Economic Sophisms/208

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"Template:Hwe development, civilizing tendency; and tell me honestly if it is possible to hesitate a moment.

"I shall not stop to enlarge on each of these considerations—I give you the headings of twelve chapters, which I leave blank, persuaded that no one can fill them up better than yourself.

"But since there is one objection—namely, revenue—I must say a word on that head.

"You have constructed a table in order to show that even at twopence the revenue would suffer a loss of £880,000.

"At a penny, the loss would be £1,120,000, and at a half-penny, of £1,320,000; hypotheses so frightful that you do not even formulate them in detail.

"But allow me to say that the figures in your report dance about with a little too much freedom. In all your tables, in all your calculations, you have the tacit reservation of cœteris paribus. You assume that the cost will be the same under a simple as under a complicated system of administration—the same number of letters with the present average postage of 4½d. as with the uniform rate of twopence. You confine yourself to this rule of three : if 87 millions of letters at 4½d. yield so much, then at 2d. the same number will yield so much; admitting, nevertheless, certain distinctions when they militate against our proposed reform.

"In order to estimate the real sacrifice of revenue, we must, first of all, calculate the economy in the service which will be effected; then in what proportion the amount of correspondence will be augmented. We take this last datum solely into account, because we cannot suppose that the saving of cost which will be realized will not be met by an increased personnel rendered necessary by a more extended service.

"Undoubtedly, it is impossible to fix the exact amount of increase in the circulation of letters which the reduction of postage would cause, but in such matters a reasonable analogy has always been admitted.

"You yourself admit that in England a reduction of seven-eighths in the rate has caused an increase of correspondence to the extent of 360 per cent.

"Here, the lowering to 5 centimes (a halfpenny) of the

rate which is at present at an average of something less than