Economic Sophisms/105

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"It was, in fact, nothing else than the régime of prohibition. Just listen to M. de Saint-Cricq:—

"Labour constitutes the wealth of a nation, because labour alone creates those material objects which our wants demand; and universal ease and comfort consist in the abundance of these things." So much for the principle.

"But this abundance must be produced by national labour. If it were the result of foreign labour, national labour would be immediately brought to a stand." Here lies the error. (See the preceding sophism.)

"What course should an agricultural and manufacturing country take under such circumstances? Reserve its markets for the products of its own soil and of its own industry." Such is the end and design.

"And for that purpose, restrain by duties, and, if necessary, prohibit importation of the products of the soil and industry of other nations." Such are the means.

Let us compare this system with that which the Bordeaux petition advocates.

Commodities are there divided into three classes:—

"The first includes provisions, and raw materials upon which no human labour has been bestowed. In principle, a wise economy would demand that this class should be free of duties" Here we have no labour, no protection.

"The second consists of products which have, to some extent, been prepared. This preparation warrants such products being charged with a certain amount of duty." Here protection begins, because here, according to the petitioners, begins national labour.

"The third comprises goods and products in their finished and perfect state. These contribute nothing to national labour, and we regard this class as the most taxable." Here labour, and production along with it, reach their maximum.

We thus see that the petitioners profess their belief in the doctrine, that foreign labour is injurious to national labour; and this is the error of the prohibitive system.

They demand that the home market should be reserved for home industry. That is the design of the system of prohibition.