It is evident that the buying of cotton on the principles suggested would be calculated to cause great unsteadiness of prices, especially as cotton is not continuously forthcoming, but is produced periodically in harvests.
The sole piece of evidence, from which probable conclusions may be drawn, is that three separate measurements of price fluctuations over some forty years reveal a growing unsteadiness of late, whether they be expressed absolutely or as percentages of price.
For example, in a machine-work, the steam-engine, which is the prime mover of the various tools, has a flywheel on the crank-shaft to store and restore the periodical excess of energy arising from the variations in the effort exerted by the connecting-rod upon the crank; and each of the slotting machines, punching machines, riveting machines, and other tools has a flywheel of its own to store and restore energy, so as to enable the very different resistances opposed to those tools at different times to be overcome without too great unsteadiness of motion.
Denote the unsteadiness of the motion of the flywheel; the denominator S of this fraction is called the steadiness.
But the point need not be discussed further here, since both percentage and absolute indices of unsteadiness have risen of late years.