This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
Primary, where a direct part is taken, an active agency maintained, in the creation of values.
Secondary, when an effect is produced, which, by modifying human capacities or desires, however indirectly and in whatever degree, brings about ultimately a greater creation of values.
For example: that great class which, in various offices, maintains civil justice and order, has indisputably a primary influence or power by rendering possible the present creation of values, and by watching over their keeping and transfer. Government and the law are great agencies of production. Without them, however desirous people might be of wealth, and however capable of effort, little or nothing could be produced. Robbery and violence would scatter and destroy what already exists, and a universal waste would speedily follow. But they have, also, a secondary power or influence ; for it is found that the maintenance of peace and property rights awakens new and increasing desires, widens the horizon of ambition, and stimulates everywhere to honest industry. Civil security is an education for wealth, an economic culture.
Then that great class which teaches has both a primary and a secondary power and influence, — primary, in that it gives instruction to present labor, as it is struggling to-day with the difficulties of production; explains chemical and mechanical laws; and establishes the alphabet, the written letter, electric communication, the rules of book-keeping, and the art of navigation: secondary, in that the progress of mind brings it infallibly to higher stations of aspiration and activity.
The work of the physician is almost entirely of the primary character. He saves the lives of producers, and preserves their strength to labor. This secondary power or influence of his profession, if such exists, is distant and trivial.
On the other hand, we shall add nothing to the dignity of the churchman or priest or minister, by attributing to him any direct power in production. Yet his part may be no less important because secondary. The influence of religion is hardly less marked, than that of race, in the creation of values. If its influence tend to improve the morals, and thus aid in the preservation of public order; to elevate the mind, and thus give it nobler and higher aspirations, and a better appreciation of the right uses of wealth, — it must be a great auxiliary to its production.
That class of agencies which we have designated as primary comes within the view of production. The class of secondary agencies belongs to the department of consumption, which treats of the use of wealth, so that it may bring forth more wealth.
Here, in economic culture, is the point at which production, passing by exchange and distribution, comes into relation with consumption. In pure theory, production and consumption complete the economic good, which is reproduction. The harvest which is gained in production is sown or wasted, as the case may be, in consumption, to re-appear in a more abounding harvest, or in barrenness, in reproduction. Practically, however, we have to introduce the laws of exchange and distribution, as the agencies by which production is finished, and consumption made possible.
We have used metaphors drawn from the chemistry of agriculture to express the significance of economic culture. To illustrate from mechanics, we should say that it treats of the re-action of labor. No force can re-act except from something external. Labor is a force directed to an object. The energy with which it is to move in a new direction will depend on the temper and shape of the body on which it impinges. Reproduction, then, is the rebound of production from consumption.
If labor expends itself on objects that do not stimulate to further efforts or serve as instruments to further production, but rather debauch the energies and corrupt the faculties, it is evident that reproduction will be lessened and debased, and the whole course of industry be downward.
If, on the contrary, labor expends itself on objects that present fresh and urgent desires, and excite to renewed activities, it is evident that the course of production is upward ; and the people will rise economically, with a rapidity and force, such as signalized the career, in the fourteenth century, of Florence ; in the seventeenth, of Holland; in the eighteenth, of England; in the nineteenth, of the United States.