Economic Sophisms/167

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"It has been said that under a system of free trade we should have fewer workmen in our mines and spinning-mills.

I do not think so. But if this happened, we should necessarily have a greater number of people working freely and independently, either in their own houses or at out-door employment.

For if our mines and spinning-factories are not capable of supporting themselves, as is asserted, without the aid of taxes levied from the public at large, the moment these taxes are repealed everybody will be by so much in better circumstances; and it is this improvement in the general circumstances of the community which lends support to individual branches of industry.

Pardon my dwelling a little longer on this view of the subject; for my great anxiety is to see you all ranged on the side of liberty.

Suppose that the capital employed in manufactures yields 6 per cent. profit. But Mondor has an establishment in which he employs £100,000, at a loss, instead of a profit, of 5 per cent. Between the loss and the gain supposed there is a difference of £10,000. What takes place? A small tax of £10,000 is coolly levied from the public, and handed over to Mondor. You don't see it, for the thing is skilfully disguised. It is not the tax-gatherer who waits upon you to demand your share of this burden; but you pay it to Mondor, the ironmaster, every time that you purchase your trowels, hatchets, and planes. Then they tell you that unless you pay this tax, Mondor will not be able to give employment; and his workmen, James and John, must go without work. And yet, if they gave up the tax, it would enable you to find employment for one another, independently of Mondor.

And then, with a little patience, after this smooth pillow of protection has been taken from under his head, Mondor, you may depend upon it, will set his wits to work, and contrive to convert his loss into a profit, and James and John will not be sent away, in which case there will be profit for everybody.

You may still rejoin, "We allow that, after the reform, there will be more employment, upon the whole, than before; in the meantime, James and John are starving."