Увеличиваем словарный запас для IELTS Reading – текст 2

The value of money, then, conforms permanently, and in a state of freedom almost immediately, to the value of the metal of which it is made; with the addition, or not, of the expenses of coinage, according as those expenses are borne by the individual or by the state.

To the majority of civilized countries gold and silver are foreign products: and the circumstances which govern the values of foreign products present some questions which we are not yet ready to examine. For the present, therefore, we must suppose the country which is the subject of our inquiries to be supplied with gold and silver by its own mines [as in the case of the United States], reserving for future consideration how far our conclusions require modification to adapt them to the more usual case.

Of the three classes into which commodities are divided—those absolutely limited in supply, those which may be had in unlimited quantity at a given cost of production, and those which may be had in unlimited quantity, but at an increasing cost of production—the precious metals, being the produce of mines, belong to the third class. Their natural value, therefore, is in the long run proportional to their cost of production in the most unfavorable existing circumstances, that is, at the worst mine which it is necessary to work in order to obtain the required supply. A pound weight of gold will, in the gold-producing countries, ultimately tend to exchange for as much of every other commodity as is produced at a cost equal to its own; meaning by its own cost the cost in labor and expense at the least productive sources of supply which the then existing demand makes it necessary to work. The average value of gold is made to conform to its natural value in the same manner as the values of other things are made to conform to their natural value. Suppose that it were selling above its natural value; that is, above the value which is an equivalent for the labor and expense of mining, and for the risks attending a branch of industry in which nine out of ten experiments have usually been failures. A part of the mass of floating capital which is on the lookout for investment would take the direction of mining enterprise; the supply would thus be increased, and the value would fall. If, on the contrary, it were selling below its natural value, miners would not be obtaining the ordinary profit; they would slacken their works; if the depreciation was great, some of the inferior mines would perhaps stop working altogether: and a falling off in the annual supply, preventing the annual wear and tear from being completely compensated, would by degrees reduce the quantity, and restore the value.

When examined more closely, the following are the details of the process: If gold is above its natural or cost value—the coin, as we have seen, conforming in its value to the bullion—money will be of high value, and the prices of all things, labor included, will be low. These low prices will lower the expenses of all producers; but, as their returns will also be lowered, no advantage will be obtained by any producer, except the producer of gold; whose returns from his mine, not depending on price, will be the same as before, and, his expenses being less, he will obtain extra profits, and will be stimulated to increase his production. E converso, if the metal is below its natural value; since this is as much as to say that prices are high, and the money expenses of all producers unusually great; for this, however, all other producers will be compensated by increased money returns; the miner alone will extract from his mine no more metal than before, while his expenses will be greater: his profits, therefore, being diminished or annihilated, he will diminish his production, if not abandon his employment.

In this manner it is that the value of money is made to conform to the cost of production of the metal of which it is made. It may be well, however, to repeat (what has been said before) that the adjustment takes a long time to effect, in the case of a commodity so generally desired and at the same time so durable as the precious metals. Being so largely used, not only as money but for plate and ornament, there is at all times a very large quantity of these metals in existence: while they are so slowly worn out that a comparatively small annual production is sufficient to keep up the supply, and to make any addition to it which may be required by the increase of goods to be circulated, or by the increased demand for gold and silver articles by wealthy consumers. Even if this small annual supply were stopped entirely, it would require many years to reduce the quantity so much as to make any very material difference in prices. The quantity may be increased much more rapidly than it can be diminished; but the increase must be very great before it can make itself much felt over such a mass of the precious metals as exists in the whole commercial world. And hence the effects of all changes in the conditions of production of the precious metals are at first, and continue to be for many years, questions of quantity only, with little reference to cost of production. More especially is this the case when, as at the present time, many new sources of supply have been simultaneously opened, most of them practicable by labor alone, without any capital in advance beyond a pickaxe and a week’s food, and when the operations are as yet wholly experimental, the comparative permanent productiveness of the different sources being entirely unascertained.

Since, however, the value of money really conforms, like that of other things, though more slowly, to its cost of production, some political economists have objected altogether to the statement that the value of money depends on its quantity combined with the rapidity of circulation, which, they think, is assuming a law for money that does not exist for any other commodity, when the truth is that it is governed by the very same laws. To this we may answer, in the first place, that the statement in question assumes no peculiar law. It is simply the law of demand and supply, which is acknowledged to be applicable to all commodities, and which, in the case of money, as of most other things, is controlled, but not set aside, by the law of cost of production, since cost of production would have no effect on value if it could have none on supply. But, secondly, there really is, in one respect, a closer connection between the value of money and its quantity than between the values of other things and their quantity. The value of other things conforms to the changes in the cost of production, without requiring, as a condition, that there should be any actual alteration of the supply: the potential alteration is sufficient; and, if there even be an actual alteration, it is but a temporary one, except in so far as the altered value may make a difference in the demand, and so require an increase or diminution of supply, as a consequence, not a cause, of the alteration in value. Now, this is also true of gold and silver, considered as articles of expenditure for ornament and luxury; but it is not true of money. If the permanent cost of production of gold were reduced one fourth, it might happen that there would not be more of it bought for plate, gilding, or jewelry, than before; and if so, though the value would fall, the quantity extracted from the mines for these purposes would be no greater than previously. Not so with the portion used as money: that portion could not fall in value one fourth unless actually increased one fourth; for, at prices one fourth higher, one fourth more money would be required to make the accustomed purchases; and, if this were not forthcoming, some of the commodities would be without purchasers, and prices could not be kept up. Alterations, therefore, in the cost of production of the precious metals do not act upon the value of money except just in proportion as they increase or diminish its quantity; which can not be said of any other commodity. It would, therefore, I conceive, be an error, both scientifically and practically, to discard the proposition which asserts a connection between the value of money and its quantity.

It is evident, however, that the cost of production, in the long run, regulates the quantity; and that every country (temporary fluctuation excepted) will possess, and have in circulation, just that quantity of money which will perform all the exchanges required of it, consistently with maintaining a value conformable to its cost of production. The prices of things will, on the average, be such that money will exchange for its own cost in all other goods: and, precisely because the quantity can not be prevented from affecting the value, the quantity itself will (by a sort of self-acting machinery) be kept at the amount consistent with that standard of prices—at the amount necessary for performing, at those prices, all the business required of it.


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