Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 14, 2022

in Philosophy of Freedom, Trade

… is from page 425 of No. 67 of Cato’s Letters – this one is by Thomas Gordon and first published on February 24th, 1722 – as this letter appears in the beautiful 1995 Liberty Fund edition of Cato’s Letters:

Where there is liberty, there are encouragements to labour, because people labour for themselves: and no one can take from them the acquisitions which they make by their labour: There will be the greatest numbers of people, because they find employment and protection; there will be the greatest stocks, because most is to be got, and easiest to be got, and safest when it is got; and those stocks will be always increasing by a new accession of money acquired elsewhere, where there is no security of enjoying it; there people will be able to work cheapest, because less taxes will be put upon their work, and upon the necessaries which must support them whilst they are about it: There people will dare to own their being rich; there will be most people bred up to trade, and trade and traders will be most respected; and there the interest of money will be lower, and the security of possessing it greater, than it ever can be in tyrannical governments, where life and property and all things must depend upon the humour of a prince, the caprice of a minister, or the demand of a harlot. Under those governments few people can have money, and they that have must lock it up, or bury it to keep it; and dare not engage in large designs, when the advantages may be reaped by their rapacious governors, or given up by them in a senseless and wicked treaty: Besides, such governors condemn trade and artificers; and only men of the sword, who have an interest incompatible with trade, are encouraged by them.

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