Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/48

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40
CAPITAL AND INTEREST.

The man who gives me a glass of water in the Pyrenees, does not render me so great a service as he who allows me one in the desert of Sahara. If there are many planes, sacks of corn, or houses, in a country, the use of them is obtained, other things being equal, on more favourable conditions than if they were few; for the simple reason, that the lender renders in this case a smaller relative service.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the more abundant capitals are, the lower is the interest.

Is this saying that it will ever reach zero? No; because, I repeat it, the principle of a remuneration is in the loan. To say that interest will be annihilated, is to say that there will never be any motive for saving, for denying ourselves, in order to form new capitals, nor even to preserve the old ones. In this case, the waste would immediately bring a void, and interest would directly reappear.

In that, the nature of the services of which we are speaking does not differ from any other. Thanks to industrial progress, a pair of stockings which used to be worth six francs, has successively been worth only four, three, and two. No one can say to what point this value will descend; but we can affirm that it will never reach zero, unless the stockings finished by producing themselves spontaneously. Why? Because the principle of remuneration is in labour; because he who works for another renders a service, and ought to receive a service. If no one paid for stockings they would cease to be made; and, with the scarcity, the price would not fail to reappear.