Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 8b: Wages in Different States

Chapter 8b: Wages in different states

Wages Depend on the Advancing, Stagnating, and Declining State

22 It is not the actual greatness of national wealth, but its continual increase, which causes a rise in the wages of labour.

23 But though North America is not yet as rich as England, it is advancing with more rapidity to riches.
Colonial American Family
Colonial American Family

Wages In Stationary Countries, Like China

24 Wages cannot be very high in a country that has long been stationary even though it is rich.
25 Although China may stand still, it does not seem to go backwards because:

The same annual labour must therefore continue to be performed, and the funds for maintaining it must not be diminished.

26 But in a country where the funds for wages were decaying:
1877 Bengal Famine
1877 Bengal Famine

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Next: Chapter 8c: Real Wages