The Manufacturing Power and the Principle of Stability and Continuity of Work
If we investigate the origin and progress of individual branches of industry we shall find that they have only gradually become possessed of improved methods of operation, machinery buildings, advantages in production, experiences, and skill, and of all those knowledges and connections which insure to them the profitable purchase of their raw materials and the profitable sale of their products. We may rest assured that it is (as a rule) incomparably easier to perfect and extend a business already established than to found a new one. We see everywhere old business establishments that have lasted for a series of generations worked with greater profits than new ones. We observe that it is the more difficult to set a new business going in proportion as fewer branches of industry of a similar character already exist in a nation; because, in that case, masters, foremen, and workmen must first be either trained up at home or procured from abroad, and because the profitableness of the business has not been sufficiently tested to give capitalists confidence in its success. If we compare the conditions of distinct classes of industry in any nation at various periods, we everywhere find, that when special causes had not operated to injure them, they have made remarkable progress, not only in regard to cheapness of prices, but also with respect to quantity and quality, from generation to generation. On the other hand, we observe that in consequence of external injurious causes, such as wars and devastation of territory, &c., or oppressive tyrannical or fanatical measures of government and finance (as e.g. the revocation of the Edict of Nantes), whole nations have been thrown back for centuries, either in their entire industry or in certain branches of it, and have in this manner been far outstripped by nations in comparison with which they had previously been far advanced.