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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 412 of the splendid 1978 collection, edited by Eric Mack, of Auberon Herbert [2]’s writings, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State [3]; specifically, it’s from Herbert’s 1897 essay “The Principles of Voluntaryism and Free Life”:

Every trade restriction is war declared upon other trades. All attempts of one class of workers to restrict their own special industry are treason against their fellow workers, because every restricted trade implies the effort to get an artificial or heightened price for the product of such trade, while the workers in it enjoy the product of other unrestricted trades at free trade (or unrestricted) prices. They are, therefore, guilty in the great exchange of the world of taking more and giving less, and so far as they temporarily benefit themselves – and it can only be temporarily – they do it by placing a tax upon all their fellow workers in the unrestricted trades. Nor is the universal restriction of all trades less hurtful than the partial restriction of some trades. Where all professions and trades are restricted, everybody alike – worker or non-worker – is injured, because: (1) everybody has to pay the higher price that results indirectly as well as directly from such restriction; (2) all production is rendered sickly by losing the vitalizing effects which accompany free trade – the constant introduction of new methods, the constant inflow of capital brains and energy; (3) each set of restrictions in turn fails and is then succeeded by a new set of restrictions, created to make the first set more effective, and thus a state of hopeless entanglement presently results; and (4) the workers and their children cannot readily pass to the trades for which they have an aptitude or liking, and a great mass, owing to such impeded movement, is slowly formed of unemployed, incapable and indigent, who under free trade would be healthily absorbed.

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