Page:Economic Sophisms.djvu/41

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29
TO EQUALIZE THE CONDITIONS OF PRODUCTION.

of life are most easily procured; and at the present day, in Prussia, in Austria, in Saxony, in Switzerland, in Italy, we see manufactures on an immense scale founded and supported by English capital, worked by English operatives, and directed by English engineers."

You see very clearly, then, that nature, or rather that Providence, more wise, more far-seeing than your narrow and rigid theory supposes, has not ordered this concentration of industry, this monopoly of all advantages upon which you found your reasoning as upon a fact which is unalterable and without remedy. Nature has provided, by means as simple as they are infallible, that there should be dispersion, diffusion, solidarity, simultaneous progress; all constituting a state of things which your restrictive laws paralyze as much as they can; for the tendency of such laws is, by isolating communities, to render the diversity of condition much more marked, to prevent equalization, hinder fusion, neutralize countervailing circumstances, and segregate nations, whether in their superiority or in their inferiority of condition.


III. In the third place, to contend that by a protective duty you equalize the conditions of production, is to give currency to an error by a deceptive form of speech. It is not true that an import duty equalizes the conditions of production. These remain, after the imposition of the duty, the same as they were before. At most, all that such a duty equalizes are the conditions of sale. It may be said, perhaps, that I am playing upon words, but I throw back the accusation. It is for my opponents to show that production and sale are synonymous terms; and if they cannot do this, I am warranted in fastening upon them the reproach, if not of playing on words, at least of mixing them up and confusing them.

To illustrate what I mean by an example: I suppose some Parisian speculators to devote themselves to the production of oranges. They know that the oranges of Portugal can be sold in Paris for a penny apiece, whilst they, on account of the frames and hot-houses which the colder climate would render necessary, could not sell them for less than a shilling as a remunerative price. They demand that Portuguese oranges