Economic Sophisms/78

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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"workmen run after one master, wages fall; they rise when two masters run after one workman.

For the sake of brevity, allow me to make use of this formula, more scientific, although, perhaps, not quite so clear. The rate of wages depends on the proportion which the supply of labour bears to the demand for it

Now, on what does the supply of labour depend?

On the number of men waiting for employment; and on this first element protection can have no effect.

On what does the demand for labour depend?

On the disposable capital of the nation. But does the law which says. We shall no longer receive such or such a product from abroad, we shall make it at home, augment the capital? Not in the least degree. It may force capital from one employment to another, but it does not increase it by a single farthing. It does not then increase the demand for labour.

We point with pride to a certain manufacture. Is it established or maintained with capital which has fallen from the moon? No; that capital has been withdrawn from agriculture, from shipping, from the production of wines. And this is the reason why, under the régime of protective tariffs, there are more workmen in our mines and in our manufacturing towns, and fewer sailors in our ports, and fewer labourers in our fields and vineyards.

I could expatiate at length on this subject, but I prefer to explain what I mean by an example.

A countryman was possessed of twenty acres of land, which he worked with a capital of £400. He divided his land into four parts, and established the following rotation of crops:—1st, maize; 2d, wheat; 3d, clover; 4th, rye. He required for his own family only a moderate portion of the grain, meat, and milk which his farm produced, and he sold the surplus to buy oil, flax, wine, etc. His whole capital was expended each year in wages, hires, and small payments to the working classes in his neighbourhood. This capital was returned to him in his sales, and even went on increasing year by year; and our countryman, knowing very well that capital produces nothing when it is unemployed, benefited the working classes by devoting the annual surplus to enclosing and clearing his land, andTemplate:Smallrefs