Economic Sophisms/152

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"dyers, blacksmiths, innkeepers, grocers, etc., etc.,—and who, in my village, have founded friendly society.

I have transformed this friendly society, at my own hand, into a Lower Council of Labour, and instituted an inquiry which will be found of great importance, although it is not crammed with figures, or inflated to the bulk of a quarto volume, printed at the expense of the State.

My object was to interrogate these plain, simple people as to the manner in which they are, or believe themselves to be, affected by the policy of protection. The president pointed out that this would be infringing to some extent on the fundamental conditions of the Association. For in France, this land of liberty, people who associate give up their right to talk politics—in other words, their right to discuss their common interests. However, after some hesitation, he agreed to include the question in the order of the day.

They divided the assembly into as many committees as there were groups of distinct trades, and delivered to each committee a schedule to be filled up after fifteen days' deliberation.

On the day fixed, the worthy president (we adopt the official style) took the chair, and there were laid upon the table (still the official style) fifteen reports, which he read in succession. The first which was taken into consideration was that of the tailors. Here is an exact and literal copy of it:—

Inconveniences. Advantages,
1st, In consequence of the policy of protection, we pay dearer for bread, meat, sugar, firewood, thread, needles, etc., which is equivalent in our case to a considerable reduction of wages. None.
2d, In consequence of the policy of protection, our customers also pay dearer for everything, and this leaves them less to spend upon clothing; whence it follows that we have less employment, and, consequently, smaller returns. Note.—After all our inquiries, deliberations, and discussions, we have been quite unable to discover that in any respect whatever the policy of protection has been of advantage to our trade.
3d. In consequence of the policy of protection, the stuffs which we make up are dear, and people on that account wear their clothes longer, or dispense with part of them. This, again, is equivalent to a diminution of employment, and forces us to offer our services at a lower rate of remuneration.