How Protection Makes Work

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For the Public.

Dave Wells is a liberal-minded fellow, but he cannot take in that point. Now, I am broad-minded, and willing to admit whatever good there is in any theory, so I said: "I'll make it clear to you for once—Pat had a pig worth a pound and potatoes worth a pound. The land owner takes the pig for rent and leaves the potatoes. See?"

"Yes,"says Wells, "he would do that."

"Now," says I, "the land owner sends the pig to Jamaica for rum and drinks the rum."

"So he does," David put in.

"But," I continued, '"Pat has now no pig, and no way of getting one. But, if the land owner trades back the pig to Pat for whisky made out of the potatoes in Ireland, Pat can eat the pig instead of the potatoes, and has the work (for which he gets wages in his profit) of making the whisky. See?"

"Where does his profit come in?" says Wells.

"Why," I replied, "of course the potatoes are worth more after Pat has put his labor on them making whisky of them, than they were as plain potatoes, so Pat can keep some of them to eat and use the rest for the whisky, which the land owner employed him to make. Now you see how keeping the trade to ourselves gives work."'

Wells said: "But, if rum is cheaper in Jamaica, so that the land owner sends there for it, why couldn't Pat have sent his spare potatoes to Jamaica in exchange for rum, and traded some of the rum to his land owner for the pig? Then he'd have had the profit without the work."

Wells isn't so liberal as I had supposed.


Source:The Public. I, 41. (January 14, 1899). 12.