Page:Economic Sophisms.djvu/65

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53
PETITION, ETC.

Now, it is precisely the gratuitous half (pardon the word) which we contend should be excluded. You say, How can natural labour sustain competition with foreign labour, when the former has all the work to do, and the latter only does one-half, the sun supplying the remainder? But if this half, being gratuitous, determines you to exclude competition, how should the whole, being gratuitous, induce you to admit competition? If you were consistent, you would, while excluding as hurtful to native industry what is half gratuitous, exclude a fortiori and with double zeal, that which is altogether gratuitous.

Once more, when products such as coal, iron, corn, or textile fabrics, are sent us from abroad, and we can acquire them with less labour than if we made them ourselves, the difference is a free gift conferred upon us. The gift is more or less considerable in proportion as the difference is more or less great. It amounts to a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value of the product, when the foreigner only asks us for three-fourths, a half, or a quarter of the price we should otherwise pay. It is as perfect and complete as it can be, when the donor (like the sun in furnishing us with light) asks us for nothing. The question, and we ask it formally, is this, Do you desire for our country the benefit of gratuitous consumption, or the pretended advantages of onerous production? Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you exclude as you do, coal, iron, corn, foreign fabrics, in proportion as their price approximates to zero, what inconsistency would it be to admit the light of the sun, the price of which is already at zero during the entire day!




VIII.


DIFFERENTIAL DUTIES.


A Poor vine-dresser of the Gironde had trained with fond enthusiasm a slip of vine, which, after much fatigue and much labour, yielded him, at length, a tun of wine; and his success made him forget that each drop of this precious nectar had cost