Economic Sophisms/107

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"other things, corn, flour, meat, cattle, tallow, salt, iron, copper, lead, coal, wools, hides, seeds, etc.

If you will only prove to me that the value of these things is not due to labour, I will grant that it is useless to protect them.

But, on the other hand, if I demonstrate to you that there is as much labour worked up in a 100 fr. worth of wool as in a 100 fr. worth of textile fabrics, you will allow that the one is as worthy of protection as the other.

Now, why is this sack of wool worth 100 fr.? Is it not because that is its cost price? and what does its cost price represent, but the aggregate wages of all the labour, and profits of all the capital, which have contributed to the production of the commodity?

THE BORDEAUX PETITIONERS: Well, perhaps as regards wool you may be right. But take the case of a sack of corn, a bar of iron, a hundredweight of coals,—are these commodities produced by labour? Are they not created by nature?

M. de Saint-Cricq: Undoubtedly nature creates elements of of all these things, but it is labour which produces the value. I was wrong myself in saying that labour created material objects, and that vicious form of expression has led me into other errors. It does not belong to man to create, to make anything out of nothing, be he agriculturist or manufacturer; and if by production is meant creation, all our labour must be marked down as unproductive, and yours, as merchants, more unproductive than all others, excepting perhaps my own.

The agriculturist, then, cannot pretend to have created corn, but he has created value; I mean to say, he has, by his labour, and that of his servants, labourers, reapers, etc., transformed into corn substances which had no resemblance to it whatever. The miller who converts the corn into flour, the baker who converts the flour into bread, do the same thing.

In order that man may be enabled to clothe himself, a multitude of operations are necessary. Prior to all intervention of human labour, the true raw materials of cloth are the air, the water, the heat, the gases, the light, the salts, which enter into its composition. These are the raw materials upon which strictly

speaking, no human labour has been employed. They are