Economic Sophisms/204

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"JACQUES: Truly this is very simple. But is it not too much so? An infant might understand it. But such reforms as you describe stifle the genius of great administrators. For my own part, I stick to the French mode of going to work. And then your uniform rate has the greatest of all faults. It is unjust.

JOHN: How so?

JACQUES: Because it is unjust to charge as much for a letter addressed to the immediate neighbourhood, as for one which you carry three hundred miles.

JOHN: At all events you will allow that the injustice goes no further than to the extent of a penny.

JACQUES: No matter—it is still injustice.

JOHN: Besides, the injustice, which at the outside cannot extend beyond a penny in any particular case, disappears when you take into account the entire correspondence of any individual citizen who sends his letters sometimes to a great distance and sometimes to places in the immediate vicinity.

JACQUES: I adhere to my opinion. The injustice is lessened—infinitely lessened, if you will; it is inappreciable, infinitesimal, homœopathic; but it exists.

JOHN: Does your government make you pay dearer for an ounce of tobacco which you buy in the Rue de Clichy than for the same quantity retailed on the Quai d'Orsay?

JACQUES: What connexion is there between the two subjects of comparison?

JOHN: In the one case as in the other, the cost of transport must be taken into account. Mathematically, it would be just that each pinch of snufif should be dearer in the Rue de Clichy than on the Quai d'Orsay by the millionth part of a farthing.

JACQUES: True; I don't dispute that it may be so.

JOHN: Let me add, that your postal system is just only in appearance. Two houses stand side by side, but one of them happens to be within, and the other just outside, the zone or postal district. The one pays a penny more than the other, just equal to the entire postage in England. You see, then, that with you injustice is committed on a much greater scale than with us.

JACQUES: That is so. My objection does not amount to much; but the loss of revenue still remains to be taken into account.