… Excerpted from page 10 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:
The argument of free traders is that the legislature should never interfere, or only so far as necessary to meet a pressing fiscal need, in this natural law of distribution.
Any intervention by the government to encourage some expensive method of production at home rather than a cheaper method of production abroad can be called artificial. And all such interference means a diminution of national wealth. If region A produces corn at home at fifty shillings, and region B supplies it at forty, and region B produces cloth at twenty shillings, and region A supplies it at fifteen, the national wealth of each is ten and five shillings.
And there is very little division between capitalists and laborers in these countries, where the competition between capital and labor determines the division between the prices they bring to the market.
In my view, protection for the children of my country, regardless of the source of honor, is basically an invitation to waste, declared by law.
DBX: Indeed. Conservation, by a more accurate name, is called “waste.”
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