XV - How Protection Affects the Labourer

In England, the power to obtain food, clothing, or iron, for labour, is small, and it tends to diminish with... every diminution in the proportion that applies itself to production, because with each such step there is a necessity for greater exertion to underwork and supplant the Hindoo, whose annual wages even now are but six dollars, out of which he finds himself in food and clothing. With every step downwards, labour is more and more becoming surplus, as is seen from the growing anxiety to expel population, at almost every present sacrifice.... (p. 153)

Here lies the error of communism and socialism. They seek to compel union, and to force men to exchange with each other, the necessary effect of which is to sink the whole body to the level of those who are at the bottom.

So too, is it with nations. The industrious community that raises food and is dependent on the idle one that makes iron must give much of the one for little of the other. The peaceful community that raises cotton and is dependent on the warlike one that raises silk, must give much cotton for little silk. Dependence on others for articles of necessity thus makes a community of goods, and the sober and industrious must help to support the idle and the dissolute -- nations as well as individuals....

The policy of England has tended to produce communism among nations. She has rendered herself dependent upon other communities for supplies of the articles of prime necessity, obtaining her rice from the wretched Hindoo, her corn from the Russian serf, and her wool from the Australian convict, neglecting her own rich soils that wait but the application of labour to become productive.

The necessary consequence of this is a tendency downwards in the condition of her people, and as it is with those of England that those of this country are invited to compete, it may not be amiss to show what is the condition to which they are now reduced by competition with the low-priced labour of Russia and of India. (p. 154)