Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11p: Rent, Digression -- Effect of Improvement on the real value of natural produce that can or cannot be multiplied according to demand

Chapter 11p, Digression: Produce that can or cannot be multiplied according to demand

208 The third kind is the produce which the amount can be increased by human industry in a limited or uncertain way. 209 The amount of some kinds of rude produce entirely depend on the amount of other kinds of rude produce. 210 The same causes which raise meat prices in the process of improvement should raise the prices of wool and raw hides proportionally. 211 The market for meat is almost everywhere confined to the country which produces it.

Wool and Raw Hides

212 In the rude beginnings of improvement, the market for wool and raw hides is very seldomly confined to the country which produces them. 213 Wool and hide prices are always higher relative to the value of the whole animal in ill-cultivated and thinly inhabited countries, than in advanced countries where there is more demand for meat.
214 In the progress of improvement, the carcass' price is likely to be more affected by the rising price of the whole animal, than by the rise of the price of wool and hide. 215 The price of English wool in England has fallen very much since the time of Edward III, despite its flourishing woollen manufacture. 216 This degradation in the real and nominal value of wool is unnatural.
  1. The absolute prohibition of exporting wool from England
  2. The permission of importing it from Spain duty free
  3. The prohibition of exporting it from Ireland to any other country but England.
217 I could not find any authentic records on the price of raw hides in ancient times.
William Fleetwood
William Fleetwood
218 The price of raw hides is much lower now due to: At an average, their real price was probably higher this century than in those ancient times. 219 Whatever regulations sink the price of wool or raw hides below natural, must raise meat prices in an improved country. 220 The price of Scottish wool fell very much because of the union with England. 221 The efficacy of human industry is limited in increasing the quantity of wool or raw hides depending on the local production. Fish 222 The multiplication fish is both limited and uncertain. 223 The local situation of the country renders the efficacy of the fishing industry in bringing fish to market, even if the success of a day's fishing may be a very uncertain. Precious Metals 224 The efficacy of human industry is uncertain in increasing the quantity of mined minerals and metals. 225 The quantity of the precious metals in any country is not limited by its local situation, such as the fertility or barrenness of its own mines. 226 The real price of precious metals, when depending on their power of purchasing, will fluctuate with the country's wealth. 227 The real price of precious metals, when depending on the fertility of the mines, will fluctuate relative to the fertility of those mines. 228 The fertility of the mines may have no connection with a country's industry.
Next: Book 1, Chapter 11q: Digression Conclusion
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