Economic Sophisms/174

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"carpenters, and slaters. Then there were officers of police, judges, fakirs; in a word, a town with its faubourgs had risen round each hostelry.

And the Emperor asked Kouang what he thought of all this.

And Kouang said that he never could have imagined that the destruction of a canal could have provided employment for so many people; for the thought never struck him that this was not employment created, but labour diverted from other employments, and that men would have eaten and drank in passing along the canal as well as in passing along the highroad. However, to the astonishment of the Chinese, the Son of Heaven at length died and was buried.

His successor sent for Kouang, and ordered him to have the canal cleared out and restored.

And Kouang said to the new Emperor:

"Son of Heaven! you commit a blunder."

And the Emperor replied:

"Kouang, you talk nonsense,"

But Kouang persisted, and said: "Sire, what is your object?"

"My object is to facilitate the transit of goods and passengers between Tchin and Tchan, to render carriage less expensive, in order that the people may have tea and clothing cheaper."

But Kouang was ready with his answer. He had received the night before several numbers of the Moniteur Industriel, a Chinese newspaper. Knowing his lesson well, he asked and obtained permission to reply, and after having prostrated himself nine times, he said:

"Sire, your object is, by increased facility of transit, to reduce the price of articles of consumption, and bring them within reach of the people ; and to effect that, you begin by taking away from them all the employment to which the de- struction of the canal had given rise. Sire, in political economy, nominal cheapnessTemplate:Bar" The Emperor: "I believe you are repeating by rote." Kouang: "True, Sire; and it will be better to read what I have to say." So, producing the Esprit Public, he read as follows: "In political economy, the nominal cheapness of articles of consumption is only a secondary question. The problem is to establish an equilibrium between the price

of labour and that of the means of subsistence. The Template:Hws