On the Relation of Imports to Exports

On the Relation of Imports to Exports

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Excerpt from On the Relation of Imports to Exports: Astudy of the Basis of a New, National and Imperial Policy

In submitting the first essay to the public I desire to make due acknowledgment to the writings of the late Stephen Bourne in his book on Trade, Population, and Food(1880) for some of the first principles which it contains. The work is now out of print. What has always impressed me most in Mr. Bournes work is the soundness of many of his first principles, gained from experience, no doubt, at the Board of Customs, but the moment he departs from these he becomes irrelevant in many directions. For instance, his main theme is that we are a manufacturing nation, and that we must export manufactured articles of utility with which to pay for the food we consume from abroad; which is quite true. But then he proceeds to argue that as a Free Trade nation we must buy the best that is produced or manufactured in any one part of the world at the lowest cost and in the readiest manner. Clearly you cannot have your cake and eat it as well, and his work is full of such inconsistencies. But, nevertheless, his fundamentals are sound, and if he had confined himself to stating these he would have performed a much greater service.

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