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Econ 429.7.76


JUN 26 1905


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Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of productive and unproductive Labour.



HERE is one fort of labour which, BO O K adds to the value of the, fubject upon c H A P. which it is beftowed: there is another which i III. has no fuch effect. The former, as it produces


a value, may be called productive; the latter, unproductive labour. Thus the labour of a manufacturer adds, generally, to the value of the materials which he works upon, that of his own

Some French authors of great learning and ingenuity have used those words in a different fenfe. In the last chapter of the fourth book, I fhall endeavour to fhow that their sense is an improper one.




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BOTH productive and unproductive labourers, and those who do not labour at all, are all equally maintained by the annual produce of the land and labour of the country. This produce, how great foever, can never be infinite, but must have certain limits. According, therefore, as a fmaller or greater proportion of it is in any one year employed in maintaining unproductive hands, the more in the one cafe and the lefs in the other will remain for the productive, and the next year's produce will be greater or fmaller accordingly; the whole annual produce, if we except the fpontaneous productions of the earth, being the effect of productive labour.

THOUGH the whole annual produce of the land and labour of every country, is, no doubt, ultimately deftined for fupplying the confumption of its inhabitants, and for procuring a revenue to them; yet when it first comes either from the ground, or from the hands of the productive labourers, it naturally divides itself into two parts. One of them, and frequently the largeft, is, in the first place, deftined for replacing a capital, or for renewing the provifions, materials, and finished work, which had been withdrawn from a capital; the other for conftituting à revenue either to the owner of this capital, as the profit of his ftock; or to fome other perfon, as the rent of his land. Thus, of the produce of land, one part replaces the capital of the farmer; the other pays his profit and the rent of the landlord; and thus conftitutes a revenue both to the owner of this capital, as the profits of his stock; and


and to fome other perfon, as the rent of his land. CHAP. Of the produce of a great manufactory, in the fame manner, one part, and that always the largeft, replaces the capital of the undertaker of the work; the other pays his profit, and thus conftitutes a revenue to the owner of his capital.

THAT part of the annual produce of the land and labour of any country which replaces a capital, never is immediately employed to maintain any but productive hands. It pays the wages of productive labour only. That which is immediately destined for conftituting a revenue either. as profit or as rent, may maintain indifferently either productive or unproductive hands.

WHATEVER part of his ftock a man employs as a capital, he always expects it to be replaced to him with a profit. He employs it, therefore, in maintaining productive hands only; and after having ferved in the function of a capital to him, it conftitutes a revenue to them. Whenever he employs any part of it in maintaining unproductive hands of any kind, that part is, from that moment, withdrawn from his capital, and placed in his stock reserved for immediate confumption.

UNPRODUCTIVE labourers, and those who do not labour at all, are all maintained by revenue; either, first, by that part of the annual produce which is originally destined for conftituting a revenue to fome particular perfons, either as the rent of land or as the profits of stock; or, fecondly, by that part which, though originally destined for replacing a capital and for maintaining productive labourers only, yet when it comes

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BOOK into their hands, whatever part of it is over and above their neceffary fubfiftence, may be employed in maintaining indifferently either productive or unproductive hands. Thus, not only the great landlord or the rich merchant, but even the common workman, if his wages are confiderable, may maintain a menial fervant; or he may fometimes go to a play or a puppet-show, and fo contribute his fhare towards maintaining one fet of unproductive labourers; or he may pay fomė taxes, and thus, help to maintain another set, more honourable and useful, indeed, but equally unproductive. No part of the annual produce, however, which had been originally destined to replace a capital, is ever directed towards maintaining unproductive hands, till after it has put into motion its full complement of productive Jabour, or all that it could put into motion in the way in which it was employed. The workman must have earned his wages by work done, before he can employ any part of them in this manner. That part too is generally but a small one. It is his fpare revenue only, of which productive labourers have feldom a great deal. They generally have fome, however; and in the payment of taxes the greatnefs of their number may compenfate, in fome measure, the fmallness of their contribution. The rent of land and the profits of stock are every-where, therefore, the principal fources from which unproductive hands derive their fubfiftence. These are the two forts of revenue of which the owners have generally moft to fpare. They might both maintain indiffer


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