Economic Sophisms/112

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"shipping, and more largely employ your marine resources. This is what you call a wise economy.

On the same principle, why do you not ask that the pines of Russia should be brought to you with their branches, bark, and roots; the silver of Mexico in its mineral state; the hides of Buenos Ayres sticking to the bones of the diseased carcases from which they have been torn?

I expect that railway shareholders, the moment they are in a majority in the Chambers, will proceed to make a law forbidding the manufacture of the brandy which is consumed in Paris. And why not? Would not a law enforcing the conveyance of ten casks of wine for every cask of brandy afford Parisian industry the indispensable materials of its labour, and give employment to our locomotive resources?

How long will men shut their eyes to this simple truth?

Manufactures, shipping, labour.—all have for end the general, the public good; to create useless industries, to favour superfluous conveyances, to support a greater amount of labour than is necessary, not for the good of the public, but at the expense of the public—is to realize a true petitio principii. It is not labour which is desirable for its own sake; it is consumption. All labour without a commensurate result is a loss. You may as well pay sailors for pitching stones into the sea as pay them for transporting useless refuse. Thus, we arrive at the result to which all economic sophisms, numerous as they are, conduct us, namely, confounding the means with the end, and developing the one at the expense of the other.