Universal Wealth

Universal Wealth
Catalog # SKU0756
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Lysander Spooner


Universal Wealth
Shown To Be Easily Attainable

Its Illegal Causes And Legal Cure

by Lysander Spooner



THE wealth of the world is proportionate to the number of different things mankind possess, rather than to the quantity of any one thing. Thus, if every human being had as much wheat as he could eat, and had no other wealth, all would still be poor. But if, in addition to all the wheat they desire, every human being has a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand other things - each, on an average, of equal value with the wheat - the wealth of each individual, and of the world, is multiplied a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand fold.

Individuals usually desire, for their own use or consumption, but a very limited amount of any one thing; but we as yet know no limit to the number of different things they desire. And we shall never know any such limit, until the ingenuity of the human race, in the invention of new commodities, shall have been exhausted.

The great problem of universal wealth, therefore, is comprised in these two, viz.: First, how shall we give to every person the greatest possible variety of commodities? and, secondly, how shall we give to each individual as much as he desires of each and all these various commodities?

Men are able to produce almost no wealth at all by their hands alone. Until they make discoveries in science, and inventions in implements and machinery, they remain savages, few in number, and living upon such wild fruits as they can gather, and such wild [*4] animals as they can kill. But they have proved themselves capable of such discoveries in science, and such inventions in implements and machinery, as will, each of them, enable a man to produce a hundred, a thousand, some of them a million, or even a hundred or a thousand million times as much wealth as he could before create with his hands alone. What labor could Watt perform with his hands, compared with that performed by his steam-engine? What labor could Arkwright perform with his hands alone, compared with that performed by his spinning machine? What labor could Stephenson perform, in the transportation of freight and passengers, compared with that performed by his locomotive? What could Morse do, on foot, in the transmission of intelligence, compared with what can be done with his telegraph? What could the Assyrian do, with his tablets of baked clay, in supplying the world with reading matter, compared with what can be done with a Hoe printing press? What could men do, with their hands alone, in tunnelling mountains, building suspension bridges, and laying deep sea cables, compared with what can be done by the machinery they have invented for those purposes?

These things should teach us that it is brains, and not hands, that must be relied on for the creation of wealth. And it would be well for us to realize, much more fully than we ever have done, that brain labor, no less than hand labor, must be paid for, if we would have the benefit of it.

The discoveries in science, the invention of implements and machinery, and the invention of new commodities for consumption, have already multiplied the wealth of some portions of the world by millions and thousands of millions of what it once was. And yet it is but recently that inventions have begun to add much to the wealth of the world. For thousands, and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, mankind remained savages, or at best barbarians, for the want of such inventions as are now just beginning to be made.

At the present time, the people of the United States are acknowledged to take the lead of the whole world, especially in mechanical inventions. And yet substantially all our inventions [*5] have been made within a hundred years; most of them within fifty years. We are now making from ten to fifteen thousand new inventions per annum. Some of these are of great, in fact of immeasurable, value. Many of them, although of less value, are nevertheless valuable. And yet we are probably not producing a tenth, perhaps not a hundredth, part so many inventions, in proportion to population, as we ought to do, and should do, if inventors were protected, as they ought to be, in a perpetual right to their inventions, and they and the public had the capital-that is, the money - necessary for producing inventions, and putting them into operation.

The people of the United States constitute not more than a twenty-fifth part of the population of the globe. In not more than a fourth, fifth, perhaps even a tenth, part of the world are any considerable number of inventions now being made. Not because the peoples of those other portions are naturally incapable of invention; but because they have no protection for their property in their inventions, and no money, no capital, no opportunity to make inventions, or bring them into operation. Their poverty, ignorance, and servitude suppress all their efforts in this direction.

What will be the number and value of the inventions made, and what the variety and amount of wealth produced by means of them, when, if ever, all mankind shall be protected in their property in their inventions, and shall have all the money necessary to bring their inventions into successful operation, no one now can form any idea.

End excerpt.


Softbound, 5.25x8.25, 156 pages

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