Economic Sophisms/164

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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 do they not act in the interest of the civil list, which profits most of all from the policy of protection?

You see, then, very clearly, that if we did not despise this war of disparagement, arms would not be wanting to carry it on.

But this is beside the question.

The question, and we must never lose sight of it, is this:

Whether is it better for the working classes to he free, or not to be free to purchase foreign commodities?

Workmen! they tell you that "If you are free to purchase from the foreigner those things which you now produce yourselves, you will cease to produce them; you will be without employment, without wages, and without bread; it is therefore for your own good to restrain your liberty."

This objection returns upon us under two forms:—They say, for example, "If we clothe ourselves with English cloth; if we make our ploughs of English iron; if we cut our bread with English knives; if we wipe our hands with English towels,—what will become of French workmen, what will become of national labour?"

Tell me, workmen! if a man should stand on the quay at Boulogne, and say to every Englishman who landed, "If you will give me these English boots, I will give you this French hat;" or, "If you will give me that English horse, I will give you this French tilbury;" or ask him, "Will you exchange that machine made at Birmingham, for this clock made at Paris?" or, again, "Can you arrange to barter this Newcastle coal against this champagne wine?" Tell me whether, assuming this man to make his proposals with discernment, any one would be justified in saying that our national labour, taken in the aggregate, would suffer in consequence?

Nor would it make the slightest difference in this respect were we to suppose twenty such offers to be made in place of one, or a million such barters to be effected in place of four; nor would it in any respect alter the case were we to assume the intervention of merchants and money, whereby such transactions would be greatly facilitated and multiplied.

Now, when one country buys from another wholesale, to sell again in retail, or buys in retail, to sell again in the lump, if we

trace the transaction to its ultimate results, we shall always