Economic Sophisms/245

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"not useful labour, but labour become superfluous, without object, and without result. On the contrary, protection sets that sort of useless labour to work; it places us again under water, to bring the air-pump into play; it forces us to apply for gold to the inaccessible national mine, rather than to the national workshops. All the effect is expressed by the words, deperdition of forces.

It will be understood that I am speaking here of general effects, not of the temporary inconvenience which is always caused by the transition from a bad system to a good one. A momentary derangement accompanies necessarily all progress. This may be a reason for making the transition gently and gradually. It is no reason for putting a stop systematically to all progress, still less for misunderstanding it.

Industry is often represented as a struggle. That is not a true representation of it, or only true when we confine ourselves to the consideration of each branch of industry in its effects upon similar branches, regarding them both in thought apart from the interests of the rest of mankind. But there is always something else to be considered, namely, the effects upon consumption, and upon general prosperity.

It is an error to apply to trade, as is but too often done, phrases which are applicable to war.

In war the stronger overcomes the weaker.

In industry the stronger imparts force to the weaker. This entirely does away with the analogy.

Let the English be as powerful and skilful as they are represented, let them be possessed of as large an amount of capital, and have as great a command of the two great agents of production, iron and fuel, as they are supposed to have; all this simply means cheapness. And who gains by the cheapness of products? The man who buys them.

It is not in their power to annihilate any part whatever of our national labour. All they can do is to render it superfluous in the production of what is acquired by exchange, to furnish us with air without the aid of the pump, to enlarge in this way our disposable forces, and so render their alleged domination as much more impossible as their superiority becomes more incontestable.