Front Page Titles (by Subject) Summary of Principles illustrated in this and the preceding Volume. - Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 6 (Messrs. Vanderput and Snoek, The Loom and the Lugger Parts 1 & 2)
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this and the preceding Volume. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 6 (Messrs. Vanderput and Snoek, The Loom and the Lugger Parts 1 & 2) 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1834). Vol. 6.
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this and the preceding Volume.
The countries of the world differ in their facilities for producing the comforts and luxuries of life.
The inhabitants of the world agree in wanting or desiring all the comforts and luxuries which the world produces.
These wants and desires can be in no degree gratified but by means of mutual exchanges. They can be fully satisfied only by means of absolutely universal and free exchanges.
By universal and free exchange,—that is, by each person being permitted to exchange what he wants least for what he wants most,—an absolutely perfect system of economy of resources is established, the whole world being included in the arrangement.
The present want of agreement in the whole world to adopt this system does not invalidate its principle when applied to a single nation. It must ever be the interest of a nation to exchange what it wants little at home for what it wants more from abroad. If denied what it wants most, it will be wise to take what is next best; and so on, as long as anything is left which is produced better abroad than at home.
In the above case, the blame of the deprivation rests with the prohibiting power; but the suffering affects both the trading nations,—the one being prevented getting what it wants most—the other being prevented parting with what it wants least.
As the general interest of each nation requires that there should be perfect liberty in the exchange of commodities, any restriction on such liberty, for the sake of benefiting any particular class or classes, is a sacrifice of a larger interest to a smaller,—that is, a sin in government.
This sin is committed when,—
First,—Any protection is granted powerful enough to tempt to evasion, producing disloyalty, fraud, and jealousy: when,
Secondly,—Capital is unproductively consumed in the maintenance of an apparatus of restriction: when,
Thirdly,—Capital is unproductively bestowed in enabling those who produce at home dearer than foreigners to sell abroad as cheap as foreigners,—that is, in bounties, on exportation: and when,
Fourthly,—Capital is diverted from its natural course to be employed in producing at home that which is expensive and inferior, instead of in preparing that which will purchase the same article cheap and superior abroad,—that is, when restrictions are imposed on importation.
But though the general interest is sacrificed, no particular interest is permanently benefited, by special protections, since
Restrictive regulations in favour of the few are violated, when such violation is the interest of the many; and
Every diminution of the consumer's fund causes a loss of custom to the producer. Again.
The absence of competition and deprivation of custom combine to make his article inferior and dear; which inferiority and dearness cause his trade still further to decline.
Such are the evils which attend the protection of a class of producers who cannot compete with foreign producers of the same article.
If home producers can compete with foreign producers, they need no protection, as, cœleris paribus, buying at hand is preferable to buying at a distance.
Free competition cannot fail to benefit all parties:—
Consumers, by securing the greatest practicable improvement and cheapness of the article;
Producers, by the consequent perpetual extension of demand;—and
Society at large, by determining capital to its natural channels.
W. Clowks, Stamford-street.