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is so futile, that it seems almost certain that the Land Nationalizers will go as far as the Socialists, as soon as they understand that the Socialists admit that labor has contributed to capital, and that labor gives some claim to ownership. The Socialists, however, must contend that only an insignificant part of our capital is now in the hands of those by whom the labor has been performed, or even of their descendants. How it was taken from them, none should know better than the Land Nationalizers.
It is scarcely necessary to enlarge on or illustrate the obvious truth that, whatever the origin of land and capital, the source of the revenues drawn from them is contemporary labor. The remainder of this Tract may still further impress the impossibility of maintaining any hard and fast lines between them, either as regards their characteristics and importance in developed societies, or the defensibility of their private ownership or the arguments for their nationalization.
“Capital.” To return from our digression. When we consider what is usually called capital, we are as much at a loss to disentangle it from land as we are to find land which does not partake of the attributes of capital.
For though capital is commonly defined as wealth produced by human labor, and destined, not for the immediate satisfaction of human wants, but for transformation into, or production of, the means of such satisfaction in the future; yet railways, docks, canals, mines, etc., which are classed among the instruments of production as capital, are really only somewhat elaborate modifications of land. The buildings and the plant with which they are worked are further removed from the form of land, but we lump the lot as capital. All farming improvements, all industrial buildings, all shops, all machinery, raw material, live and dead stock of every kind, are called capital. And just as there is a purely social element in the value of land, so are there purely social elements in the value of capital ; and its value, in all its forms, depends upon its accessibility and fitness here and now, and not on the labor it has cost. The New River Company's Water Shares had their enormous value, not because Sir Hugh Myddelton's venture was costly, but because London had become great. The usefulness of fixed and unchangeable forms of capital increases and decreases through external causes, just as does that of land. If instruments of production must be classified, the best division of them is into immovables and mouables, the annual value of buildings, railways, mines, quarries, waterworks, gasworks, durable fixed machinery, and many other forms of so-called capital, manifestly agreeing with that of land in fluctuating according to causes of which the effects are generalized in the “ Law of Rent” of abstract economics.
Besides industrial capital, there is a considerable amount of what has been conveniently called “consumers' capital.” Dwelling-houses, and all their domestic machinery and conveniences are as necessary for production as land and factories ; for though the worker uses them in his character of consumer, they are necessary to maintain him in efficiency for his work. All private stores of food and clothing, all forms of personal property, may likewise be classed as consumers' capital. It will, however, be evident that, in classing these as capital, the signification of that name is becoming very vague and indefinite.
Finally, we have such purely non-material and social kinds of capital as banking and credit organizations, inventions, and other devices for extending and intensifying our power over Nature ; social forces of immense importance for the carrying on of wealth production, largely capable of social ownership, not entirely capable of private monopoly, but at present appropriated by some individuals more than by others. What is the Estimated Value of our National Stock of
the above-named form of Wealth ? In December, 1889, Sir Robert Giffen attempted to compute the capital value of realized property in the United Kingdoın as it was in the year 1885.* The following table is reproduced from that furnished by him, the figures being corrected according to the official Returns of Income Tax Assessments for 1905-6. The estimate of the value of the capital is arrived at by taking what Sir R. Giffen considered a suitable number of years' purchase of the income :Gross Income.
Capital Under :
Years' Purchase. Value. Schedule A
3,082,296,825 Other property
39,320,190 Schedule B
Profits from the occupation of
419,373,19218 Schedule C
Profits from British, Indian,
Colonial, and Foreign Gov-
1,173,141,850 Schedule DQuarries, mines and ironworks 24,379,408
97,517,632 $ Gasworks
185,340,275 $ Waterworks
116,326,000 $ Canals, etc.
76,944,020 Fishings in the U. K. and Sporting Rights in Ireland 203,304
4,066,080 $ Markets, tolls, etc.
17,392,700 $ Salt springs or works and alum works
3,011,460 Carried forward
66.570,670,342 (For notes and explanations as to this table, see next page.) See The Growth of Capital, by Robert Giffen (London, Bell and Sons, 1889). Also Essays in Finance, 2 vols., by the same author.
† Fiftieth Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue (Cd.—-3686), price 25. The amount stated as annual farmers' profits appears to be excessive, as Sir R. Giffen overlooked the fact that the Income Tax Acts assume the net profits of agriculture (in England) to be equal to one-third the rent, not the whole as here given.
Capital Gross Income.
Years' Purchase. Value. Under :
6 Schedule D- Brought forward...
3,672,240 $ Railways in United Kingdom 41,241,692
1,154,767,376 $ 16,111,221
322,224,420 Loans secured on public rates 6,687,134
167,178,350 Indian, Colonial, and Foreign
Securities (other than Gov.
295,896,420 Other interest and profits, etc. 19,137,857
382,757,140 Other businesses, professions,
etc., taking one-fifth of the
15 1,103,442,465 Businesses, professions, etc.,
omitted from assessment,
220,688,490 $ Income from capital of nontaxpayers, say
350,000,00081 Foreign investments not included in Scheds. C and D, say 50,000,000
500,000,000 Movables, not yielding income, say
1,000,000,000 11 Government and local public property, say
$ 12,671,297,243 “ Land” and “Capital” Indistinguishable.
. It may be noticed that there is no attempt in this table to distinguish between what Land Nationalizers might think should be classed as land, and what they would admit to be capital. The common sense of the ordinary business man and statistician recognizes that such distinction is impracticable and arbitrary. To the business The number of years' purchase of rural land may also be regarded as too high. On the other hand, that of urban properties is much understated. But these considerations do not materially affect the aggregate total, and Sir R. Giffen's basis has therefore been throughout maintained.
This includes $13,821 income assessed under Schedule D.
Ś Of these totals, which make up the "industrial capital” of the country, amounting to 63,752,541,930, at least 63,290,275,001 is under joint stock management, 62,003,392,001 being the paid-up capital of the 40,995 registered companies carrying on business in April, 1906, and 61,286,883,000 being the paid-up capital of the railways in the United Kingdom at the end of 1906. See the Annual Statistical Abstract, fifty-fourth number, C—3691 (1907); price is. 7d. To this must be added the capital administered by chartered banks and trading companies not registered under the Companies Acts.
These amounts being conjectural only, are reproduced from Sir R. Giffen's estimate in 1885, with small additions, amounting in all to £155,000,000 on the capital value.
Owing to a re-arrangement of the Income Tax Returns, the total works out at less than the method previously in use. It is now probably a considerable understatement. If we compare this total for 1905-6 with those of previous years we find the total estimated by Sir R. Giffen in 1865 was 66,114,063,000; in 1875 68,548,120,000; and in 1885 610,079,579,000. In a paper read to the British Association in September, 1903, and published in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Vol. LXVI.,
Four-fifths of our national wealth, we may safely say, consists of such instruments. The wants of the community are supplied from year to year, and week to week, by the reciprocal services of the active workers who use and administer them. The worker, of whatever kind, is paid by a wage, a salary, a professional income, or profits due to his skill in organizing or directing industry, the amount of which is determined by competition between himself and other workers. The owners of the instruments of production receive as rent and interest such an amount of the value of the produce as equalizes the normal income of the workers in each calling ; that is to say, they obtain from the workers who are using their land and capital a toll equal to the difference between the product of industry engaged in with any particular instrument of land or capital, and the product of the like industry engaged in with the least efficient instrument actually employed anywhere at the time.
Some of the workers are, it is true, themselves capitalists, that is to say, own larger or smaller amounts of land and capital; and many capitalists work. How many, and how much? Here are some facts gathered from the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and other reliable sources.
Probate or administration was granted in 66,082 estates, of the net capital value of £ 298,460,180 in 1906-7.* They were classified as follows: *34,296 estates not exceeding 6500 ...
aggregating 10,001,740 10,516 estates over 6500 and not exceeding $1,000
8,616,449 17,098 1,000
34,138,182 About one-seventieth part of the population owns far more than one-half of the entire accumulated wealth, public and private, of the United Kingdom. More than one-half the area of the whole country is owned by 2,500 people.
53,009,299 Consols purchased for small'holders by the Post Officer 18,986,199 Consols held for depositors in Trustee Savings Bankst
2,369,869 Nominal Capital of them Building Societies (1905)
70,348,997 100 Principal Trade Unions (1905)
* Inland Revenue Reports, C-3686, 1907.
† See Riches and Poverty, by L. G. Chiozza Money, M.P., pp. 72 and 75. Also“ Facts for Socialists," published by the Fabian Society; price id. Lif See "Statistical Abstract," 1907 (Cd-3691). 7!$" Eleventh Annual Report of the Labor Department of the Board of Trade," Cd-3690, 1907