[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Bounties are sometimes called premiums, as drawbacks are sometimes called bounties.But we must, in all cases, attend to the nature of the thing, without paying any regard to the word.Digression concerning the Corn Trade and Corn Laws.I cannot conclude this chapter concerning bounties, without observing, that the praises which have been bestowed upon the law which establishes the bounty upon the exportation of corn, and upon that system of regulations which is connected with it, are altogether unmerited.A particular examination of the nature of the corn trade, and of the principal British laws which relate to it, will sufficiently demonstrate the truth of this assertion.The great importance of this subject must justify the length of the digression.The trade of the corn merchant is composed of four different branches, which, though they may sometimes be all carried on by the same person, are, in their own nature, four separate and distinct trades.These are, first, the trade of the inland dealer; secondly, that of the merchant-importer for home consumption; thirdly, that of the merchant-exporter of home produce for foreign consumption; and, fourthly, that of the merchant-carrier, or of the importer of corn, in order to export it again.I.The interest of the inland dealer, and that of the great body of the people, how opposite soever they may at first appear, are, even in years of the greatest scarcity, exactly the same.It is his interest to raise the price of his corn as high as the real scarcity of the season requires, and it can never be his interest to raise it higher.By raising the price, he discourages the consumption, and puts every body more or less, but particularly the inferior ranks of people, upon thrift and good management If, by raising it too high, he discourages the consumption so much that the supply of the season is likely to go beyond the consumption of the season, and to last for some time after the next crop begins to come in, he runs the hazard, not only of losing a considerable part of his corn by natural causes, but of being obliged to sell what remains of it for much less than what he might have had for it several months before.If, by not raising the price high enough, he discourages the consumption so little, that the supply of the season is likely to fall short of the consumption of the season, he not only loses a part of the profit which he might otherwise have made, but he exposes the people to suffer before the end of the season, instead of the hardships of a dearth, the dreadful horrors of a famine.It is the interest of the people that their daily, weekly, and monthly consumption should be proportioned as exactly as possible to the supply of the season.The interest of the inland corn dealer is the same.By supplying them, as nearly as he can judge, in this proportion, he is likely to sell all his corn for the highest price, and with the greatest profit; and his knowledge of the state of the crop, and of his daily, weekly, and monthly sales, enables him to judge, with more or less accuracy, how far they really are supplied in this manner.Without intending the interest of the people, he is necessarily led, by a regard to his own interest, to treat them, even in years of scarcity, pretty much in the same manner as the prudent master of a vessel is sometimes obliged to treat his crew.When he foresees that provisions are likely to run short, he puts them upon short allowance.Though from excess of caution he should sometimes do this without any real necessity, yet all the inconveniencies which his crew can thereby suffer are inconsiderable, in comparison of the danger, misery, and ruin, to which they might sometimes be exposed by a less provident conduct [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]