Economic Sophisms/161

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh" Template:Fs90/sbring us cheapness or not. What, then, is to be gained by it? What gain will it be to the people if foreign competition, which may damage their sales, does not benefit them in their purchases? Template:Fs90/e

MR FREE-TRADER,—Allow us to tell you that you must have read only half the article which has called forth your letter. We said that free trade acts exactly in the same way as roads, canals, railways, and everything else which facilitates communication by removing obstacles. Its first tendency is to increase the supply of the commodity freed from duty, and consequently to lower its price. But by augmenting at the same time the supply of all other commodities for which this article is exchanged, it increases the demand, and the price by this means rises again. You ask what gain this would be to the people? Suppose a balance with several scales, in each of which is deposited a certain quantity of the articles you have enumerated. If you add to the corn in one scale it will tend to fall; but if you add a little cloth, a little iron, a little fuel, to what the other scales contained, you will redress the equilibrium. If you look only at the beam, you will find nothing changed. But if you look at the people for whose use these articles are produced, you will find them better fed, clothed, and warmed.

Template:Fs90/s MR EDITOR,—I am a manufacturer of cloth, and a protectionists. I confess that your article on dearness and cheapness has made me reflect. It contains something specious which would require to be well established before we declare ourselves converted. Template:Fs90/e

MR PROTECTIONIST,—We say that your restrictive measures have an iniquitous object in view, namely, artificial dearness. But we do not affirm that they always realise the hopes of those who promote them. It is certain that they inflict on the consumer all the injurious consequences of scarcity. It is not certain that they always confer a corresponding advantage on the producer. Why? Because if they diminish the supply, they diminish also the demand.

This proves that there is in the economic arrangement of this world a moral force, a vis medicatrix, which causes unjust ambition in the long run to fall a prey to self-deception.

Would you have the goodness, Sir, to remark that one of the

elements of the prosperity of each individual branch of industry