Economic Sophisms/90

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M. DE SAINT-CRICQ inquires, "Whether it is certain that the foreigner will buy from us as much as he sells?"

M. de Dombasle asks, "What reason we have to believe that English producers will take from us, rather than from some other country of the world, the commodities they have need of, and an amount of commodities equivalent in value to that of their exports to France?"

I wonder how so many men who call themselves practical men should have all reasoned without reference to practice!

In practice, does a single exchange take place, out of a hundred, out of a thousand, out of ten thousand perhaps, which represents the direct barter of commodity for commodity? Never since the introduction of money has any agriculturist said: I want to buy shoes, hats, advice, lessons; but only from the shoemaker, the hat-maker, the lawyer, the professor, who will purchase from me corn to an exactly equivalent value. And why should nations bring each other under a yoke of this kind?

Practically how are such matters transacted?

Let us suppose a people shut out from external relations. A man, we shall suppose, produces wheat. He sends it to the home market, and offers it for the highest price he can obtain. He receives in exchange—what? Coins, which are just so many drafts or orders, varying very much in amount, by means of which he can draw, in his turn, from the national stores, when he judges it proper, and subject to due competition, everything which he may want or desire. Ultimately, and at the end of the operation, he will have drawn from the mass the exact equivalent of what he has contributed to it, and, in value, his consumption will exactly equal his production.

If the exchanges of the supposed nation with foreigners are left free, it is no longer to the national, but to the general, market that each sends his contributions, and, in turn, derives his supplies for consumption. He has no need to care whetherTemplate:Smallrefs