… appears on the 177th anniversary of the repeal in Great Britain of the corn laws; specifically, this quotation is from Steve Davies’s January 16th, 2015, post (“What Cobden Has Wrought“) in a Liberty Matters discussion titled “Richard Cobden: Ideas and Strategies in Organizing the Free-Trade Movement in Britain”:
Cobden successfully brought about a radical shift in the popular perspective, from a focus on the interests of producers to those of consumers. This of course was strongly contested, and the idea that production takes place in order to create jobs rather than to produce goods for consumption is still very popular. However, polls and other tests of opinion in the United Kingdom repeatedly show that the majority of the British public continues to take the consumer-oriented position. This is a simple change of thinking and perspective that has profound and extensive consequences. The interesting contrast is with the United States, where producerist arguments continue to have enormous popular purchase and there is an entire genre of popular economic writing that calls for protection and other measures to boost production at the expense of consumption. There is no counterpart to this in the United Kingdom.