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the combination becomes complex. Men who thus assist each other are usually able to do far more work than if they acted separately.
32. Disadvantages of the Division of Labour. There are certainly some evils which arise out of the great division of labour now existing in civilised countries. These evils are of no account compared with the immense benefits which we receive; still it is well to notice them.
In the first place, division of labour tends to make a man's power narrow and restricted; he does one kind of work so constantly, that he has no time to learn and practice other kinds of work. A man becomes, as it has been said, worth only the tenth part of a pin; that is, there are men who know only how to make, for instance, the head of a pin. In the time of the Romans it was said, ne sutor ultra crepidam, let not the shoemaker go beyond his last. When a man accustomed only to making pins or shoes
goes into the far west states of America, he finds himself unfitted for doing all the kinds of hard work required from a settler. The poor peasant from Norway or Sweden, who seems at first sight a less intelligent man, is able to build his own house, till the ground, tend his horse, and in a rough way, make his own carts, implements, and household furniture. Even the Red Indian is much better able to take care of himself in a new country than the educated mechanic. The only thing to be said is that the skilled shoemaker, or mechanic of whatever sort, must endeavour to keep to the trade which he has learnt so well. It is a misfortune both for himself and for other people if he is obliged to undertake work which he cannot do so well.
A second disadvantage of the division of labour is that trade becomes very complicated, and when deranged the results are ruinous to some people. Each person learns to supply only a particular kind of goods, and if change of fashion
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or any other cause leads to a falling off in the demand for that kind of goods, the producer is left in poverty, until he can learn another trade. time the making of crinoline skirts for ladies was a large and profitable trade; now it has ceased almost entirely, and those who learnt the business have had to seek other employments. But each trade is generally well supplied with hands perfectly trained to the work, and it is very difficult for fresh workmen, especially when old, to learn the new work, and compete with those who have long practised it. In some cases this has been successfully done'; thus the Cornish miners, when the mines in Cornwall were no longer profitable, went into the collieries, where more hewers of coal were much wanted. But, generally speaking, it is very difficult to find a new employment in England, and this is a strong reason why trades-unions should make no objection to new men entering a trade to which they have not been brought up.
The colliers tried to keep the Cornish miners out of the coal pits. In order to keep their own wages as high as possible they would let other men starve. But this is a very selfish and hurtful way of acting. If every trade were thus to try and keep all other people away, as if the trade were their own property, there would constantly be a number of unfortunate people brought to the workhouse through no fault of their own.
It is most important, therefore, to maintain a man's right to do whatever kind of work he can get. It is one of the first and most necessary rights of a labourer to' labour in any honest way he finds most profitable to himself. Labour must be free.
33. What is capital? We will now endeavour to understand the nature of the third requisite
of production, called capital, which consists of wealth used to help us in producing more wealth. All capital is wealth, but it is not true that all wealth is capital. If a man has a stock of food, or a stock of money with which he buys food, and he merely lives upon this without doing any labour, his stock is not considered to be capital, because he is not producing wealth in the meantime. But if he is occupied in building a house, or sinking a well, or making a cart, or producing anything which will afterwards save labour and give utility, then his stock is capital.
The great advantage of capital is that it enables us to do work in the least laborious way. If a man wants to convey water from a well to his house, and has very little capital, he can only get a bucket and carry every bucket-full separately; this is very labori
If he has more capital, he can get a barrel and wheel it on a barrow, which takes off a large part of the weight; thus he saves much labour by the labour spent upon the barrel and barrow. If he has still more capital his best way will be to make a canal, or channel, or even to lay a metal pipe all the way from the well to his house; this costs a great deal of labour at the time, but, when once it is made, the water will perhaps run down by its own weight, and all the rest of his life he will be saved from the trouble of carrying water.
34. Fixed and Circulating Capitals. Capital is usually said to be either fixed or circulating capital, and we ought to learn very thoroughly the difference between these two kinds. Fixed capital consists of factories, machines, tools, ships, railways, docks, carts, carriages, and other things, which last a long time, and assist work. It does not include, indeed, all kinds of fixed property. Churches, monuments, pictures, books, ornamental trees, &c., last a long time, but they are not fixed capital, because they are not used to help us in producing new wealth. They may
do good, and give pleasure, and they form a part of the wealth of the kingdom ; but they are not capital according to the usual employment of the
Circulating capital consists of the food, clothes, fuel, and other things which are required to support labourers while they are engaged in productive work. It is called circulating because it does not last long ; potatoes and cabbages are eaten up, and a new supply has to be grown; clothes wear out in a few months or a year, and new ones have to be bought. The circulating capital, which is in the country now, is not the same circulating capital which was in the country two years ago. But the fixed capital is nearly the same : some factories may have been burnt or pulled down ; some machines may have become worn out, and have been replaced by new ones. But these changes in fixed capital are comparatively few; whereas the whole or nearly the whole of the circulating capital is changed every year or two.
But the fact is that we cannot distinguish so easily as we may seem to do between fixed and circulating capitals; there may be kinds of capital which are neither quite fixed nor quite circulating, but something between the two. Flour is soon eaten up, and is circulating capital. A flour mill lasts fifty years, perhaps, and may certainly be called fixed capital; a flour sack lasts about ten years on an average.
Is such a sack fixed or circulating capital? It seems to me difficult to say. In the case of a railway, the coal and oil wanted for the engine are used up at once, and are clearly circulating capital; the railway wagons last about ten years, the locomotive engines twenty years or more; the railway stations last at least thirty years; there is no reason why the bridges and tunnels and embankments should not last hundreds of years with proper care. Thus we see that capital is altogether a question of time, and we must say that capital is more fixed as it endures or continues useful a longer time; it is more circulating in proportion as it is sooner worn out or destroyed, and thus requires to be more frequently replaced.
35. How Capital is obtained. Capital is the result of saving or abstinence, that is, it can only be obtained by working to produce wealth, and then not immediately consuming that wealth. The poor savage who has to labour hard every day for fear that he may have to go without food, has no capital; but when he has food in hand, and can employ himself in making bows and arrows to facilitate the capture of animals, he is investing capital in the bows and arrows. Whenever we work in this
way for a future purpose, we are living on capital and investing it. The abstinence (Latin, abs, from, and tenens, holding) consists in holding off from the enjoyment of something which we have produced, or might produce with the same labour. To save is to keep something whole or untouched for future use; we save it as long as we do not consume it. If I have a stock of flour and eat it up, there is an end of the flour, and I cannot be said to save that. But if, while eating the flour, I am engaged in making a plough or a cart, or any other durable thing which will help me in production, I have turned one form of capital into another form. I might have eaten the flour in idleness, in which case it would not have been capital. But, while eating it, I worked for a future purpose. In so doing I am said to invest capital, which means to turn circulating into fixed capital, or less durable into more durable capital. Capital, accordingly, is invested for longer or shorter periods according to the durability of the form in which it is invested (Latin, in, on, and vestire, to clothe). A good plough will perhaps last twenty years; all through that time the owner should be getting back by its use the benefit of the labour and