Karl Marx

The Industrialists of Hanover and Protective Tariffs [106]

Editorial Note

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 286;
Written: in November 1842;
First published: in the Supplement to Rheinische Zeitung No. 326, November 22, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for marxists.org by Andy Blunden.

We can acknowledge the historical basis of the author’s reasoning, and we can further concede, as the facts testify, that during the last 400-500 years England, especially, has done a great deal to protect its industry and crafts, although we need not necessarily agree with the system of protective tariffs. England’s example is its own refutation because it is precisely in England that the pernicious results come into prominence of a system which is no Ion er the system of our time, however much it might have corresponded to medieval conditions, based on division and not on unity, which, in the absence of general protection, a rational state and a rational system of individual states, had to provide special protection for each particular sphere. Trade and industry ought to he protected, but the debatable point is precisely whether protective tariffs do in reality protect trade and industry. We regard such a system much more as the organisation of a state of war in time of peace, a state of war which, aimed in the first place against foreign countries, necessarily turns in its implementation against the country which organises it. But in any case an individual country, however much it may recognise the principle of free trade, is dependent on the state of the world in general, and therefore the question can be decided only by a congress of nations, and not by an individual government.

The editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung