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future employment of labor, while the fund employed in the immediate growth of wheat or the manufacture of cloth, is returned to the farmer or manufacturer entire, and is again available for the employment of labor to the same extent as before. It is, therefore, quite clear that no community can, without the greatest inconvenience and derangement, increase its fired capital faster than it is able to spare labor from the production of those commodities on which the community relies for its daily subsistence. Under all circumstances it can only be the amount of labor which the savings of the country can command and sustain, that can be applied to the increase of its fixed capital. The time which the savage could spare in order to make his first net, must have been confined to that which was not absolutely required to procure his subsistence; and the fund which any country can set aside to the increase of its fi.ved capital must be limited by the commodities of general use which it produces over and above its consumption, or, in other words, by the savings of the country. This important point will be more plain if we consider, that in fact the wages paid for labor, though nominally in so much money, really consist of the distribution of the commodities used by the laborers in maintaining them during its performance. Whether wages are paid in money, or whether the laborer is, in return for his work, supplied with food and clothing, are one and the same thing.Now, the whole labor employed in producing those articles of daily consumption, such as wheat or cloth, whether for consumption at home, or for export in exchange for sugar, coffee, tea, or other foreign commodities in common use, replaces in the hands of the employer the whole of the commodities used to sustain it, and leaves the funds for the future employment of labor undiminished. The laborers employed in manufacturing calicoes not only produce as much as they themselves consume of this particular article, but as much as will exchange for any other article which they do consume, besides replacing the capital of their employer. The produce of this labor in calicoes exchanges for the corn and the provision which they consume of home growth, as well as for the sugar and coffee which they consume of foreign growth. Suppose a manufacturer, for the sake of simplicity, to make one thousand pieces of calicoes, and that, instead of the payment of money-wages, he distributes amongst his work-people the proper quantity of bread, meat, sugar, tea, and clothing to support them,—his thousand pieces of calico are then distributed in exchange for wheat and provisions to the farmer, for clothing of different kinds to other manufacturers, for sugar and tea to the merchant, who in their turn distribute these calicoes, with other things, to the laborers employed in producing these various commodities; and thus the manufacturer is again possessed of another stock of commodities, to repeat the same operation. By such a process all labor is re-producing the fund for its future support. The introduction of money and credit are merely means of affording additional facilities to this simple operation. This process will go on without any interruption as long as labor is employed in the production of the commodities thus consumed, because every day's consumption and expenditure will be replaced on the aggregate by a similar production; or, in other words, as long as the capital of the country is continued in this floating or circu
lating state. But the moment we begin to build houses, to make roads, or to improve navigation, however much they may add to the facilities of future reproduction, while there is the same consumption of bread, meat, clothing, tea, sugar, &c., there is no immediate reproduction of these commodities, or of anything that exchanges for them, however good or profitable an investment such works may be as far as the interest or rent is concerned which they yield. It is, therefore, clear that they cannot be undertaken, except with the surplus provisions, or capital which is left over and above the quantity required for regular reproduction, and that this quantity must always limit the power of a community to increase its fixed capital
In short then, the floating capital of the country is that which is eniployed in the production of all those commodities which constitute the ordinary consumption of the country, or which exchange for such commodities so consumed which are produced abroad, and is at all times represented by such commodities in whatever shape they are found; and which is always replaced from the current incomes of the country, whether derived from labor, rents, interest, or profits: while fixed capital arises from that portion of labor, which, being over and above that which is required for the immediate production of commodities for curent use, is withdrawn from such production, and invested in some way which will yield an annual interest or rent, by affording new facilities to ordinary production, and by thus imparting greater value to the floating capital and labor of the country.
It is, therefore, not difficult to see, that it becomes a most essential thing to the continued prosperity of a country, that its floating capital, on which the continued reproduction of commodities of every-day use depends, as well as the continuous employment of labor, should not be withdrawn from those necessary purposes, and converted into fived capital, in a greater degree than the surplus accumulation of the country, after replacing the whole fund needful to continue the production of such commodities, whether of home or foreign growth, will admit. If the floating capital of the country is thus mişdirected into fixed capital, it is quite plain that the ultimate result must be, that as the labor employed in the works representing the fired capital does not reproduce the commodities which are consumed in supporting it, or any commodity which can be exchanged either with the home or foreign producers of such commodities, they must become scarce and dear, and ultimately the fund for the employment of labor must be diminished; and the individuals who withdraw their floating capital from its ordinary occupation, and convert it into fixed capital, must either to that extent reduce their ordinary business of production, or suffer the greatest embarrassment from the absence of their ordinary capital, however large may be the annual interest or profit derived from their investment.
It is quite true that, for a time, while the process of the conversion of floating into fixed capital was proceeding, there would be a momentary appearance of great prosperity. It would, in fact, in the first instance, be the same as if we were to expend in labor the principal, instead of the interest, of our capital, as far as the immediate effect upon the de mand for labor, and commodities of daily consumption, was concerned. The production of commodities required for daily use being unequal to the consumption, they would continue to rise in price; increased importation would follow, as a matter of course; and, as no corresponding commodity had been produced to exchange for such imports, they must ultimately be paid from the existing fund of floating capital, in reduction of that fund, and before long a reaction must take place, deeply prejudicial to the general interests of the country, and especially to those of the laboring classes, who will have been exhausting the food on which their future employment depended, without reproducing more. The ultimate effect of such a disturbance or misdirection of the floating capital of the couutry must be to create a great scarcity of it, which will be evinced by the high rate of interest, and ultimately a great diminution in the demand for labor, in consequence of the exhaustion of the fund on which it depends for continuous support.
Having thus worked out the important distinction between fixed and „ floating capital, we will proceed, in our next article, to consider the third of the three propositions,—What constitutes the difference between capital and currency or circulation ?-and then practically to apply these great principles to the present condition of the country.
PATENT OFFICE REPORT.
Statistical Tables relating to the productions of the United States. From the Re
port of the Commissioner of Patents, January 1848, 8vo. pp. 661, with engravings Published by order of Congress.
As a means of showing the bearing of our agricultural resources on the whole business of the country, it has been deemed desirable to collect The statistics of the interior trade of the United States.
All has not been effected that was intended; but enough will be found in the tables which follow, to indicate that a perfect development of materials would be exceedingly valuable, and it is believed that such a beginning might with no great difficulty be carried out, so as to furnish the facts relating to the interchange of commodities among the different states, from which every person might make his own deductions; and thus supply the place of much conjectural reasoning, according as one or another Theory is embraced as a favorite one.
A few explanatory observations may be useful, before we give the tables :
Our internal trade is carried on as is well known, mainly, by means of lakes, rivers, canals, and rail roads. These form the great lines of communication between the Atlantic and other states. Although the products of fields and sections of the country are concentrated at various points which are the larger or smaller markets for the farmer, by means of their wagons or carts, yet the great masses of such material are poured along through our rivers, lakes, canals, and over our rail roads.
If therefore we would form a correct estimate of the interior trade of our country, we must, so far as practicable, ascertain the amounts which are in transit or which rest at the various points where account is taken of the exports or imports. It is true we may thus have the same produce several times included in the estimate, but this is unavoidable, as no means are affoı ded us of discrimination between the already enumerated and that which is new. Did our room allow, we could give a variety of materials which we have collected; but we are compelled to condense them as much as possible, though at the hazard of omitting many things which might prove interesting to some readers. We have freely used those public journals and various documents which present to us the best sources of information on the various topics, and as it is not convenient in all cases to make special acknowledgments, we may just say here, that foremost among the journals to which we are indebted for valuable materials, either for qnotation or deduction, are the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, the New York Shipping List, the Philadelphia Commercial List, Lyford's Baltimore Commercial Journal and the New Orleans Price Current. These with a great number of mere local sources of intelligence, such as are comprised in the various newspapers and periodicals which notice the statistics and products of trade, have enabled us to draw together numerous columns of statements respecting the prosperity of our country which are not found in any one volume; and with this acknowledgment we avail ourselves of whatever we may find desirable.
The points on the Atlantic coast to which our interior trade is directed, are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans. We know that there are intervening ones, such as Richmond, Charleston, Savannah and Mobile, but it will be sufficient for our purpose to limit our investigations to the five great ones specified. From each of these points there proceed the great lines of cominunication with the interior, and especially the west, as follows:
From Boston by rail road to Albany and thence by canal or rail road and lakes to the west.
From New York by Hudson river to Albany, thence by canal or rail road and lakes.
From Philadelphia by river, rail road and canal, and rail roads and river Ohio/via Pittsburg.
From Baltimore by Baltimore and Ohio rail road anil national road to Wheeling.
From New Orleans by Mississippi upwards and Missouri and branches.
By obtaining, therefore, the amounts of produce on these great lines, we ascertain in a great degree the state of the internal trade of our country, especially if we include the termini : such as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, and various other poinis which occur in the whole extent. We have found much fuller materials in reference to some of these lines of transit and points of concentration, than with regard to others. Thus the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which are among the largest and possess the greatest number of miles of canal and rail road are most complete, while we have been unable to gather any particulars scarcely, with respect to some of the others.
We have considered the matter of chief importance in this connexion, to give the agricultural products, among which the export trade of cotton, tobacco, breadstuffs, pork and beef, &c. are prominent. Yet on reference to the tables it will be seen that there are likewise a great number of smaller articles which in aggregate make up considerable sums, and which could not well be omitted.
Time did not allow us to go through all the lines of canals with the same degree of minute condensation we have adopted in respect to the canals of Ohio, nor did we possess as ample means for the purpose The different modes of reckoning applied to the same article on the different lines has likewise occasioned some inconvenience, as well as the periods of time which do not always coincide. Our aim has, however, been to give a fair comparative estimate, in some instances embracing only the years 1847 and the previous one, in others it extends further back.
Prices of Provisions in Nero York, from 1823 to 1847 inclusive.
The following table of the average prices of provisions in New York for twenty-five years will be found useful to many readers: Year.
Mess Pork. Prime Pork. Mess Beef. Prime Beef. 1823 $13 31 $9 78
$5 88 1824
5 82 1825
5 95 1826
5 13 1827
6 37 1828
6 67 1829
7 38 1830
6 14 1831
14 30 11 13
5 77 1832 13 77 11 22
5 80 1833
14 97 11 53
5 96 1834
6 05 1835
7 75 1836
7 48 1837
8 85 21 97 16 59
14 98 11 40 1839
19 32 15 72
11 04 1840
15 07 12 96
8 90 1841
5 89 1842
3 94 1843
5 18 1844
3 75 1845
5 46 1846
5 23 1847
15 00 12 58
The highest year for pork (mess) was 1836, when it reached $23 13; the lowest, 1842, when it was down to $9 27. In 1838, mess beef rose to $14 98; and in 1844, fell to $575.