Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER V: ASSESSMENT OF THE TARIFF - The Comedy of Protection
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CHAPTER V: ASSESSMENT OF THE TARIFF - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
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ASSESSMENT OF THE TARIFF
Wool—Foodstuffs—Agricultural produce exposed to competition—Number of people affected and benefited by the duties.
Some raw materials were specially heavily taxed—for example, wool, of which the two highest qualities paid 51/2d. and 6d. per lb. What is the bearing of a tax on wool to the farming interest? According to the census, the produce of 5,500,000 farms was 5,000 million dollars’ worth—wool representing 6 million dollars’ worth, or less than a quarter per cent. Estimating the return to each farm at 700 to 800 dollars, wool represents the income of 70,000 or 80,000 farmers out of a total of 51/2 millions. As a matter of fact, the keeping of sheep was a mere by-product to the farmers; a few capitalists owned large flocks, and for them the duty was established which did so much harm to the cloth trade.
There was a tax of 1s. 1d. (25 cents) per bushel of potatoes; in 1902 7 million bushels had to be imported, with a duty which amounted to nearly 1,500,000 dollars. Nine million dollars came from the duties on eggs, cabbages, oats, and other foodstuffs.
According to the census, agricultural produce was worth 4,739,000 million dollars, an estimate that probably fell below the truth. Mr. Edward Atkinson, in his “Facts and Figures,”1 made an inquiry into the proportion of produce affected by foreign competition. Taking all together—rice, linseed, tobacco, hops, sugar (241/2 millions), wool (45 millions)—the total is some 169 millions; adding skins, fruits and nuts, there is a total of 200 million dollars’ worth exposed to foreign competition—about 4 per cent.—which must, however, be reduced to allow for the fact that about half these products would not be affected by the repeal of the duties.
Of the 10 million persons engaged in agriculture only some 200,000 are exposed to foreign competition.
According to the census the total population engaged in industrial enterprise is 29,074,000. Deducting 600,000, there remain 28,474,000 persons with nothing to gain from Protection, who are engaged in trades which are dependent on the protected industries, which form 2 per cent. of the whole.
Thus in an intelligent and educated democracy, conscious of its rights, the majority, voting by manhood suffrage, elects representatives to lay upon them private taxes for the benefit of a negligible minority; the same blindness afflicts them that leads the French democracy to assure the profits and guarantee the rents of a minority of less than 5 per cent.
“Facts and Figures. The Basis of Economic Science,” 1904.