Economic Sophisms/108

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"vierges de tout travail humain; and since they have no value, I should never dream of protecting them. But the first application of labour converts these substances into grass and provender, a second into wool, a third into yarn, a fourth into a woven fabric, a fifth into clothing. Who can assert that the whole of these operations, from the first furrow laid open by the plough, to the last stitch of the tailor's needle, do not resolve themselves into labour?

And it is because these operations are spread over several branches of industry, in order to accelerate and facilitate the accomplishment of the ultimate object, which is to furnish clothing to those who have need of it, that you desire, by an arbitrary distinction, to rank the importance of such works in the order in which they succeed each other, so that the first of the series shall not merit even the name of labour, and that the last, being labour par excellence, shall be worthy of the favours of protection?

THE PETITIONERS: Yes; "we begin to see that corn, like wool, is not exactly a product of which it can be said that no human labour has been bestowed upon it ; but the agriculturist has not, at least, like the manufacturer, done everything himseK or by means of his workmen ; nature has assisted him, and if there is labour worked up in corn, it is not the simple product of labour.

M. DE SAINT-CRICQ: But its value resolves itself exclusively into labour. I am happy that nature concurs in the material formation of grain. I could even wish that it were entirely her work; but you must allow that I have constrained this assistance of nature by my labour, and when I sell you my corn you will remark this, that it is not for the labour of nature that I ask you to pay, but for my own.

But, as you state the case, manufactured commodities are no longer the exclusive products of labour. Is the manufacturer not beholden to nature in his processes? Does he not avail himself of the assistance of the steam-engine, of the pressure of the atmosphere, just as, with the assistance of the plough, I avail myself of its humidity? Has he created the laws of gravitation, of the transmission of forces, of affinity?

THE PETITIONERS: Well, this is the case of the wool over

again; but coal is assuredly the work, the exclusive work, of