]]]]]]]]]]]        A BANANA INTO A CAGE OF MONKEYS         [[[[[[[[[[
                         By Henry George                 (10/12/1989)
               [Amer. J. Econ. & Sociol., July 1989]

[WSJ introduction:
     Sept. 2 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry George.
George is best remembered today for his advocacy of the "single tax"
on land--a social reform that attracted a cult following a century
ago.  But he was also a brilliant propagandist for free trade, most
notably in his 1886 work, "Protection or Free Trade".  C. Lowell
Harriss, emeritus professor of economics at Columbia, collected some
of George's pithiest remarks in the July issue of the American Journal
of Economics and Sociology:]

                           *      *      *

     It might be to the interests of [lighting] companies to restrict
the number and size of windows, but hardly to the interests of a
community.  Broken limbs bring fees to surgeons, but would it profit a
municipality to prohibit the removal of ice from sidewalks in order to
encourage surgery?  Economically, what difference is there between
restricting the importation of iron to benefit iron-producers and
restricting sanitary improvements to benefit undertakers?

                        *     *      *      *

     To introduce a tariff bill into congress or parliament is like
throwing a banana into a cage of monkeys.  No sooner is it proposed to
protect one industry than all the industries that are capable of
protection begin to screech and scramble for it.

                        *      *      *      *

     If to prevent trade were to stimulate industry and promote
prosperity, then the localities where he was most isolated would show
the first advances of man.  The natural protection to home industry
afforded by rugged mountains-chains, by burning deserts, or by seas
too wide and tempestuous for the frail bark of the early mariner would
have given us the first glimmerings of civilization and shown its most
rapid growth.  But, in fact, it is where trade could best be carried
on that we find wealth first accumulating and civilization beginning.
It is on accessible harbors, by navigable rivers and much traveled
highways that we find cities arising and the arts and sciences
developing.

                        *      *      *      *

     The result [of trying to enact laws that would protect only those
industries that it is theoretically justifiable to protect] is the
enactment of a tariff which resembles the theoretical protectionist's
ideas of what a tariff should be about as closely as a bucketful of
paint thrown at a wall resembles the fresco of Raphael.

                        *      *      *      *

     All experience shows that the policy of encouragement, once
begun, leads to a scramble in which it is the strong, not the weak;
the unscrupulous, not the deserving, that succeed.  What are really
infant industries have no more chance in the struggle for governmental
encouragement than infant pigs have with full grown swine about a meal
tub.

                        *      *      *      *

     However protection may affect special forms of industry it must
necessarily diminish the total return to industry--first by waste
inseparable from encouragement by tariff, and, second by the loss due
to transfer of capital and labor from occupations which they would
choose for themselves to less profitable occupations which they must
be bribed to engage in.  If we do not see this without reflection, it
is because our attention is engaged with but a part of the effects of
protection.  We see the large smelting-works and the massive mill
without realizing that the same taxes which we are told have built
them up have made more costly every nail driven and every needleful of
thread used throughout the whole country.

                        *      *      *      *

     To have all the ships that left each country sunk before they
could reach any other country would, upon protectionist principles, be
the quickest means of enriching the whole world, since all countries
could then enjoy the maximum of exports with the minimum of imports.

                        *      *      *      *

     What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of
peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.

                              *     *     *


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