Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/614

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crude or partly manufactured materials shall have given our domestic manufacturers an even chance to compete with others.

If it be admitted that the number of persons who are occupied in branches of agriculture, in manufactures, and in mining, whose home market depends wholly upon sales for export to other countries, exceeds the number of those who are occupied in any branch of domestic production of which a part might be imported under other conditions, then it follows of necessity that the only effect of duties upon imports has been or is to give a different direction to domestic industry from that which it would otherwise have taken. By such a course we do not add anything to or take away anything from the work that is to be done, but we do or may diminish the value of the domestic product from which all wages and profits are alike derived, by restricting its market, thus diminishing both general wages and profits in the attempt to increase them in specific directions. If the import of foreign goods, either crude or manufactured, is obstructed, then it follows of necessity that the export of the products of the farm and of the mine is to that extent obstructed, because we buy our foreign goods in exchange for food that we can not consume, for cotton that we can not spin, and for oil that we can not burn. "But," some one says, "if these foreign goods were manufactured at home, there would then be the same market for the product of the farm, the mine, and the forest, within the limit of our country, that now exists abroad." That view of the matter opens a very complex question. One can neither admit nor deny that position, because we have no experience to guide us. If, however, we did make the finished goods which we import into this country, the work in the factories in which they would be made would give employment to a very much less number of laborers than are engaged in the product of wheat and cotton which we now exchange for them. The home market which would be established in this artificial way would not take up anything like the quantity of products of the farm, the mine, and the forest that is now exported.

To show the absurdity of this conception, I can not do better than to quote from Mr. Butterworth's late speech. Having laid down his base-line principle with reference to the revision of the tariff, viz., that of reduction, he says: "Otherwise we should have five gentlemen, honorable and learned gentlemen, arbitrarily shuffling and disarranging, according to their own partially enlightened judgment, the more than fifty thousand industries of sixty millions of people, scattered over a vast continent, affecting directly and indirectly every home in the land, and having to do with all the nations of the earth."

Is it not a simple absurdity to expect the men whom we elect