Economic Sophisms/169

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"Template:Hwe which belong to manufacturing legislators. But clothes are made by workmen in their own houses. In converting wool into cloth, these gentlemen desire to have no competition, because that is their trade; but in converting cloth into coats, they allow it, because that is your trade.

In making our railways, an embargo was laid on English rails, but English workmen were brought over. Why was this? Simply because English rails came into competition with the iron produced in our great establishments, while the English labourers were only your rivals.

We have no wish that German tailors and English navvies should be kept out of France. What we ask is, that the entry of cloth and rails should be left free. We simply demand justice and equality before the law, for all.

It is a mockery to tell us that customs restrictions are imposed for your benefit. Tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, shopkeepers, grocers, watchmakers, butchers, bakers, dressmakers! I defy you all to point out a single way in which restriction is profitable to you, and I shall point out, whenever you desire it, four ways in which it is hurtful to you.

And, after all, see how little foundation your journalists have for attributing self-abnegation to the monopolists.

I may venture to denominate the rate of wages which settles and establishes itself naturally under a régime of freedom, the natural rate of wages. When you affirm, therefore, that restriction is profitable to you, it is tantamount to affirming that it adds an overplus to your natural wages. Now, a surplus of wages beyond the natural rate must come from some quarter or other; it does not fall from the skies, but comes from those who pay it.

You are landed, then, in this conclusion by your pretended friends, that the policy of protection has been introduced in order that the interests of capitalists should be sacrificed to those of the workmen.

Do you think this probable?

Where is your place, then, in the Chamber of Peers? When did you take your seat in the Palais Bourbon? Who has consulted you? And where did this idea of establishing a policy of protection take its rise?