Since it is most important that the supply of an article shall not exceed the demand at a price which will net a profit, nearly every industry has its trade paper, which seeks to keep its subscribers informed as to market conditions and prospects and as to the probable output. The value of these trade papers is attested by the fact that in the last thirty years they have- become the most lucrative branch of j ournalism.
Of monopoly we might say that it is able to exam ine the present with a microscope and look at the future thru a telescope, so that it is able to regu late its output in such a way as to protect itself against the ebb and flow of demand. But competi tion is blind; it must either depend upon the eyes of trained observers or grope its wa3,- thru the industrial labyrinth, guided almost solely by instinct.
The mining of gold furnishes an excellent illus tration of the results of unrestricted competition. Most of the world uses gold as money; and its value tends to fall, and prices to rise, as the supply in creases. No man knows today what the value of money will be a year hence. Its value is not deter mined by/any legislative body nor by any mint. It depends wholly upon the supply of money in rela tion to the demand Jor it. Since 1897, because the supply of gold increased faster than the demand, its value has greatly fallen; and the prices of commodi ties in general have greatly advanced, causing much distress to people of small and fixed incomes. If the mining of gold could be made a governmental monopoly, all governments concerned acting in har mony, the annual output might be so regulated as to prevent any great change in the value of gold, so that the prices of commodities in general would never greatly decline or advance.
In this section I have spoken of a part of a product as being a surplus. The reader should be careful to notice that this word, which is much used in busi ness, does not mean an excess of production above possible consumption. It means a greater surplus of goods than can be sold at a certain price. In dis cussions of foreign trade it is often said that the United States exports its surplus cotton to Europe. This so-called surplus is merely that part of the sup ply of cotton which the people of the United States do not wish to buy at the price which prevails in the world's market.
7. Law of increasing man who has done any work requiring muscular effort knows the ache of labor, and if lie has worked continuously for several hours he knows that the ache is greater at the end than at the beginning. All animals love activity if it can be followed by rest when weariness comes. The man who hoes half an hour in his garden every morning for the sake of exercise doubtless gets pleasure out of it, but let him hoe all day and be will know what the economist means by the pain of work.
This pain the economists call disutility, for 'it is the opposite of the pleasure or satisfaction one gets from a utility. Unfortunately to a man who has never worked we can give no idea of the meaning of the pain of labor. We might as well describe a. landscape to a man who was born blind, or one of 'Mozart's symphonies to a man born deaf. All we can say is that pain is a state of consciousness which -we do not wish to have repeated.
We have already learned that utility, or enjoy ment, tends to decrease with repetition ; and we have given that fact general expression in the law of di minishing utility. In the case of pain tbe opposite* is true. The longer a man saws wood the more irk some it becomes. The performance of any task, even tho agreeable at first, finally becomes tedious and positively painful if continued long without interrup tion. Pain from its very nature seems to increase so long as the cause is present. A toothache that is hardly noticed in the morning becomes unendurable in the afternoon, altho a dentist might find that the nerve was not exposed,more at one time than at the other. This tendency- of pain to increase as a result of repetition economists call the law of increasing disutility.
This law has some relation to value; for all goods are the product of work, and their value must be suf ficient to compensate the worker for the pain or dis utility that has been voluntarily endured. Men dis like long working days, for the pain of labor is much greater after eight hours than after six. Hence, if possible, men avoid occupations which give them little time for rest or recreation. That is one reason for the increasing scarcity of farm labor, the work often beginning at sunrise and not ending till dark.