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the word "value," a ring, a watch, a horse, or a house, is a valueable thing, while air is a valueless thing.
The value of everything being what can be got in exchange for it, the more anything will exchange for, the greater is its value; so that a sovereign is more valuable than a shilling, and a watch is more valuable than a knife. All things that can be exchanged for others, and are therefore said to be exchangeable things, have value; if they were not exchangeable they would have no value. Value may therefore be called the exchangeable property of anything, and the particular value of anything, is just what can be got for it.
We said just now, that money has value, and air has none; and we might have made out a list of things that have no value. But why should some things possess value, and others not? or, what makes those things valuable that are so ? This is an interesting question, and one we are now going to answer.
Many children have often wished that pretty bits of coloured glass and china, could buy things as well as money, and no doubt many have wondered why people who keep shops, will not take them instead of money, as they are much prettier. But though shopkeepers will not give anything in exchange for a pretty piece of blue glass, children often will; many a boy will give two or three marbles for such a piece, and he will do so, because he wishes to have it,-he desires it. But no shopkeepers desire bits of coloured glass, and therefore they will give nothing for them; nor will children do so, when they do not care to have them. This shows us that to be exchangeable, a thing must be desired; or, in other words, that to be valuable, it must be desirable. Everything that is valuable, is desirable for something or the other; money is desirable for its use, and so is coal; flowers and pictures are desirable for their beauty; and old coins are desirable as curiosities. All these things are valuable, for people will give other things in exchange for them; but they would not do so if they did
not desire them ;-if they were not desirable they would not be valuable. This is true of everything, and therefore we say that to be valuable, a thing must be desirable.
But it would be wrong to suppose that everything that is desirable, is valuable. Nothing is more desirable than health, yet health has no value. It is very common for people to say, “What a valuable thing health is !” but when they do so, they use the word " valuable" in a different sense from what is usual, just as a mother uses the words “precious" and "dear," when she says her baby is a dear, precious child. It would be better to say that health is a very good, a very useful, or a very desirable thing, for that is what they really mean. Whenever the word "valuable" is used in this book, it means exchangeable, which is its most proper meaning.
In this sense of the word, it is easy to see that health is not a valuable thing; for a rich, unhealthy man, may be very willing to give a large sum of money to a poor healthy man, for his health, and the poor man may be quite as willing to make the exchange, but as we all know, he cannot do it, and therefore his health is of no value. The rich man may spend his money in trying to get health, and the poor man may part with his health by careless living; but health can never be exchanged between people, because it cannot be passed from one person to another. The same may be said of a person's character, or reputation, as it is often called. A good character, though it is a very good and useful thing, has no value, because it cannot be passed from one person to another; no one will give anything for what cannot be made to exchange owners, however much he may
desire it. When anything is passed over to anyone, it is said to be transferred to that person; and whatever can be transferred, is said to be transferable. If health and reputation were transferable, they would be valuable, for then people would willingly give something in ex
change for them; it is only because they are not transferable, that they are not valuable. Hence we learn, that to be valuable, a thing must be desirable and transferable.
But all things that are desirable and transferable, are not valuable. This is the case with air, which is a most desirable and necessary thing, and is transferable also. As everybody knows, no one will give anything in exchange for a quantity of air, no matter how large a quantity it may be, because everyone can get as much of it as he wants for nothing; and people give things in exchange, only for such things as they cannot get without. We are able to get air for nothing, because it is so plentiful; the quantity is so large as to be without end or limit, so far as we have to do with breathing it, for everyone can get as much of it as he wants, without trouble or cost; and therefore it is said to be unlimited in quantity. In most places, water also is unlimited in quantity, and whenever it is so, it is valueless. In some places, however, though not scarce, it is so limited in quantity as not to be had for nothing; and there it is an article of value.
From all that has been said about value, we have learnt that to be valuable, a thing must be desirable, transferable, and so limited in quantity as not to be had for nothing. These are the only things that anything needs be, to be valuable; and everything that is these three things, is valuable. Think of something that is valuable, and you will see that this is true; a loaf for example, is a thing of value, and as all know, it is a desirable thing; it is also transferable, and so limited in quantity, that it cannot be had for nothing.
LESSON 61.-PRICE. EVERY person who is asked the value of any commodity he has to sell, gives the value in money, by saying it is worth so many pounds, shillings, or pence.
In a similar way, when a tailor is asked the length of a piece of cloth, he gives it in yards, quarters, and nails; he measures the length of his cloth, by the length of something that is well known, and which, being always used for that purpose, is called the measure of length. So the seller of anything, measures the value of his commodities, by the value of something that is well known, and which, being always used for that purpose, is called the measure of value. Money is the thing by which all persons measure the value of things, and it is therefore called the measure of value. The value of any commodity measured in money, is called its price; -the price of a thing is, its money value.
But on what does the price of any commodity depend? or, in other words, why is the price of anything just what it is ? As it is very useful and important to know this, we shall spend some time in inquiring on what the prices of commodities depend. While doing so, we must not forget that the price of a thing, is only anothe name for its value; and, therefore, to ask on what its price depends, is to ask on what its value depends.
We will suppose that coal is eightpence a hundredweight; we want to know why that price is set on it, rather than any other. If you ask the coal dealer why he charges eightpence a hundredweight for his coal, he will most likely tell you that it is its fair value.
Ву saying it is the fair value, he means that it is just enough to pay back the cost of getting the coal, and a fair profit for the trouble of selling. Before the coal can be got, the land under which it lies, has to be paid for; that is, the material has to be bought. The material having been bought, men have to be paid for digging the coal out of the pit; that is, the labour has to be paid for. Besides these things, the use of the steam engine, pumps, lifts, and all other machines and tools used in raising coal, has to be paid for. These three things, material, labour, and machinery, have to be paid for, before any coal can be produced; producing it costs money, and the money it costs, is called the cost of production.
The owners of coal pits find out the cost of the coal to them, before putting a price on it; they then add something for profit, to the cost of producing, and so fix its price. If coal producers had to pay nothing for the material, the cost of production would be less, and they would charge less for their coal. They would do so too, if they could get men to work for less, or if they could buy machines for less than they do, because then the cost of production would be less. But if they had to pay more than they have, for the material, the labour, or the machinery they use, they would have to charge more for their coal, for the cost of production would then be greater than it now is.
It is nearly always found, that a decrease in the cost of producing coal, causes a decrease in its price, and that an increase in the cost of production, causes an increase in its price. This shows us that the price of coal very much depends on the cost of production. We cannot say the price altogether depends on the cost of production, because the price does not always fall, when the cost of producing it decreases; nor does the price always rise, when the cost of production increases. There is something else on which the price of coal depends, though not so much as it does on the cost of production. What that something else is, we shall presently see ; for the present, we can safely say, the price of coal chiefly depends on the cost of production.
Now let us inquire into the price of something else, say a loaf of bread; we want to know why we have to pay sevenpence for a loaf. If we could get to know from the baker, just what the flour in the loaf cost him, and what the wheat from which it was made, cost the farmer, in the shape of rent, seed, labour, use of implements, &c., we should find that the sevenpence just pays the cost of producing the loaf, and a profit to each of