Page:Economic Sophisms.djvu/51

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The theory of which in this chapter I have endeavoured to trace the outlines would require great developments. I have glanced at it only in as far as it bears upon my subject of free trade. But perhaps the attentive reader may have perceived in it the fertile germ which in the rankness of its maturity will not only smother protection, but, along with it, Fourierisme, Saint-Simonianisme, communisme, and all those schools whose object it is to exclude from the government of the world the law of COMPETITION. Regarded from the producer's point of view, competition no doubt frequently clashes with our immediate and individual interests; but if we change our point of view and extend our regards to industry in general, to universal prosperity—in a word, to consumption—we shall find that competition in the moral world plays the same part which equilibrium does in the material world. It lies at the root of true communism, of true socialism, of that equality of conditions and of happiness so much desired in our day; and if so many sincere publicists, and well-meaning reformers seek after the arbitrary, it is for this reason—that they do not understand liberty.[1]



We have here again the same sophism. We demand that foreign products should be taxed to neutralize the effect of the taxes which weigh upon our national products. The object, then, still is to equalize the conditions of production. We

  1. The theory sketched in this chapter, is the same which, four years afterwards, was developed in the Harmonies Économiques. Remuneration reserved exclusively for human labour; the gratuitous nature of natural agents; progressive conquest of these agents, to the profit of mankind, whose common property they thus become; elevation of general well-being and tendency to relative equalization of conditions; we recognise here the essential elements of the most important of all the works of Bastiat.—Editor.