than it ever did in England, and in 
France, where it has undergone still greater 
than it ever did in Scotland, some ancient 
rents, originally of considerable value, have, 
in this manner, been reduced almost to nothing. 
Equal quantities of labour will, at distant 
times, be purchased more nearly with equal 
quantities of corn, the subsistence of the labourer
than with equal quantities of gold and 
silver, or, perhaps, of any other commodity
Equal quantities of corn, therefore, will, at 
distant times, be more nearly of the same real 
value, or enable the possessor to purchase or 
command more nearly the same quantity of 
the labour of other people. They will do 
this, I say, more nearly than equal quantities 
of almost any other commodity; for even 
equal quantities of corn will not do it exactly. 
The subsistence of the labourer, or the real 
price of labour, as I shall endeavour to shew 
hereafter, is very different upon different occasions; 
more liberal in a society advancing to 
opulence, than in one that is standing still, 
and in one that is standing still, than in one 
that is going backwards. Every other commodity
however, will, at any particular time, 
purchase a greater or smaller quantity of labour
in proportion to the quantity of subsistence 
which it can purchase at that time. A 
rent, therefore, reserved in corn, is liable only 
to the variations in the quantity of labour 
which a certain quantity of corn can purchase
But a rent reserved in any other commodity 
is liable, not only to the variations in the 
quantity of labour which any particular quantity 
of corn can purchase, but to the variations 
in the quantity of corn which can be purchased 
by any particular quantity of that commodity
Though the real value of a corn rent, it is 
to be observed, however, varies much less 
from century to century than that of a money 
rent, it varies much more from year to year. 
The money price of labour, as I shall endeavour 
to shew hereafter, does not fluctuate 
from year to year with the money price of 
corn, but seems to be everywhere accommodated
not to the temporary or occasional, but 
to the average or ordinary price of that necessary 
of life. The average or ordinary price 
of corn, again is regulated, as I shall likewise 
endeavour to shew hereafter, by the value of 
silver, by the richness or barrenness of the 
mines which supply the market with that 
metal, or by the quantity of labour which 
must be employed, and consequently of corn 
which must be consumed, in order to bring 
any particular quantity of silver from the 
mine to the market. But the value of silver
though it sometimes varies greatly from century 
to century, seldom varies much from year 
to year, but frequently continues the same, or 
very nearly the same, for half a century or a 
century together. The ordinary or average 
money price of corn, therefore, may, during 
so long a period, continue the same, or very 
nearly the same, too, and along with it the 
money price of labour, provided, at least, the 
society continues, in other respects, in the 
same, or nearly in the same, condition. In 
the mean time, the temporary and occasional 
price of corn may frequently be double one 
year of what it had been the year before, or 
fluctuate, for example, from five-and-twenty 
to fifty shillings the quarter. But when corn 
is at the latter price, not only the nominal
but the real value of a corn rent, will be 
double of what it is when at the former, or 
will command double the quantity either of 
labour, or of the greater part of other commodities
the money price of labour, and along 
with it that of most other things, continuing 
the same during all these fluctuations
Labour, therefore, it appears evidently, is 
the only universal, as well as the only accurate
measure of value, or the only standard 
by which we can compare the values of different 
commodities, at all times, and at all 
places. We cannot estimate, it is allowed, 
the real value of different commodities from 
century to century by the quantities of silver 
which were given for them. We cannot estimate 
it from year to year by the quantities 
of corn. By the quantities of labour, we can, 
with the greatest accuracy, estimate it, both 
from century to century, and from year to 
year. From century to century, corn is a 
better measure than silver, because, from century 
to century, equal quantities of corn will 
command the same quantity of labour more 
nearly than equal quantities of silver. From 
year to year, on the contrary, silver is a better 
measure than corn, because equal quantities 
of it will more nearly command the same 
quantity of labour
But though, in establishing perpetual rents
or even in letting very long leases, it may be 
of use to distinguish between real and nominal 
price; it is of none in buying and selling
the more common and ordinary transactions 
of human life. 
At the same time and place, the real and 
the nominal price of all commodities are exactly 
in proportion to one another. The more 
or less money you get for any commodity, in 
the London market, for example, the more or 
less labour it will at that time and place enable 
you to purchase or command. At the 
same time and place, therefore, money is the 
exact measure of the real exchangeable value 
of all commodities. It is so, however, at the 
same time and place only. 
Though at distant places there is no regular 
proportion between the real and the money 
price of commodities, yet the merchant who 
carries goods from the one to the other, has 
nothing to consider but the money price, or 
the difference between the quantity of silver 
for which he buys them, and that for which