Economic Sophisms/110

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh""The more abundant raw materials are," says the Bordeaux petition, "the more are manufactures promoted and multiplied."

"Raw materials," says the same document in another place, "open up an unlimited field of work for the inhabitants of the countries into which they are imported."

"Raw materials," says the Havre petition, "constituting as they do the elements of labour, must be submitted to a different treatment, and be gradually admitted at the lowest rate of duty."

The same petition expresses a wish that manufactured products should be admitted, not gradually, but after an indefinite lapse of time, not at the lowest rate of duty, but at a duty of 20 per cent.

"Among other articles, the low price and abundance of which are a necessity," says the Lyons petition, " manufacturers include all raw materials"

All this is founded on an illusion.

We have seen that all value represents labour. Now, it is quite true that manufacturing labour increases tenfold, sometimes a hundredfold, the value of the raw material; that is to say, it yields ten times, a hundred times, more profit to the nation. Hence men are led to reason thus: The production of a hundredweight of iron brings in a gain of only fifteen shillings to workmen of all classes. The conversion of this hundredweight of iron into the mainsprings of watches raises their earnings to £500; and will any one venture to say that a nation has not a greater interest to secure for its labour a gain of five hundred pounds than a gain of fifteen shillings? We do not exchange a hundredweight of unwrought iron for a hundredweight of watch-springs, nor a hundredweight of unwashed wool for a hundredweight of cashmere shawls; but we exchange a certain value of one of these materials for an equal value of another. Now, to exchange equal value for equal value is to exchange equal labour for equal labour. It is not true, then, that a nation which sells five pounds' worth of wrought fabrics or watch-springs, gains more than a nation which sells five pounds' worth of wool or iron.

In a country where no law can be voted, where no tax can be

imposed, but with the consent of those whose dealings the law