Gen. Francis A. Walker delivered the first of his series of lectures on "Land Tenure" last night in Sever 11. The lecture was devoted to a statement of the origin of rent and its influence on the distribution of wealth. Gen. Walker held, of course, to the regular theory of diminishing returns, and showed that rent depended on the excess of production of the land over the production of the worst land in cultivation; that is, of the land which paid no rent. "Rent," he said, "arises from the fact of the varying degrees of production mutually contributing to the same market."
The lecturer, describing the influence of rent on the distribution of wealth. said that rent did not affect the customer, in that it did not affect the price of food, and moreover did not affect the wages of the laborer, understanding laborer in the English sense, as the man who tilled the soil under the payment of the tenant farmer. The laborer's wages were regulated by the supply and demand of labor. The theory of rent could not apply to capital invested in improvements on land. There was no rent paying land, but there was not any no-interest paying capital. The interest on capital invested in land was the same as on capital invested in any other employment. Political economy has to deal with rent proper, alone.
The next lecture will be an examination of the criticisms of Carey and others against the established theory.