Economic Sophisms/75

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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"never cease to say to them: Is it, or is it not, true that restriction, by impeding exchanges, by limiting the division of labour, by forcing labour to connect itself with difficulties of climate and situation, diminishes ultimately the quantity of commodities produced by a determinate amount of efforts? And what does this signify, it will be said, if the smaller quantity produced under the régime of protection has the same nominal value as that produced under the régime of liberty? The answer is obvious. Man does not live upon nominal values, but upon real products, and the more products there are, whatever be their price, the richer he is.

In writing what precedes, I never expected to meet with an anti-economist who was enough of a logician to admit, in so many words, that the wealth of nations depends on the value of things, apart from the consideration of their abundance. But here is what I find in the work of M. de Saint-Chamans (p. 210):—

"If fifteen millions' worth of commodities, sold to foreigners, are taken from the total production, estimated at fifty millions, the thirty-five millions' worth of commodities remaining, not being sufficient to meet the ordinary demand, will increase in price, and rise to the value of fifty millions. In that case the revenue of the country will represent a value of fifteen millions additional.… There would then be an increase of the wealth of the country to the extent of fifteen millions, exactly the amount of specie imported."

This is a pleasant view of the matter! If a nation produces in one year, from its agriculture and commerce, a value of fifty millions, it has only to sell a quarter of it to the foreigner to be a quarter richer! Then if it sells the half, it will be one-half richer! And if it should sell the whole, to its last tuft of wool and its last grain of wheat, it would bring up its revenue to 100 millions. Singular way of getting rich, by producing infinite dearness by absolute scarcity!

Again, would you judge of the two doctrines? Submit them to the test of exaggeration.

According to the doctrine of M. de Saint-Chamans, the

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    from the consumer's point of view, for the interest of the consumer is identical with that of the human race."—EDITOR.