Page:Economic Sophisms.djvu/61

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49
BALANCE OF TRADE.

them, and impose them on your fellow-citizens to the utmost of your power.

The truth is, it would be necessary to take the balance of trade backwards [au rebours], and calculate the national profits from foreign trade by the excess of imports over exports. This excess, after deducting costs, constitutes the real profit. But this theory, which is true, leads directly to free trade. I make you a present of it, gentlemen, as I do of all the theories in the preceding chapters. Exaggerate it as much as you please—it has nothing to fear from that test. Suppose, if that amuses you, that the foreigner inundates us with all sorts of useful commodities without asking anything in return, that our imports are infinite and exports nil, I defy you to prove to me that we should be poorer on that account.




VII.


PETITION

OF THE MANUFACTURERS OF CANDLES, WAX-LIGHTS, LAMPS, CANDLESTICKS, STREET LAMPS, SNUFFERS, EXTINGUISHERS, AND OF THE PRODUCERS OF OIL, TALLOW, ROSIN, ALCOHOL, AND, GENERALLY, OF EVERYTHING CONNECTED WITH LIGHTING.


To Messieurs the Members of the Chamber of Deputies.


Gentlemen,—You are on the right road. You reject abstract theories, and have little consideration for cheapness and plenty. Your chief care is the interest of the producer. You desire to emancipate him from external competition, and reserve the national market for national industry.

We are about to offer you an admirable opportunity of applying your—what shall we call it? your theory? No; nothing is more deceptive than theory; your doctrine? your system? your principle? but you dislike doctrines, you abhor systems, and as for principles, you deny that there are any in social