Economic Sophisms/76

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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"French would be quite as rich—that is to say, quite as well supplied with all things—had they only a thousandth part of their annual products, because they would be worth a thousand times more.

According to our doctrine, the French would be infinitely rich if their annual products were infinitely abundant, and, consequently, without any value at all.[1]

 

 

XII.

 

DOES PROTECTION RAISE THE RATE OF WAGES?

AN atheist, declaiming one day against religion and priestcraft, became so outrageous in his abuse, that one of his audience, who was not himself very orthodox, exclaimed, "If you go on much longer in this strain, you will make me a convert."

In the same way, when we see our beardless scribblers, our novel-writers, reformers, fops, amateur contributors to newspapers, redolent of musk, and saturated with champagne, stuffing their portfolios with radical prints, or issuing under gilded covers their own tirades against the egotism and individualism of the age—when we hear such people declaim against the rigour of our institutions, groan over the proletariat and the wages system, raise their eyes to Heaven, and weep over the poverty of the working classes (poverty which they never see but when they are paid to paint it),—we are likewise tempted to exclaim, "If you go on longer in this strain, we shall lose all interest in the working classes."

Affectation is the besetting sin of our times. When a serious writer, in a spirit of philanthropy, refers to the sufferings of the working classes, his words are caught up by these sentimentalists, twisted, distorted, and exaggerated, usque ad natiseam. The grand, the only remedy, it would seem, lies in the high-sounding phrases, association and organization. The working

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  1. See post, ch. v. of second series of Sophismes; and ch. vi. of Harmonies Économiques.