Pagina:Scientia - Vol. VII.djvu/107

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on the use of the differential calculus etc. 99

minate (in the mathematical sense) within certain limits1; unless indeed under the appearance of selling work by the day there really lurked a traffic in hours of work2, and so the requisite comminution of doses reappeared. Except, of course, also the cases in which the remuneration of the hired operatives is equated by competition to the remuneration of small independent artisans, of settlers on free land, and so forth. In short, I do not deny that there might be an industrial system such as Mr Hobson seems to suppose in which the marginal productivity of an operative does not (with any accuracy) measure wages. But I opine that such a system is not typical of modern industry in the concrete. And I affirm, what Mr Hobson in the passage above quoted seems to deny, that the following theorem is true in the abstract. If the labour market consisted only of a number of employers on one side, and a much greater number of employers alle of the same efficiency on the other side, with no limitations on the size of establishments, wages would be approximately measured by the marginal productivity of an operative3. This simple corollary to the doctrine of maximum advantage does not seem to be touched by Mr Hobson’s dialectic, of which I subjoin some more specimens4.

«Margins are derivative not determinative».

«This [the author’s doctrine] does not imply that the marginal factors exercise any special determinant influence as causes of the price».

«It is far more accurate to say that the price per unit causes the margin to be where it is than to attribute any causative power to the margin, as margin, in relation to the price per unit».

Does this dialectic add anything to the warning which Dr Marshall in connection with his doctrine of the Marginal Shepherd had clearly pronounced: «It must however be remembered that the price which at first was worth while for the farmer to pay for this labour, merely gauged the

  1. See «Quarterly Journal of Economics», February 1904. p. 188.
  2. Loc. cit. p. 189.
  3. The law of diminishing returns, proper to the case here designated A being postulated.
  4. The Industrial System, p. 102.