both to an absolute, and to a relative disadvantage 
in every branch of trade of which she 
has not the monopoly
It subjects her to an absolute disadvantage
because, in such branches of trade, her merchants 
cannot get this greater profit without 
selling dearer than they otherwise would do, 
both the goods of foreign countries which 
they import into their own, and the goods of 
their own country which they export to foreign 
countries. Their own country must 
both buy dearer and sell dearer; must both 
buy less, and sell less; must both enjoy less 
and produce less, than she otherwise would do. 
It subjects her to a relative disadvantage
because, in such branches of trade, it sets 
other countries, which are not subject to the 
same absolute disadvantage, either more above 
her or less below her, than they otherwise 
would be. It enables them both to enjoy 
more and to produce more, in proportion to 
what she enjoys and produces. It renders 
their superiority greater, or their inferiority 
less, than it otherwise would be. By raising 
the price of her produce above what it otherwise 
would be, it enables the merchants of 
other countries to undersell her in foreign 
markets, and thereby to justle her out of almost 
all those branches of trade, of which she 
has not the monopoly
Our merchants frequently complain of the 
high wages of British labour, as the cause of 
their manufactures being undersold in foreign 
markets; but they are silent about the high 
profits of stock. They complain of the extravagant 
gain of other people; but they say 
nothing of their own. The high profits of 
British stock, however, may contribute towards 
raising the price of British manufactures
in many cases, as much, and in some 
perhaps more, than the high wages of British 
It is in this manner that the capital of 
Great Britain, one may justly say, has partly 
been drawn and partly been driven from the 
greater part of the different branches of trade 
of which she has not the monopoly; from the 
trade of Europe, in particular, and from that 
of the countries which lie round the Mediterranean 
It has partly been drawn from those 
branches of trade, by the attraction of superior 
profit in the colony trade, in consequence 
of the continual increase of that trade, and of 
the continual insufficiency of the capital which 
had carried it on one year to carry it on the 
It has partly been driven from them, by 
the advantage which the high rate of profit 
established in Great Britain gives to other 
countries, in all the different branches of 
trade of which Great Britain has not the monopoly
As the monopoly of the colony trade has 
drawn from those other branches a part of the 
British capital, which would otherwise have 
been employed in them, so it has forced into 
them many foreign capitals which would never 
have gone to them, had they not been expelled 
from the colony trade. In those other 
branches of trade, it has diminished the competition 
of British capitals, and thereby raised 
the rate of British profit higher than it 
otherwise would have been. On the contrary
it has increased the competition of foreign 
capitals, and thereby sunk the rate of 
foreign profit lower than it otherwise would 
have been. Both in the one way and in the 
other, it must evidently have subjected Great 
Britain to a relative disadvantage in all those 
other branches of trade
The colony trade, however, it may perhaps 
be said, is more advantageous to Great Britain 
than any other; and the monopoly, by 
forcing into that trade a greater proportion 
of the capital of Great Britain than what 
would otherwise have gone to it, has turned 
that capital into an employment, more advantageous 
to the country than any other which 
it could have found. 
The most advantageous employment of any 
capital to the country to which it belongs, is 
that which maintains there the greatest quantity 
of productive labour, and increases the 
most the annual produce of the land and labour 
of that country. But the quantity of 
productive labour which any capital employed 
in the foreign trade of consumption can maintain
is exactly in proportion, it has been 
shown in the second book, to the frequency 
of its returns. A capital of a thousand 
pounds, for example, employed in a foreign 
trade of consumption, of which the returns 
are made regularly once in the year, can keep 
in constant employment, in the country to 
which it belongs, a quantity of productive labour, 
equal to what a thousand pounds can 
maintain there for a year. If the returns are 
made twice or thrice in the year, it can keep 
in constant employment a quantity of productive 
labour, equal to what two or three thousand 
pounds can maintain there for a year
A foreign trade of consumption carried on 
with a neighbouring, is, upon that account, 
in general, more advantageous than one carried 
on with a distant country; and, for the 
same reason, a direct foreign trade of consumption
as it has likewise been shown in 
the second book, is in general more advantageous 
than a round-about one. 
But the monopoly of the colony trade, so 
far as it has operated upon the employment of 
the capital of Great Britain, has, in all cases
forced some part of it from a foreign trade of 
consumption carried on with a neighbouring
to one carried on with a more distant country, 
and in many cases from a direct foreign trade 
of consumption to a round-about one. 
First, The monopoly of the colony trade 
has, in all cases, forced some part of the capital