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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 164 of the 1991 Robert Schalkenbach Foundation edition [2] of Henry George [3]‘s 1886 volume, Protection or Free Trade [4]; here, Henry George could well have been addressing today’s “locovores [5]” (footnote excluded):

To assume, as protectionists do, that economy must necessarily result from bringing producer and consumer together in point of space, is to assume that things can be produced as well in one place as in another, and that difficulties in exchange are to be measured solely by distance.  The truth is, that commodities can often be produced in one place with so much greater facility than in another that it involves a less expenditure of labor to bring them long distances than to produce them on the spot, while two points a hundred miles apart may be commercially nearer each other than two points ten miles apart.  To bring the producer to the consumer in point of distance, is, if it increases the cost of production, not economy but waste.

Of course, when George wrote “involve a less expenditure of labor,” he would have made an equally valid – yet more general – point had he instead written “involves a less expenditure of resources.”