — On Mr. Cham- 
berlain’s scheme, the willingness to adopt which by the Birmingham 
town council is here alluded to, see infra, § 174. 

care was taken that just and full measure was given ; and 
adulteration was punished with great severity (Bridgett> 
Discipline of Drink, ch. vi.). No direct means against drunk- 
enness were used by the State, except that the local magis- 
trates occasionally co-operated with the ecclesiastical autho- 
rities by closing taverns on Sundays {Ibid, p, 192). For 
1,000 years the repression of drunkenness was left to the 
Church, and was carried on by the decrees of her Councils, 
by the exhortations of her preachers, and the action of her 
penitential system {Ibid. ch. viii., ix., and x.). In the 
sixteenth century, after the overthrow of religion, the spirit of 
the civil legislation changed. We see “ the same, or rather 
a far greater desire, to raise revenue by means of the liquor 
traffic ; and attempts are still made to regulate the prices ; 
but, besides this, complaints are made of the spread of 
drunkenness, sumptuary laws are passed, licenses required 
for ale-houses and taverns, and at last penalties inflicted on 
the drunkard {Ibid. pp. 184— 5 )- Iri ^552 licences were re- 
quired for selling ale, in 1554 for selling wine. Other Acts 
of like nature followed ; and in 1606 a fine of five shillings 
was imposed for being drunk {Ibid. ch. xi.). This new cha- 
racter of drink legislation has not, I think, since been essen- 
tially changed. The regulation of prices has been aban- 
doned, the repression of adulteration has become a mockery ; 
but over one-third of the imperial revenue comes from taxes 
on fermented drinks ■* the apprehension of drunkards is one 
of the main occupations of the police ; f and the grant or 
renewal of licenses is an important function of excise officers 
and magistrates ; though, by allowing a sort of real right to 
attach to certain premises, the authorities have forfeited much 
of their powers, and immense vested interests have arisen 
very difficult to disturb.^ The victims of drink and the 

* As a rough appro.ximation I think that in 1861, out of a total imperial 
revenue of 70 millions, some 20 came from fermented drink; in 1871 
out of 70 millions some 26 ; in 1875 out of 75 millions some 32 ; in 
1880 out of 81 millions some 20. 


§ 1 71, 172.] f'ood and Drink. 

defrauders of the public revenue are punished ; many disor- 
derly beer-houses have been closed by means of the Licensing 
Act of the year 1872 ; but the mass of those who kindle the 
fire of intemperance and make a profit from its ravages go 
yet, as they have gone so long, well nigh scot free.* 

§. 172. Efforts indeed serious and praiseworthy have not 
been wanting in our country even in the modern period of 
drunkenness to keep under the evil. The inroad of gin, and 
the laws against it, have been well described by a recent 
historian (W, E. H. Lecky, History of England in the \' 6 th 
Cent., I. pp. 478-482). By the year 1736 so frightful was the 
drunkenness that even the sluggish parliament under Walpole 
was^moved to strong measures ; a duty of 20s. a gallon was 
imposed on all spirituous liquors, and a license of ^^50 a year 
was required for selling them in less quantities than two 

{Par Ham. Papers, 1878-79,, vol. x. p. 501.)— In England and Wales 
only, the licenses grew from 5°j442 in 1829 (or one to every 270 inhabi- 
tants) to 94,135 in 1849, to 107,463 'in 1859, and to 135,720 in 1869 (or 
one to every 149 inhabitants), according to Mr. Whittaker in the Dublin 
Review, ]v\y 1879, p. 24. But he forgets to tell us that the tide then 
turned. The absolute diminution in the licenses for beer houses since 
the Act of 1869, and the diminution relative to population in public-house 
licenses since the Act of 1872, has caused a great rise in the value of 
drink-shop property. The strictness of the magistrates had previously 
caused a similar rise in Scotland. {Part. Papers, 1. c., pp. 519-520.) 

* In the five years ending 1877 the convictions for drunkeness in 
Liverpool amounted to 90,339, but the number of publicans convicted of 
supplying drink contrary to law only amounted to 289, or rather less 
than half of those against whom information was laid by the police. 
In London in 1876 there were 32,328 persons arrested for drunkenness, 
but only 186 convictions against drink houses (Samuelson, Hist, of 
Drink, p. 247). How at Liverpool the law is set at naught can be 
gathered from an interesting account of Liverpool public houses in Pke 
Times, 25 December, 1877 : Ihe trade has been absorbed by large capi- 
talists, and a single firm may own 20, 50, or 100 public houses ; the 
nominal publican supposed by law to be responsible is merely their 
servant ; they hold a blank transfer which he has signed, and thus if he 
is so incautious as to be found out breaking the law, he is instantly dis- 
missed, the blank transfer is filled up with the name of a successor, who 
is equally a man of straw, and the forfeiture of the license, that natu- 
rally would ensue upon misbehaviour, is evaded indefinitely. The 
profits made from this business appear to be very great, and these 
‘ pluralist-publicans,’ as they are called, appear to have great local 




33 ^ Grounchvork of Economics. [§ 172 . 


gallons. But these measures, which would have well nigh 
extirpated gin drinking, could they have been enforced, were 
I over-strained. The consumption of spirits indeed sank 

j from 5,394,000 gallons in 1735 to about 3,000,000 in 1737 ; 

but at the cost of violent riots ; and soon a clandestine retail 
trade arose very lucrative and very popular, till in 1742 no 

■ less than 7,000,000 gallons were distilled. Then the law 

, swung from one extreme to the other, and in 1743 the duty 

j of 20s. was reduced to a penny, the license of .;{J^50 was 

' reduced to 20^. ; but neither drunkenness nor even clandestine 

’ selling yielded to this new mode of treatment. “In 1749 

j more than 4,000 persons were convicted of selling spirituous 

‘ liquors without a license, and the number of private gin shops 

■ within the Bills of Mortality was estimated at more than 

17,000 .... crime and immorality .... were rapidly in- 

I creasing. The City of London urgently petitioned for new 

i measures of restriction. The London physicians stated in 

- 1750 that there were in or about the metropolis no less than 

^ 14,000 cases of illness .... directly attributable to gin.” 

J At last in 1751 wise and practicable measures avoided the 

I excess of the law of 1736 and the defect of the law of 1743. 

I Distillers were forbade either to retail spirits themselves or 

I to sell them to unlicensed retailers. Debts contracted for 

liquors not amounting to 20s. at a time were made irrecover- 
I able by law. Retail licenses, according to the locality, were 

j O’lly granted to .^'lo householders, or to traders who were 

I subject to certain parochial rates. The i>enalties to which the 

. clandestine retailer was liable were much increased : for the 

! second offence three months’ imprisonment and whipping ; 

for the third, transportation. And two years later the dis- 
cretion of magistrates in issuing licenses was restricted, and 
public-houses were subjected to severe regulations. These 
laws were not beyond the capacity of the nation, and although 
not extirpating the chronic evil of spirit drinking and 
drunkenness, allayed the acute malady of the previous thirty 
years, and caused a notable diminution in the consumption 
’ of spirits, in drunkenness, and in disease. 

In the present century, besides the closing of public- 
; houses on Sundays in Scotland by the Forbes-Mackenzie Act 

of 1853, and in Ireland by the tardy Act of 1878, and the 







English Licensing Act of 1872 (mutilated in 1874) seriously 
restricting the hours and conditions of sale, two notable 
attempts have been made to check drunkenness by the 
indirect method of favouring the consumption of milder 
alcoholic drinks. First, \n 1830, under the Duke of Welling- 
ton, the ‘ Beershops Act ’ allowed certain excise officers to 
grant (with trifling restrictions) to any one for a small pay- 
ment the license to sell beer. But while the consumption of 
beer after this Act increased, neither the consumption of 
spirits nor drunkenness grew less ; nine-tenths of the so- 
called beer-shops illegally sold spirits as well ; they were 
often dens of gambling and prostitution ; the free-trade ex- 
periment had at last to be admitted a failure ; and the dis- 
orderly liberty of the beer-shops, which had reached an 
intolerable maximum since the new Excise Licenses in 1863 
(Kebbel, Agricult. Labourer, 1870, pp. 138-140), was repressed 
in 1869 and 1872. Secondly, the legislation of Mr. Gladstone 
in i860 reduced the duties on foreign wine, and was intended 
to foster the consumption of the light wines which mainly 
come from France, instead of stronger drinks. At first, 
however, the importation of Spanish and Portuguese wines 
increased over 70 per cent., but then stood still or went back, 
while the increase in the importation of French wines 
gradually rose to tenfold ; and this increased consumption 
has probably, leaving the lower classes unaffected, been to 
the middle classes a great help to become more sober (Samu- 
elson. Hist, of Drink, pp. 182-183). 

§ 173. Certain recent attempts abroad to check drunken- 
ness by legislation deserve particular attention. In Sweden* 
the cheapness of spirits, and the facilities for making and 
selling them, were accompanied by wide-spread intemperance. 
To check this, an excise duty of nearly nineteenpence a gallon 
was in the year 1 845 imposed upon spirits ; small stills were 
abolished ; and the local authorities were empowered to fix 
the number of licenses for selling spirits in each locality, 
these licenses to be sold by auction from time to time, and the 

* See Chamberlain, Fortnightly Review, Dec. 1 876 ; Baer, Der 
Alcoholismus, pp. 442-446 ; Swedish correspondent in The Tunes, 
13 Sept. 1879; Samuelson, Hist, of Drink, ch. xiii. ; Parliamcntaiy 
Papers, 1878-79, Vol. X. pp. 512-513, 545-547- 












338 Gi'oundwo^'k of Economics. [§ 173. 

proceeds to go to the local treasury. There was no legisla- 
tion concerning beer, which was mainly taken by the middle 
and upper classes, and rarely a means of intoxication. A 
great diminution of drunkenness followed this Licensing Act ; 
many rural communes have altogether refused to grant 
licenses, and in 1876 there were but ten in the whole pro- 
vince of Gothenburg. Not as though spirit-drinking, or even 
drunkenness, was at an end among the peasantry ; for many 
flock into the towns to drink, and also spirits are bought 
wholesale and kept for home consumption. Still there has 
been a reformation ; and the consumption of spirits, which 
in 1854 was 21 litres a head, sank to 10 litres in 1876, and 
has since still more declined. In the towns, however, the 
legislation of 1854 seems to have availed little against 
drunkenness, till a peculiar manner of working it was dis- 
covered, In 1864, at Gothenburg, a body of philanthropical 
citizens formed a company with limited liability, to purchase 
all the drink-shop licenses of the town, to conduct the business 
in the sole interest of sobriety and morality, and not to divide 
any profits among themselves, but to pay them into the town 
treasury. As no profit has been aimed at, all competitors 
have been easily outbid ; the drinking-shops are not more 
numerous than is required by convenience ; and are all also 
eating-houses ; moreover, the managers of these refreshment 
rooms— for they ought not to be called drink-shops— are 
allowed to profit by the sale of food and of malt liquors, but 
not by the sale of spirits ; and thus escape the strong 
temptation to sell spirits to young people, or to those who 
have already drunk enough, or to incite intemperance by the 
presence of gambling, bad women, obscene songs, and the 
rest ; while adulteration is hardly possible. The benefit to 
the town finances has been great ; the diminution of drunken- 
ness considerable ; and there is a presumption of the success 
of the plan from its popularity and its spread to almost every 
other town in Sweden, and to many in Norway.* 

* The apparent revival of drunkenness in (Gothenburg — the arrests, 
which had fallen from 2,070 in 1865 to 1,320 in 1868, numbered in the 
four years from 1872 to 1875 respectively 1,581, 1,827, 2,234 2,490— can 
perhaps be quite accounted for by the influx of country people unable to 
obtain spirits in their own neighbourhood, and coming whenever they 


Food and Drmk. 


In the State of Maine a more drastic remedy was sought 
by the absolute prohibition, in 1851, of the sale of all 
intoxicating drinks, except for ecclesiastical, medicinal, 
chemical, or mechanical ends, and even then only by State 
officials ; and such drinks could only be imported or manu- 

factured by a man for his private consumption. Cider and 
native wine were alone exempt. Those who broke the law 
were to suffer two months’ imprisonment in the county gaol 
and pay i,(XX3 dollars. Even persons found drunk in their 
own houses were liable to thirty days’ imprisonment. About 
1854 an analogous law was passed in the State of Massa- 
chusetts. The fate of the two laws has been different. In 
Massachusetts neither the sale of drink nor the drunkards to 
be arrested grew less ; the failure of the law was recognized ; 
a committee recommended the consumption of cider and 
small beer; and a new law in 1875 introduced the plan of 
licenses. Local authorities may indeed refuse to grant 
any ; but if granted they must be according to a definite 
tariff. No one who is not a brewer may be charged more 
than 150 dollars (;^30) for a license to sell malt liquors, 
cider, and light wines (containing not more than 15 per cent, 
of alcohol) to be drunk off the premises. But he may be 
charged up to 250 dollars if even these lighter 

beverages are to be allowed to be drunk on the premises ; 
and up to i,CKX) dollars {£200) for a license so to sell strong 
wines and spirits. Stringent regulations concerning the 
hours of sale, the decency of the premises, the purity of the 
drink, the supply of food as well, the non-delivery to various 
classes of persons (minors and notified sots), were also part 
of the la\v^ In Maine the prohibitive law remains in force, 
and appears, after so long a trial, to be still approved by 
most of the inhabitants. In many small towns, and in the 
country villages, the traffic in intoxicating drink has been 
stopped and all open traffic in the larger towns. In these 
there is, indeed, much surreptitious selling ; and there must 
be many drunkards if 150 could be reclaimed in a sino^le 
town within six months by a Temperance Society, according 



can into the town to get them ; not to speak of greater strictness of the 

police, or of the great increase of earnings through the extraordinary | 

harvests of those years. , 

340 Gronnchvork of Economics. [§ 173 , 174 . 

to the testimony of a teetotaler in the year 1875-76. But 
criminal laws can only hope to check, not to extirpate 
crime ; the Maine liquor law is no dead letter ; and juries con- 
vict on the charge of liquor-selling as readily as on the 
charge of stealing. Let us add that in most other North 
American States, including Canada, the sale of alcoholic 
drinks requires a license, or is quite forbidden, or the power 
to issue license or prohibition is conferred upon each special 
locality (‘ local option ’).* 

§ 174. Temperance societies and religious preaching have 
also in this century been active agents against drunkenness, 
and have shewn that for a time they can effect an immense 
reformation. Thus in the United States, where they first 
became important, and this first during the third decade of 
the century, the importation of spirits sank from over5j<( 
million gallons in 1824 to under 14 in 1830; in 1834 the 
number of temperance societies was some 7,000, and 1,000 
ships were sailing without spirits on board (Samuelson, 
Hist, of Drink, p. 240). In Ireland, between 1838 and 1842, 
the consumption of spirits sank from about I2j^ million 
gallons to about owing to the temperance crusade 
preached by P'ather Mathew; and though the excise on 
spirits was lessened by ;i^75o,ooo, the deficiency was more 
than covered by the increased yield of other taxes on con- 
sumption (Roscher, Nationalokon. § 236). In England, though 
no such striking figures can, I think, be shewn, the numerous 
temperance and total abstinence societies have for fifty years 
done much with much zeal, and may now possess over a 
million members ; and in Sweden, from 1830, in Germany, 
from 1837, temperance societies have in many districts 
worked wonders.f Still, as long as external facilities for 

* On the American liquor laws see Samuelson, History of Drink, 
pp. 216-228 ; James Henderson, Contemporary Review, May, 1877, 
pp. 1,060, 1,061 ; Liquor Laws of the United States, New York, 1878 
(British Museum press-maj-k 6,614, aa) ; Dublin Review, July, 1879, 
pp. 28-31 ; Baer, Der Alcoholismus, p. 425 seq. ; Justin MacCarthy, 
Fortnightly Review, August, 1871. 

t In Upper Silesia a wonderful reform was effected by Father Fietzek 
and the temperance league he established in 1845. By the end of the 
year some 300,000 Upper Silesians had joined it, and 84 distilleries had 
been given up, besides 206 doing no work. Previously the drunkenness 

Food and Drink 

drunkenness remain, the inclination and the temptation are 
constant, the enthusiasm of abstinence is likely to be fleeting. 
The Bishops of Ireland, in 1873, in spite of all Father 
Mathew had done not so long before, had to speak of 
drunkenness as one of the greatest evils of the day (Bridgett, 
Discipline of Drink, p. 232). In Germany, after 1847, the 
temperance zeal generally grew cold. Most of the States of 
North America, though temperance societies had among 
them so brilliant a start, have since resorted to legislation 
against drinking. The fanatical revival in 1874 known as 
the women’s whisky war, when the drinking-places were 
surrounded by troops of women, singing and praying till 
the seller renounced his trade, although it immediately 
resulted in some 450 drink-shops being closed in Ohio and 
Indiana, was of a nature to discredit all temperance associa- 
tions. Moreover, where ‘ total abstinence ’ is made into a 
religion of itself, as among the ‘ Sons of Temperance ’ in 
America and the ‘ Good Templars’ in England {Ibid.sp. 202), 
it is likely that many of the members are those who have no 
natural inclination toward drunkenness, including many who 
would be the better for some alcoholic drink ; and thus tee- 
totalism may get much more credit for averting drunkenness 
than it deserves ; it may discredit intemperance among certain 
ranks of society at the cost of discrediting temperance, and 
even religion, among others ; and of all such associations 
(‘ total abstinence ’ or ‘ teetotal ’ in particular, but also 

had been terrible. The spirit shops, as a rule, were in the hands of 
Jews, a phenomenon observable also in Russia or parts of it. Recently 
there has been a relapse since the persecution of the Catholic Church, 
begun in 1872, and the triumph of the Jews. {Christlich-socialc Blatter, 
1881, pp. 308-312.) — An interesting account of modern temperance 
societies, with many details in particular regarding the United States, 
the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany, is given by Dr. Baer, Der 
Alcoholismus, pp. 382-424 But this good Gennan physician, who, un- 
like many in his position, is uniformly respectful toward religion, falls 
here into the delusion that temperance societies could thrive as patriotic- 
philanthropic medico-educational societies, without any religious cha- 
racter ; and wishes them to be so ; when in reality they require from the 
very obligations they impose to be penetrated with a religious spirit, 
whether belonging to true religion and the Christian principles of 
humility and asceticism, or the repulsive delusions of domineering and 
self-righteous fanaticism. 

342 Groimd'work of Ecoiiomics. 1 74 , 175 . 

simple temperance associations, as those of Germany), we 
can say that they will either be feeble, slack, and inefficient, 
or else must be founded on enthusiasm, which is only fitly 
to be controlled, or on grace, which is only to be obtained 
within the Catholic Church, 

§ 175- Sufficient has now, I think, been said to enable us, 
in regard to the use of intoxicating drinks, to understand 
and assent to the following conclusions : — 

A. False and detestable is the doctrine taught by many 
heretics in the early ages of Christianity, and often since, that 
fermented drinks are in their very nature an evil, or come 
not from God’s hands but from some Evil Principle, and 
that to take them is of itself sinful * Worse than useless, 
therefore, is the abstinence from strong drink on the ground 
of its being unclean, or when joined with scorn and con- 
demnation of others who abstain not, or when made the 
foundation of a sort of religion.f 

B. Scandalous and heretical and, moreover, ridiculous 
are the attempts to deny the use and approval of fermented 
drinks in both the Old and New Testament. 

C. We must not be confused by the superstitious abuse 
of an abstinence from all fermented drinks, or forget how 
great is the merit of such abstinence, if in the right spirit 
and for the right ends of penance, or of avoiding the tempta- 
tion to excess, or of giving an heroic example to others who 
are in constant danger of drunkenness. 

D. It is an error to say, like Adam Smith ( Wealth of 
Nations, Bk. II. Ch. V. p. 161 ), “that it is not the multitude 
of alehouses .... that occasions a general disposition to 

* See the first chapter of Father Bridgett’s Disciplme of Drink, 
where several interesting citations are given from the Fathers, from St 
Clement of Alexandria in the second century onwards, against the 
Encratites, Gnostics, Manichees, Albigensians, and other heretics. 

+ “Our Lord pronounces those blessed who hunger and thirst after 
justice, not those who drink water and despise their neighbours.” (St. 
Gildas, apud Bridgett, 1 . c. pp. 19-20.) “ This Severianus, who abomi- 
nates both wine and marriage, shews himself by the one blasphemy 
unworthy to have been born, and by the other tmworthy of the chalice 
of the Lord. But Christ blessed both, by his presence at the marriage- 
feast of Cana, and by changing water into wine.” (Nicetas, Bishop of 
Constantinople in the ninth centur\\ Ibid. pp. 21-22.) 

Food and Drink. 

drunkenness among the common people ; but that disposi- 
tion arising from other causes necessarily gives employment 
to a multitude of alehouses.’’ For the disposition to drunken- 
ness may be checked if the temptation is not made too 
strong by the ease of getting drink. Reason teaches us 
that if we are to keep upright we must avoid the occasion of 
falling ; and that each fall makes further resistance more 
difficult ; and we know from observation how often the intro- 
duction of some intoxicating drink or the opening of a 
drink-shop has been followed by an outbreak of drunken- 
ness which would not have broken out but for this oppor- 
tunity. It is true that when once any sort of intoxicating 
drink can be got with a certain facility, any further multi- 
plication of public-houses is not necessarily followed by 
increased drunkenness ; * and the multiplication may be, as 

* On the relation of drunkenness to the number of drink-shops, see 
Parliamentary Papers, 1878-79, Vol. X. pp. 505-507. We can say that 
a great number in a given place implies excess, or they could not thrive ; 
but that a small number by no means implies sobriety. The following 
table, if correct, shews that in the present state of England drunkenness 
is not at all in proportion to the number of public-houses. {Ibid. p. 506.) 

Norihern Northern Southern Southern 
Towns. Counties. I’owns. Counties. 

Average drunkenness per 10, oco . . 159*48 72'74 4479 23*65 

Average number of public-houses per ic,ooo 59-48 5519 69 70 60*52 

The Lords’ Committee go on to report (p. 507) “ that in large towns, while 
the public-houses have decreased in number they have increased in size 
and in the amount of accommodation they afford. It appears, more- 
over, that a great number .... have been converted into S^aults’ or 
‘ gin palaces,’ which are mostly spirit-drinking places, where people 
stand to drink, the drink being served over the counter a modern and 
mischievous innovation. — But none of this evidence is in the least con- 
tradictory to the other evidence, which shews the absence or insigni- 
ficance of drunkenness in rural districts or small towns where there are 
no drink-shops at all, as in over 1,000 parishes in England and in a large 
district of county Tyrone, according to Sir Wilfrid Lawson in the Nine- 
teenth Century^ March, 1879, P- 4^4- Peek, in the Contempt Rev, 
Dec. 1876, p. 37, gives the example of Bessbrook, Saltaire and Romsey, 
three places free from drink-shops. A correspondent, cited by F. G. 
Heath, Peasant Life in the West of England^ edit. 1880, pp. 374, 375, 
says that in agricultural districts remote from a public-house, the labourer 
is fairly temperate, and only yields to habits of excess when nearer a 
town, and just according to the facilities of getting liquor. 






344 Groundwo7'k of Economics. [§ 1 75. 

Adam Smith says, the effect, not the cause of excess. Eut 
this is no proof that a serious check to drunkenness would 
not be given by a serious check to the temptation ; not to 
speak of a multitude of drink-shops rendering the needful 
supervision well nigh impossible.* 

E. On the other hand, it shews an ignorance of the great 
complication of causes and effects in social life, and a want 
of historical logic, to attribute simply to the use of alcohol 
the greater part of crime and suicide, of immorality, poverty, 
and insanity, besides exaggerating the figures of mortality 
and expenditure. Crime may be the cause as well as the 
effect of drunkenness ; suicide and drunkenness may be the 
joint effects of a common cause, or set of causes, and to say 
straight off that an increase of suicides accompanying an 
increase of consumption of alcohol is a proof that those 
extra suicides were caused by that extra consumption, is to 
display an ignorance of how to reason. Drunkenness most 
truly is a frequent cause of prostitution, poverty, and disease ; 

Food and Drink 

and misery, there are other causes that act with it and 
beside it.* Of course it would be equally foolish to look 
only to those other causes, to say, for example, as Liebig 
did {Chemische Briefc, 1865, p. 339, apud Baer, /. c. p. 317), 
that “spirit-drinking is not the cause but a consequence of 
poverty only in modern England we are less likely to fall 
into this excess than into the other. 

§ 176. F. In regard to measures against the abuse of 
alcohol, we must distinguish times, places, peoples, and 
classes. An indiscriminate crusade against all intoxicating 
drinks for every one everywhere, is foolish : the extirpation of 
alcohol would be mischievous, as is plain from what has been 
said (§ 164) onits use. Nevertheless there may becases, notably 
those of barbarous people under the dominion or influence 
of Europeans, where utter prohibition of every kindof alcoholic 
drink is called for, and the law should refuse to distinguish 
the drinkseller from the assassin. Such cases will be certain 
and many if the prohibition is limited to spirits, for it is 
spirits and not milder drinks which have brought so many 
weak races to ruin. Again, if a man recommends the laws 
of Maine or Sweden for adoption in England, he must first 
shew that these laws are equally fit in a country with a 
dense population and abounding in large towns, like England, 
as in Sweden or Maine, in both of which the population is 
scattered and large towns are few. We must examine more- 
over whether the country is a land of vineyards, of wine- 
palms, or of neither ; whether spirits are known as a common 
drink or not ; what are the conditions of labour, the 
character of recreation, and of home life ; what is the nature 
of the government and its power of enforcing the laws ; 
what the condition and sort of religion. And many other 
special circumstances must be considered, of which I will give 
an example. The United Kingdom, although hampered by 
many difficulties in regard to temperance legislation, has this 

* One of the great merits of Dr. Baer’s work on Alcoholism is that he 
appreciates the difficulty of telling how much is cause and how much is 
eft'ect, and again how much of a given effect is due to each of several 
joint causes. See his careful inquiry Der Alcoholismus, Part II. Ab- 
schnitt II. and III., into the connection of alcoholic excess with disease, 
mortality, suicide, poverty, prostitution, crime, and insanity. 

Food and Drink. 


34^ Groundwork of Economics. [§ i 76. 

advantage, that its distilleries are very few and on a large 
scale, and thus spirits can be made liable to a heavy tax that 
in some countries would defeat its object by giving rise to 
clandestine manufacture (Baer, Der Alcoholisviiis, p. 470). 
In the canton of Bern, on the contrary, there are over 11,000 
small distilleries ; heavy taxation could scarcely be enforced 
as long as they exist ; and the land is deluged with cheap 
and bad spirits abounding in fusel oil {Ibid. pp. 172, 173). 
The same legislation is plainly not required for England as 
for Bern, and the latter State ought to imitate the example of 
Finland in 1863, and abolish the right of every petty pro- 
prietor to distil spirits {Ibid. pp. 208, 209).^. 

G. We must distinguish the varieties of alcoholic drinks, 
and not confound them in one common vituperation. 
Shakespeare paints the ridiculous Falstaff exceeding in 
strong wine — this intolerable deal of sack ; but makes his 
hero Prince Henry, when exceeding weary, desire the solace, 
not of wine or strong ale, but of so weak a composition as 
the poor creature small beer. Hogarth, no inaccurate 
observer, depicted on canvas the impressive contrast between 
Beer Street and Gin Lane. Beer in Germany has been re- 
garded as preventing rather than fostering intemperance, and 
is drunk by members of Temperance Societies who eschew 
all spirituous liquor.f Swedish legislation has been aimed 

* The case of beer, be it noticed, is very different ; it is presumably a 
good, not an evil, when every peasant brews at home {sup. § 170, note 
pp. 331-2), and instead of despairing, like Mr. Kebbel {Agric. Labourer, 

against guilty spirits, leaving beer as innocent to go free. In 
Massachusetts theCommittee on the Prohibitive Law previous 
to 1875 spoke of the ‘fatal mistake’ of prohibiting the sale 
of cider and light beer, and recommended that the law 
should encourage the consumption of these liquors in the 
true interest of temperance, as Mr. Samuelson tells us {Hist, 
of Drink, p. 222) ; and he observes {ibid. p. 70), “it is not the 
liquors which are consumed with solid food that are the 
operating causes of national or individual drunkenness. The 
Frenchman does not get drunk on red wine, nor the German 
on lager-bier. Absinthe and schnapps are the destructive 
agents there, just as gin, and not Barclay’s stout or Bass’s ale 
. . . in England.” Only we must put bad beer on the black 
list as well as gin, beer full of salt through careless manufacture 
or unscrupulous adulteration, and beer mixed with spirits 
(see Dr. A. J. Bernays, Contemporary Revieiv, Nov. 1878, pp. 
702, 703). Whereas for good beer we can agree with the 
saying of Dr. Baer in regard to countries too cold for vine- 
yards : “ Das Bier ist der grosste Feind des BranntzveinsP 
that is, the greatest enemy of spirits is beer. History and 
common sense, chemistry and medicine, all bear witness to the 
variety in the effects of different fermented drinks according 
to their different character, the proportion of alcohol (§ 165, 
note p. 319) being perhaps the chief but by no means the 
only cause of their difference (§ 167, ad f) ; and we can rea- 
sonably say that in the lands of vineyards the vin du pays 
or wine of the district, that in more northern regions un- 
adulterated mild beer, cider and mead, that perhaps in the 
tropics fermented palm juice, are fit popular drinks, whose 
use far outweisfhs their abuse.* 

* The irreconcilable opponents of alcohol, as Mr. T. P. Whittaker (in 
the Dublin Review, July, 1879, pp. 19-20), urge that a little alcohol ex- 
cites a craving for more, that a light alcoholic drink leads the way to a 
stronger drink, or to ever-increasing quantities of the light one, and that 
experience shews the futility of favouring light drinks with the view of 
checking drunkenness and the consumption of strong drinks, witness the 
increase in the consumption of these after the Beershops Act of 1830, 
and the Wine and Spirit Acts of i860 and 1861. But such reasoning is 
full of fallacy and mischief. What is true of a few, that the use of little 
alcohol in a mild drink will lead to excess (§ \6(> ad b) is extended, in 
defiance of physiology and experience, to all ; and the glass of mild beer 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 176 , 177 . 

H. We must look as far as we can at all the results of 
measures against drunkenness, not at some only. A direct 
good from a drink law may be well nigh or quite outweighed 
by indirect and unintended evils. Sometimes a law is 
patently mischievous, as the Gin Act of 1736 with its crop 
of riots, false information, and illicit manufacture and sale 
(§ 169). More often it is difficult to estimate the weight of 
incidental disadvantages, such as the increase of desperate 
and criminal drinking and selling ; the introduction of spirits 
and drunkenness into the family circle ; the spread of worse 
habits like opium-eating or chloralism {infra, § 227) f ; the 
attraction of population from the rural districts where the law 
can be thoroughly enforced to the towns where it can be in 
part evaded ; the demoralization of municipal functionaries ; 
power put into hands that will use it badly with consequent 
petty tyranny, false witness, injustice and corruption, not 
to speak of political disaffection. But though it is difficult 
to make an estimate of such drawbacks, make it we 

I 177. J. In modern England some or all of the following 

or of claret is made the fatal precursor to intemperate and untimely 
draughts of dry sherry or fiery gin. The significant examples of Ger- 
many, Sweden, and Massachusetts are passed by, and we are referred to 
two measures in England which are anything but conclusive. The 
rational advocates of light drinks in England are no advocates of so- 
called free trade even for these. The Act of 1830 did not fail because it 
favoured mild liquor at the expense of strong. It failed because there 
was no fit control of beershops, no fit measures against adulteration, no 
fit repression of the abuse of spirits, which, in fact, were sold at most of 
the beershops ; and those encouraged to get drunk on bad beer may 
likely enough have soon craved and gratified their craving for a stronger 
means of intoxication. But this proves nothing against the superin- 
tended sale of good beer or light wine. The legislation of 1860-61 can- 
not be said to have wholly failed (§ 172) ; but if it had there is the 
ample and obvious reason of accounting for the failure in the fact of the 
ease of getting strong drinks, and the comparative cheapness of wines 
strongly charged with alcohol, or of compounds which are wines only in 
name, but in reality German potato brandy duly diluted, coloured and 

t In Japan it is said the law allows intoxicating drinks for all classes 
with the aim of averting the use of opium, and succeeds in its aim (Baer, 
Alcoholismus, p. 148) ; in parts of Tartary where to drink is a capital 
crime, a worse substitute is found in opium and other narcotics {ibid. 
p. 148). 





§ 177 .] Eood and Drink. 349 

measures might be applied as direct means against intem- 

{a) A reform in the composition of the licensing body : 
every distiller, brewer, wine merchant, publican, and any one 
interested in any house of business connected with the sale 
of intoxicating liquors, to be ipso facto excluded {cf. Lords’ 
Report, Parliamentary Papers, 1878-79, X. pp. 527, 560, 
No. 16) ; and perhaps on each licensing board should sit 
a paid Government inspector with a certain right of veto 
on renewal of licenses ;* nor should there be an appeal 
concerning town licenses to county justices {cf. Ibid. 
p. 518). 

{b) A reform in the person of the sellers : none to be 
brewers or distillers, or interested in a brewery or distillery ; 
serious requirements of previous good conduct for anyone 
licensed to sell drink to be consumed on the premises ; such 
a person to be the unincumbered owner of such premises, so 
as to limit the interests to be dealt with (not to have a brewer, 
distiller, ground landlord, house landlord, and mortgagee, all 
interested in a given drink-shop over and above the publican 
himself), and to avert men of straw being made drink- 
sellers {cf. Lords’ Report, 1 . c. p. 518, and supra, \ 17 1, 
note p. 335). 

{c) A reform in the place of sale: all, or at least the 
stronger class of alcoholic drinks, when drunk on the pre- 
mises, only to be sold in rooms of fit size and ventilation, 
where there are bond fide facilities for making a meal : each 
drinking-shop to be an inn or eating-house. It is so in 
Sweden ; it is so, by law at least, in Massachusetts, where 
every license for drinking on the premises must also hold a 
license as innholders or common victuallers, and is forbidden 

* ■ 








• I 



* In the province of Ontario the licensing authority for each city, 
each county, or each electoral union of counties (if I understand), is com- 
posed of three unpaid commissioners annually appointed by the Lieutenant- 
Governor in Council, and helped by a paid official inspector appointed 
by the same authority and on whom the enforcement of the license regu 
lations practically devolves. (Henderson, Contemp. Rev. May, 1877 
p. 1070.) Mr. Henderson urges for England also, as a measure of high 
value, the appointment of independent insTpectors to issue the licenses 
and to see that the conditions on which they are granted are really 
observed. {Ibid. p. 1071.) 


I = 

350 G7'ou7idwork of Eco7io77iics. [§ 177. 

to keep a public bar ; it is so in Ontario, where such a license 
is only granted to houses of entertainment which are well- 
appointed and sufficient eating-houses, with the appliances 
necessary for daily serving meals to travellers. (James Hen- 
derson, Contanp. Rev. May, 1877, pp. 1066-1069). Perhaps 
as a check to the double evil of intemperance and licentious- 
ness fostered by the refreshment counter or bar at railway 
stations, theatres, and other places of resort, the law should 
forbid any young woman serving at any such counter if in- 
toxicating drinks are sold there. 

(d) As an obvious corollary to suggestions ^ b' and V,’ no 
transfer of licenses from one person to another, or of drink- 
shops from one place to another, or any notable alteration of 
premises should be allowed without the consent of the licen- 
sing body. {Cf. Lords’ Report, /. c. pp. 518, 519, 530, 
531 ). 

{e) A considerable increase in license duties. This is 
recommended by the Lords’ Committee (//;zV/. pp. 519, 520), 
and justified by the great increase in the value of licenses 
through recent legislation which has created, or rather has 
narrowed the monopoly of the sale of drink in the hands of 
possessors of certain premises. The proceeds of the extra 
charge for licenses might perhaps be api)lied in part to com- 

§ 177 .J Food a7id D7'mk. 351 

522, 523. F. Peek, Co 7 itemporary Review, December, 1876, 
pp. 39, 40.) 

{g) A reform in regard to the person of the buyers. Not 
merely a prohibition to sell drink to a minor, or a person 
drunk, or a known drunkard, but a Civil Damage Act as in 
several American States, enabling those who suffer from the 
habitual drunkenness of persons connected with them by 
certain ties, as marriage, near relationship, or employment, 
to recover damages from drinksellers w’ho supply these 
persons with drink ; and also making a publican who has 
allowed any one to get drunk on his premises liable for all 
damage this person may do while drunk.* Such an Act 
might dispense from further legislation on the difficult 
matter of how to deal w’ith habitual drunkards.f 

(//) Legal measures to stop both the payment of wages in 
fermented drink — on the abuse of beer payments in some parts 
of rural England and cider payments in others see I'red. 

* In Massachusetts, if one drunk commits an assault or injures pro- 
perty, whoever furnished him with liquor in violation of the law is liable 
to the same action as the person drunk is. Also the husband, wife, 
parent, child, guardian, or employer of any person who has acquired 
habits of drunkenness, may give written notice to any licensee not to sell 
or deliver intoxicating liquor to such person, and may recover from the 
licensee, if he so sell or deliver within twelve months, or even permit the 
person to loiter on his premises, from too to 500 dollars {£20 to £100 ) ; 
nor (I understand) is any proof required of loss sustained except where 
the prosecutor is the employer of the drunkard. (Henderson, /. c. 
p. 1067.) In Vermont, where the sale of drink is prohibited, if a man’s 
drunkenness result in his death or disablement, and consequent loss to 
any one depending on him for means of support, the drinkseller is liable 
for all such loss {ibid. p. 1069). 

t Much information on the treatment of habitual drunkards, and in 
particular on the inebriate asylums of America, is to be found in Baer, 
Der Alcoholismus, pp. 502-527. That a man should be able, if he 
wishes, to be kept from all alcoholic drink for a certain period by main 
force, is what he can fairly claim in self-protection. That any criminal 
whose offence is due to habitual drunkenness be shut up in a temperance 
reformatoiy for a time that will give him the chance of being cured of 
his bad habit, seems a lit measure of criminal legislation. But that a 
man who is neither willing, nor a criminal, be liable to be shut up in an 
inebriate asylum for habitual drunkenness is a step that by no means 
follows from the two preceding ones ; and other means like the curatela 
prodigoruin in Roman law, can be found to prevent a sot squandering 
the family property. 

352 Grotmdwork of Economics. 177 , 178 . 

Clifford, TJie Agricultural Lock-out of 4, pp. 27, 30, 31, 230- 
232, 304, 305 ; T. E. Kebbel, The Agricultural Labourer, 
1870, pp. 27-28 ; F. G. Heath, The English Peasantry, edit. 
1874, pp. 54~S6, 86-89, 262, 263 — and also the payment of 
money wages within the precincts of a public-house, a fre- 
quent practice of small employers (F. Peek, Contemporary 
Review, Dec. 1876, p. 35), and the habit of treating customers 
so as to induce them to buy {Ibid. p. 34), and similar abuses. 
To pay wages in the shape of intoxicating drink and in any 
shape if paid in or about a drink-shop, might be made a 
criminal offence ; and all contracts or payments made under 
the influence of drink or within the precincts of a drink-shop 
might be made utterly void. But it is not for me to fix the 
precise methods of repression, a task foi which it is the legal 
profession that is competent. 

§ 178. {j) A reform in the kind of drink sold. Not merely 
a serious Adulteration Act against the abominable con- 
trivances of fraud and covetousness, as putting salt into beer, 
but also the utter prohibition of many noxious kinds of 
alcoholic drink. Thus no spirits should be sold for consump- 
tion which has not been kept in some public or inspected store- 
house (in bond) at least twelve months {cf. Lord’s Report, 
/. c. pp. 527, 558). No admixtures should be allowed which 
make uncertain the alcoholic strength of various liquors, an 
uncertainty which is a great stumbling-block in the way of 
temperance and yet removable by legislation (See Dr. A. 
J. Bernays, Contemp. Rev.'^ov. 1878, pp. 703, 704). An end 
should be made to the “ heavy, unwholesome beer, strongly 
charged with alcohol, such as ... . now often supplied ” 
(Lords’ Report, /. c. p. 514), and to the abominable mixtures 
sold for beer, described in the next note. And perhaps 
measures might be taken against the ‘ patent still ’ and the 
production of ‘silent spirit’ described above (§ 167, note), 
and against the concocted ‘ dry sherry ’ denounced by Dr. 
Radcliffe {Contem. Rev. Jan. 1879, p. 351). 

{k) Among legal alcoholic drinks more distinction made 
than at present in favour of the milder kinds. Heavier taxa- 
tion (custom and excise duties and licenses to sell) upon 
spirits and strong wines in comparison with light wines, beer, 
and cider. No taxation at all upon small beer if possible ; 

Eood and Drink 

and that brewing at home may be favoured to the utmost, 
entire abolition of the six shilling license to brew levied on 
cottage brewers by the Act of 1870. {Cf. sup.,\ 170, note 
PP- 33i“2 ; § 176, note p. 346.) Moreover, less severity as to 
the time and place of selling the lighter drinks, and as to the 
person and number of persons selling them, and permission to 
sell them in much smaller quantities at a time for consumption 
off the premises. It is time at last to restore beer to its right 
place and by making it abundant and cheap, wholesome, 
light, and pure, to make it our grand ally against intoxication. 

(/) A reform in the penalties for illegal selling. Serious 
and minimum fines for first offences of some sorts ; forfeiture 
of license and imprisonment for a repeated offence ; publica- 
tion of every conviction and sentence on the premises so 
as inevitably to catch the eye of every customer ; adulteration 
to be a criminal offence to be condoned by no fine, and to be 
treated as a brutal assault on person and property ;* the 
entry of intoxicating liquor under some other head in his 

* When in Camberwell the public analyst found one specimen of malt 
liquor contained 82‘6o grains of salt per gallon, enough to induce thirst 
and encourage drunkenness, he “ ventured to obtain a magisterial decision 
and a penalty reduced at the request of Mr. M. . . . from ^lo to/5, 
together with Times, 29 Nov. 1877. Some persons might think 

it well if it were venturesome, not to prosecute for selling, but to sell 
such diabolical drink, and if the pillory and the whipping post were the 
penalties, not to be reduced at any one’s request.— The adulteration of 
beer is peculiarly mischievous inasmuch as it converts an ally into an 
enemy of temperance. Mr. Kebbel, Agricultural Labourer, 1870, pp. 
143-145, rightly emphasizes the great influence of the quality of beer 
sold on the sobriety of the labourer. “ The abominable mixtures which 
are sold for beer in many village inns not only stimulate instead of 
quenching thirst, but are so concocted as to produce immediate stupe- 
faction. The peasant who goes in for his half pint of beer on his way 
home . . . feels, when he has swallowed it, just as if he had been 
drugged, sits down helplessly in a corner, and continues to drink almost 
mechanically ... or ... if ... not ... the small quantity he has 
taken has such an effect upon him, that if his master or the clergy- 
man meets him ... he fancies him intoxicated . . . and one more 
character is gone. The keepers of these houses have been known to 
lament the necessity which compelled them to vend such stuff. But 
they have no choice. The house is a close house ; that is to say, it 
belongs to some small brewer in the neighbouring market town, and the 
publican is little more than his agent. In London we believe the adul- 
teration of beer mostly begins in the public-house ; elsewhere it is com- 


Groundwork of Economics. [§ 178 , 179 . 

bill by a shopkeeper to be punished by immediate forfeiture 
of his license (cf. Lords’ Report, Lc., pp. 5 5 ^ 7 ) 5 giving 

drink to police officers to be severely punished as one of the 
most pernicious forms of bribery. 

(;//) Lastly a great reform in the means of executing the 
law. Assuredly where good and cheap alcoholic drink can 
be lawfully obtained and where the duties on strong wines 
and spirits are not so high as to make irresistible the tempta- 
tion to clandestine sale, the enforcement of measures like the 
foregoing is not too hard a task for a strong government. 
Where there is a will there is a way ; and the absurd defi- 
ciencies and quibbles of law rendering inspection and con- 
viction difficult, are not a part of the nature of things. (See 
the Lords’ Report, l.c, pp. 522-527.) All convictions can 
be endorsed on the license unless it be altogether forfeited ; 
in any place that is not a private dwelling-house it can be 
made unlawful to keep drink that it is not lawful to sell ; 
the delivery of drink can be made prima facie evidence of 
sale, as in Massachusetts {Contcmp. Rev., May 1877, p. 1007) ; 
premises can be made to include the immediate surround- 
ings, as in Ohio {Ibid., p. 1003) ; drink-shops can be lessened 
in number in order to facilitate inspection. And much 
else might be suggested,* but I have already trespassed 
enough on the dom.ain of police administration. 

§ 179. The foregoing reforms or others of like sort are a 
more or less urgent need in every county and every borough 
of England. It remains to notice two other proposals, one 
known as Mr. Chamberlain’s scheme, the other as the Per- 
missive Bill. The first is an adaptation of the Gothenburg 
plan (§ 173) to the circumstances of England, and in brief 
would* enable town councils to acquire all the drinking 
places in their town and themselves conduct the trade in 
the interests of sobriety. The great expense of such a 
scheme has been justly objected, and the capacity of town 

pletecl in the brewery . . . little or no effort ever is made to bring home 
this oflence to the perpetrator.” 

What mockery, for e.xample, to license a grocer to sell spirits for 
consumption off the premises only, and yet as in Ireland at the time of 
the Lord’s Report farl. Papers, 1878-79, x. p. 529) to allow him to sell 
them in small quantities and in open vessels, and to erect screens to 
conceal a part of his shop ! 



§ 179 , 180 .] Eood and Drmk. 355 

councils for the functions to be entrusted to them has 
been questioned ; the absence of any such measure in America 
(Henderson in Contemp. Rev., May 1877, p. 1071) the experi- 
mental ground of drink legislation, is significant, and there 
are other objections. Still, were this scheme the only alter- 
native to the present evils, it should be warmly supported ; 
for some improvement in some places is better than no im- 
provement anywhere. Whether, as matters really stand, we 
should support it, depends on the practical question whether 
its adoption would help or hinder general measures of reform. 
And this I leave others to decide.* 

The second measure, namely the Permissive Bill or Local 
Option would in brief allow a certain majority of the rate- 
paying body to prohibit utterly the sale of every sort of 
alcoholic drink within the limits of their borough or parish. 
But leaving other objections, the dangers of fluctuating local 
policy and exasperated local dissensions, the temptation of 
one village to make profit by the Puritanism of another ad- 
joining it, the unfairness of shovelling out our drunkards upon 
our neighbour’s ground, the alternative of either confiscating 
private property or else making a very burdensome addi- 
tion to the rates: a primary and fatal objection to the scheme 
is that it is based on a wrong view of alcoholic drinks, 
imagining them to differ only in the degrees of harmfulness, 
refusing to admit any to be beneficial, and thus perniciously 
confounding our true friends the genuine light drinks with 
the adulterated and spirituous liquors which are our deadliest 
enemies. {Cf. sup., § \y 6 ad G.) 

§ 180. Direct legal and police measures against in- 
temperance such as those which I have suggested ought, 
if they are to bear proper fruit and not occasion fresh 
evils, to be accompanied by a number of indirect measures, 
which naturally will vary with the special circumstances 
of each country. In our own the most obvious of such 

* On Mr. Chamberlain’s scheme see the Lords' Report Par Ham. 
Papers, 1878-79, X. pp. 5 1 3-5 1 5. They recommend that facilities lie 
granted for the adoption of it or of the Gothenburg plan or of some 
modification of them. To the introduction of the Gothenburg scheme 
pur et simple the pecuniary difficulty seems to me an insuperable objec- 
tion. In Sweden, with scarce any exceptions, there were no vested ^ 
interests to deal with. 

A A 2 


356 Grottndwork of Economics. [§ i8o. 

measures, besides an abundant and good water supply, 
is to provide pleasant and cheap non-intoxicating drinks in 
places as easy of access and as attractive as those where 
intoxicating, above all where spirituous drinks are sold ; and 
the law should give every facility for the spread under the 
guidance of private benevolence or speculation of ‘cocoa- 
houses,’ ‘coffee-taverns,’ ‘coffee-palaces,’ or the like, such 
as have of late years been opened in several towns, and 
of coffee carts now often seen at the entrance of factories 
and dockyards.* For the allurements of spirits cannot 
always or fully be counteracted by beer, and in very cold 
or damp weather hot aromatic drinks are an invaluable 
ally, and in very hot weather refreshing drinks, iced or 

Further indirect measures, of great importance in England 
foj temperance, have to do with the lamentable deficiencies 
in the dwelling places of many and in the amusements of 
most of our people, stricken by the double oppression of 
the speculator and the Puritan. In the following chapters 
we shall have to examine how they may be provided with 
healthful recreation and proper houses. Another source of 
drunkenness is the want of proper or sufficient food, espe- 
cially among rural labourers and among certain classes of 
female workers in towns (as laundresses and seamstresses). 
Overwork and want of work, especially the disastrous alter- 
nations of the two, the mobility of the lower ranks of the 
working classes who escape parental control and public 
opinion {cf. Bridgett, Discipline of Drink, pp. 227, 228), the 
neglect on the part of the rich of the duty of Christian 
patronage {sup. § 150), and the want of religious influences, 
are all to be reckoned among the causes of intemperance. 
But mere elementary instruction— reading, writing and 
reckoning — as distinct from moral training, seems of little 
effect as an antidote, witness in the present century the well- 

mans, and North Americans ;* and if the schooling of the 
masses, instead of being a mere supplement to, is made a 
substitute for their economical protection and religious train- 
ing, it will foster rather than hinder drunkenness. 

And now in conclusion let us be on our guard against 
extravagant anticipations ; nor hope too much from temper- 
ance, or expect that if drunkenness were extirpated our 
country would be turned into an earthly paradise : we should 
first have to extirpate human nature. For to be temperate 
is not the only or the first commandment, and there are 
worse evils than drunkenness, as opium and hashish eating, 
and many lower depths of sensual indulgence. The com- 
parative sobriety of Mahometans does not keep them from 
moral abominations ; the crafty and avaricious peasant of 
Normandy who limits by immorality the number of his 
children, and the Parisian workman who respects neither God 
nor man, though ten times more sober than the Russian 
peasant, are ten times worse citizens and worse men. It is of 
no use to be sober unless we use our sobriety for a good pur- 
pose ; nor should we forget that a Nihilist is least mischievous 
when he is drunk. 

But God forbid that I should damp the ardour of comba- 
tants in a good cause, or say that we must give up enthusiasm 
because we give up extravagance. It is possible to pursue 
even modest aims with zeal and perseverance ; and it is 
indeed worth while, when we see our country burdened by 
the yoke of an almost compulsory intemperance, to do a little, 
be it ever so little, to lighten this dreadful servitude. 

t Cf. Whittaker in the Dublin Review, July 1879, PP- 20-25 5 Francis 
Peek in the Conte?nporary Review, Dec. 1876, p. 47. We may notice 
something of a contradiction between the doctrines of two sets of 
visionaries, the School Board fanatics and the Anti- Liquor Traffic 

* See the Lords’ Report, Parliani. Papers, 1878-79, x. p. 530, and also 
PP- 558, 5595 "hen an account is given of the cocoa-houses of Liverpool 
of which the first was opened in 1875, the thirty-first in 1878, and 
yielding a good profit to the shareholders besides the benefit to the 
working classes. 

Grottndwork of Economics. 



Variety of Dwellings and of the Amount Spent on Them, § 182 — 

Influence of the Dwelling Place on Health, § 183 — Question of the 
Removal of Sewage, § 183^:— Influence of the Dwelling Place on 
Morality, § 184 — Fit Characteristics of a Dwelling House, § 185 — 
Examples of Good Houses and Bad, § 186 — Deficiencies in 
England, § 187, 188 — Temporary Change of Residence {villeg- 
giaturd) and Living Away from Place of Business, § 189 — Defi- 
ciencies in the Dwellings of the Common People {IVohmingsiioth)^ 
§ 190-192 — Causes of the Evil, § 193 — Measures that have been 
Used Against it, § 194, 195— Possible and Fit Measures, § 196-199. 

§181. The habitations of man are a subject matter on which 
the artist and the architect, the physician and the sanitary 
engineer, the historian and the antiquary have each their 
word to say ; nor itiust the economist neglect the teaching of 
any of them; and if in the following and fragmentary contribu- 
tion they find matter for censure, it is due to ignorance or 
inadvertence, not to any disdain of their authority. 

The variety in man’s habitations according to time and 
place is very striking and can be studied in books of travel 
and antiquities.* Here let us consider not so much the fact 

* A comprehensive history of man’s habitations from the earliest ages 
to our own day would be a work, if well done, of extreme interest and 
value. But in whom are we to find the combination of the many accom- 
plishments necessary for such a task? The little work of Viollet le due 
styled Histoire de thabitation Jnnname^ and translated by Mr. Bucknali 
under the title of The Habitations of Man in all Ages, London, 1876, 
contains much that is interesting, but is ludicrously inadequate to its 
title, is incomplete, without references, and in the tiresome form of a 
novelette ; nor do 1 know, if we wish to get a general view of how the 
human race has been lodged, that we can do anything but laboriously 
search in learned monographs, dictionaries of antiquities, histories of 
architecture, reports of travellers, of consuls, of commissioners, and 
have at the end to make, as best we may, our own comparisons and 


§ 1 8 1 .] Dioelliiig Houses. 359 

of this variety as its causes, of which seven can be conveni- 
ently distinguished. The first is the knowledge of the art of 
building among a people and their skilfulness in it. If their 
only tools are flint hatchets and flint saws they cannot con- 
struct a house of hewn stone ; they can but pile up rough 
stones if these are at hand. The knowledge of how to make 
bricks and mortar, concrete and cement, may be absent or 
deficient. The discovery of the arch first enabled large 
spaces to be roofed over without the use of timber ; modern 
skill in iron-working enables the same to be done without 
either arch or wooden beam. 

Secondly, buildings are dependent on the building ma- 
terials at hand. The bamboo was at one time almost the 
dntire material of the admirable domestic architecture of the 
Chinese (Viollet le due. Habitations of Man, ch. iv.). 
Utterly different in appearance, but very' suitable for their 
purpose were the habitations of reeds and clay constructed 
by the ancient Egyptians {Ibid, chaps, ix. and x.). The abund- 
ance of rrood stone in Greece was essential to Greek archi- 
tecture. Timber houses were long prevalent in central and 
northern Europe, and still delight the traveller in Switzer- 
land. Part of the difference of the aspect of Paris and 
London is due to the one being near to deposits of excellent 
white limestone, the other in the midst of a great basin of 
brown clay. 

Thirdly, the climate of a country ought to be and gen- 
erally is depicted in its buildings. The great contrast is in 
the roof. In the dry regions of the East where great sum- 
mer heat has to be mitigated the roofs from time immemorial 
have been flat and made of earth, forming a cool terrace in 
the evening, and protecting the rooms beneath from the 
noonday sun (Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat, pp. 187, 188). 
The other extreme is seen in the steep-pitched roofs to resist 
the tropical rains of S.E. Asia (F. McNair, Perak and the 
Malays, p. 160, or the snow of Northern Europe, compen- 

draw for ourselves our own conclusions. As an instalment a re-written 
edition by some thorough mediaeval scholar of T. Hudson Turner’s 
Domestic Architecture in England, continued by Mr. Parker, Oxford, 
1851-59, would be a great boon to students. In the book as it stands, 
architecture is much better appreciated than manners and customs. 

Groundwork of Economics. 







i 3 

r§ >8i- 

sating by their beauty for the loss of the house-top. Between 
these extremes come the gently sloping roofs of countries like 
those of Southern Europe, sometimes covered with tiles that 
are glazed to let the water run off quicker and to prevent the 
sun’s rays penetrating (Viollet le due, 1. c., p. 190). Again 
the warm and moist climate of the Philippine Islands is 
shewn in all the houses being raised six or eight feet above 
the ground on pillars of wood or stone, a practice beneficial 
to health and cleanliness (W. G. Palgrave in the Cornhill 
Magazine, Aug. 1878, p. 162, seq) ; whereas in a dry climate 
it may be a protection against great heat or great cold 
to live in a house partly underground. 

Fourthly, the houses may shew that motives of defence 
against enemies have influenced their construction. They 
may be grouped in compact villages though this may be due 
to other motives than desire for safety, and the villages, like 
those of the Etruscan Apennines, may be perched on heights 
away from the highways and inaccessible to carriages, each 
house solid and stone built. (E. M. Clerke in the Cornhill 
Magazine, June 1879, pp. 723-726.) The keeps of the Scottish 
border are to be seen repeated in similar circumstances in 
certain remote and mountainous parts of China, where the 
houses for the farmer with his farm-servants and cattle are 
within a fortified enclosure. (J. H. Gray, China 1878, II. 
•pp. 1 1 2, 1 1 3.) Lake dwellings have been built by various 
races in different parts of the world ; dwellings, that is, 
constructed in the still waters of lakes far enough from the 
shore to give security. (Viollet le due. Habitations of Man, 
pp. 384, 385.) Many shops in modern London , can at a 
minute’s notice cover their whole front with a surface of 
iron, a defence against rioters and thieves. 

Fifthly, the house is often a mirror of the household. The 
grandeur of the hall and the comparative insignificance of 
the other rooms of a baronial castle are signs of the frequent 
festive gatherings, and community of life, and intimate union 
between masters and servants in the days when they were 
built. {Cf. Roscher, Nationalbkonomie, § 226.) The careful 
separation of the servants’ quarters from those occupied by 
their betters, an indispensable feature in any well arranged 
and genteel residence of to-day, shews the gulf between 




§ 181.J Diuelling Houses. 

classes, and an application of the sentiment : odi profanum 
vulgus et arceo.* Again, the seclusion of women appears in 
the arrangement of the rooms of an ancient Athenian house, 
with the women’s part (the Gynaeconitis) shut off from the 
men’s part with but one door between them, and again in the 
modern Turkish house ; the habitual smallness of modern 
French families is presupposed by the small space allotted to 
children in each suite of apartments, in flats, and in each 
suburban or country villa ij- the vast ‘ hotels ’ of old France 
are monuments of the happy custom of married sons con- 
tinuing to live with their parents. 

A sixth cause of variety in habitation is variety in the 
conditions of ownership. The vast blocks of buildings in 
ancient Rome known as insulae, divided into numberless 
rooms and sets of rooms, and as a fact let out to tenants, 
would never have been built if each family had been the full 
owner or irremovable tenant of its own dwelling ; and we 
may say much the same of modern flats. How in England 
the appearance and solidity of houses have suffered from 
defective conditions of ownership, we shall see in detail 
presently. The cheap and flimsy cottages beginning to 
appear in the S.W. of France in contrast to the old and 
admirable ones (W. Webster in the Fortnightly Review, 

* “It is the foremost of all maxims, that however small the estab- 
lishment, the servants’ department shall be separated from the main 
house, so that what passes on either side of the boundary shall be both 
invisible and inaudible on the other.” (Kerr, The Gentleman^s House^ 
p. 67, cited by J. J, Stevenson, House Architecture^ II. p. 78.) 

+ Thus in a recent French plan of a house to cost £ 6 fjoo the whole 
nursery accommodation is a small bedroom over the kitchen (Stevenson, 
/. c, I. p. ii). — There is indeed danger of rash conclusions, arguing for 
example, that the liking for a beautiful or again for a secluded house 
shews that family life is flourishing, and conversely. There is no neces- 
sary connection ; and in fact the family tie, notably filial piety, is very 
weak among the North American negroes who love to live dispersed 
setting up isolated houses on their farms (Sir G. Campbell, White and 
Blacky London, 1879, PP- ^ 33 ) ^ 34 ? 3 S 0 j compared with its strength 
among the Chinese, who love if possible to live collected in a village, 
and are willing to walk a mile or two every day to their fields rather 
than live in isolated houses (W, Gill, River of Golden Sand, London, 
1880, II. p. 129). And the beauty of the houses of the Greeks and of the 
Romans in the days of their corruption was far greater than in the days 
of their simplicity. 




362 G 7 'oundwork of Economics. [§ 181 , 182 . 

Feb. 1881, p. 207), may be signs of the faulty provisions of 
the Code Civil concerning succession to property. 

A seventh cause of unlikeness in dwellings, chiefly affecting 
their outward appearance, is the artistic culture of the 
builders or inhabitants. Ornamentation may be absent, 
scanty or abundant ; bad, good or indifferent ; suitable or 
not to the mode of construction. Thus the Romans keeping 
their own mode of building with arches and vaults perversely 
adopted for some four centuries the Greek mode of 
ornamentation ; and this incongruous mixture has had a 
reign of some four centuries more in modern Europe. Again, 
compare the varied beauty of the old streets of Nuremburg, 
Verona and Cairo, each city with its own mode of decora- 
tion ; and also the varieties of ugliness, the shewy vulgarity 
of Parisian boulevards, the mean villas of London stucco, 
the countless rows of brick houses that can scarce boast of 
any even vulgar ornamentation. 

§ 182. The foregoing are causes that make a difference in 
the houses of different regions and periods ; but in the same 
region at a given period the main cause of difference is the 
wealth or poverty of each family ; and the contrast has often 
been witnessed of glittering palaces with squalid and crowded 
tenements close by, of a village of huts outside the grounds 
of a beautiful country seat. Indeed we may guess at the 
distribution of wealth from the relative character of the 
houses. Where all are much alike in their accommodation, 
we can presume that one man’s income is not very different 
from another’s ; and sometimes we can make a sort of 
estimate of the numbers of each different class by looking at 
the numbers of different sorts of houses. The gigantic 
wealth of England is perhaps in no way so palpable as in 
the great number of streets and squares of those parts of 
London where we know the occupier of each house must 
have at least a thousand a year. 

The amount spent by each family on its dwelling-place 
varies much, not only according to its wealth or poverty, but 
according to the circumstances aforementioned affecting 
variety of houses. Thus inventions like that of lifting 
weights by a crane or blasting rocks lessens the cost of 
building. The presence of cheap building materials may 


§ 182.1 

Dive I ling Houses. 


give an immense advantage. In Ceylon, for example, instead 
of quarrying stone or baking brick, they dig the laterite clay 
(called cabook) in pieces about four times the size of a brick, 
and it hardens as it dries. {Ceylon, by an officer late of the 
Ceylon Rifles, London, 1876, I. pp. 48, 49.) The abundance 
of timber near the German towns in the Middle Ages 
enabled houses to be built quickly and cheaply. In the 
thirteenth and fourteenth century at Basel the average price 
of a house was less than that of a good war horse. (W. 
Arnold, Zzir Geschickte des Eigentums in den deutschen 
Stadten, 1861, p. 191.) But of course we must add to the 
cost of timber houses a higher charge for insurance against 
fire. Again, the open air life in a warm and dry climate 
obviously requires less expenditure on dwellings ; and where 
peace and honesty reign undisturbed we can save ourselves 
the charge of fortifying our house against marauders, or 
bolting and barring it against thieves. Further, domestic 
habits may greatly influence expenditure. For example, 
where several generations live together under one roof the 
same accommodation can be given for much less cost than 
where each married son inhabits a separate house. The 
conditions of ownership also may make much difference. 
Thus if a family have permanent occupancy of their house 
they are likely to be willing to spend much more in im- 
proving and adorning it than if they are tenants who can be 
evicted ; on the other hand such tenants, as we shall soon 
see, may, though unwdlling, be compelled to spend much 
more on lodging than if they were owners, and get much 
less in return. Lastly, the greater or less desire for orna- 
ment may affect expenditure very much, though of course 
the expenditure is no measure of the beauty, as the best 
decoration may cost less than what is tasteless and offensive. 

The richer classes having to assign so much smaller a 
proportion of their revenue to procuring food than the poor, 
might be supposed to assign a larger proportion of it to 
procuring habitation, to spend, that is, not merely absolutely 
but also relatively more on houses than the poor. This has 
often been so, but not always ; and in the great cities of 
modern times the lower ranks of society, in particular tlie 
common labourers, often have to spend as much of their 

3^4 Groundwork of Economics, i 

income on a couple of miserable rooms as a merchant 
an entire house, or a rich banker on a 
The immediate 
sisting extortion. 
illustration. In Berl 
Schaffle, Nationaldk 
penses absorb the followinp' 

splendid mansion, 
reason is that they are more helpless in re- 

The fact, though indubitable, deserves 
-iin according to Schwabe (cited by 
’onomie, 3rd ed. II. p. 548) house ex- 
s proportions : — 

Of an income of 300 thalers 2410 per cent. 

» » 500 „ 22'II „ 

» » i>ooo „ 27-56 „ 

” » >>500 „ 2339 „ 

,, „ 2,000 „ 2056 „ 

,, „ 4,000 „ 1512 „ 

» )) 10,000 „ 9'20 „ 

In Whitechapel according to an account in The Times, 
22nd June, 1881, the tenants in certain overcrowded districts 
“although herded like beasts, were compelled to pay 
enormous rents for the use of the dens and lairs in which 
they lived. 3s. 6d. for one ‘ room ’ no larger than a fair 
sized cupboard, and 5s. for two mere hutches were common 

Divelling Houses. 

cent, of their' revenue or more ; whereas under different 
circumstances for altogether better lodging we have ex- 
amples of only some 5 or 7 or 12 per cent, being paid, (See 
the tables of expenditure supra § 15 1, note.) And thus 
because one workman spends a much larger proportion of 
his earnings on housing his family than another, we cannot 
assume that he is either more anxious for their welfare or in 
fact provides them with a better lodging. In this matter as 
in so many others mere figures are often mere delusion. 

§ 183. The need of a healthy dwelling place for a healthy 
life is evident ; but what constitutes a healthy dwelling 
place is often obscure : the degrees of unhealthiness are 
many, the power of resistance to disease is varied, and the 
circumstances affecting health so complicated, so unequally 
present, so unequally affecting different classes of persons, 
that each special country or even district requires its own 
specially trained sanitary engineer. For modern England 
we may follow the guidance of Mr. James Hole ( 77 /^ Homes 
of the Working Classes 1866, pp. 9-16), and demand : first, that 
every house be provided with adequate conveniences in the 
shape of a privy, ashpit and drains, and means of frequent 
clearing or cleaning them ; secondly, that all receive an ade- 
quate supply of w'ater (see supra § 161) ; thirdly, that none be 
under the necessity of turning their dwelling rooms into a 
w'ash-house and drying-yard, an intolerable discomfort to 
the inmates and injurious in certain maladies by the damp 
atmosphere created ; and thus we must demand back yards 
or gardens or public wash-houses and drying grounds ; 
fourthly, that a minimum provision of air and light for each 
house and person be compulsory ; and thus a minimum 
width of street varying w'ith the height of the houses ; a 
certain proportion of land to be left unbuilt on ; certain kinds 
of building as the so-called back-to-back houses or blind 
alleys to be forbidden as making ventilation almost impos- 
sible, and no cellars to be used as dw^ellings ; and, moreover, 
a certain cubic measure of air to be required for every inmate. 

can be squeezed out of the tenant. The occupiers, with that timidity of 
assertion and inability to combine which is so characteristic of the poor, 
consider nothing but that if they demand repairs or resist extortion they 
will have to make way for some one else who will not.” 

366 Groundzoork of Economics. [§ 183, 183^^?. 

This last requirement indeed is of less importance if there is 
fit ventilation ; as Mr. Hole says {Ibid. p. 1 1) “ 250 cubic feet 
of space where fresh air can pass freely through a room is 
more valuable than 1,000 feet where it cannot.” And Dr. 
Smith {Foods 3rd ed. pp. 473-476) justly protests against the 
costly exaggeration which demands for each occupant some 
2,000 cubic feet of air-space, when a fourth of that space if 
the room be properly ventilated, is ample for the sake of 
health. Let us also remember that fresh air excites hunger 
which all have not the means to satisfy, and that for the 
underfed and thinly clad, warmth is a more pressing require- 
ment than ventilation {cf. Ibid. p. 266) ; so that they rather 
fulfil than violate the dictates of sanitary science when they 
shut up every cranny and seem to delight in a stifling and 
fetid atmosphere. Perhaps instead of the endeavour to secure 
them the expensive combination of warmth and ventilation 
in their houses, the indirect method of warm clothing, like 
the wadded garments and thick soled shoes of the Chinese in 
the place of warm houses (Gill, River of Goldezi Sand, I. p. 
183, 184), might change them into lovers of fresh air. But at 
any rate we may add as a fifth requirement of English sanitary 
legislation, that dry walls be secured by precautions which 
any good builder can take ; nor is there any need to tolerate 
“ structures . . . cemented of untempered mortar or mud 
counterfeiting mortar, planted on a foundation of dirty rub- 
bish, clammy with latent chilly moisture three-fourths of the 
year, and reeking like a steam oven during the remaining 
fourth” (leading article in The Times 2 Feb. 1881). 

I 183^. Something more must be said regarding the first 
of the foregoing requirements ; for the disposal of town 
refuse is a matter in which health, revenue, and comfort are 
much concerned ; and it is no easy matter to pay due 
regard to all three. The Chinese look to the first two, at 
any rate to the second, and seem to disregard the third* ; 
whereas in England revenue is commonly sacrificed in our 
efforts after health and comfort, and we have been charged 
by Liebig with annually wasting through our senseless sys- 
tem of water-closets the means of reproducing food for 3^ 

* See the account in J. H. Gray, China. London, 1878, vol. II. pp 
123, 124, 132. An illustration of the maxim : honas odor lucri. 


§ i83«-] 

Dzuclling Houses. 

million persons (Roscher, Ackerbau § 41^ note 3), probably 
no exaggeration {s2ip. § 82). If indeed, as might be around a 
small town in a thinly-peopled land with rough and rude 
agriculture, the soil needed no artificial enrichment, the 
‘ water system ’ of drainage, washing all away, might perhaps 
for that town be the cheapest ; for there must be sewers in 
any case to remove the house and kitchen slops, the surface 
rainfall, and perhaps also the liquid refuse from factories. 
But this is not the case round the large towns of England 
and the Continent where agriculture is most intense (market 
gardening) and manure most needed ; and as we have seen 
{s2ip. § 82) the remoter rural districts, as their produce is 
now drained into the great towns, are beginning to need the 
drainage of those towns as a return. It must be taken then 
as settled that sewage must be utilized ; the only question is 
how. Our manners forbid the Chinese method, where the 
night soil is carefully collected, packed, sold, transported, 
and stored by private zeal animated by the belief in its value. 
For small towns the ‘ dry system,’ if of a good kind, seems 
best, avoiding the complications of sewage drains and the 
expense of chemical processes ; and is applicable even in 
large towns like those of Holland, where there are great 
facilities for removal by water. Amsterdam sends its sewage 
in barges to the country, and Groningen has been making 
by the weekly public sale of its sewage for years past over 
;iCi,ooo a year, so that instead of its sewage-removal being a 
cost it brings in over 6d. a head every year. The plan of 
sewage farms, that is, using the water-carried sewage to 
irrigate certain lands, fertilizing them, and itself absorbed 
and oxidized, is a plan applicable^in exceptional cases. A 
part of the sewage of Milan ever since the 14th century has 
been turned with the aid of a small river on certain lands in 
rotation for periods of six or seven years. But in general it 
can be said there is immense loss of fertilizing power through 
the excess of water, and above all through the concentration 
of so much manure on a single spot, besides serious risks to 
the health of neighbouring districts. That so many sewage 
farms in England have been a financial failure is indeed no 
argument against them ; for the loss has been due to ignor- 
ance and mismanagement. But those other objections are 

368 Groundwork of Econo 7 uics. [§ I83^^, 184. 

decisive against them. And the chemical treatment of 
sewage has in several cases been unremunerative because, 
before the matter was subjected to treatment, it had already 
lost, by soaking into the earth or evaporating, a large portion 
of its force. What then is to be done } I will give from a 
recent authority what we should aim at, without attempting 
to decide the question whether the removal of the sewage 
should be done by the force of water, or of air through pneu- 
matic channels (as at Leyden), or by a trained band of 
scavengers, or in any other way. “ All human excrement 
must be preserved from evaporation and leakage, which are 
unhealthy and make it worthless, and must be conveyed to 
a suitable spot near the town. There too must be brought 
all other refuse of the town, all bones, soot, ashes, blood of 
slaughtered animals, bad meat, coffee-grounds, &c. The 
whole must then in government works be converted by 
known and simple chemical processes into a solid, easily 
pulverized mass, the so-called p02Ldrette. The water set free 
by the process might, it is possible, be applied for irrigation ” 
(Oesterreichischc Monatscrift fiir Gcscllschafts- Wissenschaff, 
Juni 1882, p. 302). Whether the use of this poudrette should 
be made obligatory, as the writer suggests, may be doubtful ; 
the need of its use seems certain, and that in this way the 
disturbed balance of nature would be redressed, and the des- 
perate practice of importing guano and nitrate of soda be 
made an end of.* 

§ 184. The influence of dwelling place upon morality may 
be as great as upon health, and the condition of a house be 
not merely a token but a powerful of moral depravity 
among its inhabitants. JJiscomfort within may drive to 
dissipation without, and want of privacy may lead to want of 
modesty ; but the main evil probably comes from the in- 
fection of bad example ; cum pcrverso pcrvertcris ; and the 
forced companionship with thieves and drunkards, prostitutes 
and blasphemers, is certain in the great majority of 

* I have got information from Roscher, Ackerbau, ed. 1873, § 42, 
note 9 ; James Hole, The Homes of the Working Classes, London, 1866, 
Appendix B ; the report in The Times, 6 Oct. 1876, of the Congress at 
Brussels ; the account in The Times, 2 Jan. 1877, of the report of the 
Commissioners on sewage, whose conclusions, 1 may add, appear far 
rom sound. 

§ 1 84.] Dwelling Houses. 369 

to lead into some sort of vice or crime.* We must therefore 
be careful to make the necessary distinctions, and not con- 
fuse crowding with contamination. The dwellings of many 
rude or down-trodden peoples may fall short of an ideal 
standard, but may yet be compatible with happiness and 
morality, when the same dwellings among other peoples, in 
other conditions of life, with different training and self- 






* For the connection of misconduct and bad dwellings statistics are 
sometimes forthcoming. Thus Dr. Etienne Laspeyres was able to sus- 
tain by figures the foliow'ing propositions concerning the lower classes in 
Paris {Der EiJtfliiss der Wohnun^ auf die Sittlichkeit^ Berlin, 1869, 
§ 4, 5, 16) : The good furnished lodgings in an arrondissement, the 
fewer in it are the workmen of very bad behaviour, and the more are 
those of good behaviour. 

The more very bad furnished lodgings in an arrondissement, the more 
in it are the workmen of very bad behaviour, and the few’er are those 
of good behaviour. 

The more good and tolerable, furnished lodgings in an arrondissement, 
the more in it are the workmen of good and of tolerable behaviour, and 
fewer those of bad or very bad behaviour. 

The more workmen of a trade live in furnished lodgings, the more are 
the workmen of this trade who behave badly ; and the same in a higher 
degree for workwomen. 

The more workmen of a trade live with the master, the fewer are the 
workmen of this trade who behave badly ; and the same in a less degree 
for workwomen (the less degree due to the fact that of tho^ living with 
the master the males are on an average younger than the females, and 
thus more under control). 

The more workmen of a trade live with furniture of their own, the 
more are the workmen of this trade who behave well ; and the same in 
a higher degree for w^orkwomen. 

And Laspeyres maintains also {Ibid, § 17) that the influence of habita- 
tion on behaviour is much greater than the influence of behaviour on 
habitation ; that there is often no freedom in the choice of where to 
dwell, and that the fact of different sections of the labouring population 
being some better off materially than others has little influence on the 
goodness of their respective habitations. So far Laspeyres. Mr. Hole 
{ The Homes of the Working Classes^ pp. 16, 17 and 21) emphasizes the 
connection of prostitution, illegitimacy, and infanticide with the horrible 
dwellings of our large towns ; and also notices how the frequency of 
illegitimacy in rural Scotland has much to do with the crowding male 
and female labourers into the same hut — a part of the bothy system. 
It is indeed often very difficult to say whether immorality has been 
caused by overcrowding ; but where immorality prevails, it is usually 
plain enough that we can do little against it unless overcrowding be 
first removed. 










B B 

370 Gi'oundwork of Economics. [§ 184. 

control, with different delicacy of nervous system and 
capacity of endurance, with different habits of work and 
manner of clothing, with different views on the necessity and 
fitness of privacy : would be unendurable or only endured 
at the cost of self-respect and modesty. It may be that the 
Britons before the Roman conquest used to sleep a number 
together in circular stone-built huts a little over twelve feet 
in diameter within, and lay with their heads to the wall, 
their feet at a fire in the centre.* They may have lived 
happy and upright lives all the same. The tents of pastoral 
people have not been so deficient an habitation as to prevent 
them fulfilling the purpose of human life. Omnia iminda mun- 
dis. The bad cottages of the English peasantry it can be 
scarce doubted are a frequent source of immoralityt : but 
the Irish peasants far worse lodged — some 200,000 families 
are said to live each in a mud cabin of a single room — are an 
example of morality to all Europe.;]; Much then as it is to 
be wished that all should have the possession and the 
capacity to use a dwelling place adapted to a refined life, 
we must well distinguish the comparative unimportance of 
this from the crying need of reform amid many, principally 
town populations, where by a dreadful combination of cir- 
cumstances thousands who need a decent dwelling, if they 
are to live* decently, cannot get one ; and having to forego 
what for them is well nigh a necessity of moral life are almost 
compelled into a life of degradation. But before looking to 

* See J. J. Stevenson, House Architecture, 1880, II. pp. 2,3. Whether 
there is any proof of these compressed habitations being used except in 
time of war is another matter. 

+ See infra § 192. In the last century the difficulty of getting a 
cottage or a decent cottage acted as a serious check to early marriages 
among the rural population of England ; whereas at present the 
difficulty of young men getting lodgings, except at the public-house, is 
said to drive respectable young men into premature marriage, to avoid 
the wretched discomfort of the public-house. 

+ Cf. also what is said of the rural population in Northern Scandi- 
navia : “ In most farm houses all the family sleep in one room where even 
guests are accommodated. Indeed it seems to be considered inhospit- 
able to allow a guest to sleep in a room by himself.” Only also “ it 
seems customary for both men and women to sleep with most of their 
clothes on.” Review of du Chaillu’s Land of the Midnight Sun in The 
Times, 12 Oct. i88r. 



§ 184, 185.] Divelling Houses. 


this terrible disease of modern society, its causes and remedies, 
let as first look at lighter evils, many of which affect even 
the wealthy, and let us seek for a standard of excellence 
which we should endeavour to attain. 

§ 185. Anticipating for a moment what is to occupy us 
in the next book, let us say that as in the family spirit 
there can be and has been both excess and defect, so also in 
the view of the family dwelling : excess, when, forgetting 
that we are but strangers and pilgrims in this world we 
regard our place of sojourn as our eternal abode, and trans- 
form our reverence for the domestic hearth and for parental 
tombs into superstitious awe, and transfer to dead ancestors 
and to imaginary local and domestic deities some of that 
sort of worship {latria) due only to Almighty God : defect, 
when, forgetting that man is more than a mere animal, and 
that the family is a sacred association in the sense of being 
specially appointed by God and having a number of most 
solemn duties attached to it, forgetting moreover that man 
has a sensitive as well as a rational nature, and is swayed 
by external influences, memories, associations, images, and 
living in time and space is controlled by seasons and places, 
we regard a house as a meje arrangement of building 
materials in a given longitude and latitude, and think that 
provided’ the rain and wind be equally well excluded, home 
life is likely to be as happy, family discipline as well cared 
for, family union as close, in a hired tenement as in an 
ancestral home. 

Between these two extremes the golden mean has seldom 
perhaps been reached except in Christian countries, as 
Christianity, which has waged a ruthless war against ances- 
tor-worship and domestic deities, has nevertheless known 
how to bind by sweet and holy ties the dead members of a 
family to the living, and the living members to each other. 

The ideal to be sought is to set each family in the secure 
possession of a separate dwelling. A family, let us remem- 
ber, does not mean only father, mother and young children, 
but may include a wide circle of kindred, as in the South- 
Sclavonic house family, and ought at least to include three 
generations (grandparents and grandchildren), as among the 
stem-families of many parts of Europe. The requirement 

b H 2 






372 Crrounchvork of Economics. [§ 185 . 

of a separate dwelling is not only incompatible with the 
melancholy custom of several families being lodged in* the 
different rooms of a single house, but also with the custom 
of dividing a house into floors or flats more or less shut off 
or separated, and lodging a family in each. A certain 
number of houses thus arranged may be useful for temporary 
residents in towns, and for persons in abnormal conditions 
of life ; a large number of them may for the poorer classes 
in a diseased society be the best way of escaping worse evils ; 
but their common use among the rich and the middle classes 
is both a sign and a cause of moral disorder.* By secure 
possession I do not mean that particular form of legal owner- 
ship (like freehold tenure in England) which in each country 
gives the holder of that right the greatest power of dealing 
with the property. The point is that a man may improve 
and adorn for his children's children without fear of the 
stranger entering in ; and for this a perpetual lessee may be 
as well off as the English freeholder, and better off if the 

* Le Play, La RC forme Sociale, 5th Ed. 1874, ch. XXV., § 6 and 13, 
denounces the modern Parisian custom of grouping together many 
families in palatial dwellings, often not even a separate family on each 
floor, and the domestics always relegated to the top floor, where there 
is no fit separation of the sexes, and where they form a common alliance 
to disobey and deceive their masters. The landlord lives away and 
delegates his authority (needed to arrange the common use of stairs, 
courtyards, etc.) to an agent, the porter (concierge), who may be extor- 
tionate or untrustworthy. A fine price to pay for those imposing facades, 
the delight of gaping tourists, the despair of artists and antiquaries who 
mourn the gabled monuments swept away ! Naturally all the evils of 
actual Parisian flats are not essential to the system, and may not be so 
conspicuous in German large towns, where according to Dr. Engel 
{Die moderne Woh 7 iungsnoth, Leipsig 1873, PP* I3, H, 60) flats are the 
prevailing custom. Thus at Berlin the average number of persons in 
each house is about fifty-six, in Vienna But the difficulties 
and miseries attending the plurality of families in a house and the super- 
imposition of one upon another, can be well seen from the elaborate 
provisions in Berlin house leases for keeping order among the co-lessees 
or lodgers, regulating for example the cleaning by turns of the stairs, 
passages and their windows, the use of the washhouse and yard, the 
bringing in of fuel, and the cutting up wood ; bidding doors be shut ; 
forbidding window boxes, the playing of children on the stairs, music| 
wooden slippers, and so forth. (See § 9 of the contract given Ibid. 
Appendix III.) 

§ 185 .] Dwelling Houses. 373 


law exempts the home from seizure for debt and if there be 
many hindrances to its alienation, such as consent required 
from wife and children, or the right for many years after of 
recalling the sale. Indeed the power of the existing head 
of the family to sell or mortgage the home has been a rock 
on which many attempts of modern philanthropists to make 
workpeople live in homes of their own have been ship- 
wrecked.* And such laws as those of the French on suc- 
cession, involving a compulsory partition of the property, 
and frequently the sale of the ancestral dwelling-place, 
perversely render every home insecure. 

But a gross age needs gross arguments ; and those who 
reject as sentimental all higher appeals must be moved by an 
appeal to their pockets. The English, the French, and the 
Germans have a very true saying to the effect that three 
moves are as bad as a fire.f But though they say it they 
disregard it , and the streets are filled with vehicles convey- 
ing the goods of families removing, from the trucks and 
caits that serve for the poor, to the gigantic waggons for the 
rich, as large as a cottage and often adorned with paintings 
of the various processes of removal. It may be a grand 
thing thus to reveit to the habits of the Scythian nomads j 
but it is costly. Carts and horses, packing and unpacking, 
lading and unlading, entail heavy expense, besides the inevit- 
able damage to much of the furniture moved. And there 
are many indirect expenses through the inducement to build 
bad houses, make bad furniture, use house and furniture 

* A long study of the domestic life of Kuropean workmen,” savs 
Le Play {HOrgMiisation dii travail, 3rd ed. 1871 § 24, note 2) “has 
shown me that, barring certain exceptional regions, only a small minority 
can resist the desire, if they possess a house or land, of mortgaging it 
to procure some immediate enjoyment.” And after noticing how this 
weakness of the majority was well provided against in feudal times, he 
continues : “ This same weakness causes a difficulty to those who’, in 
Alsace in particular, nobly devote themselves to restoring among the 
workpeople the practice of owning their homes. A recent inquiiy has 
led me to state that several employers, after having helped their work- 
people to acquire a home, had seen the need of themselves retaining 
the right of forbidding it to be mortgaged ; thus reverting, in the very 
interest of the workpeople, to the practice of the fief.” 

t In German : Dreimal ausziehen ist so schlimm wie einmal abge- 
brannt. In French : trois demenagements valent un inccndie. 

374 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 185 , 186 . 


recklessly and wastefully. {Cf. Engel, Die inoderne Wo/i- 
nungsHoth, 1873, pp. 7, 8, ii, 12.) We smile at the folly of 
the Persians among whom it is or was the custom for the 
son when his parents were dead to leave their house to fall 
into decay and to build himself a new one, so that most of 
the towns were half full of ruins. (Roscher, Nationaloko- 
noniie § 208.) * But our custom of frequent moving is per- 
haps as costly without even a superstition to excuse it. 

§ 186. Many who reject the Christian view of the family 
and of human life may dislike the ends and means com- 
mended in the foregoing section, hut cannot, unless un- 
acquainted with history, pronounce them untried or im- 
possible. Le Play tells us how the tranquillity he found in 
the East of Europe even in the poorest families through the 
permanent possession of the domestic hearth first opened 
his eyes to the untruth of certain Western doctrines on 
society ; and among the six customs essential to well being 
he gives as one, the indissoluble union between the familv 

Dwelling Houses 

Balearic Islands, 1876, p. 56), are to be found cottages dotted 
about, many of them built by the handiwork of the occu- 
pant, in which the family of the labourer make their home 
and live on from generation to generation, each cottage with 
a plot of ground attached to it sufficient for the growth of 
the necessary vegetables. In Switzerland it is said to be 
difficult to find a family residing in a house that is not its 
own {Contemp. Rev., Aug. 1880, p. 190).- But we need not 
multiply examples ; and reason and experience tell us that 
the many contrary examples are not from the nature of 
things, but man’s handiwork that may be or might have been 
undone. It was not necessary that many of the residents 
in ancient Athens should have been legally disqualified from 
owning houses and compelled to live in lodgings. It was 
not necessary that much of ancient Rome should have been 
built in great blocks {insulae) generally in the hands of a 
house-proprietor {superficiarius) with a ground-landlord 
{doniinus) above him and a number of tenants {inquilini) 
below him (W. Arnold, Gcschichte des Eigentunis, p. 197- 199) ; 
nor that the tenants and lodgers should have had to endure 
the dear and comfortless, badly built and dangerous dwell- 
ings which Juvenal has described for us {Sat. Ill,, 190 seq.) 
so amusingly. Again, it is not necessary that the bulk of 
the inhabitants of Paris, Berlin, and Vienna should dwell in 
lodging houses. They are indeed obliged, but the obligation 
is of human imposition. P'or two miles round Berlin all the 
land had passed, by the year 1873, into the hands of specu- 
lators in building land long before there was any thought of 
building on it ; thousands of acres kept passing from hand» 
to hand ; sometimes vast fortunes were made by the specu- 
lators and speculative companies ; and the immense price to 
which land rose was a hindrance to building, an occasion of 
exorbitant ground rents and house rents. (Engel, Die moderne 
Wohuungsnoth, pp. 15-17). This gambling and usury — this 
Baustellen-Jobberei and Baustellen-Wucker in the language 
of its victims — rest on certain human laws which assuredl)’- 
can be altered. Nor again is there any necessity for the 
conditions of house-ownership in our own country, to which 
I now turn.* 

* The need of looking beyond our own country and time is seen bv 

under them. In regard to London and the suburbs their 
condition is vividly described in an article on the state of 
English Architecture in the Quarterly Reviciv of April 1872 
(Vol. 13-)- Not one house in a hundred is absolutely free- 
hold ; most of the land is let by the owners on a ninety-nine 
years’ lease, after which all the buildings on the surface 
absolutely revert to the owner of the soil. This system 
already much developed in the last century has recently 
grown apace. Moreover, now “the average term of the 
leases .... is so reduced by lapse of time and by short 
renewals that the houses in London will, on an avera<^e be 
all lost to their present owners within forty years.” {Qiiat'tcrly 
Keviciv, 1 . c. p. 325-) And the number of persons and rights 
that may be connected with a house are startling. “ First, 
there is the freeholder, who has a ground rent ; then, 
secondly, a leaseholder, with an improved ground rent ; and 
third, the nominal proprietor with the rack-rent ; fourth, the 
first mortgagee ; and probably, fifth, the second mortgagee ; 
and sixth, the tenant, or leaseholder, with, perhaps, a sub- 
tenant, yearly, and probably some lodgers by the week or 
month. Besides these ‘ interests ’ there are the lawyers, with 
their bills of costs, collecting agents, repairing builders, 
water rates, and insurance charges. This, or something like 
■ this, may be taken as the probable condition of three- 
quarters of the house property of London. {Ibid. p. 327.) 
Hence it is difficult for any but the very rich, and almost 
impossible for the great bulk of the poorer classes to become 
owners of their houses. Moreover, “ this leasehold tenure 
with its gambling speculation, extensive and often fraudulent 

the example of Mr. F. B. Zincke, whose article styled “A Dishorned 
Nation” in the Contemp. Rez>., Aug. 1880, while containing much that 
is to the purpose, misleads greatly by the implication that outside the 
British Islands all is and has been well in regard to the ownership of 
the home, and by making our system of land-tenure and building leases 
much more guilty than it really is, forgetting the various other causes of 
the evils he deplores. 


Dwelling Houses, 


building agreements — its heavy law costs, complicated 
mortgages, releases, re-mortgages, and second charges — its 
doubtful titles and dreary waste of title-deeds — the risk of 
forfeiture, and the shortening term — forbids prudent men of 
business to erect substantial, well-built houses,* Small plots 
of freehold land, except on the estates of building societies, 
are seldom in the market, and these estates almost invariably 
become traps for the inexperienced, and opportunities for the 
scamp ; and, while this system lasts, they will, by the mere 
force of custom, fall very much into the hands of speculative 
builders.” {Ibid. p. 326.) With such laws and customs it is 
but natural that a race of ignorant or careless or extortionate 
or dishonest petty builders should be generated. “ Houses 
for the working classes and for the lower sections of the 
middle classes/’ says a noteworthy article in The Times^ 2nd 
February, 1881, “are erected commonly so that they can 
never be homes. They are saved from becoming sources of 
disease and death only by the dubious remedy of official 
vigilance. Builders are in the habit of trying to shift some 
of the evils which befal their customers upon parochial 
neglect. As they are always powerful in vestries, that is 

* Dr. Simon, in the Seventh Report on Public Health, after referring 
to the extreme badness of the coal-miners' dwellings, ill-arranged, packed 
together, over-crowded, noticed the apology alleged, “ that mines are 
commonly worked on lease ; that the duration of the lessee's interest . . . 
in collieries commonly . . . twenty-one years, is not so long that he should 
deem it worth his while to create good accommodation for his labourers, 
and for the trades-people and others whom the work attracts ; that, even 
if he were disposed to proceed liberally in the matter, this disposition 
would commonly be defeated by his landlord's tendency to fix on him, as 
ground-rent, an exorbitant additional charge for the privilege of having 
on the surface of the ground the decent and comfortable village which 
the labourers of the subterranean property ought to inhabit ; and that 
this prohibitory price (if not actual prohibition) equally excludes others 
who might desire to build." {Parliamentary Papers^ 1865, Vol. xxvi. 
p. 16). And Dr. Hunter reported {Ibid. p. 180, 181) on the brisk demand 
for and petty speculation in cottages near the pit's mouth. “An owner 
who is letting broad lands to farmers at £2 or £'s an acre demands 3s. 
a yard from those who propose to lay it out for building, and they in 
their turn demand 6s. from smaller capitalists who can only afford to 
build half a dozen cots, and who take care of themselves on the same 
principle in dealing with the tenant labourer.” And he proceeds to 
describe these horrid settlements. {Ibid. p. 181 seq. Cf. 515-517,231 sq.) 

37 ^ Groimdivork of Ecoiioinics. 187 , 188 . 

simply to transfer the burden from the one to the other 
shoulder. . . . The necessaries . . . wanting to the 
wretched abodes which spring up like mushroons about every 
great English town are, for the most part, absent, less through 
the demands of economy than from positive ignorance in 
the builder of his art, and from failure of common care to 
see that his subordinates keep faith in their work. The 
enormous difficulties which anybody who, without the hardi- 
hood to be his own builder and architect, is willing and able 
to give the price of a beautiful and whole.some house, finds in 
attaining his object, are proof that not so much the exigen- 
cies of cheap lodging as the indifference and incapacity of 
the business which supplies it are accountable for the crying 
evils of modern English house architecturk” On the need 
of every builder and builder’s foreman having a diploma, and 
on the enfranchisement of leasehold houses, I will 'speak 
presently in connection with other legal reforms. Here 
rather let us notice how striking is the phenomenon that 
during much of this centur>' in most of our houses in the 
greater part of England, the elementary sanitary require- 
ments have often been lacking through the ignorance or 
helplessness of the occupants and the ignorance or cupidity 
of the builders ;* while comfortable houses have seldom been 
built, beautiful ones scarce ever. 

§ 188. Lovers of the beautiful have indeed occasion to 

* Mr. James Hole, The Homes of the Working Classes, 1866, pp. 8, g, 
says in regard to cottage du ellings : “ Social or sanitary considerations 
do not sufficiently vveigh with the capitalist builder if they involve an 
increased outlay without a corresponding return. The smaller the house 
the larger is his percentage of profit. Hence the space for living is 
contracted to the smallest limits, and the larger number of cottage 
houses consist of a living room, one bedchamber, and a closet called a 
bedroom. The small capitalist who owns, it ma> be, a score of these 
cottage tenements, is often as ignorant as the tenant himself of the vital 
necessity of light and pure air. If by any ingenuity he can cram a 
cottage or two more on the land, and thus increase his percentage he 
will be only too glad to do it ; and if there are no municipal regulations 
enforced, he will do it. If by a little contrivance lie can let off the cellar 
as a separate dwelling, he largely increases his profits. He has no 
difficulty in finding tenants for the worst places. There arc always 

some so poor that the most wretched den seems to them better than to 
be homeless/' 




Dwelling Houses. 

mourn. “ Though we may not be conscious of it,” says one 
of them, “ it is no slight evil that the houses in which the 
greatest portion of the people live are built independently of 
art at all, or in defiance of it. Within the last twenty or 
thirty years whole towns have come into existence, which 
exhibit what seems a new characteristic in the human race — 
namely, utter disregard to the beauty of their dwellings. 
Never, so far as I know, have there been collections of human 
habitations so dismal, so completely without one artistic 
quality, or consequently so inhuman, as the miles on miles 
of uniform streets in our new mTanufacturing towns. The 
hut of the savage is at least picturesque ; for love for the 
beautiful — a desire to ornament and turn into objects of art 
the things they use — has hitherto been a characteristic of all 
men, even the most degraded.” (J. J. Stevenson, House 
Architecture, 1880, I. p. 23.)* The rich indeed, just as they can 
compensate by elaborate devices in the fittings of their 
house for the deficiencies in its construction, while the poor 
have to bear its unmitigated discomfort, so too can com- 
pensate for the external ugliness by making the interior a 
store-house of beauty. But hereby is lost one of the ways in 
which the rich can turn their riches to the general good. 
Mr. Ruskin, while exhorting the citizens of Edinburgh in 
1853 to put sculpture on the outside of their houses, said to 
them truly and well : “ Your separate possessions of pictures 
and prints are to you as if you sang pieces of music with 
your single voices in your own houses. But your architec- 
ture would be as if you all sang together in one mighty 
choir. In the separate picture, it is rare that there exists 
any very high source of sublime emotion ; but the great 
concerted music of the streets of the city, when turret rises 
over turret, and casement frowns beyond casement, and 
tower succeeds to tower along the farthest ridges of the 
inhabited hills, — this is a sublimity of which you can at 
present form no conception ; and capable, I believe, of ex- 

* The fact of nine-tenths of our people being in aesthetic darkness 
and degradation far below the lowest savages, is noticed by G. A. in an 
article on “ Cimabue and Coal Scuttles,” in the Cornhill Magazine, July 
1880, pp. 62-66. But it is one thing to recognize a fact, another to e.\- 
plain it. 








380 Groundwork of Economics. [§ 188, 189. 

citing almost the deepest emotion that art can ever strike 
from the bosoms of men.” {Lechires on ArchitccUire and 
Painting, 2nd. ed. 1855, p. 92.) Let us hear also what he 
said as follows {ibid. pp. 93, 94) ; “ I believe that the 
wandering habits which have now become almost necessary 
to our existence, lie more at the root of our bad architecture 
than any other character of modern times. We always look 
upon our houses as mere temporary lodgings. We are 
always hoping to get larger and finer ones, or are forced, in 
some w'ay or other, to live where we do not choose, and in 
continual expectation of changing our place of abode. In 
the present state of society, this is in a great measure 
unavoidable ; but let us remember it is an evil : and that so far 
as it is avoidable, it becomes our duty to check the impulse 
. ... it surely is a subject for serious thought, whether it 
might not be better for many of us, if, on attaining a certain 
position in life, we determined, with God’s permission, to 
choose a home in which to live and die. . . . Consider . . . 
also, whether we ought not to be more in the habit of seeking 
honour from our descendants than our ancestors ; thinking it 
better to be nobly remembered than nobly born ; and 
striving so to live, that our sons, and our son’s sons, for ages 
to come, might still lead their children reverently to the 
doors out of which we had been carried to the grave, saying, 
‘ Look : This was his house : This was his chamber.’ ” 

§ 189. The frequent change of residence and ownership we 
have mourned over must not in any way be confused with 
two other customs, though it sometimes may foster them. 
One is to spend some weeks of the year in some other house 
away from home ; and this custom may assume various 
shapes. The rich who own and occupy several houses may 
pass from one to another, so that it is difficult to say where is 
the family seat. But it is more likely that while the others 
are accessories, one can be indicated as the principal, such as 
the country seat among the English, the city palace among 
the Italians. Sometimes all town residents who can afiford it 
pass some of the fine season of the year in thes country ; a 
commendable habit. So at Palma in Majorca, the landed 
proprietors always reserve for themselves the upper part of 
the house on the farm in which the farmer lives ; and go there 

§ 189.] Divelling Houses. 381 

for the summer months ; while those without land buy villas 
near the sea or in villages near the town (C. T. Bidwell, 
Balearic Islands, p. 155). In Italy it is an established custom 
for the richer townfolk to spend a portion of the year in 
villeggiatura on the sea coast or among the hills,* sometimes 
also in a suite of apartments they have reserved for them in 
the farm house of their tenant. 

In England manners forbid the joint occupation of the 
farm house by the owner and the farmer ; but then, whereas 
the Majorcans will not let their unoccupied houses either in 
town or country, and all houses there built for letting are 
unfurnished flats (Bidwell, /. c. pp. 147, 148, 155), in England 
even the rich are found willing without scruple to let furnished 
their habitual residences. How wide-spread among us is the 
habit of villeggiatura can be seen from the numerous towns 
stretching sometimes for miles along our coasts and mainly 
composed of furnished lodging houses. 

The second custom is that of the middle and upper classes 
living at some distance from their place of business, a custom 
which has become almost universal in the large towns of 
Great Britain, especially since the use of coal and steam has 
made the town more repulsive and the suburbs more acces- 
sible ; and thus for miles round, the country is dotted with 
houses whose occupants six days in the week make a journey 
to the town. The physical advantages of living in the pure 
air of the country or at least in a better quarter of the town 
are obvious ; and though the gain to a man’s health may be 
much reduced by the noise and excitement of a daily journey, 
this at least is escaped by his wife and children. But we 
hear complaints of this migration of the better educated 
and better conditioned as an injury to the poor left behind, 
aggravating the isolation of different classes and the antago- 
nism of employer and employed, making the social agencies 
that might bring classes together almost impossible through 
distance, putting an end to those common interests and that 
sympathy that comes from neighbourhood, that keen appre- 
ciation of evils that lie at our door (J. Hole, Homes of the 

* See an amusing account of the summer outing of a Genoese bour- 
geois family by Mrs. A. Comyns-Carr, North ItaHan Folk, London, 1878, 
p. 263 seq. Cf. ibid., p. 125, seq. 


Groniuhoork of Economics. [§ 189, 190. 

. M 

f! ! 

« I 

Working Classes, 1866, p. 4). Such complaints are not wholly 
without foundation, and the local separation of the rich from 
the poor and of the middle ranks from those below them has 
some injurious consequences ; but in the main is not a cause 
but an effect of discord and repulsion. 

The case of those who live away from their place of busi- 
ness because they prefer to live far from it, must be distin- 
guished from the case of those who live away because they 
cannot afford or are not permitted to live near it ; and these 
have the fatigues of an enforced unwelcome walk or journey 
twice a day superadded to their toil. This evil is part of 
that modern social malady which we may call deficiency in 

the dwellings of the common people, and which indeed, calls 
for our attention. 

§ 190. It is convenient to distinguish the different evil 
features, though generally sev'eral of them, and sometimes all, 
are found together. There can be deficiency in the quality of 
the dwellings, and again in their locality, and thirdly in the 
reasonableness of the price exacted for them, and fourthly in 
their tenure or in the conditions of owning them, and lastly 
in their quantity, that is, they may be too few or too small. 
Let us briefly illustrate each of these five deficiencies. 

The quality of a house may be deficient not only in regard 
to the higher demands of beauty and culture (§ 188), but 
also in regard to the demands of health (§ 183) : being’on a 
damp or infected foundation, with damp or tottering walls, 
ill-drained, ill-supplied with water,* shut out from light and 
air, with no separate place for a washhouse, and so forth ; 
and the original sin of the dwelling may be supplemented 
by dilapidation, broken windows, leaking roof, plaster peeling 
off, woodwoik breaking away, and the whole completed by 
an accumulation of filth, partly voluntary, partly, from the 
state of the house, inevitable. That many of the inhabitants 
of this kingdom are still, in spite of many praiseworthy 
efforts in recent years, compelled or induced to live in dwell- 
ings marked by some or all of these deficiencies, can be seen 

* The horrors of the water supply in the poorer quarters of London 
the filth, hardships, quarrelling, stealing, crass negligence of landlords 

and overseers are described by W. Humber, Water-Supply of Cities and 
Towns, 1876, pp. 248, 249. 

^ 190. J Dtoelling Houses. 383 

by any one for himself who chooses to examine our towns 
and suburbs, our manufacturing villages an