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Quotation of the Day…

… is from chapter 4 of William Graham Sumner’s 1885 book, Protectionism: the -ism Which Teaches that Waste Makes Wealth (link added):

Bastiat said that the model at which the protectionist was aiming, was Sisyphus, who was condemned in Hades to roll a stone to the top of a hill, from which, as soon as he got it there, it rolled down again to the bottom. Then he rolled it up again, and so on to all eternity. Here then was infinity of effort, zero of result; the ultimate type to which the protectionist system would come. Somebody pitied Sisyphus, to whom he replied: “Thou fool! I enjoy everlasting hope!” If Sisyphus could extract moral consolation from his case, I am not prepared to deny but that a New England farmer, ground between the upper mill-stone of free competition, in his production, with the Mississippi Valley, and the nether millstone of protective taxes on all his consumption, may derive some moral consolation from his case. There are a great many people who are apparently ready to inflict salutary chastisement on the American citizen for his welfare – and their own advantage.


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