Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/446

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My experience as a manufacturer for more than half a century, an exporter and writer upon economic questions for about forty years, enables me to unite practise with science in demonstrating the truth of what I shall say to you.

The manufacturer's occupation, in common with most other occupations, has for its object to make money. As a social factor, his function is the elaboration of material, to meet the increasingly complex needs of a continually advancing civilization; but that and all else has to be subordinated, from a business man's point of view, to the endless task of investing smaller quantities of money and realizing larger; the difference of those two sets of quantities measuring his success or failure. He is a constructor incidentally—essentially he ia a merchant. His great study is how to buy cheapest and sell dearest.

The tariff, considered as protective, is contrived and constructed with the single purpose of aiding the producer to sell dear. That aid is extended in part to production of mere raw material, but mainly to that of more elaborated articles, and the manufacturer has accordingly been always regarded as its chief beneficiary. Nor can manufacturers in general be fairly charged with ingratitude for the assistance it so graciously accords them in holding the hands of their customer while they rifle his pockets. But this grateful sentiment, though general, has never been quite universal; and the discordant voices, in the prevalent harmony, have of late grown more numerous than ever. The reasons for this—why the manufacturer is coming more and more to regard the tariff as not quite the most precious friend he has in this cold world—are, after all, very simple indeed. First, he comes to find, as his skill and facilities for production increase, that there is more profit in the greater number of sales to be had at a moderate price than in the smaller number at a high price, so that the ability to advance the price of his goods is, beyond a certain limit, no favor to him. A second and more important reason is that his interest is as much involved in buying cheap as in selling dear, and his "raw material" is always the finished product of some other producer, whose profits the tariff in

  1. This and the following papers on tariff revision were presented before Section L—Social and Economic Science—at the recent Baltimore meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.