Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11b: Rent -- Wheat: The produce that always affords rent

Chapter 11b, Part 1: Rent -- Wheat

15 A moderately fertile wheat field produces more food for man than the best pasture of equal extent. 16 But the relative values of bread and meat are very different in the different periods of agriculture.
Antonio de Ulloa
Antonio de Ulloa
17 By extending cultivation, the unimproved wilds become insufficient to supply the demand for meat. 18 In the progress of improvement, the rent and profit of unimproved pasture come to be regulated by the rent and profit of improved pasture. 19 This equality between the rent and profit of land for grass (food for cattle) and for wheat (food for humans) takes place only in the improved lands of a great country. 20 In a big town, the demand for milk and forage for horses raises the value of grass over wheat. 21 Some countries are so populous that the whole territory has been insufficient for the subsistence of their inhabitants. 22 Holland is currently in this situation, as was ancient Italy during Roman prosperity.
Cicero
Cicero
23 In an open country which mainly produces wheat, grass land will frequently rent higher than any nearby wheat field.

24 The rent and profit of the common vegetable food of the people naturally regulates the rent and profit of pasture where there are no enclosures.

25 The use of turnips, carrots, cabbages, etc. as alternative cattle feed for grass, should reduce meat prices over bread. 26 In the appendix to the Life of Prince Henry, Doctor Birch listed meat prices commonly paid by that prince.
Historian Thomas Birch
Historian Thomas Birch
27 In March 1763, there was a parliamentary inquiry into the causes of the high prices of provisions. 28 Prince Henry paid 3.8 pence per pound of ox.
Prince Henry
Prince Henry
29 In the parliamentary enquiry in 1764, the price of the coarse pieces of the best beef was from 1.75-2.75 pence.

30From 1600-1612, the average price of the best wheat at the Windsor market was 459.5 pence the quarter of nine Winchester bushels.

31 But from 1752-1764, the average price of the best wheat was 501.5 pence.

32 From 1600-1612, wheat was much cheaper and meat was much dearer than from 1752-1764.

33 In all great countries, most of the lands are employed in producing food for men, such as wheat, or food for cattle, such as pasture.



Vegetables

34 Those new productions which require more expence for improvement, will afford more rent or profit than its former produce. 35 In hop, fruit, and kitchen gardens, the landlord's rent and the farmer's profit are greater than those of wheat or grass fields. 36 The advantage the landlord derives from such improvements were never greater than what was sufficient to compensate their expence. Democritus
Next: Chapter 11c: Wine Tobacco Sugar Rice Potatoes
Words: 1575