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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 35 of the 1991 Robert Schalkenbach Foundation edition of Henry George‘s 1886 volume, Protection or Free Trade:

Consider, moreover, how sharply this theory of protection conflicts with common experience and habits of thought.  Who would think of recommending a site for a proposed city or a new colony because it was very difficult to get at?  Yet, if the protective theory be true, this would really be an advantage.  Who would regard piracy as promotive of civilization?  Yet a discriminating pirate, who would confine his seizures to goods which might be produced in the country to which they were being carried, would be as beneficial to that country as a tariff.

Whether protectionists or free traders, we all hear with interest and pleasure of improvements in transportation by water or land; we are all disposed to regard the opening of canals, the building of railways, the deepening of harbors, the improvement of steamships, as beneficial.  But if such things are beneficial, how can tariffs be beneficial?


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