Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXIII: THIERS' AGRICULTURAL FORECASTS - The Comedy of Protection
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
CHAPTER XXIII: THIERS’ AGRICULTURAL FORECASTS - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THIERS’ AGRICULTURAL FORECASTS
Thiers had declared in a speech made June 27-8, 1851, that to abolish the sliding scale and the Customs duties, then 3s. 7d. per bushel, would mean that no more seed was sown or corn produced in France; he threatened an inundation of corn from Russia, Naples, and Seville. In 1861 the Customs duty was converted into a registration duty of 21/2d., and the number of acres sown with wheat, which was 14,400,000, rose to 16,560,000 in 1865, 16,800,000 in 1869, and after the war, in 1880, under the same fiscal policy, the acreage remained the same. With the sliding scale in the single year 1857 the harvest had been 303,600,000 bushels. While the duty was only 21/2d. the following are the figures:—
Thus M. Thiers’ forecast did not come true. After the war, in spite of the reduction of French territory and the invasion by that American wheat which had succeeded Russian as a Protectionist argument, we find:—
A duty of 1s. 3d. was imposed in the following year, when the state of agriculture had proved it unnecessary; in 1887 a duty of 2s., and in 1904 one of 2s. 10d. The harvest of 1882 was not equalled till 1894; that of 1874 in 1898 and 1899, when it was 352,000,000 bushels. The last great harvest was that of 1902 with 341,000,000 bushels.
Thus the Liberal régime, marked by the registration tax of 1860, had not destroyed French corn. In spite of the advance of agricultural science, the harvest of 1874 has never been equalled since.