Economic Sophisms/139

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"present volume, I shall not enlarge upon it in this place, but content myself with one remark.

When monopoly is an isolated fact, it never fails to enrich the man who is invested with it. It may happen, then, that other classes of producers, in place of waiting for the downfall of this monopoly, demand for themselves similar monopolies. This species of spoliation, thus erected into a system, becomes the most ridiculous of mystifications for everybody; and the ultimate result is, that each man believes himself to be deriving greater profit from a market which is impoverished by all.

It is unnecessary to add, that this strange régime introduces a universal antagonism among all classes, all professions, and all nations; that it calls for the interposition (constant, but always uncertain) of government action; that it gives rise to all the abuses we have enumerated; that it places all branches of industry in a state of hopeless insecurity; and that it accustoms men to rely upon the law, and not upon themselves, for their means of subsistence. It would be difficult to imagine a more active cause of social perturbation.


But it may be said, Why make use of this ugly term. Spoliation? It is coarse, it wounds, irritates, and turns against you all calm and moderate men—it envenoms the controversy.

To speak plainly, I respect the persons, and I believe in the sincerity of nearly all the partisans of protection; I claim no right to call in question the personal probity, the delicacy, the philanthropy, of any one whatsoever. I again repeat that protection is the fruit, the fatal fruit, of a common error, of which everybody, or at least the majority of men, are at once the victims and the accomplices. But with all this I cannot prevent things being as they are.

Figure Diogenes putting his head out of his tub, and saying, "Athenians, you are served by slaves. Has it never occurred to you, that you thereby exercise over your brethren the most iniquitous species of spoliation?" Or, again, figure a tribune speaking thus in the forum: "Romans, you derive all your means of existence from the pillage of all nations in succession.*'