Economic Sophisms/160

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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"of the manufacturer. Our manufacturers of cloth assure us that external competition will lower prices by increasing the supply. Granted; but will not these prices be again raised by an increased demand? Is the consumption of cloth a fixed and invariable quantity? Has every man as much of it as he would wish to have? And if general wealth is advanced and developed by the abolition of all these taxes and restrictions, will the first use to which this emancipation is turned by the population not be to dress better?

The question,—the constantly-recurring question,—then, is not to find out whether protection is favourable to any one special branch of industry, but whether, when everything is weighed, balanced, and taken into account, restriction is, in its own nature, more productive than liberty.

Now, no one will venture to maintain this. On the contrary, we are perpetually met with the admission, "You are right in principle."

If it be so, if restriction confers no benefit on individual branches of industry without doing a greater amount of injury to general wealth, we are forced to conclude that actual money prices, considered by themselves, only express a relation between each special branch of industry and industry in general, between supply and demand; and that, on this account, a remunerative price, which is the professed object of protection, is rather injured than favoured by the system.

 

SUPPLEMENT.[1]

The article which we have published under the title of Dearness, Cheapness, has brought us several letters. We give them, along with our replies:—

 

Template:Fs90/s MR EDITOR,—You upset all our ideas. I endeavoured to aid the cause of free trade, and found it necessary to urge the consideration of cheapness, I went about everywhere, saying, "When freedom of trade is accorded, bread, meat, cloth, linen, iron, fuel, will go on falling in price." This displeased those who sell, but gave great pleasure to those who buy these commodities. And now you throw out doubts as to whether free trade willTemplate:Fs90/e

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  1. What follows appeared in the Libre Échange of 1st August 1847.—EDITOR.