Изображения страниц

on that future product which, according to the view I am combating, is not yet to be considered. That very instant at which the future product becomes present and at which this essential condition for the existence of a present problem is fulfilled, that very instant the problem at once ceases to be, since the previous labor has already disappeared in the past!

The peculiar and, in my judgment, dangerous conception to which my honored opponent holds, has its roots in his no less peculiar views on the whole subject of past and present in the process of production. I have already stated that I do not believe Professor Clark expressly to deny that the earlier labor of the shepherd has contributed to the coat now in existence. But, if I may so express it, he seems to think it equally true that this co-operation comes from the present labor of the shepherd who now is herding his sheep. The “synchronizing" effect of capital is supposed to bring it about that we can enjoy to-day in the form of consumable commodities the fruit of labor which is to-day still exercised in the preparatory stages.' I have already set forth at length what my views are on this subject (p. 265). What Professor Clark says in his last article calls for no further reply. I am unable to see that he has really met my objections. He contents himself with repeating certain propositions which, I believe, I have shown to be quite untenable. I find again such familiar phrases as these: “If society does not insist on the coat made of that particular wool, but on a coat of some wool equally good, it can have it to-day in consequence of the labor of to-day; or again, “I can have the water I need at once. Pumping water in at one end will cause an outflow at the other." As the context indicates, Professor Clark means here that a simultaneous outflow is brought about.

1 At the very beginning of what he has most recently said on this subject, on page 366, Professor Clark makes some remarks on the synchronizing function of capital, the precise wording of which might intimate that Professor Clark goes less far than his previous expressions on this subject have steadily gone. But I have no doubt that the use of these weaker expressions in this one passage took place only by accident, and that Professor Clark has no intention of withdrawing or weakening his often-stated doctrine.

I believe the words which Professor Clark italicizes are not justified. I do not deny that the desired commodities are in fact obtained, under the conditions described by Professor Clark, without waiting; but they are obtained not in consequence of to-day's labor, not in consequence of present pumping, but because they have been made ready by a chain of operations extending through the past. To follow his own simile, labor applied to pumping in the past has already filled the pipes. What the labor of the instant secures is not a present provision of completed commodities, but the continuance of provision at some time in the future. The ground upon which I rest this view I have stated with great fulness in Part IV. of my earlier article (pp. 265 seq.), and I find no answer on the decisive point. My honored opponent turns the discussion to another point, which is quite immaterial, when he says that under the supposed conditions “society gets what it wants."

This much is easy of proof, for, under the assumptions made, a stock of goods

a is already on hand due to previous labor and already containing in completed or nearly completed form what "society wants." But this in no way proves that society gets its present provision not from past labor, but from present labor. To show this, my honored opponent applies again all the resources of his dialectics, which, brilliant as they are, constitute no proof.

Professor Clark refers to a forthcoming work of his, in which his theory is to be further developed. I await it with all due interest. It will without doubt enrich our science. But it will be doubly welcome to me and to many

. others if it is quite clear and precise, especially as to the writer's meaning on every point on which the author of a connected theory of capital ought to have an opinion and to express it. The more clearly each link in a chain of thought is described, the better can we see whether they all fit together and form a tenable whole.






Manufacture and agriculture may be reduced to a common denominator; manufacture is merely a more highly intensive form of utilizing the forces and products of nature, while land plays the same rôle in each form of industry, 48–50.—Rent depends upon absolute and relative position as to a market, and is sharply differentiated from interest, 51-53.—“Land” rent is, however, only one kind of rent; the various forms of economic privilege also give rise to rents, 54-61.

ONE of the fundamental tenets of the older economists was the distinct separation from the standpoint of economic science of agriculture from manufacture, of soil fertility from capital. The early economist saw clearly the prominent rôle which natural powers played in agriculture, but he did not as definitely perceive the aid which they also furnished to manufacture. The concept that soil fertility is a peculiar and unique natural gift which is due solely to natural forces is a result of inherited ideas derived from experience with a primitive form of agriculture; but in a more advanced stage of civilization it is clearly seen that the fertility of long cultivated but still good” lands is highly artificial. Agriculture in an early stage was, and still is, in many localities, chiefly a method of appropriating the natural fertility of the soil, but primitive manufacture was likewise, in the main, appropriation of natural growths and products which were modified but slightly by labor and capital. The rude weapon of the savage is a natural growth,-a limb of a tree or a stone somewhat modified by the application of labor and perhaps of capital as well. The first agricultural product was nothing more nor less than the fruits of such a combination. As we pass from primitive conditions, capital and labor have been rapidly pushed into the foreground of manufacturing industries; but these elements have also been gaining in prominence in agriculture. If difference there is, it is surely one of degree rather than of kind. Alongside of frontier extensive appropriative agriculture in the United States there existed frontier appropriative manufacture,-the building of the rude wagon and house and the construction of the primitive plough.

Manufacture has outstripped agriculture; and, in the latter, the work of nature is more evident to the ordinary observer. This condition has led to the extreme differentiation of the two in economic theory and to the attempt on the part of the theoretical economist to formulate distinct economic laws for each. Our vision is clouded by past discussions and by superficial differences. We must try to shove those difficulties and obstacles to one side, and look below the surface unbiassed, as far as may be, by the past. Both agriculture and manufacture require a market, both ask for the co-operation of natural

a forces, capital and labor; and in both, as progress continues, the relative need of capital and labor increases. Different kinds of land, environment, topography, and climate, have different products or rotations of products for which they are best adapted, exactly as certain grades of iron or coal or certain machines are best adapted to certain uses.

Both factories and farms are subject to deterioration; both call for a depreciation fund. Varying amounts of capital and labor, per unit of area of ground space, may be profitably utilized on various kinds of land and in different sorts of manufacture. In intensive agriculture the soil is made just as truly as is the factory building formed. The soil is spread over a definite supporting area, exactly as the machine shop covers a defi

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »