Page:The Scientific Monthly vol. 3.djvu/367
362 THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY
ing the fact that property is a factor in wealth production. It is a factor and not a producer in the same sense that the wheels of an engine are a factor and not a producer of the energy developed, which is derived solely from the potential energy of the coal. Not only may labor produce without properly, but it is the producer of property. In short, property does not produce, it is an opportunity to produce.
The proposition that all income is produced by labor will be dis- puted, for at once there comes to mind that portion of income that arises through an increase in land values and which at first sight can not be attributed to production by labor. But — ^taking land values as typical of all forms of so called wealth not directly attributable to labor — the following propositions, at least, are evident: (1) That value attaches to land solely because land ownership is the privilege, through rent, of regularly acquiring the products of labor. (2) That in a so- ciety which is economically static to the extent that land values are stationary, all income is the product of labor. (3) That in the long run and in the world at large all income is unconditionally the product of labor since history shows us that civilizations, and therefore land values, rise and fall in long period oscillations. (4) That in a country like the United States where land values are increasing, such increase is only a part of property income, the other part consisting of rent on land values and returns from other forms of capital, all of which is unquestionably the product of labor.
In the absence of property incomes, service or labor incomes could be equivalent to the wealth produced, but since property incomes absorb some of this wealth, the average of service incomes must be less than the average wealth that service produces. Neglecting for the time being that part of property income arising through increase in land values, it is evident that the dual source of income — service and prop- erty — can not apply to the national income as a whole, which must be equivalent to the national production. This is to say that the di^ tinction between the two kinds of income is a socially internal one, some have the property income iecauae others have it not. A man may receive more or less than he produces, according as other men receive less or more than they produce, but not so witb the community as a whole which receives just what it produces.*
In all the figures compiled in this investigation land values are included, partly because present methods of accoxmting make it difficult to distinguish these from the products of labor, and partly because to raise the distinction would be to raise questions beyond the scope of our survey. But we may remember that in so far as any form of wealth
s Foreign relations are here neglected. But in 1914 the excess of out wealth sent abroad ($470,000,000) was only about \\ per cent, of our total wealth production for the year. To that extent approximately we were paying foreign nations a property income with our labor.