Economic Sophisms/126

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<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"Template:Hwe. There are many varieties; among others, Sinecures, Privileges, Eestrictions.

Among the forms which it assumes, there are some which are very simple and primitive. Of this kind are feudal rights. Under this régime the masses are despoiled, and they know it. It implies an abuse of force, and goes down when force is wanting.

Others are very complicated. The masses are frequently despoiled without knowing it. They may even imagine that they owe all to spoliation—not only what is left to them, but what is taken from them, and what is lost in the process. Nay more, I affirm that, in course of time, and owing to the ingenious mechanism to which they become accustomed, many men become spoUators without knowing that they are so, or desiring to be so. Monopolies of this kind are engendered by artifice and nourished by error. They disappear only with advancing enlightenment.

I have said enough to show that political economy has an evident practical utility. It is the torch which, by exposing craft and dissipating error, puts an end to this social disorder of spoliation. Some one—I rather think a lady—has rightly described our science as "la serrure de sureté du pécule populaire."

COMMENTARY.

Were this little book destined to last for three or four thousand years, and, like a new Koran, to be read, re-read, pondered over, and studied sentence by sentence, word by word, letter by letter; if it were destined to a place in all the libraries of the world, and to be explained by avalanches of annotations and paraphrases, I might abandon to their fate the preceding obser- vations, though somewhat obscure from their conciseness ; but since they require a gloss, I think it as well to be my own commentator.

The true and equitable law of human transactions is the exchange, freely bargained for, of service for service. Spoliation consists in banishing by force or artifice this liberty of bargaining, for the purpose of enabling a man or a class to receive a service without rendering an equivalent service.

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