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Qusly, if the quantity of labour spent The case which your argument rein producing all should double simul- spects is that in which wages are taneously?
supposed to rise ? Why? In conseX. It will, Phædrus.
quence of a real rise in corn or somePhæd. And yet nothing will ex- thing else. As a means of meeting change for more or less than before. this rise, wages rise: but the in..
X. True: but the rise is not ideal creased value of wages is only a for all that, but will affect every means to an end, and the laborer body. A pound of wheat, which cares about the rise only in that previously bought three pounds of light. The end is—to give him salt, will still buy three pounds : but the same quantity of corn suppose. then the salt-maker and the wheat. That end attained, he cares nothing maker will have only one pound of about the means by which it is atthose articles where before he had tained. Now your ideal rise of two. However the difference be- wages does not attain this end. The tween the two cases cannot fully be corn has really risen: this is the first understood, without a previous exa- step. In consequence of this an ideal mination of certain distinctions which rise follows in all things, which I will make the subject of our next evades the absurdities of a real rise dialogue; and the rather, because and evades the Ricardian doctrine of apart from our present question, at profits: but then only by also evading every step we should else be embar- any real rise in wages, the necessity rassed as all others have been by the of which in order to meet the real perplexity attending these distinc- rise in corn) first led to the whole tions.- Meantime as an answer to movement of price.-But this you your argument the following consi- will more clearly see after our next deration will be quite sufficient. dialogue.
DIALOGUE THE FOURTH. On the Use and Abuse of two celebrated Distinctions in the Theory of Valuc. X. Now, gentlemen, I come to a to ride through the steeple-chase you question which on a double account will lead him; his be the honor of is interesting : first, because it is in- the day—and his the labor. dispensable to the fluency of our fu- X. But that cannot be: Philebus ture progress that this question should is bound in duty to be dismounted, be once for all decided: secondly, for the sake of keeping Mr. Malthus because it furnishes an experimentum with many others in countenance. crucis for distinguishing a true know. For at this point, Phædrus, more ledge of Mr. Ricardo's theory from a than at any other almost, there is a spurious or half knowledge. Many sad confusion of lords and gentlemen a man will accompany Mr. Ricardo that I could name thrown out of the thus far, and will keep his seat pretty saddle pell-mell upon their mother well until he comes to the point which earth. we have now reached-at which Phil. So they among themselves in pleapoint scarcely one in a thousand will
sant vein escape being unhorsed.
Stood scoffing Phæd. Which one most assuredly
I will not be myself. For I have a
suppose I may add
I natural alacrity in losing my seat,
Heighten'd in their thoughts beyond and gravitate so determinately to the All doubt of victory. ground, that (like a Roman of old) I Meantime, what is it you allude to? ride without stirrups—by way of X. You are acquainted, I doubt holding myself in constant readiness not, Philebus, - with the common for projection : upon the least hint, distinction between real and nominal anticipating my horse's wishes on value: and in your judgment upon that point and throwing myself off that distinction I presuine that you as fast as possible; for what's the adopt the doctrine of Mr. Malthus. use of taking the negative side in a Phil. I do: but I know not why dispute where the horse takes the you should call it the doctrine of Mr. affirmative? So I leave it to Philebus Malthus: for, though he has re-urged
it against Mr. Ricardo, yet originally inference so reasonable as this? If it belongs to Adam Smith.
so, I must frankly acknowledge that X. Not so, Philebus: a distinction I am out of the saddle already. between real and nominal value was X. Reasonable inference! So far made by Adam Smith, but not alto- from that, there is an end of all logic gether the distinction of Mr. Malthus. if such an inference be tolerated. It is true that Mr. Malthus tells us That man may rest assured that his (Polit. Econ. p. 63), that the distinc- vocation in this world is not logical tion is “exactly the same." But in who feels disposed (after a few mithis he is inaccurate: for neither is it nutes' consideration) to question the exactly the same; nor, if it had been, following proposition ; viz. That it could Mr. Malthús have urged it in is very possible for A continually to his Political Economy with the same increase in value--in real value, obconsistency as its original author. serve—and yet to command a conThis you will see hereafter. But no tinually decreasing quantity of B: matter : how do you understand the in short that A may acquire a thoudistinction?
sand times higher value and yet exPhil. “I continue to think” with change for ten thousand times less Mr. Malthus “ that the most proper of B. definition of real value in exchange, Phæd. Why then “ Chaos is come in contradistinction to nominal value again !" Is this the unparadoxical in exchange, is the power of com- Ricardo ? manding the necessaries and con- X. Yes, Phædrus: but Jay not veniences of life, including labour, as this unction to your old prejudices, distinguished from the power of com- which you must now prepare to manding the precious metals.” part with for ever, that it is any
X. You think, for instance, that if spirit of wilful paradox which is now the wages of a laborer should in speaking : for get rid of Mr. Ricardo, England be at the rate of five shile if you can, but you will not therelings a-day and in France of no more fore get rid of this paradox. On any than one shilling a-day, it could not other theory of value it will still contherefore be inferred that wages tinue to be an irresistible truth, were at a high real value in England though it is the Ricardian theory only or a low real value in France : until which can consistently explain it. we know how much food, &c. could Here, by the way, is a specimen of be had for the five shillings in Eng- paradox” in the true and laudable land and how much in France for sense—in that sense according to the one shilling, all that we could which Boyle entitled a book Hydrofairly assert-would be, that wages statical Paradoxes: for, though it were at a high nominal value in wears a primâ facie appearance of England and at a low nominal value falsehood, yet in the end you will be in France: but the moment it should sensible that it is not only true-but be ascertained that the English wages true in that way and degree which would procure twice as much com- will oblige him who denies it to mainfort as the French, or the French tain an absurdity. Again therefore twice as much as the English, we I affirm that, when the laborer obmight then peremptorily affirm that tains a large quantity of corn for inwages were at a high real value in stance, it is so far from being any fair England on the first supposition or in inference that wages are then at a France on the second :-this is what high real value—that in all probabi. you think?
lity they are at a very low real Phil. It is, and very fairly stated. value : and inversely I affirm that, I think this, in common with Mr. when wages are at their very highest Malthus ; and can hold out but little real value, the laborer will obtain hope that I shall ever cease to think the very smallest quantity of corn. it.
Or, quitting wages altogether (beX. Why then, know this,
cause such an illustration would drive Thou think'st amiss :
me into too much anticipation), I And, to think right, thou must think o'er affirm universally of Y (that is, of again.
any assignable thing whatsoever) Phæl. But is it possible that Mr. that it shall grow more valuable ad Ricardo can require me to abjure an infinitum, and yet by possibility ex
change for less and less ad infinitum tity it buys is great, or small because of 2 (i. e. of any other assignable the quantity it buys is small; or, rething).
ciprocally, that-because the real Phæd. Well, all I shall say is this: value is great or small-therefore the am I in a world where men stand on quantities bought shall be great or their heads or on their feet?-But small. From, or to, the real value in there is some trick in all this : there these cases I contend that there is no is some snare. And now I consider, more valid inference than from, or to, --what's the meaning of your saying the nominal value with which it is “ by possibility?" If the doctrine contrasted. you would force upon me be a plain Phil. Your thesis then, as I un--broad-straightforward truth, why derstand it, is this : that if A double fetter it with such a suspicious re- its value, it will not command doustriction ?
ble the quantity of B. I have a baX. Think for a moment, Phædrus, rouche which is worth about 600 what doctrine it is which I would guineas at this moment. Now if I force upon you: not, as you seem to should keep this barouche unused in suppose, that the quantity obtained my coach-house for five years, and by Y is in the inverse ratio of the at the end of this term it should value of Y: on the contrary, if that happen from any cause that carwere so, it would still remain true riages had doubled in value-my that an irresistible inference might be understanding would lead me to exdrawn from the quantity purchased pect double the quantity of any comto the value of the thing purchasing, modity for which I might then exand vice-versâ, from the value of the change it, whether that were money, thing purchasing to the quantity sugar, besoms, or any thing whatsowhich it would purchase. There But you tell me-no. And would still be a connexion between vice versa, if I found that my bathe two: and the sole difference be- rouche at the end of five years obtween my doctrine and the old doc- tained for me double the quantity of trine would be this--that the con- sugar, or besoms, or political econonexion would be no longer direct (as mists, which it would now obtain-I by your doctrine) but inverse. This should think myself warranted in would be the difference, and the sole drawing an inference that carriages difference. But what is it that I had doubled their value. But you assert? Why that there is no neces- tell me~no; “Non valet consesary connexion at all or of any kind quentia.” between the quantity commanded X. You are in the right, Phædrus : and the value commanding. My I do tell you so. But you do not exobject is to get rid of your infer- press my thesis quite accurately, ence, not to substitute any new in- which is—that if A double its value, ference of my own. I put there- it will not therefore command double fore an extreme case.
the former quantity of B. It may ought by your doctrine to be im- do so: and it may also command five possible. If therefore it be not im- hundred times more, or five hundred possible, your doctrine is upset. times less. Simply as a possible case, it is suffi- Phæd. Oh! tempora, oh mores! cient to destroy you. But, if it were Here is my friend X. that in any more than a possible case, it would other times would have been a man destroy me. For if, instead of de- of incorruptible virtue; and yet, in monstrating the possibility of such a our unprincipled age, he is content to case, I had attempted to show that it barter the interests of truth and the were a universal and necessary case, “ majesty of plain-dealing" for a I should again be introducing the brilliant paradox or (shall I say?) notion of a connexion between the for the glory of being reputed an acquantity obtained and the value ob- complished disputant. taining, which it is the very purpose X. But, Phædrus, there could be of my whole argument to extermi- little brilliancy in a paradox which nate. For my thesis is that no such in the way you understand it will be connexion subsists between the two nothing better than a bold defiance as warrants any inference that the of common sense. In fact, I should real value is great because the quan: be ashamed to give the air of a para
dox to so evident a truth as that simply by doubling in value, B shall which I am now urging, if I did not command a double quantity of A,continually remind myself that--evi- it follows inevitably, Phædrus, that dent as it may appear—it yet escaped besoms-having doubled their value Adam Smith. This consideration, in five years—will at the end of that and the spectacle of so many writers time command a double quantity of since his day thrown out and at a barouches. The supposition is that fault precisely at this point of the six hundred thousand at present chace, make it prudent to present it command one barouche : in five in as startling a shape as possible; years therefore, six hundred thousand in order that, the attention being will command two barouches ? thoroughly roused, the final assent Phæd. They will. may not be languid or easily forgot- X. Yet at the very same time, it ten. Suffer me therefore, Phædrus, has already appeared from your arin a Socratic way, to extort an as- gument that twelve hundred thousent from your own arguments—allow sand will command only one bame to drive you into an absurdity. rouche : i. e. a barouche will at one
Phæd. With all my heart: if our and the same time be worth twelve father Adam is wrong, I am sure it hundred thousand besoms and worth would be presumptuous in me to be only oue-fourth part of that quantity. right; so drive me as fast as pos- Is this an absurdity, Phædrus ? sible.
Phad. I must admit that it is. X. You say that A, by doubling X. And therefore the argument its own value, shall command a dou- from which it flows, I presume, is ble quantity of B. Where, by A, false. you do not mean some one thing in Phæd. It is : scavenger of bad loparticular, but generally any assign- gic! I confess that it is. able thing whatever. Now B is some Phil. You confess ? So do not I. assignable thing. Whatever there- You die “soft,” Phædrus : give me fore is true of A will be true of B. ? the cudgels, and I'll die “
game” at Phæd. It will.
least. The flaw in your argument, X. It will be true therefore of B- X. is this : you summoned Phædrus That, by doubling it's own value, it to invert his proposition, and then will command a double quantity of you extorted an absurdity from this A?
inversion. But this absurdity folPhæd. I cannot deny it.
lows only from the particular form X. Let A be your carriage ; and of expression into which you threw let B stand for six hundred thousands the original proposition. I will exof besoms, which suppose to express press the same proposition in other the value of your carriage in that ar- terms, unexceptionable terms, which ticle at this present moment. Five shall evade the absurdity. Observe. years hence, no matter why, carri. A, and B, are at this time equal in ages have doubled in value: on value: That is, they now exchange which supposition you affirm that in quantity for quantity. Or, if you exchange for your barouche you will prefer your own case, I say that one be entitled to receive no less than barouche exchanges for six hundred twelve hundred thousands of besoms. thousand besoms. I choose how
Phæd. I do: and a precious bar- ever to express this proposition thus : gain I shall have of it ; like Moses A (one barouche) and B (six hunwith his gross of shagreen spectacles. dred thousand besoms) are severally But sweep on, if you please ; brush equal in value to C. When thereme into absurdity.
fore A doubles its value, I say that X. I will. Because barouches it shall command a double quantity have altered in value, that is no of C. Now mark how I will exreason why besoms should not have press the inverted case. When B altered ?
doubles its value, I say that it shall Phæd. Certainly : no reason in the command a double quantity of C. world.
Now these two cases are very reconX. Let them have altered : for in- cileable with each other. A may stance, at the end of the five years, command a double quantity of C at let them have been doubled in value. the same time that B commands a Now because your assertion is—this, double quantity of C without involve
ng any absurdity at all. And, if so, We offer to produce cases in the disputed doctrine is established which from double value it shall not --that a doubled value implies a dou- be lawful to infer double quantity. bled command of quantity; and re- We offer to produce cases in which ciprocally that from a doubled com- from double quantity it shall not be mand of quantity we may infer a lawful to infer double value. And doubled value.
thence we argue that until the value X. A and B, you say, may simul- is discovered in some other way, it taneously command a double quan- will be impossible to discover whetity of C in consequence of doubling ther it be high or low from any contheir value; and this they may do sideration of the quantity commandwithout absurdity. But how shall I ed: and vice verså of the quantity know that, until I know what you commanded--that, until known in cloak under the symbol of C? For some other way, it shall never be if the same thing shall have happened known from any consideration of the to C, which my argument assumes to value commanding. This is what have happened to B (viz. that its va- we say: now your “C” contradicts lue has altered), then the same de- the conditions: “ until the value is monstration will hold : and the
discovered in some other way, it shall same absurdity will follow any at- never be learned from the quantity tempt to infer the quantity from the commanded.” But in your “C”. value or the value from the quantity. the value is already discovered; for
Phil. Yes, but I have provided you assume it: you postulate that C against that: for by C I mean any is stationary in value: and hence it assignable thing which has not al is easy indeed to infer that because A tered its own value. I assume C to commands double quantity of “C”. be stationary in value.
it shall therefore be of double value: X. In that case, Philebus, it is but this inference, is not obtained undoubtedly true that no absurdity from the single consideration of doufollows from the inversion of the ble quantity-but from that comproposition as it is expressed by you. bined with the assumption of unBut then the short answer, which I altered value in C, without which return, is this: your thesis avoids the assumption you shall never obtain absurdity, by avoiding the entire that inference. question in dispute. Your thesis is Phæd. The matter is clear beyond not only not the same as that which what I require : yet, X, for the sawe are now discussing; not only tisfaction of my game
” friend Phidifferent in essence from the thesis lebus, give us a proof or two ex abunwhich is now disputed; but more- danti by applying what you have over it affirms only what never said to cases in Adam Smith or others. was disputed by any man. No man X. In general it is clear that, if has ever denied that Aby dou- the value of A increases in a duplibling its own value will command cate ratio, yet if the value of B ina double quantity of all things creases in a triplicate ratio,-so far which have been stationary in value. from commanding a greater quantity Of things in that predicament it is of B, A shall command a smaller self-evident that ATM will command a quantity: and if A continually goes double quantity. But the question on squaring its former value, yet if is whether universally, from doubling B continually goes on cubing its its value, A will command a double former value,—then, though A will quantity; and inversely whether uni- continually augment in value, yet the versally, from the command of a quantity which it will command of double quantity it is lawful to infér a B shall be continually less, until at double value. This is asserted by length it shall become practically Adam Smith, and is essential to his equal to nothing.* Hence therefore distinction of nominal and real va- I deduce lue: this is peremptorily denied by 1. That when I am told by Adam
• The reader may imagine that there is one exception to this case, viz. if the values of A and B were assumed at starting to be=1: because in that case the squares, cubes, and all other powers alike, would be=1; and thus, under any apparent alteration, the real relations of A and B would always remain the same. But this is an impossible and unmeaning case in Political Economy, as might easily be shown.