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and girls, and sometimes the mother of the family, also earn wages, so that when trade is brisk a family in Manchester or Leicester, or other manufacturing town, will get altogether £150 a year, or more. Some kinds of workmen, especially coal-hewers, and ironpuddlers, earn twice that amount in good years, and are in fact better paid than schoolmasters, ministers of religion, and upper clerks. It is idle to say that the better-paid working men cannot save, and though we cannot make any strict rule, it is probable that all who earn more than a pound (five dollars, or 25 francs) a week, might save something.
It is easy to prove this assertion by the fact that when a strike occurs, men voluntarily live on a half, or a third of their ordinary wages. Sometimes they will live for three or four months on 12 or 15 shillings a week, which is paid for their support by their trades-union, or by other unions, which subscribe money to assist them. It is quite common for workmen to pay levies, that is, almost compulsory subscriptions of a shilling or more a week, to be spent by other workmen who are playing, as it is called, during a long strike. Nobody wishes working people to live on the half of their wages, but if, for the purpose of carrying on struggles against their employers, they can spare these levies, it is evident that they could spare them for the purpose of saving. Then, again, we know that the money spent on drink is enormous in amount; in this country it is about £140,000,000 a year, or about four pounds a year for every man, woman, and child. To say the least, half of this might be saved, with the greatest advantage to the health and morals of the savers, and thus the working classes would be able to lay by an annual sum not much less than the revenue of the nation.
TENURE OF LAND.
64. We have sufficiently considered the difficulties which exist regarding Labour and Capital, two of the requisites of production, and we will now turn to another part of political economy, and inquire into the way in which Land, the third requisite, is supplied.
In different countries land is held in very different ways. It is a matter of custom, and in the course of time customs slowly change. The way in which farms are owned and managed in England at the present time is no indication of the way land is held in France, or Norway, or Russia, or even the United States; nor is it the same as the way in which farms were owned in England some centuries ago. What is fitting to one place and state of society will not necessarily be fitting in other circumstances. We have to consider the various ways in which the requisites of production, land, labour, and capital, are brought together; sometimes they are all furnished by the same person; sometimes by separate persons.
In the condition of slavery, for instance, as it existed in the Southern States of North America, the owner of an estate owned the land, labour, and capital, all at once. Strictly speaking a slave is not a labourer, because he cannot sell his labour at his own price, and work or not as he likes. He is more in the position of the horse which drags the plough, a mere beast of burden. Just as a farmer owns his horses, and cows, and pigs, as part of his capital, so a slave-owner treats his slaves as part of his capital. Slave-labour being given unwillingly, and without hope of reward, is usually badly given, and is wasteful; but there is hardly any need to consider whether slavery is good or bad in an economical point of view, because it is alto
gether condemned from a moral point of view. We may show the way the requisites of production are furnished in slavery by the following diagram
Land. Labour. Capital. In a very large part of the world, again, the government takes the place of land-owners, and collects the rent by means of tax-gatherers. The farming is done by poor peasants, who find the capital, so far as there is any, and also do the work. Thus, we have the arrangementGovernment.
Capital. Labour. This system is called Ryot Tenure, and it exists at the present day in Turkey, Egypt, Persia, and many eastern countries; also in a somewhat altered form in British India. After slavery, it is the worst of all systems, because the Government can fix the rent at what it likes, and it is difficult to distinguish between rent and taxes. When their crops fail the ryot peasants are unable to pay the tax-gatherers, and they get into debt and become quite helpless.
65. Peasant Proprietorship. One of the best modes of holding land, when it can exist, is that known as peasant proprietorship, because the owner of the land is the peasant himself, who labours with his own arms, and finds the capital also. In this system, as in slavery, all the requisites of production are in the same hands; thus
Land. Labour. Capital. But in every other respect this system is the opposite of slavery. Its advantages are evident; the labourer being the owner of the farm and of all upon it, is an independent man, who has every inducement to work hard, and to increase his savings. Every little improvement which he can make in his farm is so much added to his wealth, and that of his family after him. There is what is called the magic of property. The feeling that he is working entirely for his own and his family's benefit almost magically increases his inclination to work. In newly-settled countries, such as the Western Territories of the United States, and Canada, or the colonies of Australia, and the Cape, this mode of holding land seems to be suitable, because the land is there very cheap, and crops can be raised with little capital. In such countries there is no need of expensive manures, elaborate machinery, and the cost of draining and improving land.
The objection to peasant proprietorship is, that he who does the labour of a farm with his own hands, must usually be a poor and unskilful person. If he were rich he would probably prefer to buy up the labour of other men, and become a capitalist farmer; if he were a really skilful farmer, it would be a pity to waste his skill upon a small farm, when, with more division of labour, he might profitably direct and manage a large one. Being poor, his capital will be mostly absorbed in building his cottage and barns, and in paying the small price of his land; he will have little lest to make improvements, or to buy good labour-saving implements, and good stock, such as well-bred horses, . cows, and pigs. Thus, unless his land be new and very fertile, he will not get a large return for his labour. Owing to the magic of property, he may work very hard, and during long hours, but he will not work in an economical way, and therefore will remain poor in spite of his severe exertions. The peasant proprietors who still exist in Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and some other parts of Europe, work almost day and night during the summer, and they are very careful and saving; yet they seldom grow rich, or get more than a bare living out of the soil.
Too frequently the peasant proprietor, if he is not very provident, runs short of money after one or two bad seasons. He will then be tempted to borrow money, to sell his timber, and other produce before it is ready for the market, and thus run in debt. When his farm has increased in value and would bring some rent, he will very likely mortgage it, that is, give it by a legal deed as security for his debts. The mortgagee or lender of the money then becomes part-owner of the land and capital, so that the arrangement tends to take this formMoney-Lender.
Land. Capital. Capital. Labour.
66. Tenure of Land in England. culture becomes more a science, farming will require greater skill, and larger capital, and the English mode of land tenure will probably spread. In this system there is the greatest division of labour, and different ranks of people have shares in the business, somewhat as follows: Proprietor.
Land. Capital. Capital. Labour. Labour.
The land is usually owned by some rich man, who likes to have large estates, but does not wish to have the trouble of farming. In respect of the land only he is a proprietor of a natural agent, and the rent he receives is true rent; but there will usually be buildings, roads, fences, drains, and other improvements, of which he is also owner; in respect of these he is a capitalist, and the return he receives is interest. The farmer is a man of knowledge and skill, with considerable capital; he hires the land and its improvements from the proprietor, and stocks it with cattle, carts, improved implements of all kinds, and then employs day-labourers to do the manual work, labouring himself in superintendence, in keeping