Economic Sophisms/228

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"its own nature identical with commerce, just as labour on a small scale is identical with labour on a great scale, or as the law of gravitation which moves an atom is identical with that same law of gravitation which moves a world."

"So, according to you, these arguments, which are so untenable in the mouth of Robinson, are equally untenable when urged by our protectionists."

"Yes; only the error is better concealed under a complication of circumstances."

"Then, pray, let us have an example taken from the present order of things."

"With pleasure. In France, owing to the exigencies of climate and habits, cloth is a useful thing. Is the essential thing to make it, or to get it?"

"A very sensible question, truly ! In order to have it, you must make it."

"Not necessarily. To have it, some one must make it, that is certain; but it is not at all necessary that the same person or the same country which consumes it should also produce it. You have not made that stuff which clothes you so well. France does not produce the coffee on which our citizens breakfast"

"But I buy my cloth, and France her coffee."

"Exactly so; and with what?"

"With money."

"But neither you nor France produce the material of money."

"We buy it"

"With what?"

"With our products, which are sent to Peru."

"It is then, in fact, your labour which you exchange for cloth, and French labour which is exchanged for coffee."


"It is not absolutely necessary, therefore, to manufacture what you consume."

"No; if we manufacture something else which we give in exchange."

"In other words, France has two means of procuring a given quantity of cloth. The first is to make it; the second is to make something else, and to exchange this something else with the foreigner for cloth. Of these two means, which is the best?"