Economic Sophisms/57

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<pagequality level="4" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"up in the products we sell them; whilst we in this respect will have to make them a smaller restitution, seeing that their products, according to our hypothesis, are less heavily burdened than ours.

In fine, have you never asked yourselves whether these heavy burdens on which you found your argument for a prohibitory régime are not caused by that very régime? If commerce were free, what use would you have for your great standing armies and powerful navies? … But this belongs to the domain of politics.

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VI.


BALANCE OF TRADE.


OUR adversaries have adopted tactics which are rather embarrassing. Do we establish our doctrine? They admit it with the greatest possible respect. Do we attack their principle? They abandon it with the best grace in the world. They demand only one thing—that our doctrine, which they hold to be true, should remain relegated in books, and that their principle, which they acknowledge to be vicious, should reign paramount in practical legislation. Resign to them the management of tariffs, and they will give up all dispute with you in the domain of theory.

"Assuredly," said M. Gauthier de Rumilly, on a recent occasion, "no one wishes to resuscitate the antiquated theories of the balance of trade." Very right, Monsieur Gauthier, but please to remember that it is not enough to give a passing slap to error, and immediately afterwards, and for two hours together, reason as if that error were truth.

Let me speak of M. Lestiboudois. Here we have a consistent reasoner, a logical disputant. There is nothing in his conclusions which is not to be found in his premises. He asks