Economic Sophisms/246

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"Thus, by a rigorous and consoling demonstration, we arrive at this conclusion, that labour and violence, which are so opposite in their nature, are not less so in their effects.

All we are called upon to do is to distinguish between labour annihilated, and labour economized.

To have less iron because we work less, and to have less iron although we work less, are things not only different, but opposed to each other. The protectionists confound them; we do not. That is all.

We may be very certain of one thing, that if the English employ a large amount of activity, labour, capital, intelligence, and natural forces, it is not done for show. It is done in order to procure a multitude of enjoyments in exchange for their products. They most certainly expect to receive at least as much as they give. What they produce at home is destined to pay for what they purchase abroad. If they inundate us with their products, it is because they expect to be inundated with ours in return. That being so, the best means of having much for ourselves is to be free to choose between these two modes of acquisition, immediate production, and mediate production. British Machiavelism cannot force us to make a wrong choice.

Let us give up, then, the puerility of applying to industrial competition phrases applicable to war,—a way of speaking which is only, specious when applied to competition between two rival trades. The moment we come to take into account the effect produced on the general prosperity, the analogy disappears.

In a battle, every one who is killed diminishes by so much the strength of the army. In industry, a workshop is shut up only when what it produced is obtained by the public from another source and in greater abundance. Figure a state of things where for one man killed on the spot two should rise up full of life and vigour. Were such a state of things possible, war would no longer merit its name.

This, however, is the distinctive character of what is so absurdly called industrial war.

Let the Belgians and the English lower the price of their iron ever so much; let them, if they will, send it to us for nothing;

this might extinguish some of our blast-furnaces; but Template:Hws