Economic Sophisms/182

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"government had these roads accurately measured; and then it announced to the agriculturist, 'All that you can steal from travellers between these two points is yours; let that serve as a premium for your protection and encouragement.' Afterwards it assigned to each manufacturer, to each shipowner, a certain portion of road, to be made available for their profit, according to this formula:—


Dono tibi et concedo
Virtutem et puissantiam
Template:GapEt escroquandi,
Impune per totam istam


Now it has come to pass tliat the natives of the kingdom of A. have become so habituated to this system, that they take into account only what they are enabled to steal, not what is stolen from them, being so determined to regard pillage only from the standpoint of the thief, that they look upon the sum total of individual thefts as a national gain, and refuse to abandon a system of protection, without which they say no branch of industry could support itself.

You demur to this. It is not possible, you exclaim, that a whole people should be led to ascribe a redundancy of wealth to mutual robbery.

And why not? We see that this conviction pervades France, and that we are constantly organizing and improving the system of reciprocal robbery under the respectable names of premiums and protective tarifis.

We must not, however, be guilty of exaggeration. As regards the mode of levying, and other collateral circumstances, the system adopted in the kingdom of A. may be worse than ours; but we must at the same time admit that, as regards the principle and its necessary consequences, there is not an atom of difference between these two species of theft; which are both organized by law for the purpose of supplementing the profits of particular branches of industry.