Economic Sophisms/165

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"find that commerce resolves itself into barter, products for products, services for services. If, then, barter does no injury to national labour, since it implies as much national labour given as foreign labour received, it follows that a hundred thousand millions of such acts of barter would do as little injury as one.

But who would profit? you will ask The profit consists in turning to most account the resources of each country, so that the same amount of labour shall yield everywhere a greater amount of satisfactions and enjoyments.

There are some who in your case have recourse to a singular system of tactics. They begin by admitting the superiority of the free to the prohibitive system, in order, doubtless, not to have the battle to fight on this ground.

Then they remark that the transition from one system to another is always attended with some displacement of labour.

Lastly, they enlarge on the sufferings, which, in their opinion, such displacements must always entail. They exaggerate these sufferings, they multiply them, they make them the principal subject of discussion, they present them as the exclusive and definitive result of reform, and in this way they endeavour to enlist you under the banners of monopoly.

This is just the system of tactics which has been employed to defend every system of abuse; and one thing I must plainly avow, that it is this system of tactics which constantly embarrasses those who advocate reforms, even those most useful to the people. You will soon see the reason of this.

When an abuse has once taken root, everything is arranged on the assumption of its continuance. Some men depend upon it for subsistence, others depend upon them, and so on, till a formidable edifice is erected.

Would you venture to pull it down? All cry out, and remark this—the men who bawl out appear always at first sight to be in the right, because it is far easier to show the derangements which must accompany a reform than the arrangements which must follow it.

The supporters of abuses cite particular instances of sufferings; they point out particular employers who, with their workmen, and the people who supply them with materials, are

about to be injured; and the poor reformer can only refer to