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weigh the motives that induced me to doubt its correctness : but after having seriously meditated on the subject, I thought that private considerations ought not to prevent my stating my doubts on this important point of political economy, and I flatter myself that, were I even mistaken, my error will find grace · before the most enthusiastic adherents of Adam Smith, because they will be convinced that I have only yielded to the love of truth and to the interests of the science. • In order to be certain whether, as is asserted by Adam Smith, the capital employed in circulating the raw and manufactured produce of a country supports four-and-twenty times more national labour when that circulation takes place at home than when the productions are sent abroad, we must fix the amount of that capital, follow its operations, and endeavour to ascertain its results.
Let us suppose that the capital of the trade which replaces the capital destined to support the labour of a country, amounts to one-thousand millions of French livres, and that the stock which commerce devotes to circulate this one-thousand millions amounts to two hundred millions ; the whole capital which supports the labour of the country, will, in this . hypothesis, amount to twelve-hundred millions. As soon as commerce circulates the produce of the soil and industry of a country, the labour of the country has been performed ; -and it matters very little to that labour, whether its produce be consumed abroad or at home; both consumptions restore to the labour of the nation the one-thousand millions destined for
its support. Under the supposition that this onethousand millions is consumed at home, it is re-imbursed by the national income; when it is consumed abroad it is re-imbursed by the income of the foreign country: for, abroad, as at home, consumption can take place only by means of an equivalent especially reserved for the labour, the produce of which has been consumed. In both cases, therefore, no part of the one-thousand millions destined for the support of national labour undergoes the smallest diminution.
As for the two-hundred millions employed in the labour of circulating the produce, it matters not whether it is paid for the circulation abroad or at home; in both cases, the amount is repaid by the national or foreign consumers, and consequently it always remains entire with regard to the labour of the country
It therefore appears quite clear, destined to support the labour of a country cannot be impaired whether its produce be consumed at home or abroad ; and in this sense Dr. Quesņay was right, when he said that in the foreign trade there is neither loss nor gain on either side.
But if the matter be considered in another point of view; if we ask whether the consumption of the produce of the soil and industry of a country be most advantageous to public and private wealth, when it takes place at home, or when it takes place abroad; the nature of the question is altered; it then becomes of the greatest interest, and affords results much more useful and much more productive for the science.
When the produce of national labour is consumed in the country, its consumption is not very active,
because, as Montesquieu observes, people of the same climate have nearly the same productions, and find in them none but common and ordinary enjoyments : consumption never goes beyond their wants, because the productions are not capable of exciting their desires, gratifying their sensuality, or flattering their vanity. All that can be wished for of such a consumption is, that it shall regularly absorb the produce of national labour. In such a state of things, it is very fortunate for the nation if its wealth continue stationary, as it is more likely to be retrograding than progressive.
When, on the contrary, the produce of national labour is consumed abroad, the returns, which consist of new, various, and more abundant productions, are generally sought after, their consumption is rapid, labour and industry redouble their efforts to procure them, and both private and public wealth make an astonishing progress.
Moreover, the returns for the exported produce are always more considerable than that produce ; that is, the foreign country gives a greater quantity of produce than it receives, and this surplus consequently increases the capital destined for the support of national wealth. The characteristic of foreign commerce is to offer to all nations the produce which suits them best, and consequently to make them pay dearer for it than what it is worth in the place where it is produced. Hence it follows, that foreign commerce affords every nation sure means of selling dear the produce of its own labour, and purchasing cheap the produce of foreign labour. This phenomenon has been
discovered by Adam Smith, and he explains it thus.
“Between whatever places foreign trade is carried on, they all of them derive two distinct benefits from it. It carries out that surplus part of the produce of their land and labour for which there is no demand among them, and brings back in return for it something else for which there is a demand. It gives a value to their superfluities, by exchanging them for something else, which may satisfy a part of their wants and increase their enjoyments. By means of it, the parrowness of the home market does not hinder the division of labour, in any particular branch of art or manufacture, from being carried to the highest perfection. By opening a more extensive market for whatever part of the produce of their labour may exceed the home-consumption, it encourages them to improve its productive powers, and to augment its annual produce to the utmost, and thereby to increase the real revenue and wealth of the society."*
It is not only by procuring a sale to the surplus produce of the labour of a country that foreign trade sueceeds in selling dear the home-productions, and purchasing the foreign produce cheap. The same effect would take place, if it were possible for nations to trade with the whole produce of their labour. The produce sold abroad is always higher in price than in the place of its production, and consequently foreign trade always sells dear and buys cheap.
Lastly, another advantage resulting from foreign trade, which has not been noticed by Adam Smith, is this. It invites all nations to share in the fertility of
* liealth of Nations, vol. ii. page 175.
all soils, in the improvement of every branch of industry, and in the progress of general civilization. The enjoyments of any particular people are no longer limited by the sterility of its climate, by the aukward. ness or inexperience of its labourers, nor even by the defects of its political institutions. The fertility of any soil, the improvement of any branch of industry, the goodness of any political institution, become as it were common to all individuals, to all nations, to the whole family of the human race. This sbaring in the general abundance banishes poverty from all coun: tries, or at least no nations are left in poverty but those which do not kuow how to avail themselves of the soil on which they are placed, or whose industry is checked by the carelessness or ignorance of their government.
That Adam Smith should have thought it more advantageous for a country to consume the produce of its labour than to sell it abroad, is so much the more surprizing, as he teaches the direct contrary when the question is of purchasing abroad.
" It is,” he says, “the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoe-maker. · The shoe-maker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor. All of them find it for their interest to employ their whole industry in a way in which they have some advantage over their neighbours, and to purchase with a part of its produce whatever else they have occasion for.