Home Words on Protectionism


Cold-water Supply Test
Durham Or Screw Pipe Work Pipe And Fittings
Gas Fitting Pipe And Fittings Threading Measuring And Testing
Hot-water Heaters Instantaneous Coil And Storage Tanks.
House Traps Fresh-air Connections Drum Traps And Non-syphoning Traps
Installing Of French Or Sub-soil Drains
Insulation Of Piping To Eliminate Conduction Radiation Freezing And Noise
Laying Terra-cotta And Making Connections To Public Sewers. Water Connections
Making And Care Of Wiping Cloths
Mixtures Of Solders For Soldering Iron And Wiping Care Of Solders Melting Points Of Metals And Alloys
More Preparing And Wiping Joints
Pipe Threading
Plumbing Codes
Plumbing Fixtures And Trade
Preparing And Wiping Joints
Soil And Waste Pipes And Vents Tests
Storm And Sanitary Drainage With Sewage Disposal
The Use And Care Of The Soldering Iron Fluxes Making Different Soldering Joints

Sophisms Of The Protectionists

Capital And Interest
Capital And Interest
Spoliation And Law
Supremacy By Labor
The House
The Plane
The Sack Of Corn

Absolute Prices

If we wish to judge between freedom of trade and protection, to
calculate the probable effect of any political phenomenon, we should
notice how far its influence tends to the production of abundance or
scarcity, and not simply of cheapness or dearness of price. We must
beware of trusting to absolute prices, it would lead to inextricable

Mr. Mathieu de Dombasle, after having established the fact that
protection raises prices, adds:

The augmentation of price increases the expenses of life, and
consequently the price of labor, and every one finds in the increase of
the price of his produce the same proportion as in the increase of his
expenses. Thus, if every body pays as consumer, every body receives also
as producer.

It is evident that it would be easy to reverse the argument and say: If
every body receives as producer, every body must pay as consumer.

Now, what does this prove? Nothing whatever, unless it be that
protection transfers riches, uselessly and unjustly. Robbery does the

Again, to prove that the complicated arrangements of this system give
even simple compensation, it is necessary to adhere to the
consequently of Mr. de Dombasle, and to convince one's self that the
price of labor rises with that of the articles protected. This is a
question of fact, which I refer to Mr. Moreau de Jonnes, begging him to
examine whether the rate of wages was found to increase with the stock
of the mines of Anzin. For my own part I do not believe in it, because I
think that the price of labor, like every thing else, is governed by the
proportion existing between the supply and the demand. Now I can
perfectly well understand that restriction will diminish the supply of
coal, and consequently raise its price; but I do not as clearly see that
it increases the demand for labor, thereby raising the rate of wages.
This is the less conceivable to me, because the sum of labor required
depends upon the quantity of disposable capital; and protection, while
it may change the direction of capital, and transfer it from one
business to another, cannot increase it one penny.

This question, which is of the highest interest, we will examine
elsewhere. I return to the discussion of absolute prices, and declare
that there is no absurdity which cannot be rendered specious by such
reasoning as that of Mr. de Dombasle.

Imagine an isolated nation possessing a given quantity of cash, and
every year wantonly burning the half of its produce. I will undertake to
prove by the theory of Mr. de Dombasle that this nation will not be the
less rich in consequence of such a procedure.

For, the result of the conflagration must be, that every thing would
double in price. An inventory made before this event would offer exactly
the same nominal value, as one made after it. Who then would be the
loser? If John buys his cloth dearer, he also sells his corn at a higher
price; and if Peter makes a loss on the purchase of his corn, he gains
it back by the sale of his cloth. Thus every one finds in the increase
of the price of his produce, the same proportion as in the increase of
his expenses; and thus if every body pays as consumer, every body also
receives as producer.

All this is nonsense. The simple truth is: that whether men destroy
their corn and cloth by fire or by use, the effect is the same as
regards price, but not as regards riches, for it is precisely in the
enjoyment of the use, that riches--in other words, comfort,

Protection may, in the same way, while it lessens the abundance of
things, raise their prices, so as to leave each individual as rich,
numerically speaking, as when unembarrassed by it. But because we put
down in an inventory three hectolitres of corn at 20 francs, or four
hectolitres at 15 francs, and sum up the nominal value of each at 60
francs, does it thence follow that they are equally capable of
contributing to the necessities of the community?

To this view of consumption, it will be my continual endeavor to lead
the protectionists; for in this is the end of all my efforts, the
solution of every problem. I must continually repeat to them that
restriction, by impeding commerce, by limiting the division of labor, by
forcing it to combat difficulties of situation and temperature, must in
its results diminish the quantity produced by any fixed quantum of
labor. And what can it benefit us that the smaller quantity produced
under the protective system bears the same nominal value as the
greater quantity produced under the free trade system? Man does not live
on nominal values, but on real articles of produce; and the more
abundant these articles are, no matter what price they may bear, the
richer is he.

Next: Does Protection Raise The Rate Of Wages?

Previous: Reciprocity

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