Economic Sophisms/85

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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"reject practically your principle, and have never dreamt of acting on it. All procure themselves, by means of exchange, those things which it would cost them dearer to procure by means of production. And nations would do the same, did you not hinder them by force.

We, then, are the men of practice and of experience; for we oppose to the restriction which you have placed exceptionally on certain international exchanges, the practice and experience of all individuals, and of all agglomerations of individuals, whose acts are voluntary, and can consequently be adduced as evidence. But you begin by constraining, by hindering, and then you lay hold of acts which are forced or prohibited, as warranting you to exclaim, "We have practice and experience on our side!"

You inveigh against our theory, and even against theories in general. But when you lay down a principle in opposition to ours, you perhaps imagine you are not proceeding on theory? Clear your heads of that idea. You in fact form a theory, as we do; but between your theory and ours there is this difference:

Our theory consists merely in observing universal facts, univeral opinions; calculations and ways of proceeding which universally prevail; and in classifying these, and rendering them co-ordinate, with a view to their being more easily understood. Our theory is so little opposed to practice that it is nothing else but practice explained. We observe men acting as they are moved by the instinct of self-preservation and a desire for progress, and what they thus do freely and voluntarily we denominate political or social economy. We can never help repeating, that each individual man is practically an excellent economist, producing or exchanging according as he finds it more to his interest to produce or to exchange. Each, by experience, educates himself in this science; or rather the science itself is only this same experience accurately observed and methodically explained.

But on your side, you construct a theory in the worst sense of the word. You imagine, you invent, a course of proceeding which is not sanctioned by the practice of any living man under thheaven; of heaven ; and then you invoke the aid of constraint and prohibition. It is quite necessaiy that you shouldTemplate:Smallrefs