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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/659

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THE ETHICAL VIEW OF PROTECTION.

inhabitants depend on its relations with. other towns and the country at large. Our prosperity and comfort depend on the number and quality of things we can make that the rest of the world wants, and the facility with which we can exchange those things for things that we want. The gentleman who has just spoken proposes to tax the very relations upon which our material welfare is founded! We want corn and wheat and tea and coal and sugar; can we produce any of those things here? Certainly not. In order to get them we must make things wanted by the people who can and do produce corn, wheat, tea, coal, and sugar, and exchange our products for theirs. If we tax corn, wheat, tea, coal, and sugar, the people who want our goods will take them and pay for them in money, and we shall simply be paying out of our own pockets the extra valuation put upon goods that we want. We all of us who want and must have corn, wheat, tea, coal, and sugar, will be paying extra for them, and the only people who will be benefited will be the few among us who produce the articles that outsiders want. They can put larger prices on their goods on the strength of the extra valuation of corn, wheat, tea, coal, and sugar, and so the greater portion of the taxes will fall indirectly into their pockets. It will be cheaper for us in the end to pay the money directly over to them in the form of subsidies, which is a polite term for legalized charity."

Somewhat in this way, no doubt, the philosophical citizen would speak, and it would be strange if a majority of his fellow citizens did not agree with him. If we enlarge our community, and instead of a city have a state, would the conditions be any different? Not at all. Certain people in this state would be able to do certain things well, and their prosperity would depend upon the facility with which they could exchange their labor or the products of their labor with the labor or the products of labor of the citizens of other states. What would have been the condition of this country, of the United States of America, if every State had put up a barrier against its neighbors in the shape of a protective tariff? Suppose that an inhabitant of Massachusetts could not get anything from Pennsylvania or New York without paying a duty, and suppose that an inhabitant of New York or Pennsylvania could not buy of an inhabitant of Illinois without being taxed by his own State from twenty-five to forty per cent on his purchase, what would become of our national prosperity? To ask the question is to answer it. The prosperity of each depends upon the utmost freedom of intercourse with all the others.

Let us now take a still wider outlook, and extend our reasoning a little further. Why, if a protective tariff is not conducive to prosperity when established between families or towns or