Economic Sophisms/220

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SCENE IV.—The Agitation.

JACQUES BONHOMME: Parisians, let us insist upon a refonn of the octroi duties; let us demand that they be instantly brought down to the former rate. Let every citizen be free to buy his firewood, butter, and butchers' meat where he sees fit.

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LA LIBERTÉ!

PETER: Parisians, don't allow yourselves to be seduced by that word, liberty. What good can result from liberty to purchase if you want the means—in other words, if you are out of employment? Can Paris produce firewood as cheaply as the Forest of Bondy? meat as cheaply as Poitou? butter as cheaply as Normandy? If you open your gates freely to these rival products, what will become of the cowfeeders, woodcutters, and pork-butchers? They cannot dispense with protection.

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LA PROTECTION!

JACQUES BONHOMME: Protection! but who protects you workmen? Do you not compete with one another? Let the wood-merchants, then, be subject to competition in their turn. They ought not to have right by law to raise the price of firewood, unless the rate of wages is also raised by law. Are you no longer in love with equality?

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive L'EGALITÉ!

PETER: Don't listen to these agitators. We have, it is true, raised the price of firewood, butchers' meat, and butter; but we have done so for the express purpose of being enabled to give good wages to the workmen. We are actuated by motives of charity.

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LA CHARITÉ!

JACQUES BONHOMME. Cause the rate of wages to be raised by the octroi, if you can, or cease by the same means to raise the prices of commodities. We Parisians ask for no charity—we demand justice.

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LA JUSTICE!

PETER It is precisely the high price of commodities which will lead, par ricochet, to a rise of wages.

THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LA CHERTÉ!

JACQUES BONHOMME: If butter is dear, it is not because youTemplate:Smallrefs