An Essay on Profits
In treating on the subject of the profits of capital, it is necessary to consider the principles which regulate the rise and fall of rent; as rent and profits, it will be seen, have a very intimate connexion with each other.
The principles which regulate rent are briefly stated in the following pages, and differ in a very slight degree from those which have been so fully and so ably developed by Mr Malthus in his late excellent publication. The consideration of those principles, together with those which regulate the profit of stock, have convinced Ricardo of the policy of leaving the importation of corn unrestricted by law. From the general principle set forth in al Mr Malthus's publications, Ricardo holds the same opinion as far as profit and wealth are concerned with the question; — but, viewing, as Malthus does, the danger as formidable of depending on foreign supply for a large portion of the food, Malthus considers it wise, on the whole, to restrict importation. Not participating with Malthus in those fears, and perhaps estimating the advantages of a cheap price of corn at a higher value, Ricardo has come to a different conclusion.
If the money price of corn, and the wages of labour, did not vary In price in the least degree, during the progress of the country in wealth and population, still profits would fall and rents would rise; because more labourers would be employed on the more distant or less fertile land, in order to obtain the same supply of raw produce; and therefore the cost of production would have increased, whilst the value of the produce continued the same.
ON THE INFLUENCE, etc.