I. Case or state of things the first.---The quantities of wealth in question, considered as being in a quiescent state, actually in the hands of the two parties in question: neither entering into, nor going out of the hands of either.
1. Cæteris paribus,---to every particle of the matter of wealth corresponds a particle of the matter of happiness. Accordingly, thence,
2. So far as depends upon wealth,---of two persons having unequal fortunes, he who bas most wealth must by a legislator be regarded as having most happiness.
3. But the quantity of happiness will not go on increasing in anything near the same proportion as the quantity of wealth:---ten thousand times the quantity of wealth will not bring with it ten thousand times the quantity of happiness. It will even be matter of doubt, whether ten thousand times the wealth will in general bring with it twice the happiness. Thus it is that,
4. The effect of wealth in the production of happiness goes on diminishing, as the quantity by which the wealth of one man exceeds that of another goes on increasing: in other words, the quantity of happiness produced by a particle of wealth (each particle being of the same magnitude) will be less and less at every particle; the second will produce less than the first, the third than the second, and so on.
5. Minimum of wealth, say £10 per year---greatest excess of happiness produced by excess in the quantity of wealth, as 2 to 1:---magnitude of a particle of wealth, £1 a year. On these data might be grounded a scale or table, exhibiting the quantities of happiness produced, by as many additions made to the quantity of wealth at the bottom of the scale, as there are pounds between £10 and £10,000.
II. Case, or state of things the second,---the particles of wealth about to enter into the hands of the parties in question.
1. Fortunes unequal:---by a particle of wealth, if added to the wealth of him who has least, more happiness will be produced than if added to the wealth of him who has most.
2. Particles of wealth at the disposition of the legislator, say 10,000;---happiness of the most wealthy to that of the least wealthy say (as per No. 5,) as 2 to 1 :---by giving to each one of 10,000 a particle of wealth, the legislator will produce 5000 times the happiness he would produce by giving the 10,000 particles to one person.
3. On these data might be grounded a scale, exhibiting the quantities of happiness produced, by so many additions made as above to the minimum of wealth, to the respective happiness of any number of persons, whose respective quantities of wealth exceed one another, by the amount of a particle in each instance.
III. Case, or state of things the third,---the particles of wealth about to go out of the hands of the parties.
1. By the subtraction of a particle of the matter of wealth, a less subtraction from happiness will be produced, if made from the wealth of him who has the matter of abundance, than if from the wealth of him who has the matter of subsistence only.
2. So, if from the wealth of him who has a larger portion of the matter of abundance than if from the wealth of him who has not so large a portion of the matter of abundance.
3. Fortunes equal, and the aggregate sum subtracted being given, the greater the number of the persons from whose wealth the subtraction is made, the less will be the subtraction thereby made from the aggregate of happiness.
4. Fortunes unequal, still less will be the subtraction of happiness, if it be in the ratio of their fortunes that the subtraction is made the greatest quantity being subtracted from those whose fortunes are greatest.
5. A quantity of the matter of wealth may be assigned, so small, that if subtracted from the fortune of a person possessed of a certain quantity of the matter of abundance no sensible subtraction of happiness would be the result.
6. The larger the fortune of the individual in question, the greater the probability that. by the subtraction of a given quantity of the matter of wealth, no subtraction at all will be made from the quantity of his happiness.
7. So likewise, if the ratio of the sum to be subtracted, to the aggregate mass from which it is to be subtracted, be so great, that by the subtraction of it, subtraction of a quantity, more or less considerable, cannot but be made from the aggregate of happiness.---still the larger, in the case of each individual, the aggregate of wealth is from which the subtraction is made, the less will be the quantity of happiness so subtracted, as above.
IV. Case, or state of things the fourth,---the particles of wealth about to go out of the hands of the one party into the hands of the other.
1. Fortunes equal:---take from the one party a portion of the matter of wealth an give it to the other,---the quantity of happiness gained to the gainer of the wealth will not be so great as the quantity of happiness lost to the loser of the wealth.
2. Fortunes unequal:---the poorer the loser, the richer the gainer: greater in this case is the diminution produced in the mass of happiness by the transfer, than in the last mentioned case.
3. Fortunes again unequal:---the richer the loser, the poorer the gainer: the effect produced on happiness by the transfer may in in this case be either loss or gain.
Whether it be the one or the other, will depend partly upon the degree of the inequality, partly upon the magnitude of the portion of wealth transferred. If the inequality be very small, and the wealth transferred also small, the effect produced on the sum of happiness may be loss. But if either be---much more if both be other than, very small, the effect on happiness will be gain.
4. Income of the richer, say £100,000 a year---income of the less rich, say £99,999 a-year: wealth taken from the first, and transferred to the less rich, £1 a-year:---on the sum of happiness the effect will be on the side of loss;---more happiness will be lost by the richer than gained by the less rich. Hence one cause of the preponderance produced on the side of evil by the practice called gaming.
5. Income of the richer loser, £100,000 a-year;---income of the less rich gainer, £10 a-year;---wealth lost to the richer, gained by the less rich, £1 a-year:---on the sum of happiness the effect will be on the side of gain. More happiness will be gained by the less rich gainer, than lost by the more rich loser.
Thus it is, that if the effects of the first order were alone taken into account, the consequence would be, that, on the supposition of a new constitution coming to be established, with the greatest happiness of the greatest number for its end in view, sufficient reason would have place for taking the matter of wealth from the richest and transferring it to the less rich, till the fortunes of all were reduced to an equality, or a system of inequality so little different from perfect equality that the difference would not be worth calculating
But call in now the effects of the second and those of the third order, and the effect is reversed: to maximization of happiness would be substituted universal annihilation in the first place of happiness---in the next place of existence. Evil of the second order,---annihilation of happiness by the universality of the alarm, and the swelling of danger into certainty:---Evil of the third order,---annihilation of existence by the certainty of the non-enjoyment of the fruit of labour and thence the extinction of all inducement to labour.
Independently of the destruction which would thus be produced by carrying, or even by the known intention of carrying to its utmost possible length the equalization or say levelling system, as above, diminution would be effected in the aggregate of happiness, by the extinction of the fund afforded by the matter of abundance for keeping undiminished the stock of the matter of wealth necessary for subsistence.
On consideration of what is stated above it will be found that the plan of distribution applied to the matter of wealth, which is most favourable to universality of subsistence, and thence, in other words, to the maximization of happiness, is that in which, while the fortune of the richest---of him whose situation is at the top of the scale, is greatest, the degrees between the fortune of the least rich and that of the most rich are most numerous,---in other words, the gradation most regular and insensible.
The larger the fortunes of the richest are, the smaller will be the number of those whose fortunes approach near to that high level: the smaller, therefore, the number of those from whose masses of property the largest defalcation could by possibility be made :---and, moreover, the larger those masses, the greater would be the difficulty which the legislator would experience as to the obtaining at their charge such defalcation as the nature of the case would not exclude the possibility of making.
Thus, for example, it would, in case of over population, be easier in England, or even in Ireland, to ward off famine for a time, than it would be in British India.
Equality requires, that though it be at the expense of all the other members of the community, the income of those whose income is composed of the wages of labour be maximized. Reason: Of these are composed the vast majority of the whole number of the members of the community.
Exceptions excepted, equality requires that the profits of stock be minimized. Reason: Because the net profit of stock is composed of the mass, or say portion remaining to the employer of the stock, after deduction made of the wages of the labour applied to it.
Exception will be---if this supposed case be really exemplified---where the possessors of the wages of labour are so many, and the possessors of the profits of stock so few, that by a small addition to the one, no sensible defalcation will be made from the other.