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An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations - Conclusion of the Chapter 11

1. Introduction And Plan Of The Work

2. Book 1, Chapter 1

3. Chapter 2

4. Chapter 3

5. Chapter 4

6. Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6

8. Chapter 7

9. Chapter 8

10. Chapter 8 continue

11. Chapter 9

12. Chapter 10

13. Chapter 10 continue

14. Chapter 11

15. Chapter 11 continue

16. Chapter 11 continue.

17. Chapter 11 continue..

18. Chapter 11 continue...

19. Conclusion of the Chapter 11

20. Book 2 Introduction

21. Chapter 1

22. Chapter II

23. Chapter II continue

24. Chapter II continue

25. Chapter 3

26. Chapter 4

27. Chapter 5

28. Book 3, Chapter 1

29. Chapter 2

30. Chapter 3

31. Chapter 4

32. Book 4, Chapter 1

33. Chapter 1 continue

34. Chapter 2

35. Chapter 3, Part 1

36. Chapter 3, Part 2

37. Chapter 4

38. Chapter 5

39. Chapter 5 continue

40. Chapter 6

41. Chapter 7, Part 1

42. Chapter 7, Part 2

43. Chapter 7, Part 3

44. Chapter 7, Part 3 continue

45. Chapter 8

46. Chapter 9

47. Book 5, Chapter 1, Part 1

48. Chapter 1, Part 2

49. Chapter 1, Part 3

50. Chapter 1, Part 3 continue

51. Chapter 1, Part 3 continue B

52. Chapter 1, Part 4

53. Chapter 2, Part 1

54. Chapter 2, Part 2

55. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue

56. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue B

57. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue C

58. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue D

59. Chapter 3

60. Chapter 3 continue

Conclusion of the Chapter.

I shall conclude this very long chapter with observing, that every
improvement in the circumstances of the society tends, either directly
or indirectly, to raise the real rent of land to increase the real
wealth of the landlord, his power of purchasing the labour, or the
produce of the labour of other people.

The extension of improvement and cultivation tends to raise it directly.
The landlord's share of the produce necessarily increases with the
increase of the produce.

That rise in the real price of those parts of the rude produce of land,
which is first the effect of the extended improvement and cultivation,
and afterwards the cause of their being still further extended, the rise
in the price of cattle, for example, tends, too, to raise the rent of
land directly, and in a still greater proportion. The real value of the
landlord's share, his real command of the labour of other people, not
only rises with the real value of the produce, but the proportion of his
share to the whole produce rises with it.

That produce, after the rise in its real price, requires no more labour
to collect it than before. A smaller proportion of it will, therefore,
be sufficient to replace, with the ordinary profit, the stock which
employs that labour. A greater proportion of it must consequently belong
to the landlord.

All those improvements in the productive powers of labour, which tend
directly to reduce the rent price of manufactures, tend indirectly to
raise the real rent of land. The landlord exchanges that part of his
rude produce, which is over and above his own consumption, or, what
comes to the same thing, the price of that part of it, for manufactured
produce. Whatever reduces the real price of the latter, raises that of
the former. An equal quantity of the former becomes thereby equivalent
to a greater quantity of the latter; and the landlord is enabled to
purchase a greater quantity of the conveniencies, ornaments, or luxuries
which he has occasion for.

Every increase in the real wealth of the society, every increase in the
quantity of useful labour employed within it, tends indirectly to raise
the real rent of land. A certain proportion of this labour naturally
goes to the land. A greater number of men and cattle are employed in its
cultivation, the produce increases with the increase of the stock which
is thus employed in raising it, and the rent increases with the produce.

The contrary circumstances, the neglect of cultivation and improvement,
the fall in the real price of any part of the rude produce of land, the
rise in the real price of manufactures from the decay of manufacturing
art and industry, the declension of the real wealth of the society, all
tend, on the other hand, to lower the real rent of land, to reduce the
real wealth of the landlord, to diminish his power of purchasing either
the labour, or the produce of the labour, of other people.

The whole annual produce of the land and labour of every country, or,
what comes to the same thing, the whole price of that annual produce,
naturally divides itself, it has already been observed, into three
parts; the rent of land, the wages of labour, and the profits of stock;
and constitutes a revenue to three different orders of people; to those
who live by rent, to those who live by wages, and to those who live by
profit. These are the three great, original, and constituent, orders of
every civilized society, from whose revenue that of every other order is
ultimately derived.

The interest of the first of those three great orders, it appears from
what has been just now said, is strictly and inseparably connected
with the general interest of the society. Whatever either promotes or
obstructs the one, necessarily promotes or obstructs the other. When the
public deliberates concerning any regulation of commerce or police, the
proprietors of land never can mislead it, with a view to promote the
interest of their own particular order; at least, if they have any
tolerable knowledge of that interest. They are, indeed, too often
defective in this tolerable knowledge. They are the only one of the
three orders whose revenue costs them neither labour nor care, but comes
to them, as it were, of its own accord, and independent of any plan or
project of their own. That indolence which is the natural effect of the
ease and security of their situation, renders them too often, not only
ignorant, but incapable of that application of mind, which is necessary
in order to foresee and understand the consequence of any public

The interest of the second order, that of those who live by wages, is
as strictly connected with the interest of the society as that of the
first. The wages of the labourer, it has already been shewn, are never
so high as when the demand for labour is continually rising, or when the
quantity employed is every year increasing considerably. When this real
wealth of the society becomes stationary, his wages are soon reduced to
what is barely enough to enable him to bring up a family, or to continue
the race of labourers. When the society declines, they fall even below
this. The order of proprietors may perhaps gain more by the prosperity
of the society than that of labourers; but there is no order that
suffers so cruelly from its decline. But though the interest of the
labourer is strictly connected with that of the society, he is incapable
either of comprehending that interest, or of understanding its connexion
with his own. His condition leaves him no time to receive the necessary
information, and his education and habits are commonly such as to render
him unfit to judge, even though he was fully informed. In the public
deliberations, therefore, his voice is little heard, and less regarded;
except upon particular occasions, when his clamour is animated, set on,
and supported by his employers, not for his, but their own particular

His employers constitute the third order, that of those who live by
profit. It is the stock that is employed for the sake of profit, which
puts into motion the greater part of the useful labour of every society.
The plans and projects of the employers of stock regulate and direct all
the most important operation of labour, and profit is the end proposed
by all those plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like
rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension
of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high
in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are
going fastest to ruin. The interest of this third order, therefore, has
not the same connexion with the general interest of the society, as that
of the other two. Merchants and master manufacturers are, in this order,
the two classes of people who commonly employ the largest capitals, and
who by their wealth draw to themselves the greatest share of the public
consideration. As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and
projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than
the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are
commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own particular
branch of business. than about that of the society, their judgment, even
when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every
occasion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former
of those two objects, than with regard to the latter. Their superiority
over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of the
public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own
interest than he has of his. It is by this superior knowledge of their
own interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and
persuaded him to give up both his own interest and that of the public,
from a very simple but honest conviction, that their interest, and
not his, was the interest of the public. The interest of the dealers,
however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in
some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public.
To widen the market, and to narrow the competition, is always the
interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable
enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition
must always be against it, and can only serve to enable the dealers, by
raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for
their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.
The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from
this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and
ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully
examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most
suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is
never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an
interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly
have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

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