"(1) Rochard Cobden: Richard Cobden was the leading public advocate of "Free Trade" in Britain 150 years ago. The Repeal of the Corn Laws removed the tariffs on grain; as a result, cheaper American grain (wheat, barley etc) flooded Britain, and forced the small grain-farmers there to leave the farms and go to the towns, to seek work in the factories, or to emigrate.
Cobden's real motives are revealed in this speech:
"... I look further; I see in the Free-Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe, - drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace. ... I believe that the effect will be to change the face of the world, so as to introduce a system of government entirely distinct from that which now prevails. I believe that the desire and the motive for large and mighty empires; for gigantic armies and great navies ... will die away; I believe that such things will cease to be necessary, or to be used when man becomes one family, and freely exchanges the fruits of his labour with his brother man. I believe that ... the speculative philosopher of a thousand years hence will date the greatest revolution that ever happened in the world's history from the triumph of the principle which we have met here to advocate". [Richard Cobden, Speeches, (London, 1870), vol. I, pp. 362-3].
Cobden's goal is more political than economic. He advocated "Free Trade" because he thought that it would lead to the world becoming "one country".
Page 171: "There are no "human rights" or economic rights: these are phony rights. There is no right to food, clothing, a home, education, a job, medical care, a minimum wage, a "fair price," adequate protection for the economic fears of disability, old age, etc. Paul L. Poirot writes, 'The framers of the Constitution would have been astonished to hear these things spoken of as rights. They are not immunities from governmental compulsion, on the contrary, they are demands for new forms of governmental compulsion. They are not the claims to the products of one's own labor, they are, in some if not in most cases, claims to the products of other people's labor.'"
[And later on the same page:] Human rights or economic rights are a triple threat to a free society. On the economic side, the gravest threat is that productive enterprise will be so burdened and impeded by high taxes, prohibitions, red tape, and controls that industry will stagnate. Without the products of industry, social programs of any kind become empty promises. New political powers and functions increase the cost of government and drain manpower from farms and factories into administrative bureaus... Artificially pegged prices and wage rates interfere with the normal market process of gearing production to the maximum satisfaction of customer wants."
|As might have been expected, the 'National System' was vigorously attacked immediately on its publication; but such was the demand for it that three editions were called for within the space of a few months, and translations of it were published in French, Hungarian, and some other foreign languages. The principal objection raised against it was that the system it propounded was not one for the benefit of the whole world, but simply for the benefit of Germany. This List never sought to conceal. His avowed object was to free Germany from the overwhelming manufacturing supremacy of England, and on this subject some of his ablest opponents admitted that his was the best practical essay.|
|Of all recent economists, Monsieur Bastiat with his Harmonies économiques [French title] represents the very dregs of fatuity [stupidity] at their most concentrated. Only a crapaud [frog, slang for Frenchman] could have concocted an harmonious pot-au-feu [soup] of this kind.|
|Any tariff system which completely excludes foreign competition is injurious.' But 'the productions of foreign manufacturing industry must only be permitted to supply a part of the yearly national consumption,' and 'the maintenance of the foundation of the national industry at home must ever be the unvarying object of a nation's policy.|
The protective tariff is a violation, by law, of property ... In meddling with the balance of trade by playing with tariffs, the government thereby contracts to make trade prosper; and if this results in destruction instead of prosperity, whose fault is it?
|It is this theory, sir, which furnishes to the opponents of the American System the intellectual means of their opposition.... Boasting of their imaginary superiority in science and knowledge, these disciples of Smith and Say are treating every defender of common sense like an empiric whose mental power and literary acquirements are not strong enough to conceive the sublime doctrine of their masters.(Freeman 1992)|
|What makes the great division between the two schools is the difference in their methods. Socialism, like astrology and alchemy, proceeds by way of the imagination; political economy, like astronomy and chemistry, proceeds by way of observation.|
Communitarian philosophy provides a value-centered guide to defining society’s common goals. Communitarian philosophy holds a centrist position on the social order that mediates between totalitarianism and libertarianism. Totalitarianism argues that the collectivity in the form of the nation state has superior needs and objectives and that individuals exist only to serve these collective needs. Libertarianism argues that the autonomous individual stands at the center of the philosophic universe and the larger community can make no legitimate demands on the individual except those necessary to maintain civil order. Communitarians seek to mediate the tension between these two forces of extreme autonomy and extreme centralized authority based upon their understanding that societies remain healthy only so long as they effectively provide a balance between the centrifugal forces of autonomy and the centripetal force of centralized authority.|
Communitarian economics insists that economic policies depend critically on the common purposes to be achieved. These common purposes must be founded on the core values of the citizens of the community.
|In the course of the daily controversy which I had to conduct, I was led to perceive the distinction between the theory of values and the theory of the powers of production, and beneath the false line of argument which the popular school has raised out of the term capital. I learned to know the difference between manufacturing power and agricultural power. I hence discovered the basis of the fallacy of the arguments of the school, that it urges reasons which are only justly applicable to free trade in agricultural products, as grounds on which to justify free trade in manufactured goods. I began to learn to appreciate more thoroughly the principle of the division of labour, and to perceive how far it is applicable to the circumstances of entire nations. At a later period I travelled through Austria, North Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, France, and England, everywhere seeking instruction from observation of the actual condition of those countries as well as from written works. When afterwards I visited the United States, I cast all books aside—they would only have tended to mislead me. The best work on political economy which one can read in that modern land is actual life. There one may see wildernesses grow into rich and mighty States; and progress which requires centuries in Europe, goes on there before one's eyes, viz. that from the condition of the mere hunter to the rearing of cattle—from that to agriculture, and from the latter to manufactures and commerce. There one may see how rents increase by degrees from nothing to important revenues. There the simple peasant knows practically far better than the most acute savants of the old world how agriculture and rents can be improved; he endeavours to attract manufacturers and artificers to his vicinity. Nowhere so well as there can one learn the importance of means of transport, and their effect on the mental and material life of the people.|
|"The subject of political economy is MAN.... [who is] endowed with the ability to compare, judge, choose, and act; which implies that men may form right and wrong judgments, and make good and bad choices..... This faculty, given to men and to men alone, to work for each other, to transmit their efforts, and to exchange their services through time and space, with all the infinite and varied combinations thereby involved, is precisely what constitutes economic science, identifies its origin, and determines its limits..... The objects of political economy [the actions of men in the exchange of their goods and services] cannot be weighed or measured..... Exchange is necessary in order to determine value..... Owing to ignorance, what one man values may be despised by another..... A man's happiness and well-being are not measured by his efforts, but by his satisfactions, and this also holds true for society at large..... It may happen, and frequently does, that the service we esteem highly is in reality harmful to us; value depends on the judgment we form of it..... In an exchange society, man seeks to realize value irrespective of utility. The commodity he produces is not intended to satisfy his own wants, and he has little interest in how useful it may be. It is for the purchaser to judge that. What concerns the producer is that it should have maximum value in the market..... It is in vain that we attempt to separate choice and responsibility."|
|In his Harmonies, Bastiat felt that he had made a major contribution to political economy by his definition of value. He felt that his concept should reconcile the conflicting opinions of all economists—including even the socialists and communists! He introduced the subject by making a sharp distinction between utility and value. Under utility, he listed the sun, water, and undeveloped land. According to him, none of the gifts of Nature have any value—until human effort has been applied to them. While he specifically rejected the labor theory of value, he may well have endorsed it unknowingly under another name—service.|
"In connection with this perspective, the leaders of the Commitern may once again repeat that we are unable to see anything ahead except the triumph of American capitalism. In much the same way, the petty bourgeois theoreticians of Narodnikism (Russian Populism) used to accuse the pioneer Russian Marxists of failing to see anything ahead except the victory of capitalism. These two accusations are on a par. When we say that America is moving toward world domination, it does not at all mean that this domination will be completely realized, nor, all the less so, that after it is realized to one degree or another, it will endure for centuries or even decades. We are discussing a historical tendency which, in actuality, will be criss-crossed and modified by other historical tendencies. If the capitalist world were able to endure several more decades without revolutionary paroxysms, then these decades would unquestionably witness the uninterrupted growth of American world dictatorship. But the whole point is that this process will inevitably develop its own contradictions which will become coupled with all the other contradictions of the capitalist system. America will force Europe to strive for an ever increasing rationalization and at the same time will leave Europe an ever decreasing share of the world market. This will entail a steady aggravation of the difficulties in Europe. The competition among European states for a share of the world market will inevitably become aggravated. At the same time under the pressure of America, the European states will endeavor to coordinate their forces. This is the main source of Briand's program of the United States of Europe. But whatever the various stages of the development may he, one thing is clear: The constant disruption of the world equilibrium in America's favor will become the main source of crises and revolutionary convulsions in Europe throughout the entire coming period. Those who hold that European stabilization is assured for decades understand nothing at all of the world situation and will inevitably sink head first in the swamp of reformism.
If this process is approached from across the Atlantic Ocean, i.e. from the standpoint of the fate of USA, then here too the perspectives opened up resemble least of all a blissful capitalist idyl. The prewar power of the United States grew on the basis of its internal market, i.e. the dynamic equilibrium between industry and agriculture. In this development the war has produced a sharp break. The United States exports capital and manufactured goods in ever greater volume. The growth of America's world power means that the entire system of American industry and banking-that towering capitalist skyscrapers resting to an ever increasing measure on the foundations of world economy. But this foundation is mined, and the United States itself continues to add more mines to it day by day. By exporting commodities and capital, by building up its navy, by elbowing England aside, by buying up the key enterprises in Europe, by forcing its way into China, etc. American finance capital is digging with its own hands powder and dynamite cellars beneath its own foundation. Where will the fuse be lit? Whether it will be in Asia, Europe or Latin America-or what is most likely in various places at one and the same time that is a second-rate question.
In truth, British violations of American neutral rights (impressment, blockades, ship seizures and others) exerted little direct impact on the South and West. The core of the War Hawk agenda was expansion. Correspondingly, New England and New York shipping and commercial interests-the people most directly impacted by the neutral rights violations-strongly opposed the war. They disliked losing ships to the British, but realized that war would completely shut down commerce.|