Quote of the Day for October 31, 2014


Birthday of Joan Robinson (1903-1983).
304: From Hume, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, Part II, Essay V, OF THE BALANCE OF TRADE:

    How is the balance kept in the provinces of every kingdom amongthemselves, but by the force of this principle, which makes itimpossible for money to lose its level, and either to rise or sinkbeyond the proportion of the labour and commodities which are in eachprovince? Did not long experience make people easy on this head, whata fund of gloomy reflections might calculations afford to a melancholyYORKSHIREMAN, while he computed and magnified the sums drawn to LONDONby taxes, absentees, commodities, and found on comparison the oppositearticles so much inferior? And no doubt, had the Heptarchy subsistedin ENGLAND, the legislature of each state had been continually alarmedby the fear of a wrong balance; and as it is probable that the mutualhatred of these states would have been extremely violent on account oftheir close neighbourhood, they would have loaded and oppressed allcommerce, by a jealous and superfluous caution. Since the union hasremoved the barriers between SCOTLAND and ENGLAND, which of thesenations gains from the other by this free commerce? Or if the formerkingdom has received any encrease of riches, can it reasonably beaccounted for by any thing but the encrease of its art and industry?It was a common apprehension in ENGLAND, before the union, as we learnfrom L\'ABBE DU BOS,21* that SCOTLAND would soon drain them of theirtreasure, were an open trade allowed; and on the other side the TWEEDa contrary apprehension prevailed: With what justice in both, time hasshown.

    II.V.14 (paragraph number)

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