Economic Sophisms/195

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh""How much would you have paid for it outside the barrier?"

"Half a franc."

"What is the reason of this difference?"

"Ask the octroi, which has imposed a tax of half a franc upon it"

"And who established the octroi?"

"The Commune of Paris, to enable them to pave and light the streets."

"It resolves itself, then, into an import duty. But if the neighbouring communes had erected the octroi for their profit, what would have been the consequence?"

"I should not the less have paid one franc for wine worth half a franc, and the other half franc would have gone to pave and light Montmartre and the Batignoles."

"So that, in effect, it is the consumer who pays the tax."

"That is beyond all doubt."

"Then, in imposing an export duty, you make the foreigner contribute to your expenditure."

"Pardon me, that is unjust."

"Why? Before any commodity can be produced in a country, we must presuppose as existing in that country education, security, roads, which are all things that cost money. Why then should not the foreigner bear the charges necessary to the production of the commodity of which ultimately he is the consumer?"

"That is contrary to received ideas."

"Not in the least. The last buyer must bear the whole cost of production, direct and indirect."

"It is in vain that you argue on this subject. It is self-evident that such a measure would paralyze trade, and shut all markets against us."

"This is a mistake. If you paid this tax over and above all others, you might be right. But if the 100 millions levied by this means relieved the taxpayer to a corresponding extent of other burdens, you would reappear in the foreign market with all your advantages, and even with greater advantages, if this tax shall have given rise to less complication and expense."

"I shall think over it. And now that we have put salt,