Economic Sophisms/154

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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"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.

 

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V.

 

DEARNESS-CHEAPNESS.

I THINK it necessary to submit to the reader some theoretical remarks on the illusions to which the words dearness and cheapness give rise. At first sight, these remarks may, I feel, be regarded as subtle, but the question is not whether they are subtle or the reverse, but whether they are true. Now, I not only believe them to be perfectly true, but to be well fitted to suggest matter of reflection to men (of whom there are not a few) who have sincere faith in the efficacy of a protectionist policy.

The advocates of Liberty and the defenders of Restriction are both obliged to employ the expressions, dearness, cheapness. The former declare themselves in favour of cheapness with a view to the interest of the consumer; the latter pronounce in favour of dearness, having regard especially to the interest of the producer. Others content themselves with saying, The producer and consumer are one and the same person; which leaves undecided the question whether the law should promote cheapness or deamess.

In the midst of this conflict, it would seem that the law has only one course to follow, and that is to allow prices to settle and adjust themselves naturally. But then we are attacked by Template:Smallrefs