Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11f: Rent -- Precious metals & stones: The produce that may or may not afford rent

Chapter 11f, Part 2: Rent -- The produce that may or may not afford rent: Precious metals & stones

Silver and Gold Mines

75 The price of every metal at every mine is regulated by the most fertile mine. 76 A sixth part of the gross produce is the average rent of the tin mines of Cornwall. 77 According to Frezier and Ulloa, the proprietors in the silver mines of Peru only demand that the undertakers of the mine grind the ore at their mill and pay the ordinary multure or price of grinding. 78 The profits of silver miners are not very great in Peru. 79 New mines are encouraged in Peru because the sovereign derives a big part of his revenue from silver mining. 80 The same encouragement is given in Peru for the discovery and working of new gold mines. 81 The lowest selling price of precious metals is regulated by the same principles which fix the lowest ordinary price of all other goods. 82 Their highest price, however, seems to be determined only by the actual scarcity or plenty of those metals. 83 The demand for those metals arises partly from their utility and partly from their beauty.

Precious Stones

84 The demand for the precious stones arises from their beauty. 85 The price of the precious metals and stones is regulated by their price at the most fertile mine. 86 The most abundant precious metal or precious stone mines could add little to global wealth.

Absolute and Relative Fertility

87 It is otherwise in estates above ground. 88 Whatever increases the fertility of land in producing food, increases the land's own value and those of other lands by creating new demand for their produce.

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Next: Chapter 11g: Variations between produce that always afford rent and those that sometimes afford rent