Economic Sophisms/153

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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"Here is another report:—

Inconveniences. Advantages,
1st, The policy of protection imposes a tax upon us every time we eat, drink, or warm or clothe ourselves, and this tax does not go to the treasury. None.
2d, It imposes a like tax upon all our fellow-citizens who are not of our trade, and they, being so much the poorer, have recourse to cheap substitutes for our work, which deprives us of the employment we should otherwise have had.
3d, It keeps up iron at so high a price, that it is not employed in the country for ploughs, grates, gates, balconies, etc.; and our trade, which might furnish employment to so many other people who are in want of it, no longer furnishes employment to ourselves.
4th, The revenue which the treasury fails to obtain from commodities which are not imported, is levied upon the salt we use, postages, etc

All the other reports (with which it is unnecessary to trouble the reader) are to the same tune. Gardeners, carpenters, shoemakers, clogmakers, boatmen, millers, all give vent to the same complaints.

I regret that there are no agricultural labourers in our association. Their report would assuredly have been very instructive.

But, alas! in our country of the Landes, the poor labourers, protected though they be, have not the means of joining an association, and, having insured their cattle, they find they cannot themselves become members of a friendly society. The boon of protection does not hinder them from being the parias of our social order. What shall I say of the vine-dressers?

What I remark, especially, is the good sense displayed by our villagers in perceiving not only the direct injury which the policy of protection does them, but the indirect injury, which, although in the first instance affecting their customers, falls back, par ricochet, upon themselves.

This is what the economists of the Moniteur Industriel do not appear to understand.

And perhaps those men whose eyes a dash of protection has fascinated, especially our agriculturists, would be willing to give it up, if they were enabled to see this side of the question. In that case they might perhaps say to themselves, "Better far to be self-supported in the midst of a set of customers in easy circumstances, than to be protected in the midst of an impoverished clientèle.

For to desire to enrich by turns each separate branch of industry by creating a void round each in succession, is as vain an attempt as it would be for a man to try to leap over his own shadow.