… Excerpted from page 15 of William Gladstone’s January 1890 Contribution to the Debate with James G. Blaine of Maine on Free Trade and Protection.; These comments in CCCXCVIII of North American Review:
I am boldly arguing that this whole doctrine – that capital should be diverted to the area of expensive production with the intention of keeping it for profit or at home – is a top-down deception. He says to the capitalist: “Invest a million dollars in a mill or factory (say) to produce thread and cloth which we can obtain cheaply from abroad – that is to say, whether it can be manufactured abroad and sent here at a small cost.” production, or, in other words, with less waste; For all production costs beyond necessity – call it what we can – it’s a simple waste. To induce him to do this, you promise him to receive an artificial object instead of a natural value; And to keep the foreigner out of the market, this artificial price is imposed on the competing foreign product through the system of import duties. The only justification for import duties is not to meet the needs of the government, but to cover the loss of domestic production and make it profitable.
Conservation is waste—waste at the great expense of the many that artificially enriches the few.
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