Economic Sophisms/84

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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""You should buy from others what you cannot make for yourself but at a greater expense."

And they say,

"It is better to make things for yourself, although they cost you more than the price at which you could buy them from others."

Now, gentlemen, throwing aside theory, argument, demonstration, all which seems to affect you with nausea, which of these two assertions has on its side the sanction of universal practice?

Visit your fields, your workshops, your forges, your warehouses; look above, below, and around you; look at what takes place in your own houses; remark your own everyday acts; and say what is the principle which guides these labourers, artisans, and merchants; say what is your own personal practice.

Does the farmer make his own clothes? Does the tailor produce the corn he consumes? Does your housekeeper continue to have your bread made at home, after she finds she can buy it cheaper from the baker? Do you resign the pen for the brush, to save your paying tribute to the shoeblack? Does the entire economy of society not rest upon the separation of employments, the division of labour—in a word, upon exchange? And what is exchange, but a calculation which we make with a view to discontinuing direct production in every case in which we find that possible, and in which indirect acquisition enables us to effect a saving in time and in effort?

It is not you, therefore, who are the men of practice, since you cannot point to a single human being who acts upon your principle.

But you will say, we never intended to make our principle a rule for individual relations. We perfectly understand that this would be to break up the bond of society, and would force men to live like snails, each in his own shell All that we con- tend for is, that our principle regulates de facto, the regulations which obtain between the different agglomerations of the human family.

Well, I affirm that this principle is still erroneous. The family, the commune, the canton, the department, the province, are so many agglomerations, which all, without any exception,Template:Smallrefs