Economic Sophisms/229

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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""I don't very well know."

"Is it not that which, for a determinate amount of labour, obtains the greater quantity of cloth?"

"It seems so."

"And which is best for a nation, to have the choice between these two means, or that the law should prohibit one of them, on the chance of stumbling on the better of the two?"

"It appears to me that it is better for the nation to have the choice, inasmuch as in such matters it invariably chooses right."

"The law, which. prohibits the importation of foreign cloth, decides, then, that if France wishes to have cloth, she must make it in kind, and that she is prohibited from making the something else with which she could purchase foreign cloth."

"True."

"And as the law obliges us to make the cloth, and forbids our making the something else, precisely because that something else would exact less labour (but for which reason the law would not interfere with it) the law virtually decrees that for a determinate amount of labour, France shall only have one yard of cloth, when for the same amount of labour she might have two yards, by applying that labour to something else."

"But the question recurs, ́What else?́"

"And my question recurs, 'What does it signify?' Having the choice, she will only make the something else to such an extent as there may be a demand for it."

"That is possible; but I cannot divest myself of the idea that the foreigner will send us his cloth, and not take from us the something else, in which case we would be entrapped. At all events, this is the objection even from your own point of view. You allow that France could make this something eke to exchange for cloth, with a less expenditure of labour than if she had made the cloth itself?"

"Undoubtedly."

"There would, then, be a certain amount of her labour rendered inert?"

"Yes; but without her being less well provided with clothes, a little circumstance which makes all the difference. Robinson lost sight of this, and our protectionists either do not see it, orTemplate:Smallrefs