Economic Sophisms/82

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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"Template:Hwe in the public mind; they run counter to no pecuniary interest; and this is the reason why without any felt inconvenience they may endure for a thousand years. The physical world goes on as if they did not exist. But of errors in the moral world, can the same thing be said? Can we conceive that a system of administration, found to be absolutely false and therefore hurtful, should be followed out among many nations for centuries, with the general approval of all well-informed men? Can it be explained how such a system could coexist with the constantly increasing prosperity of nations? M. Say admits that the argument which he combats is fitted to make a profound impression. Yes, indeed; and the impression remains; for M. Say has rather deepened than done away with it."

Let us hear what M. de Saint-Chamans says on the same subject:—

"It was only in the middle of the last century, of that eighteenth century which handed over all subjects and all principles without exception to free discussion, that these speculative purveyors of ideas, applied by them to all things without being really applicable to anything, began to write upon political economy. There existed previously a system of political economy, not to be found in books, but which had been put in practical operation by governments. Colbert, it is said, was the inventor of it, and it was adopted as a rule by all the nations of Europe. The singular thing is, that in spite of contempt and maledictions, in spite of all the discoveries of the modern school, it still remains in practical operation. This system, which our authors have called the mercantile system, was designed to … impede, by prohibitions or import duties, the entry of foreign products, which might ruin our own manufactures by their competition. Economic writers of all schools[1] have declared this system untenable, absurd, and calculated to

impoverish any country. It has been banished from all theirTemplate:Smallrefs

  1. Might we not say, that it is a "fearful prejudice" against MM. Ferrier and Saint-Chamans, that "economists of all schools, that is to say, everybody who has studied the question, should have arrived at the conclusion, that, after all, liberty is better than constraint, and the laws of God wiser than those of Colbert."