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foreign customs duties upon its productions, it still survives and grows. Whatever future changes may occur, therefore, to help or hinder its course, there is no reason to doubt, still less to despair, of its future, so long as it is allowed to enjoy the benefits of free trade.
The obstacles to the prompt adoption of improvements in machinery and methods, which arise in a few British industries from labor organizations, are not likely to seriously impede their introduction into the British cotton manufacture. For the most part, wages are paid on a piece-work basis; and there is no restriction upon output other than that imposed by the factory acts. There are, of course, always questions of adjustment of the piece-work rates whenever new machines are brought in which increase the amount of production whilst lessening the call upon the labor or attention of the work people. These are settled, usually, on the principle of dividing the pecuniary advantage of the improvement between employer and employee. At the present moment a question of this kind has arisen in connection with “ automatic looms,” the use of which is only now becoming a practical consideration in Lancashire cotton mills. The weavers' trade unions have fully recognized the necessity of adopting one or more of the various inventions connoted by the term “automatic loom," and they are aware that the economy resulting from their employment must be shared by the proprietors of the mills. The proper apportionment of the advantage will, no doubt, give rise to serious discussion and, it may be, to some conflict; but there is nothing in the disposition of the two sides to justify the least fear that this will impede the introduction of this or any other improvement in the processes of the industry.
HUMAN WANTS AND THEIR SATISFACTION
1. Human Wants : A General Survey
Life in every form with which we are acquainted is subject to waste and repair. The living structure in no case continues unchanged, but is maintained by a series of reparative acts. If any of these acts be discontinued, life ceases and the organism quickly disappears. In the case of animal life, provision is made by the agency of pleasure and pain for securing the proper supply of reparative material. Every animal is possessed of sensibility; and the acquisition of those materials which are necessary to keep in activity its vital powers is attended with pleasure, while the privation of them involves an equally distinct pain. Food, drink, air, and warmth are the most urgent of these necessities. If these or any of them are withheld beyond a certain small degree or a certain brief time, the animal must die. These necessities man shares with all other animals. He must have a constant supply of pure air; he must have a sufficiency of such food and drink as his organs can assimilate. In colder climates at least, since nature has not furnished him with the protection that the lower animals enjoy, he must have more ample means than they require of retaining the vital heat. If any of these essential conditions be unfulfilled, the human animal, like any other animal, must die. If they be but partially fulfilled, his powers, whether muscular or nervous, are proportionately feeble. If he has complied with all these conditions of his existence, these powers are in a proper state for their due exercise. The satisfaction, therefore, of his primary appetites is imperative upon man. Of all his wants, they are the first in
1 By W. E. Hearn, Professor in the University of Melbourne. From Plutology: or the Theory of the Efforts to satisfy Human Wants (Melbourne, 1861).
the degree of their intensity; and in the order of time they are the first which he attempts to gratify.
But while the superior organism thus possesses all the desires that belong to the inferior, it has also, by virtue of that superiority, many more. Man has not only the mere animal faculties and their corresponding wants: he has also, beyond all other creatures, other faculties, which, besides their own requirements, seriously affect the gratification of the primary appetites; for man is able not merely to satisfy his primary wants, but to devise means for their better and more complete gratification. The food of the dog or of the horse of our time is, except where it has been modified by man, the same as that of the dog or the horse a thousand years ago. The bee constructs its cell, the spider spins its web, the beaver builds its dam, with neither greater nor less skill than that with which bees and spiders and beavers in all known times have worked. In the quality of their work, in the kind of material they employ, in the modes in which they deal with those materials, there is no improvement and there is no decline. Man alone, of all known animals, exhibits any such improvement. He alone has cooked his food. He alone has infused his drink. He alone has discovered new kinds of food or drink. He alone has improved the construction of his dwelling, and has provided for its ventilation. He alone clothes his body, and varies that clothing according to the changes of temperature or his own ideas of decoration. He alone is not content with the mere satisfaction, in whatever manner, of his physical wants, but exercises a selection as to the mode of their satisfaction. So strong in him is this tendency to the adaptation of his means that, in favorable circumstances, he regards the preparation of the objects which are intended for his gratification as of hardly less importance than the gratification itself. Thus the comparative range of human wants is rapidly increased. When the question of degree is admitted in the satisfaction of the primary appetites, and when the greater or less adaptability of various objects to satisfy these appetites is recognized, the extent of human desires is bounded only by the extent of
As the attempt to satisfy the primary appetites thus gives rise to new desires, so the actual increase of these desires tends of itself to a still further development. The enjoyment that a man has once received he generally desires to renew. The mere repetition soon becomes a reason for its further repetition. By the powerful influence of habit the desire becomes a taste, and the taste quickly passes into an absolute want. Nor is this all. The mere exercise of the faculties strengthens them, and gives rise to a comparison of results and a desire for further improvement. The man whose senses are educated to a certain point, who has had to a certain extent experience of different modes of satisfying his desires, and has formed a judgment upon the comparative efficiency of these modes, will seldom, in favorable circumstances, stop at that point. Not merely would a return to what pleased his untaught faculties be intolerable to him, but the actual enjoyment which he derives from his discovery stimulates him to further advances, and suggests the modes of obtaining them. Thus while man is not guided and limited by a blind instinct, but each individual is left free to rise or fall according to the exercise of his powers, provision is made, even in the primary wants of our nature, both to prevent the retrogression of the species and to secure its advancement. The number of wants that belong to this class is therefore limited, as I have said, by our knowledge of the properties of matter or of material objects fitted to satisfy our wants, and by our skill in their adaptation. This knowledge and this skill continually increase; and as the limit they present recedes, the range of our tastes and of our artificial wants increases with them.
These principles may be readily verified. It needs no elaborate proof to show that men constantly desire an increase of physical comforts; that when they have acquired such comforts they are pained at their loss, but that their acquisition does not prevent them from continuing to desire a further increase. The universal experience of mankind is conclusive on these points. We feed and clothe and lodge our felon in a way that, to an Australian black fellow, would seem an unspeakable luxury. The mechanic that daily complains of his hard lot would be
shocked if he were reduced to use no better light, or no more convenient measure of time, than that by which Alfred wrote and by which he distributed his labors. Two pounds of tea were presented to Charles II as a present worthy of a king. A century afterwards the steady perseverance of the Americans in abstaining from their unjustly taxed tea was rightly regarded as the most remarkable case of national self-denial that history records. Tobacco was unknown to our ancestors, and even now is unused by not a few; yet its deprivation was, in the eyes of the Irish pauper, the most cruel aggravation of workhouse constraint. “ It is a phenomenon,” says Bastiat, “well worthy of remark, how quickly, by continuous satisfaction, what was at first only a vague desire quickly becomes a taste, and what was only a taste is transformed into a want, and even a want of the most imperious kind. Look at that rude artisan: accustomed to poor fare, plain clothing, indifferent lodging, he imagines he would be the happiest of men, and would have no further desires, if he could but reach the step of the ladder immediately above him. He is astonished that those who have already reached it should still torment themselves as they do. At length comes the modest fortune he has dreamed of, and then he is happy very happy — for a few days. For soon he becomes familiar with bis new situation, and by degrees he ceases to feel his fancied happiness. With indifference he puts on the fine clothing after which he sighed. He has got into a new circle, he associates with other companions, he drinks of another cup, he aspires to another step, and if he ever turns his reflections upon himself, he feels that if his fortune has changed, his soul remains the same, and is still an inexhaustible spring of new desires.”
There are other important respects in which human wants differ from those of the inferior animals. In addition to those primary appetites which he shares with the humblest living creature, and which relate exclusively to things, man has also, in a peculiar degree, affections which relate to persons; and various desires which are only conceivable with reference to abstractions, and result not from any physical antecedent but from