Economic Sophisms/230

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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" pretend not to see it. The shipwrecked plank rendered fifteen days of Robinson's labour inert, in as far as that labour was applied to making a plank, but it did not deprive him of it. Discriminate, then, between these two kinds of diminished labour—the diminution which, has for effect privation, and that which has for its cause satisfaction. These two things are very different, and if you mix them up, you reason as Robinson did. In the most complicated, as in the most simple cases, the sophism consists in this : Judging of the utility of labour by its duration and intensity, and not by its results; which gives rise to this economic policy: To reduce the results of labour for the purpose of augmenting its duration and intensity."[1]

 

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XV.

 

THE LITTLE ARSENAL OF THE FREE-TRADER,

IF any one tells you that there are no absolute principles, no inflexible rules; that prohibition may be bad and yet that restriction may be good,

Reply: "Restriction prohibits all that it hinders from being imported."

If any one says that agriculture is the nursing-mother of the country.

Reply: "What nourishes the country is not exactly agriculture, but corn."

If any one tells you that the basis of the food of the people is agriculture,

Reply: "The basis of the people's food is com. This is the reason why a law which gives us, by agricultural labour, two quarters of corn, when we could have obtained four quarters without such labour, and by means of labour applied to manufactures, is a law not for feeding, but for starving the people."

If any one remarks that restriction upon the importation of

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  1. See ch. ii. and iii. of Sophimes, first series; and Harmonies Économiques, ch. vi.