El decálogo: las claves para entender el milagro económico peruano

 Ricardo V. Lago, en El Nuevo Sol, 4 de Junio del 2009

Tuve un extraordinario profesor en la Universidad de California, Harold Demsetz, cuyas primeras palabras al inicio del curso eran: “Adam Smith escribió La Riqueza de las Naciones hace dos siglos, el primer y último tratado riguroso de economía”. Pues bien, en su libro publicado en 1776, Adam Smith se refiere al Perú o Lima en 27 párrafos (1) a Boston o Nueva York o Filadelfia en tan sólo 12 en total y a México en 11. Sobre Londres escribe en 82 párrafos. Está claro que del siglo XVI al XVIII, Lima fue la ciudad más importante de las Américas y una de las más importantes del mundo.       

 
                          

Dejo a los historiadores la identificación de las causas del declive que se inicia en las postrimerías del virreinato. Pero lo cierto es que en los ochenta había días en que Lima se  parecía más a Phnom Penh en la víspera de la llegada al poder de los jemeres rojos que al centro de gravedad  hemisférico que fue en su día dos siglos antes. El caos económico era total, como lo era la amenaza inminente de que se instaurara un estado maoísta.

El proceso de reforma económica de las últimas dos décadas –durante cuatro sucesivos gobiernos de diversos signos y que en su conjunto  representaban a la mayoría de  la población– ha dado un vuelco brusco a la decadencia. En los albores del nuevo milenio, justo en el peor momento de la economía internacional desde los treinta, la economía peruana aguanta sin entrar en recesión, sin crisis cambiarias ni financieras, sin quiebras en cadena de empresas, ni aumento apreciable en el desempleo. Es más, su desempeño económico logra que, en uno de los años más difíciles de nuestras vidas, el 2008, otros 765,000 peruanos más  consigan sobrepasar la línea de pobreza en el cortísimo plazo de 12 meses.

Si no lo estropean los políticos, los mercantilistas, o los ideólogos radicales: ¡Esto no hay quién lo pare! La economía peruana seguirá el camino de los llamados tigres asiáticos –con los que cada día se integra más comercial y financieramente– posicionándose como una de las economías más dinámicas del planeta.

A continuación presento un Decálogo de claves que, a mi juicio, explican la fortaleza en tiempos de debilidad global (a modo de "amor en tiempos de colera"). Ilustran cómo el Perú ha mantenido la virtud  justo donde más han pecado algunos de los países que han arrastrado al planeta a la debacle financiera total y al borde de la depresión global.   

                             
 
Las claves coyunturales

I . Reservas internacionales del Banco Central de Reserva (BCR). Con US$31,000 millones, las divisas exceden al total de los depósitos en soles y dólares de la banca. Es como si todo el sistema bancario fuera un gran currency board, pero sin la rigidez  de estar encadenado a un  tipo de cambio fijo.  

II. Sector público acreedor neto internacional. Aunque su posición consolidada es deudora (10% del PBI, uno de los ratios más bajos del planeta), el sector público es acreedor internacional, ya que las reservas de divisas del BCR superan a la deuda externa por un monto de US$13,000 millones o alrededor del 10% del PBI.

III. Sistema financiero solvente y liquido. Modesto en tamaño (40% del PBI ), pero bien capitalizado ( apalancamiento de 9 a 1 ) y bien supervisado. En términos relativos es 10 veces menor que el del Reino Unido. En estos días de suma y sigue pérdidas bancarias es, más que nunca, aplicable aquello de “small is beautiful”. Prueba suficiente de solidez es que dos bancos peruanos ( primero el Banco de  Crédito y un mes después  el Continental) fueran capaces de colocar bonos en diciembre del 2008 –por un monto de US$400 millones, equivalente a 1% del balance consolidado de la banca– en un mercado internacional disfuncional y con respiración asistida.

IV. Sistema bancario subhipotecado. Los bancos del Perú tienen en libros tan sólo 100,000 hipotecas por un monto total de US$3,000 millones o 7% de la cartera total. Lo que contrasta con las burbujas inmobiliarias y excesos hipotecarios de los muchos países que han convertido el sistema financiero internacional en un gigante con pies de barro. 

V. Margen para políticas anticíclicas. La solidez de los balances del BCR y el Tesoro, así como la favorable posición fiscal y de balanza de pagos, ofrecen al gobierno la posibilidad de acometer nuevas medidas de inversión pública y/o gasto social si empeorara la situación internacional. El país tiene por delante mucho recorrido hipotecario y de inversión en vivienda popular.

VI. Cartera de inversión extranjera. Hay en marcha o puesta a punto proyectos de inversión extranjera por un monto total de US$25,000 millones (lo que es equivalente a la inversión total  durante un año), y otros tantos planeados, en concertación o por licitar. La creciente seguridad jurídica y eliminación de trabas a la inversión (que constatan en sus rankings el Banco Mundial, la OCDE y el Foro Económico Mundial de Davos), así como la estabilidad macroeconómica y el libre comercio y mercado han sido los factores clave para atraer inversión extranjera.

VII. Diversificación del portafolio de exportación de metales. Si bien dos tercios de las exportaciones son metales u otros commodities (por ejemplo, harina de pescado), las correlaciones entre los precios algunos de éstos han sido históricamente cercanas a cero o incluso negativas. Por ejemplo, en el período 1970 – 2008 , la correlación entre el precio del oro y el del cobre –productos que conjuntamente representan casi la mitad exportaciones totales– fue 17%. 

Las claves estructurales

VIII. Historial de Reformas: 1990-2009. Durante dos décadas, cuatro sucesivos gobiernos –que merecen la felicitación y el respeto por su determinación y coraje en política económica– han emprendido uno de los procesos de reforma  más ambiciosos, rápidos y exitosos de la historia de la humanidad, incluyendo en la muestra los procesos de transición de  los países de Europa del Este, India e incluso China.

IX. Reducción de los niveles de pobreza. Durante el último quinquenio, la población por debajo de la línea de pobreza se ha reducido en aproximadamente tres puntos de porcentuales por año. Una de las tasas de reducción de pobreza más altas del planeta. Ello explica por qué en los sondeos sobre  los tratados de libre comercio, la población se pronuncia, y cada vez más, a favor del actual modelo económico.

X. Bajo riesgo político. Hay consenso, entre tres de las cuatro principales fuerzas políticas, en las líneas maestras de política económica. El sistema electoral presidencial de dos vueltas reduce a mínimos la probabilidad de que salga elegido presidente un candidato antimercado. Sin embargo, un pronunciamiento de la fuerza política restante en favor del actual modelo económico desterraría para siempre el fantasma del populismo y prestaría un gran servicio al país. ¿Lo hará?


 

 

[1] Adam Smith . “An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations” . London . Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell , 1776. El lector puede comprobar los datos utilizando la opción de búsqueda en el sitio de Internet http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html

REFERENCIAS  ( 27 Parrafos  ) A PERU / LIMA EN EL LIBRO "LA RIQUEZA DE LAS NACIONES" DE ADAM SMITH

 I.11.165 Secondly, America is itself a new market for the produce of its own silver mines; and as its advances in agriculture, industry, and population, are much more rapid than those of the most thriving countries in Europe, its demand must increase much more rapidly. The English colonies are altogether a new market, which partly for coin and partly for plate, requires a continually augmenting supply of silver through a great continent where there never was any demand before. The greater part too of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies are altogether new markets. New Granada, the Yucatan, Paraguay, and the Brazils were, before discovered by the Europeans, inhabited by savage nations, who had neither arts nor agriculture. A considerable degree of both has now been introduced into all of them. Even Mexico and Peru, though they cannot be considered as altogether new markets, are certainly much more extensive ones than they ever were before. After all the wonderful tales which have been published concerning the splendid state of those countries in ancient times, whoever reads, with any degree of sober judgment, the history of their first discovery and conquest, will evidently discern that, in arts, agriculture, and commerce, their inhabitants were much more ignorant than the Tartars of the Ukraine are at present. Even the Peruvians, the more civilized nation of the two, though they made use of gold and silver as ornaments, had no coined money of any kind. Their whole commerce was carried on by barter, and there was accordingly scarce any division of labour among them. Those who cultivated the ground were obliged to build their own houses, to make their own houshold furniture, their own clothes, shoes, and instruments of agriculture. The few artificers among them are said to have been all maintained by the sovereign, the nobles, and the priests, and were probably their servants or slaves. All the ancient arts of Mexico and Peru have never furnished one single manufacture to Europe. *132 The Spanish armies, though they scarce ever exceeded five hundred men, and frequently did not amount to half that number, found almost every-where great difficulty in procuring subsistence. The famines which they are said to have occasioned almost wherever they went, in countries too which at the same time are represented as very populous and well-cultivated, sufficiently demonstrate that the story of this populousness and high cultivation is in a great measure fabulous. The Spanish colonies are under a government in many respects less favourable to agriculture, improvement and population, than that of the English colonies. *133 They seem, however, to be advancing in all these much more rapidly than any country in Europe. In a fertile soil and happy climate, the great abundance and cheapness of land, a circumstance common to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great an advantage as to compensate many defects in civil government. Frezier, who visited Peru in 1713, represents Lima as containing between twenty-five and twenty-eight thousand inhabitants. *134 Ulloa, who resided in the same country between 1740 and 1746, represents it as containing more than fifty thousand. *135 The difference in their accounts of the populousness of several other principal towns in Chili and Peru is nearly the same; *136 and as there seems to be no reason to doubt of the good information of either, it marks an increase which is scarce inferior to that of the English colonies. America, therefore, is a new market for the produce of its own silver mines, of which the demand must increase much more rapidly than that of the most thriving country in Europe.

 
B.IV, Ch.7, Of Colonies
IV.7.29 The crown of Spain, by its share of the gold and silver, derived some revenue from its colonies from the moment of their first establishment. It was a revenue, too, of a nature to excite in human avidity the most extravagant expectations of still greater riches. The Spanish colonies, therefore, from the moment of their first establishment, attracted very much the attention of their mother country, while those of the other European nations were for a long time in a great measure neglected. The former did not, perhaps, thrive the better in consequence of this attention; nor the latter the worse in consequence of this neglect. In proportion to the extent of the country which they in some measure possess, the Spanish colonies are considered as less populous and thriving than those of almost any other European nation. The progress even of the Spanish colonies, however, in population and improvement, has certainly been very rapid and very great. The city of Lima, founded since the conquest, is represented by Ulloa as containing fifty thousand inhabitants near thirty years ago. *29 Quito, which had been but a miserable hamlet of Indians, is represented by the same author as in his time equally populous. *30 Gemelli Carreri, a pretended traveller, it is said, indeed, but who seems every where to have written upon extremely good information, represents the city of Mexico as containing a hundred thousand inhabitants; *31 a number which, in spite of all the exaggerations of the Spanish writers, is, probably, more than five times greater than what it contained in the time of Montezuma. These numbers exceed greatly those of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, the three greatest cities of the English colonies. Before the conquest of the Spaniards there were no cattle fit for draught either in Mexico or Peru. The llama was their only beast of burden, and its strength seems to have been a good deal inferior to that of a common ass. The plough was unknown among them. They were ignorant of the use of iron. They had no coined money, nor any established instrument of commerce of any kind. Their commerce was carried on by barter. A sort of wooden spade was their principal instrument of agriculture. Sharp stones served them for knives and hatchets to cut with; fish bones and the hard sinews of certain animals served them for needles to sew with; and these seem to have been their principal instruments of trade. *32 In this state of things, it seems impossible that either of those empires could have been so much improved or so well cultivated as at present, when they are plentifully furnished with all sorts of European cattle, and when the use of iron, of the plough, and of many of the arts of Europe, has been introduced among them. But the populousness of every country must be in proportion to the degree of its improvement and cultivation. In spite of the cruel destruction of the natives which followed the conquest, these two great empires are, probably, more populous now than they ever were before: and the people are surely very different; for we must acknowledge, I apprehend, that the Spanish creoles are in many respects superior to the ancient Indians.
 
 
I.11.73 The value of a coal-mine to the proprietor frequently depends *35 as much upon its situation as upon its fertility. That of a metallic mine depends more upon its fertility, and less upon its situation. The coarse, and still more the precious metals, when separated from the ore, are so valuable that they can generally bear the expence of a very long land, and of the most distant sea carriage. Their market is not confined to the countries in the neighbourhood of the mine, but extends to the whole world. The copper of Japan makes an article of commerce in Europe; *36 the iron of Spain in that of Chili and Peru. The silver of Peru finds its way, not only to Europe, but from Europe to China.
 
I.11.74 The price of coals in Westmorland or Shropshire can have little effect on their price at Newcastle; and their price in the Lionnois can have none at all. The productions of such distant coal-mines can never be brought into competition with one another. But the productions of the most distant metallic mines frequently may, and in fact commonly are. The price, therefore, of the coarse, and still more that of the precious metals, at the most fertile mines in the world, must necessarily more or less affect their price at every other in it. The price of copper in Japan must have some influence upon its price at the copper mines in Europe. The price of silver in Peru, or the quantity either of labour or of other goods which it will purchase there, must have some influence on its price, not only at the silver mines of Europe, but at those of China. After the discovery of the mines of Peru, the silver mines of Europe were, the greater part of them, abandoned. The value of silver was so much reduced that their produce could no longer pay the expence of working them, or replace, with a profit, the food, cloaths, lodging and other necessaries which were consumed in that operation. This was the case too with the mines of Cuba and St. Domingo, and even with the ancient mines of Peru, after the discovery of those of Potosi.
 
I.11.77 In the silver mines of Peru, we are told by Frezier and Ulloa, the proprietor frequently exacts no other acknowledgement from the undertaker of the mine, but that he will grind the ore at his mill, paying him the ordinary multure or price of grinding. *38 Till 1736, indeed, the tax of the king of Spain amounted to one-fifth of the standard silver, which till then might be considered as the real rent of the greater part of the silver mines of Peru, the richest which have been known in the world. If there had been no tax, this fifth would naturally have belonged to the landlord, and many mines might have been wrought which could not then be wrought, because they could not afford this tax. *39 The tax of the duke of Cornwall upon tin is supposed to amount to more than five per cent. or one-twentieth part of the value; *40 and whatever may be his proportion, it would naturally too belong to the proprietor of the mine, if tin was duty free. But if you add one-twentieth to one-sixth, you will find that the whole average rent of the tin mines of Cornwall, was *41 to the whole average rent of the silver mines of Peru, as thirteen to twelve. But the silver mines of Peru are not now able to pay even this low rent, and the tax upon silver was, in 1736, reduced from one-fifth to one-tenth. *42 Even this tax upon silver too gives more temptation to smuggling than the tax of one-twentieth upon tin; and smuggling must be much easier in the precious than in the bulky commodity. The tax of the king of Spain accordingly is said to be very ill paid, and that of the duke of Cornwall very well. Rent, therefore, it is probable, makes a greater part of the price of tin at the most fertile tin mines, than it does of silver at the most fertile silver mines in the world. After replacing the stock employed in working those different mines, together with its ordinary profits, the residue which remains to the proprietor, is greater it seems in the coarse, than in the precious metal.
 
I.11.78 Neither are the profits of the undertakers of silver mines commonly very great in Peru. The same most respectable and well informed authors acquaint us, that when any person undertakes to work a new mine in Peru, he is universally looked upon as a man destined to bankruptcy and ruin, and is upon that account shunned and avoided by every body. *43 Mining, it seems, is considered there in the same light as here, as a lottery, in which the prizes do not compensate the blanks, though the greatness of some tempts many adventurers to throw away their fortunes in such unprosperous projects.
 
I.11.79 As the sovereign, however, derives a considerable part of his revenue from the produce of silver mines, the law in Peru gives every possible encouragement to the discovery and working of new ones. Whoever discovers a new mine, is entitled to measure off two hundred and forty-six feet in length, according to what he supposes to be the direction of the vein, and half as much in breadth. *44 He becomes proprietor of this portion of the mine, and can work it without paying any acknowledgement to the landlord. The interest of the duke of Cornwall has given occasion to a regulation nearly of the same kind in that ancient dutchy. In waste and uninclosed lands any person who discovers a tin mine, may mark out its limits to a certain extent, which is called bounding a mine. The bounder becomes the real proprietor of the mine, and may either work it himself, or give it in lease to another, without the consent of the owner of the land, to whom, however, a very small acknowledgement must be paid upon working it. *45 In both regulations the sacred rights of private property are sacrificed to the supposed interests of public revenue.
 
I.11.80 The same encouragement is given in Peru to the discovery and working of new gold mines; and in gold the king’s tax amounts only to a twentieth part of the standard metal. It was once a fifth, and afterwards a tenth, as in silver; but it was found that the work could not bear even the lowest of these two taxes. *46 If it is rare, however, say the same authors, Frezier and Ulloa, to find a person who has made his fortune by a silver, it is still much rarer to find one who has done so by a gold mine. *47 This twentieth part seems to be the whole rent which is paid by the greater part of the gold mines in Chili and Peru. Gold too is much more liable to be smuggled than even silver; not only on account of the superior value of the metal in proportion to its bulk, but on account of the peculiar way in which nature produces it. Silver is very seldom found virgin, but, like most other metals, is generally mineralized with some other body, from which it is impossible to separate it in such quantities as will pay for the expence, but by a very laborious and tedious operation, which cannot well be carried on but in workhouses erected for the purpose, and therefore exposed to the inspection of the king’s officers. Gold, on the contrary, is almost always found virgin. It is sometimes found in pieces of some bulk; and even when mixed in small and almost insensible particles with sand, earth, and other extraneous bodies, it can be separated from them by a very short and simple operation, which can be carried on in any private house by any body who is possessed of a small quantity of mercury. If the king’s tax, therefore, is but ill paid upon silver, it is likely to be much worse paid upon gold; and rent must make a much smaller part of the price of gold, than even of that of silver.
 
I.11.85 As the price both of the precious metals and of the precious stones is regulated all over the world by their price at the most fertile mine in it, the rent which a mine of either can afford to its proprietor is in proportion, not to its absolute, but to what may be called its relative fertility, or to its superiority over other mines of the same kind. If new mines were discovered as much superior to those of Potosi as they were superior to those of Europe, the value of silver might be so much degraded as to render even the mines of Potosi not worth the working. Before the discovery of the Spanish West Indies, the most fertile mines in Europe may have afforded as great a rent to their proprietor as the richest mines in Peru do at present. Though the quantity of silver was much less, it might have exchanged for an equal quantity of other goods, and the proprietor’s share might have enabled him to purchase or command an equal quantity either of labour or of commodities. The value both of the produce and of the rent, the real revenue which they afforded both to the public and to the proprietor, might have been the same.
 
I.11.160 For some time after the first discovery of America, silver would continue to sell at its former, or not much below its former price. The profits of mining would for some time be very great, and much above their natural rate. Those who imported that metal into Europe, however, would soon find that the whole annual importation could not be disposed of at this high price. Silver would gradually exchange for a smaller and a smaller quantity of goods. Its price would sink gradually lower and lower till it fell to its natural price; or to what was just sufficient to pay, according to their natural rates, the wages of the labour, the profits of the stock, and the rent of the land, which must be paid in order to bring it from the mine to the market. In the greater part of the silver mines of Peru, the tax of the king of Spain, amounting to a tenth *124 of the gross produce, eats up, it has already been observed, *125 the whole rent of the land. This tax was originally a half; it soon afterwards fell to a third, then to a fifth, and at last to a tenth, at which rate it still continues. *126 In the greater part of the silver mines of Peru, this, it seems, is all that remains, after replacing the stock of the undertaker of the work, together with its ordinary profits; and it seems to be universally acknowledged that these profits, which were once very high, are now as low as they can well be, consistently with carrying on the works.
 
I.11.164 First, The market of Europe has become gradually more and more extensive. Since the discovery of America, the greater part of Europe has been much improved. England, Holland, France, and Germany; even Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, have all advanced considerably both in agriculture and in manufactures. Italy seems not to have gone backwards. The fall of Italy preceded the conquest of Peru. Since that time it seems rather to have recovered a little. Spain and Portugal, indeed, are supposed to have gone backwards. Portugal, however, is but a very small part of Europe, and the declension of Spain is not, perhaps, so great as is commonly imagined. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, Spain was a very poor country, even in comparison with France, which has been so much improved since that time. It was the well-known remark of the Emperor Charles V. who had travelled so frequently through both countries, that every thing abounded in France, but that every thing was wanting in Spain. The increasing produce of the agriculture and manufactures of Europe must necessarily have required a gradual increase in the quantity of silver coin to circulate it; and the increasing number of wealthy individuals must have required the like increase in the quantity of their plate and other ornaments of silver.
 
I.11.165 Secondly, America is itself a new market for the produce of its own silver mines; and as its advances in agriculture, industry, and population, are much more rapid than those of the most thriving countries in Europe, its demand must increase much more rapidly. The English colonies are altogether a new market, which partly for coin and partly for plate, requires a continually augmenting supply of silver through a great continent where there never was any demand before. The greater part too of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies are altogether new markets. New Granada, the Yucatan, Paraguay, and the Brazils were, before discovered by the Europeans, inhabited by savage nations, who had neither arts nor agriculture. A considerable degree of both has now been introduced into all of them. Even Mexico and Peru, though they cannot be considered as altogether new markets, are certainly much more extensive ones than they ever were before. After all the wonderful tales which have been published concerning the splendid state of those countries in ancient times, whoever reads, with any degree of sober judgment, the history of their first discovery and conquest, will evidently discern that, in arts, agriculture, and commerce, their inhabitants were much more ignorant than the Tartars of the Ukraine are at present. Even the Peruvians, the more civilized nation of the two, though they made use of gold and silver as ornaments, had no coined money of any kind. Their whole commerce was carried on by barter, and there was accordingly scarce any division of labour among them. Those who cultivated the ground were obliged to build their own houses, to make their own houshold furniture, their own clothes, shoes, and instruments of agriculture. The few artificers among them are said to have been all maintained by the sovereign, the nobles, and the priests, and were probably their servants or slaves. All the ancient arts of Mexico and Peru have never furnished one single manufacture to Europe. *132 The Spanish armies, though they scarce ever exceeded five hundred men, and frequently did not amount to half that number, found almost every-where great difficulty in procuring subsistence. The famines which they are said to have occasioned almost wherever they went, in countries too which at the same time are represented as very populous and well-cultivated, sufficiently demonstrate that the story of this populousness and high cultivation is in a great measure fabulous. The Spanish colonies are under a government in many respects less favourable to agriculture, improvement and population, than that of the English colonies. *133 They seem, however, to be advancing in all these much more rapidly than any country in Europe. In a fertile soil and happy climate, the great abundance and cheapness of land, a circumstance common to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great an advantage as to compensate many defects in civil government. Frezier, who visited Peru in 1713, represents Lima as containing between twenty-five and twenty-eight thousand inhabitants. *134 Ulloa, who resided in the same country between 1740 and 1746, represents it as containing more than fifty thousand. *135 The difference in their accounts of the populousness of several other principal towns in Chili and Peru is nearly the same; *136 and as there seems to be no reason to doubt of the good information of either, it marks an increase which is scarce inferior to that of the English colonies. America, therefore, is a new market for the produce of its own silver mines, of which the demand must increase much more rapidly than that of the most thriving country in Europe.
 
I.11.182 Though, in one sense of the word, silver always has been, and probably always will be, much cheaper than gold; yet in another sense, gold may, perhaps, in the present state of the Spanish *159 market, be said to be somewhat cheaper than silver. A commodity may be said to be dear or cheap, not only according to the absolute greatness or smallness of its usual price, but according as that price is more or less above the lowest for which it is possible to bring it to market for any considerable time together. This lowest price is that which barely replaces, with a moderate profit, the stock which must be employed in bringing the commodity thither. It is the price which affords nothing to the landlord, of which rent makes not any component part, but which resolves itself altogether into wages and profit. But, in the present state of the Spanish *160 market, gold is certainly somewhat nearer to this lowest price than silver. The tax of the King of Spain upon gold is only one-twentieth part of the standard metal, or five per cent.; whereas his tax upon silver amounts to one-tenth part of it, or to ten per cent. *161 In these taxes too, it has already been observed, *162 consists the whole rent of the greater part of the gold and silver mines of Spanish America; and that upon gold is still worse paid than that upon silver. The profits of the undertakers of gold mines too, as they more rarely make a fortune, must, in general, be still more moderate than those of the undertakers of silver mines. *163 The price of Spanish gold, therefore, as it affords both less rent and less profit, must, in the Spanish *164 market, be somewhat nearer to the lowest price for which it is possible to bring it thither, than the price of Spanish silver. When all expences are computed, the whole quantity of the one metal, it would seem, cannot, in the Spanish market, be disposed of so advantageously as the whole quantity of the other. *165 The tax, indeed, of the King of Portugal *166 upon the gold of the Brazils, is the same with the ancient tax *167 of the King of Spain upon the silver of Mexico and Peru; or one-fifth part of the standard metal. *168 It may, therefore, be uncertain whether to the general market of Europe the whole mass of American gold comes at a price *169 nearer to the lowest for which it is possible to bring it thither, than the whole mass of American silver.
 
Note: 38.[‘Those who are willing to labour themselves easily obtain of the miner a vein to work on; what they get out of it is their own, paying him the King’s duty and the hire of the mill, which is so considerable that some are satisfied with the profit it yields without employing any to work for them in the mines.’—Frezier, Voyage to the South Sea and along the Coasts of Chili and Peru in the Years 1712, 1713 and 1714, with a Postscript by Dr. Edmund Halley, 1717, p. 109. For Ulloa see below, p. 190, note.]
Note: 39.[In place of these two sentences ed. 1 reads ‘The tax of the King of Spain, indeed, amounts to one-fifth of the standard silver, which may be considered as the real rent of the greater part of the silver mines of Peru, the richest which are known in the world. If there was no tax, this fifth would naturally belong to the landlord, and many mines might be wrought which cannot be wrought at present, because they cannot afford this tax.’]
Note: 43.[‘Quand un homme témoigne avoir dessein de fouiller dans quelque mine, les autres le regardent comme un extravagant qui court à sa perte, et qui risque une ruine certaine pour des espérances éloignées et très-douteuses. Ils tâchent de le détourner de son dessein, et s’ils n’y peuvent réussir, ils le fuyent en l’évitant, comme s’ils craignaient qu’il ne leur communiquât son mal.’— Voyage historique de l’Amérique méridionale par don George Juan et par don Antoine de Ulloa, 1752 tom. i., p. 379. The statement relates to the province of Quito, and the condition of things is contrasted with that prevailing in Peru proper. For Frezier see next page, note 47.]
B.II, Ch.3, Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour
II.3.24 The quantity of money, on the contrary, must in every country naturally increase as the value of the annual produce increases. The value of the consumable goods annually circulated within the society being greater will require a greater quantity of money to circulate them. A part of the increased produce, therefore, will naturally be employed in purchasing, wherever it is to be had, the additional quantity of gold and silver necessary for circulating the rest. The increase of those metals will in this case be the effect, not the cause, of the public prosperity. Gold and silver are purchased every-where in the same manner. The food, clothing, and lodging, the revenue and maintenance of all those whose labour or stock is employed in bringing them from the mine to the market, is the price paid for them in Peru as well as in England. The country which has this price to pay will never be long without the quantity of those metals which it has occasion for; and no country will ever long retain a quantity which it has no occasion for.
 
B.II, Ch.5, Of the Different Employment of Capitals
II.5.29 Whatever be the foreign commodity with which the foreign goods for home-consumption are purchased, it can occasion no essential difference either in the nature of the trade, or in the encouragement and support which it can give to the productive labour of the country from which it is carried on. If they are purchased with the gold of Brazil, for example, or with the silver of Peru, this gold and silver, like the tobacco of Virginia, must have been purchased with something that either was the produce of the industry of the country, or that had been purchased with something else that was so. So far, therefore, as the productive labour of the country is concerned, the foreign trade of consumption which is carried on by means of gold and silver has all the advantages and all the inconveniences of any other equally round-about foreign trade of consumption, and will replace just as fast or just as slow the capital which is immediately employed in supporting that productive labour. It seems even to have one advantage over any other equally round-about foreign trade. The transportation of those metals from one place to another, on account of their small bulk and great value, is less expensive than that of almost any other foreign goods of equal value. Their freight is much less, and their insurance not greater; and no goods, besides, are less liable to suffer by the carriage. *74 An equal quantity of foreign goods, therefore, may frequently be purchased with a smaller quantity of the produce of domestic industry, by the intervention of gold and silver, than by that of any other foreign goods. The demand of the country may frequently, in this manner, be supplied more completely and at a smaller expence than in any other. Whether, by the continual exportation of those metals, a trade of this kind is likely to impoverish the country from which it is carried on, in any other way, I shall have occasion to examine at great length hereafter. *75
 
B.IV, Ch.1, Of the Principle of the Commercial or Mercantile System
IV.1.13 When the quantity of gold and silver imported into any country exceeds the effectual demand, no vigilance of government can prevent their exportation. All the sanguinary laws of Spain and Portugal are not able to keep their gold and silver at home. The continual importations from Peru and Brazil exceed the effectual demand of those countries, and sink the price of those metals there below that in the neighbouring countries. If, on the contrary, in any particular country their quantity fell short of the effectual demand, so as to raise their price above that of *14 the neighbouring countries, the government would have no occasion to take any pains to import them. If it were *15 even to take pains to prevent their importation, it would not be able to effectuate it. Those metals, when the Spartans had got wherewithal to purchase them, broke through all the barriers which the laws of Lycurgus opposed to their entrance into Lacedemon. All the sanguinary laws of the customs are not able to prevent the importation of the teas of the Dutch and Gottenburgh East India Companies, because somewhat cheaper than those of the British company. A pound of tea, however, is about a hundred times the bulk of one of the highest prices, sixteen shillings, that is commonly paid for it in silver, and more than two thousand times the bulk of the same price in gold, and consequently just so many times more difficult to smuggle.
 
IV.1.33 The discovery of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, which happened much about the same time, opened perhaps a still more extensive range to foreign commerce than even that of America, notwithstanding the greater distance. There were but two nations in America in any respect superior to savages, and these were destroyed almost as soon as discovered. The rest were mere savages. But the empires of China, Indostan, Japan, as well as several others in the East Indies, without having richer mines of gold or silver, were in every other respect much richer, better cultivated, and more advanced in all arts and manufactures than either Mexico or Peru, even though we should credit, what plainly deserves no credit, the exaggerated accounts of the Spanish writers concerning the ancient state of those empires. But rich and civilized nations can always exchange to a much greater value with one another than with savages and barbarians. Europe, however, has hitherto derived much less advantage from its commerce with the East Indies than from that with America. The Portuguese monopolized the East India trade to themselves for about a century, and it was only indirectly and through them that the other nations of Europe could either send out or receive any goods from that country. When the Dutch, in the beginning of the last century, began to encroach upon them, they vested their whole East India commerce in an exclusive company. The English, French, Swedes, and Danes have all followed their example, so that no great nation in Europe has ever yet had the benefit of a free commerce to the East Indies. No other reason need be assigned why it has never been so advantageous as the trade to America, which, between almost every nation of Europe and its own colonies, is free to all its subjects. The exclusive privileges of those East India companies, their great riches, the great favour and protection which these have procured them from their respective governments, have excited much envy against them. This envy has frequently represented their trade as altogether pernicious, on account of the great quantities of silver which it every year exports from the countries from which it is carried on. The parties concerned have replied that their trade, by this continual exportation of silver, might indeed tend to impoverish Europe in general, but not the particular country from which it was carried on; because, by the exportation of a part of the returns to other European countries, it annually brought home a much greater quantity of that metal than it carried out. Both the objection and the reply are founded in the popular notion which I have been just now examining. It is therefore unnecessary to say anything further about either. By the annual exportation of silver to the East Indies, plate is probably somewhat dearer in Europe than it otherwise might have been; and coined silver probably purchases a larger quantity both of labour and commodities. The former of these two effects is a very small loss, the latter a very small advantage; both too insignificant to deserve any part of the public attention. The trade to the East Indies, by opening a market to the commodities of Europe, or, what comes nearly to the same thing, to the gold and silver which is purchased with those commodities, must necessarily tend to increase the annual production of European commodities, and consequently the real wealth and revenue of Europe. That it has hitherto increased them so little is probably owing to the restraints which it every-where labours under.
 
B.IV, Ch.3, Of the extraordinary Restraints upon the Importation of Goods of almost all Kinds
IV.3.36 If it was not with tobacco and East India goods, but with gold and silver, that England paid for the commodities annually imported from France, the balance, in this case, would be supposed uneven, commodities not being paid for with commodities, but with gold and silver. The trade, however, would, in this case, as in the foregoing, give some revenue to the inhabitants of both countries, but more to those of France than to those of England. It would give some revenue to those of England. The capital which had been employed in producing the English goods that purchased this gold and silver, the capital which had been distributed among, and given revenue to, certain inhabitants of England, would thereby be replaced and enabled to continue that employment. The whole capital of England would no more be diminished by this exportation of gold and silver than by the exportation of an equal value of any other goods. On the contrary, it would in most cases be augmented. No goods are sent abroad but those for which the demand is supposed to be greater abroad than at home, and of which the returns consequently, it is expected, will be of more value at home than the commodities exported. If the tobacco which, in England, is worth only a hundred thousand pounds, when sent to France will purchase wine which is, in England, worth a hundred and ten thousand, this exchange will equally augment the capital of England by ten thousand pounds. If a hundred thousand pounds of English gold, in the same manner, purchase French wine which, in England, is worth a hundred and ten thousand, this exchange will equally augment the capital of England by ten thousand pounds. As a merchant who has a hundred and ten thousand pounds worth of wine in his cellar is a richer man than he who has only a hundred thousand pounds worth of tobacco in his warehouse, so is he likewise a richer man than he who has only a hundred thousand pounds worth of gold in his coffers. He can put into motion a greater quantity of industry, and give revenue, maintenance, and employment to a greater number of people than either of the other two. But the capital of the country is equal to the capitals of all its different inhabitants, and the quantity of industry which can be annually maintained in it is equal to what all those different capitals can maintain. Both the capital of the country, therefore, and the quantity of industry which can be annually maintained in it, must generally be augmented by this exchange. It would, indeed, be more advantageous for England that it could purchase the wines of France with its own hard-ware and broad-cloth than with either the tobacco of Virginia or the gold and silver of Brazil and Peru. A direct foreign trade of consumption is always more advantageous than a roundabout one. But a round-about foreign trade of consumption, which is carried on with gold and silver, does not seem to be less advantageous than any other equally round-about one. Neither is a country which has no mines more likely to be exhausted of gold and silver by this annual exportation of those metals than one which does not grow tobacco by the like annual exportation of that plant. As a country which has where-withal to buy tobacco will never be long in want of it, so neither will one be long in want of gold and silver which has wherewithal to purchase those metals.
 
B.IV, Ch.7, Of Colonies
IV.7.17 All the other enterprises of the Spaniards in the new world, subsequent to those of Columbus, seem to have been prompted by the same motive. It was the sacred thirst of gold that carried Oieda, Nicuessa, and Vasco Nugnes de Balboa, to the Isthmus of Darien, that carried Cortez to Mexico, and Almagro and Pizzarro to Chili and Peru. When those adventurers arrived upon any unknown coast, their first inquiry was always if there was any gold to be found there; and according to the information which they received concerning this particular, they determined either to quit the country or to settle in it.
 
IV.7.20 In the countries first discovered by the Spaniards, no gold or silver mines are at present known which are supposed to be worth the working. The quantities of those metals which the first adventurers are said to have found there had probably been very much magnified, as well as the fertility of the mines which were wrought immediately after the first discovery. What those adventurers were reported to have found, however, was sufficient to inflame the avidity of all their countrymen. Every Spaniard who sailed to America expected to find an Eldorado. Fortune, too, did upon this what she has done upon very few other occasions. She realized in some measure the extravagant hopes of her votaries, and in the discovery and conquest of Mexico and Peru (of which the one happened about thirty, the other about forty years after the first expedition of Columbus), she presented them with s.

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