A Negative Railroad

I have already remarked that when the observer has unfortunately taken

his point of view from the position of producer, he cannot fail in his

conclusions to clash with the general interest, because the producer, as

such, must desire the existence of efforts, wants, and obstacles.

I find a singular exemplification of this remark in a journal of


Mr. Simiot puts this question:

Ought the railroad from Paris into Spain to present a break or terminus

at Bordeaux?

This question he answers affirmatively. I will only consider one among

the numerous reasons which he adduces in support of his opinion.

The railroad from Paris to Bayonne ought (he says) to present a break or

terminus at Bordeaux, in order that goods and travelers stopping in this

city should thus be forced to contribute to the profits of the boatmen,

porters, commission merchants, hotel-keepers, etc.

It is very evident that we have here again the interest of the agents of

labor put before that of the consumer.

But if Bordeaux would profit by a break in the road, and if such profit

be conformable to the public interest, then Angouleme, Poictiers, Tours,

Orleans, and still more all the intermediate points, as Ruffec,

Chatellerault, etc., etc., would also petition for breaks; and this too

would be for the general good and for the interest of national labor.

For it is certain, that in proportion to the number of these breaks or

termini, will be the increase in consignments, commissions, lading,

unlading, etc. This system furnishes us the idea of a railroad made up

of successive breaks; a negative railroad.

Whether or not the Protectionists will allow it, most certain it is,

that the restrictive principle is identical with that which would

maintain this system of breaks: it is the sacrifice of the consumer to

the producer, of the end to the means.

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