Chap 11d, Part 2: Produce Which Sometimes Afford Rent

PART 2: the Produce of Land which sometimes does, and sometimes does not, afford Rent

53  Human food is the only produce of land which always affords some rent to the landlord.

54 “After food, clothing and lodging are the two great wants of mankind.”

55 In its rude state, land has a super-abundance of the raw materials for clothing and lodging, more than it can feed.

  • In its improved state, it can sometimes feed more people than it can supply with clothing and lodging.
    • There is often a scarcity which then adds to their value.
  • In the rude state, most raw materials are of so little value that they are thrown away.
    • Since there is very little value, no rent is left to the landlord.
  • In the improved state, materials for clothing and lodging are all used.
    • There is frequently a demand for more, so their price starts to afford rent

56  The skins of the large animals were the original materials of clothing.

  • Hunters and shepherds can have more animal clothing than they can wear.
    • If there was no foreign commerce, most would be thrown away.
    • This probably was the case among the hunting nations of North America.
  • Now those nations exchange their surplus peltry, for blankets, firearms, and brandy, which gives those skins some value.
  • The most barbarous nations currently have some foreign commerce of this kind.
    • They find a demand for their excess clothing among their wealthier neighbours.
      • It raises their price and affords some rent.
  • When highland cattle were consumed, the exportation of their hides made the highland’s biggest article of commerce.
    • It added to the rent of the highland estates.
  • In the old times, English wool found a market in Belgium and afforded rent.
    • Belgium was wealthier and more industrious then.

57 The raw materials of lodging cannot always be transported as far as those of clothing.

  • They do not so readily become part of foreign commerce.
  • When they are super-abundant, they are frequently of no value to the landlord.
  • A good stone quarry near London would afford a considerable rent.
    • But in Scotland and Wales it affords none.
  • Timber is valueable in a populous and well-cultivated country and affords a big rent.
    • But in North America, the landlord wants to get rid of his large trees.
  • In some parts of the highlands of Scotland, only the bark can be sent to market due to the lack or roads and water-carriage.
    • The timber is left to rot on the ground.
  • When the materials of lodging are super-abundant, the materials used is worth only the expence of fitting it for that use.
    • It affords to no rent.
  • The demand of wealthier nations sometimes enables a rent for it.
    • The paving of London streets gave rent to the owners of rocks on the coast of Scotland where there was no rent before.
    • The woods of Norway and the Baltic find a market in Great Britain afforded some rent to their proprietors.

58 Countries are populous according to how many can be fed, not according to how many can be clothed or lodged.

  • It is easy to find clothing and lodging when food is provided.
    • In some parts of the British dominions, an ‘A House’ may be built by a day’s labour of one man.
  • Skins of animals require more labour to prepare.
    • Among savage nations, 1% of their annual labour will be sufficient to provide them with clothing and lodging for most of their people.
    • The 99% provide them with food.

Unlimited Desires

59 When a family can provide food for two families by the improvement of land, half the labour of society becomes sufficient to provide food for the whole.

  • The other half can be employed in satisfying the other wants and fancies of mankind.
    • Clothing, lodging, furniture, and equipage are the principal objects of those wants and fancies.
  • The rich man consumes no more food than his poor neighbour.
  • In quality, the food of the rich may require more labour and art to prepare.
    • But in quantity, it is nearly the same.
  • Compare the spacious palace and great wardrobe of the rich with the hovel and rags of the poor.
    • There is a big difference in the quantity and quality of their clothing, lodging, and furniture.
  • The desire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity of the human stomach.
    • But the desire of the conveniencies and ornaments of building, dress, equipage, and furniture, seems to have no limit.

“Those, therefore, who have the command of more food than they themselves can consume, are always willing to exchange the surplus, or, what is the same thing, the price of it, for gratifications of this other kind.”

  • What is over and above satisfying the limited desire, is given for the amusement of those limitless desires.
  • To obtain food, the poor exert themselves to gratify those fancies of the rich.
    • They vie with one another in the cheapness and perfection of their work, to obtain food more certainly.

“The number of workmen increases with the increasing quantity of food, or with the growing improvement and cultivation of the lands.”

  • The amount of materials they can work up increases more than their numbers, according to the division of labour admitted by their business.
  • Hence, a demand grows for every material which human invention can employ either:
    • usefully in building, dress, equipage, or furniture or
    • ornamentally, for the fossils, minerals, and precious metals and stones.

60 Food is the source of the produce of the land which affords rent.

  • It derives its value from the improvement of labour productivity from the improvement of land.

61 Those other produce of land which afford rent, do not afford it always.

  • Even in cultivated countries, the demand for other produce does not always afford a greater price than what is sufficient to:
    • pay wages
    • replace the stock with ordinary profits
  • Whether the demand affords such a price depends on different circumstances.

Rent from Coal Mining
62 For example, a coal mine affords rent depending on its fertility and situation.

63 The fertility of any mine depends on how much minerals can be extracted from it relative to other mines.

64 Barren coal mines afford neither profit nor rent.

65 Some mines produce minerals barely sufficient to pay the labour and replace the stock employed with ordinary profits, but afford no rent.

  • Only the landlord can operate them as he gets the ordinary profit of his own capital.
  • Many coal mines in Scotland can be wrought in this manner only, because no one can afford to pay rent.

66 Some coal mines cannot be wrought because of their situation.

  • An amount of mineral for defraying operating expences can be extracted using the ordinary amount of labour or even less.
  • But this amount could not be sold in a thinly inhabited inland country, without roads or water transportation.

67 Coals are a less agreeable and less wholesome fuel than wood.

  • Therefore, the expence of coals must be less than wood.

68 For the same reasons, wood prices vary with the state of agriculture nearly as cattle prices.

  • Most parts a country are originally covered with wood.
    • The landlord gives it to anybody for cutting.
    • As agriculture advances, some of the woods are cleared by tillage.
    • Some decay due to increased number of cattle.
  • Cattle multiply through human labour.
    • They can provide more food than uncultivated nature.
    • They can be acquired from enemies.
  • When numerous cattle wander through the woods, they hinder any young trees from coming up.
    • After a century or two, the whole forest is ruined.
    • The scarcity of wood then raises its price.
      • It affords rent.
      • The landlord finds it profitable to grow timber even though the returns will be late.
      • This is happening in Great Britain where the profit of planting is equal to the profit of corn or pasture.
  • The landlord’s profits derived from planting cannot exceed the rent he earns.
    • In highly cultivated lands, the profits will not fall much short of this rent.
  • If coals can be obtained for fuel in the coast of a well-improved country, it may be cheaper to bring timber for building from less cultivated foreign countries.
    • The new town of Edinburgh was built within these few years.
      • It has no timber.

69 If the cost of a coal-fire is equal to the cost of a wood fire, the price of coals must be at its highest.

  • This is true in Oxfordshire where people mix coals and wood.
  • The difference in the cost of coals and wood cannot be very great.

70 Coals in the coal countries are much below this highest price.

  • If they were not, they could not bear the cost of a distant transportation.
    • Only a few could be sold.
    • The coal masters and coal proprietors find it for their interest to sell more at a price above the lowest, than few at the highest.
  • “The most fertile coal-mine too, regulates the price of coals at all the other mines in its neighbourhood.”
  • By underselling, the proprietor gets more rent while the undertaker of the work gets more profits.
    • Their neighbours are soon obliged to sell at the same price even if they cannot afford it.
    • This reduces their rent and profit.
    • Some works are abandoned (from lack of profits and rent).
    • Some are wrought only by the proprietor (from lack of profits).

71 The lowest price of coals is, like that of all other commodities, the price which is barely sufficient to replace the stock employed for it, with ordinary profits.

  • The price of coals must be at its lowest in a coal mine run by the landlord which affords no rent.

72 The rent of coal mines forms a smaller part of the price than the rent of the rude produce of land.

  • The rent of an estate above ground commonly amounts to 1/3 of the gross produce.
    • It is generally a rent certain and independent of the occasional variations in the crop.
  • In coal-mines, 1/5 of the gross produce is a very great rent.
    • The common rent is 1/10 of the gross produce.
    • It depends on the occasional variations in the produce which are so great.
  • In a country where 30 years purchase is a moderate price for the property of a landed estate, 10 years purchase is a good price for the purchase of a coal-mine.

73 The value of a coal-mine to the proprietor frequently depends as much on its situation as on its fertility.

  • A metallic mine depends more on its fertility and less on its situation.
  • Metals are so valuable when separated from ore.
    • They can bear the expence of a very distant sea carriage.
    • Their market extends to the whole world.
  • The copper of Japan makes an article of commerce in Europe.
    • The iron of Spain is an article of commerce in Chile and Peru.
    • The silver of Peru finds its way to Europe and China.

74 “The price of coals in Westmorland or Shropshire can have little effect on their price at Newcastle”

  • Their price in Lionnois has no effect at all on their price at Newcastle.
  • The produce of distant coal mines can never compete with one another.
    • But the produce of the most distant metallic mines frequently do.
  • The price of metals at the most fertile mines must affect the price at every other mine.
    • Copper prices in Japan must have some influence on the price at the copper mines in Europe.
    • Silver prices in Peru must have some influence on the silver mines of Europe and China.
      • After the discovery of Peruvian mines, most of the European silver mines were abandoned.
      • The value of silver was so much reduced that their produce could not pay their cost.
      • This also happened in the mines of Cuba, St. Domingo, and ancient mines of Peru after the discovery of Potosi mines.

Next: Book 1, Chapter 11e Part 2: Precious Metals, Stones

Words: 1953

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