Economic Sophisms/87

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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"their laws, for the purpose of ordering their interests in a way favourable to national industry."

The first of these formulas gets the name of protection; the second we call débouchés, or the creating of markets, or vents, for our produce.

Both are founded on the datum which we denominate the Balance of Trade.

"A nation is impoverished when it imports; enriched when it exports."

For if every purchase from a foreign country is a tribute paid and a national loss, it follows, of course, that it is right to restrain, and even prohibit, importations.

And if every sale to a foreign country is a tribute received, and a national profit, it is quite right and natural to create markets for our products even by force.

The system of protection and the colonial system are, then, only two aspects of one and the same theory. To hinder our fellow-citizens from buying from foreigners, and to force foreigners to buy from our fellow-citizens, are only two consequences of one and the same principle.

Now, it is impossible not to admit that this doctrine, if true, makes general utility to repose on monopoly or internal spoliation, and on conquest or external spoliation.

I enter a cottage on the French side of the Pyrenees.

The father of the family has received but slender wages. His half-naked children shiver in the icy north wind; the fire is extinguished, and there is nothing on the table. There are wool, firewood, and corn on the other side of the mountain; but these good things are forbidden to the poor day-labourer, for the other side of the mountain is not in France. Foreign firewood is not allowed to warm the cottage hearth; and the shepherd's children can never know the taste of Biscayan corn,[1] and the wool of Navarre can never warm their benumbed limbs. General utility has so ordered it. Be it so; but let us agree that all this is in direct opposition to the first principles of justice. To dispose legislatively of the interests of consumers,

and postpone them to the supposed interests of nationalTemplate:Smallrefs

  1. The French word employed is méture, probably a Spanish word Gallicisied—mestúra, meslin, mixed corn, as wheat and rye.—TRANSLATOR.