In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects.
Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa.
Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.
The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.
This explains man's necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see.
Essay Reality Vs Illusion is only after a long time that he learns to take account of the others. Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally. It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns.
I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, click the following article those that are seen with those that are not seen. If you have been present at this spectacle, certainly you must also have observed that the onlookers, even if there are as many as thirty of them, seem with one accord to offer the unfortunate owner the selfsame consolation: Such accidents keep industry going.
Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window? Now, this formula of condolence contains a whole theory that it is a good idea for us to expose, flagrante delicto, in this very simple case, since it is exactly the same as that which, unfortunately, underlies most of our economic institutions.
Here that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. If you mean that the accident gives six francs' worth Essay Reality Vs Illusion encouragement to the aforesaid industry, I agree.
I do not contest it in any way; your reasoning is correct. The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen. But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do!
Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen. It is not seen that, since our citizen has spent six francs for one thing, he will not be able to spend them for another. It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library. In Essay Reality Vs Illusion, he would have put his six francs to some use or other for which he will not now have them.
Let us next consider industry in general. The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is seen. If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry or some other would have received six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen.
And if we were to take into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative factor, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive factor, we should understand that there is no benefit to industry in general or to national employment as a whole, whether windows are broken or not broken. On the first hypothesis, that of the broken window, he spends six francs and has, neither more nor less than before, the enjoyment of one window. On the second, that in which the accident did not happen, he would have spent six francs for new shoes and would have had the enjoyment of a pair of shoes as well as of a window.
Now, if James Goodfellow is part of society, we must conclude that society, considering its labors and its enjoyments, has lost the value of the broken window. From which, by generalizing, we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: I am sorry to upset his ingenious calculations, especially since their spirit has passed into our legislation.
But I beg him to begin them again, entering what is not seen in the ledger beside what is seen. The reader must apply himself to observe that there are not only two people, but three, in the little drama that I have presented. The Essay Reality Vs Illusion, James Goodfellow, represents the consumer, reduced by destruction to one enjoyment instead of two. The other, under the figure of the glazier, shows us the producer whose industry the accident encourages.
The third is the shoemaker or any other manufacturer whose industry is correspondingly discouraged by the same cause. It is this third person who is always in the shadow, and who, personifying what is not seen, is an essential element of the problem. It is he who makes us understand how absurd it is to see a profit in destruction. It is he who will soon teach us that it is equally absurd to see a profit in Essay Reality Vs Illusion restriction, which is, after all, nothing more nor less than partial destruction.
A nation is in the same case as a man.
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read article When a man wishes to give himself a satisfaction, he has to see whether it is worth what it costs.
For a nation, security is the greatest of blessings. If, to acquire it, a hundred thousand men must be mobilized, and a hundred million francs spent, I have nothing to say. It is an enjoyment bought at the price of a sacrifice. Let there be no misunderstanding, then, about the point I wish to make in what I have to say on this subject.
A legislator proposes to discharge a hundred thousand men, which will relieve the taxpayers of a hundred million francs in taxes.
Suppose we confine ourselves to replying to him: It is a sacrifice; click without this sacrifice France would be torn by internal factions or invaded from without. The heresy begins when the sacrifice itself is represented as an advantage, because it brings profit to someone.
Now, if I am not mistaken, no sooner will the author of the proposal have descended from the platform, than an orator will rush up and say:.
What are you thinking of? What will become of them? What will they live on? But do you not know that there is unemployment everywhere?
That all occupations are oversupplied? Do you wish to throw them on the market to increase the competition and to depress wage rates? Just at the moment when it is difficult to earn a meager living, is it not fortunate that the state is giving bread to a hundred thousand individuals? Consider further that the army consumes wine, clothes, and weapons, that it thus spreads business to the factories and the garrison towns, and that it is nothing less than a godsend to its innumerable suppliers.
Do you not tremble at the idea of bringing this immense industrial activity to an end? This speech, we see, concludes in favor of maintaining a hundred thousand soldiers, not because of the nation's need for the services rendered by the army, but for economic reasons. It is these considerations alone that I propose to refute. A hundred thousand men, costing the taxpayers a hundred million francs, live as well and provide as good a living for their suppliers as a hundred million francs will allow: But a hundred million francs, coming from the pockets of the taxpayers, ceases to provide a living for these taxpayers and their suppliers, to the extent of a hundred million just click for source Calculate, figure, and tell me where there is any profit for the mass of the Essay Reality Vs Illusion.
I will, for my part, tell you where the loss is, and to simplify things, instead of speaking Essay Reality Vs Illusion a hundred thousand men and a hundred million francs, let us talk about one man and a thousand francs.
Here we are in the village of A.
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The recruiters make the rounds and muster one man. The tax collectors make their rounds also and raise a thousand francs.
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The man and the sum are transported to Metz, the one destined to keep the other alive for a year without doing anything. If you look only at Metz, yes, you are right a hundred times; the procedure is very advantageous.
But if you turn your eyes to the village of A, you will judge otherwise, for, unless you are blind, you will see that this village has lost Essay Reality Vs Illusion laborer and the thousand francs that would remunerate his labor, and the business which, through the spending of these thousand francs, he would spread about him.
At first glance it seems as if the loss is compensated. What took place at the village now takes place at Metz, and Essay Reality Vs Illusion is all there is to it. But here is where the loss is. In the village a man dug and labored: The money involved and its circulation are the same in both cases: You point out to me a surplus of a hundred thousand workers, intensified competition and the pressure that it exerts on wage rates.
That is what you see. But here is what you do not see. You do not click to see more that to send home a hundred thousand soldiers is not to do away with a hundred million francs, but to return that money to the taxpayers. You do not see that to throw a hundred thousand workers on the market in this way is to throw in at the same time the hundred million francs destined to pay for their labor; that, as a consequence, the same measure that increases the supply of workers also increases the demand; from which it follows that your lowering of wages is illusory.
You do not see that before, as well as after, the demobilization there are a hundred million francs corresponding to the hundred thousand men; that the whole difference consists in this: Finally, you do not see that when a taxpayer gives his money, whether to a soldier in exchange for nothing or to a worker in exchange for something, all the more remote consequences of the circulation of this money are the same in both cases: The sophism that I am attacking here cannot withstand the test of extended application, which is the touchstone of all theoretical principles.
If, all things considered, there is a national profit in increasing the size of the army, why not call the whole male population of the country to the colors? Have Learn more here ever heard anyone say: See how many families they keep alive, and follow in imagination their indirect effects on industry; they are infinite, as extensive as life itself.
To combat this doctrine, I am Essay Reality Vs Illusion to repeat the preceding refutation.