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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 317-318 of the 2004 Liberty Fund edition of David Ricardo’s 1817 treatise, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (footnote deleted); here Ricardo criticizes the notion that tariffs imposed on some goods justify an imposition of tariffs on yet additional goods:

Because the cost of production, and, therefore, the prices of various manufactured commodities, are raised to the consumer by one error in legislation, the country has been called upon, on the plea of justice, quietly to submit to fresh exactions. Because we all pay an additional price for our linen, muslin, and cottons, it is thought just that we should pay also an additional price for our corn. Because, in the general distribution of the labour of the world, we have prevented the greatest amount of productions from being obtained, by our portion of that labour, in manufactured commodities, we should further punish ourselves by diminishing the productive powers of the general labour in the supply of raw produce. It would be much wiser to acknowledge the errors which a mistaken policy has induced us to adopt, and immediately to commence a gradual recurrence to the sound principles of an universally free trade.

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