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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70


The fifth and last plank in the platform is: "To promote sound political economy, and oppose class legislation and all undue interference with individual rights and liberty." Each of those three objects is of great importance to every colonist.

Few technical terms have a wider meaning, and few sciences have been more neglected or misapplied than political economy. Some members of Parliament are culpably ignorant of it, although most of the laws they pass have some direct or indirect bearing on money, exchange, taxation, land, labour, capital, and those other factors in political economy, which affect man's material and social welfare. A book-keeper, surgeon, lawyer, chemist, auditor, or blacksmith, who was no better qualified for his duty than many paid members of Parliament are for theirs, would be locked up for obtaining money under false pretences if he took fees or wages for work he could not do properly. If a surgeon or chemist killed a man through ignorance he would be imprisoned for manslaughter, but an ignorant member of Parliament can mar the happiness, injure citizens and nearly ruin the body politic at the price of £150 for three months and get off scot free. An examination would demonstrate that many M.H.R.'s have not mastered the rudiments of political economy—are culpably ignorant of those laws which govern supply and demand, and the page 20 creation and distribution of wealth. Some of them need, quite as much as the masses do, reliable information and definite opinions about the true relations between land, labour, and capital. If they had them they could not with clear consciences inculcate the lying delusion that land, labour, and capital are antagonistic, for they are mutually dependent one on the other.