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B. Say, has still left upon this science the confusion of its early vocabulary.
“Starting,” says our author, “from this point, that value is immaterial, one of my objects in the present work, is to prove that services are not products because they have calue, but, on the contrary, that products have value, only because, and in so much as they are services.” “Sensations, efforts, satisfactions, make up man's life. Of these three terms, the first and last are always necessarily confounded in the same individual. It is impossible to conceive them as existing separately. We can very well imagine an unsatisfied sensation, unsatisfied want; but certainly, never a want in one man and its satisfaction in another. If the middle term, effort, were in the same category, man would be an entirely solitary creature. The economic phenomenon accomplishing itself entirely in the isolated individual, there might be juxta position of persons but no society; personal economy, but no political economy.” “Thus, however, is it not; for constantly the want of one owes its satisfaction to the effort of another. The majority of our satisfactions are due to the efforts of others, while our own labor, each in his prosession, goes for the most part to satisfy the wants of others. “Then not in wants, nor their satisfactions (essentially personal and intransmissible phenomena) but in human efforts, must we seek the social principle, the origin of political economy. “This faculty given to men, and to men alone among all creatures, to labor for each other; this transmission of efforts, this exchange of services, with all its infinite and complicated combinations in time and space;—this is precisely what constitutes political economy, shows its origin and determines its limits. “The domain of political economy includes then, every effort, capable of satisfying, for an equivalent, the wants of a person different from him who accomplishes the effort, and consequently the wants and satisfactions relating to such effort. Thus, for instance, the action of breathing, although containing the three terms (sensation, effort, satisfaction) does not belong to the domain of political economy, because it is an effort generally intransmissible. We require no assistance to breathe. There is no service either received or rendered. It is an individual, not a social act. “But if under particular circumstances, men are obliged to assist each other to breathe, as when a man descends in a diving bell, a physician acts upon the pulmonary organs, or the police takes measures to purify the air, then there is a want satisfied by a person distinct from him who receives the satisfaction ; there is a service rendered, assistance given and remuneration received; and, to the extent of such service, breathing becomes a legitimate subject for political economy.
“An effort accomplished in the cause of another is a service rendered. If a service is stipulated in return it is an exchange of services, and this being most commonly the case, political economy may consequently be defined: the theory of exchange. “Whatever may be the intensity of want in the one party, or the strength of effort in the other, if the exchange be voluntary, the exchanged services may be considered as equivalent. Value, then, consists in the comparative appreciation of reciprocal services, and political economy may also be termed, the theory of value. “Allow me here a remark which proves how sciences may mingle and be confounded with each other. I have just defined service, as the effort of one agent, while its want and satisfaction exist in another. Sometimes a service is rendered gratuitously, from a sympathetic principle, rather than an interested one. This is gift and not exchange, and consequently belongs not to political economy, (which is the theory of exchange) but to the domain of morals. We will see, however, that, in their effects, they still refer to the science in question, while, on the other hand, services rendered for a recompense, and with a condition, are, nevertheless, not, on that account, foreign to ethics. These two sciences then, have constant points of contact; and as two truths: cannot be antagonistic, if the political economist be ever found assigning to any phenomenon, consequences, either for good or for evil, in which the moralist is opposed to him, certain it is, that one or the other wanders from the truth. Thus do sciences verify each other.” p. 114.
Mr. B. then goes on to discuss the undoubted existence of human wants, the suffering resulting from their non-satisfaction and the necessity under which man exists of seeking such satisfaction, as well as the sickly sentimentality of those who scoff at bodily wants and bodily comforts, as though God had not created man under these necessities. Granted that moral perfection is a much higher point of aspiration than the gratification of physical wants; but once for all, “to perfect himself man must live.”
“He cannot devote himself to the satisfaction of moral wants, the highest and the noblest, until he has first provided the necessities of existence.” p. 17.
Hence, all that contributes to elevate the habits of man and his wants above the level of mere brutal wants, gives to the mind a free play and contributes to raise and enlarge it. “The wants of a man cannot be fixed as a fixed quantity. They are not of a stationary, but of a progressive nature.” p. 17.
Wants ever changing with circumstances and condition, thus constantly goad man on towards improvement. A constant “something more” urges him on from step to step, and with every change of situation still his restless soul is the same ;-forever hungering, forever seeking. It would seem that nature designed thus, “that man, forever pushed towards something higher, should never stop in his career of civilization.”
“Certain it is that human wants are never stationary. Whether as to food, lodging, locomotion, or instruction, the wants of the fourteenth century were indisputably not ours; and it may be safely predicted that ours are below those to which our descendents will be subjected.” p. 119.
This point of view is important; many errors originate in the fact, that human wants are frequently considered as a given quantity. As for instance:
“All the general satisfactions of our own time counted up, the conclusion is drawn that here, humanity satisfied admits nothing farther. Then, if the liberality of nature, the power of machinery or other cause should for a time paralyze some portion of human labor, forthwith come these absurd but specious formulas: “Production is superabundant.” “We are perishing of plethora.” The power of production exceeds that of consumption,’ &c., &c. It is impossible to find a solution to these difficulties, so long as wants are considered as a fixed quantity and their indefinite expansibility forgotten.”
“But if, in man, want is indefinite, progressive, gifted wtih increase, like desire, the source whence it forever feeds, it follows, that (without discordance and contraction in the economic laws of society) nature must have placed in and around man, indefinite and progressive means of gratification; equilibrium between the means and the end being the first condition of all harmony.”
Not to exhaust the patience of our readers, we here check all farther remarks, proposing should we be so fortunate as to interest them in our subject, at some future opportunity, to renew its consideration, by examining such other volumes of the “Journal des Economistes” as may fall beneath our notice. L. S. M.
ART. VIII.-Report on the Geology of South-Carolina; by M. Tuom Ey, Member of the “American Association of Geologists and Naturalists,” Corresponding Member of the “Natural History Society of Boston,” and of the “Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia.” Columbia, S.C.; A. S. Johnston. 1848.
South-CA Roll NA, almost wholly an agricultural State, has not shown itself particularly anxious for the promotion of the peculiar interests of agriculture. It was only after the defeat of frequent efforts, and by dint of repeated applications and thrice renewed arguments, that an act of the Legislature, in 1842, determined upon an agricultural survey of the country. In making the appointment of the first surveyor under the act, the then governor of the State (Hammond) was particularly fortunate in securing the services of Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia. This gentleman had made himself a reputation, in his native State, as an agriculturist, and by the recuperation of exhausted soils. With an extensive practical acquaintance with the value of mineral manures, he had been wonderfully successful in the resuscitation of worn-out lands. The history of cultivation in Virginia had been very much like, in general respects, that of South-Carolina; and no person could have been better chosen for the purpose had in view by our Legislature and people. He proceeded to his labors with the ardor of one with whom duty is a passion. Before accepting the charge, he claimed especially,–from among the very wide and diversified field of important subjects to be investigated,—the examination of the extensive and heretofore neglected beds of marl, limestone and other rich resources, for mineral manures, of which the State was, everywhere, notoriously in possession. These were most particularly the provinces which he desired to explore. He devoted himself to the work with great industry and enthusiasm, and was eminently successful in pointing out the great extent of the calcareous beds of the lower country, and the crystalline limestone of the upper districts. We greatly regret that he failed to persuade our planters to the adoption of his Virginia practice, in the use of these valuable fertilizing agents. Only a few were induced to make experiments with the abundant materials lying at their feet, and their experiments have not been conclusive with others or altogether satisfactory to themselves. They were impatient of the slow results, or, using marls injudiciously, and without proper experiments, they have, with equal rashness, too frequently abandoned a policy which needs equally a reasonable time and a circumspect and patient observation. A recent letter from Mr. Ruffin, which now lies before us, deserves publication, as a commentary on our want of faith in his lessons.
“I have,” says he, “been induced to publish a statement of the expenses and profits of my farming operations for the five years since I left South-Carolina. The article shows the returns from marling, as my former communication to the State Agricultural Society of SouthCarolina shewed the cheapness of the operation. The series I thought well suited to convince your countrymen, by facts and my labors in the short time since I left South-Carolina, of what I failed to impress on them by my reasoning and efforts of persuasion. But, I fear that nothing can induce them to marl in proper manner, even when doing anything that way. I have been grieved to hear that all my preaching on this subject has served to do but little good, even to my few converts; and that they on whose example and labors I relied, to justify all I had urged, have failed to realize any great improvement. Their failure is due to the same cause, viz: not giving the land rest, and the time and means to supply itself with vegetable matter in proportion to the amount of lime supplied. In the few small cases in which this was done, (by accident, rather than design,) before I left South-Carolina, and which I reported, the success of the marling was most signal, and might have been so in every case, by meeting the same requirements. This is the whole cause of difference of results between South Carolina marling and mine. What I then taught, I have since (as well as before) practised. Judging from my results of such practice, what would have been the increase of general wealth in South-Carolina, if every planter, having access to calcareous manures, had, during these five years, been improving in the same manner ”*
Mr. Ruffin did much, during the single year which he employed in the survey in South-Carolina, to settle the general outline of the several geological formations of the State; but confined himself chiefly to the development of
*We refer to the pages of the American Farmer, Vol. 5, No. 1, for July. 1849, for Mr. Ruffin's valuable communication. We learn from it that in 1844, (the first year of marling.) there was a loss of $74.23; in 1845 the profit was 8.16 per cent; in 1846, 12.81 per cent; in 1847, 22.86 per cent.: and in 1848, 20.10 per cent.—or an average, during the five years, of 12.87 per cent, exclusive of improvement of the capital and increase of negroes.