The annual labour of every nation is the 
fund which originally supplies it with all the 
necessaries and conveniencies of life which it 
annually consumes, and which consist always 
either in the immediate produce of that labour
or in what is purchased with that produce from 
other nations
According, therefore, as this produce, or 
what is purchased with it, bears a greater or 
smaller proportion to the number of those who 
are to consume it, the nation will be better or 
worse supplied with all the necessaries and 
conveniencies for which it has occasion. 
But this proportion must in every nation 
be regulated by two different circumstances
first, by the skill, dexterity, and judgment 
with which its labour is generally applied; 
and, secondly, by the proportion between the 
number of those who are employed in useful 
labour, and that of those who are not so employed
Whatever be the soil, climate, or extent 
of territory of any particular nation, the 
abundance or scantiness of its annual supply 
must, in that particular situation, depend upon 
those two circumstances
The abundance or scantiness of this supply
too, seems to depend more upon the former of 
those two circumstances than upon the latter. 
Among the savage nations of hunters and fishers, 
every individual who is able to work is 
more or less employed in useful labour, and 
endeavours to provide, as well as he can, the 
necessaries and conveniencies of life, for himself, 
and such of his family or tribe as are 
either too old, or too young, or too infirm, to 
go a-hunting and fishing. Such nations, however, 
are so miserably poor, that, from mere 
want, they are frequently reduced, or at least 
think themselves reduced, to the necessity 
sometimes of directly destroying, and sometimes 
of abandoning their infants, their old 
people, and those afflicted with lingering diseases
to perish with hunger, or to be devoured 
by wild beasts. Among civilized and thriving 
nations, on the contrary, though a great 
number of people do not labour at all, many 
of whom consume the produce of ten times
frequently of a hundred times, more labour 
than the greater part of those who work; yet 
the produce of the whole labour of the society 
is so great, that all are often abundantly supplied
and a workman, even of the lowest and 
poorest order, if he is frugal and industrious
may enjoy a greater share of the necessaries 
and conveniencies of life than it is possible for 
any savage to acquire
The causes of this improvement in the productive 
powers of labour, and the order according 
to which its produce is naturally distributed 
among the different ranks and conditions 
of men in the society, make the subject 
of the first book of this Inquiry
Whatever be the actual state of the skill
dexterity, and judgment, with which labour is 
applied in any nation, the abundance or scantiness 
of its annual supply must depend, during 
the continuance of that state, upon the 
proportion between the number of those who 
are annually employed in useful labour, and 
that of those who are not so employed. The