The Economic Development of England was Due to Guarantee of LibertyJanuary 1, 2020
33 England’s annual produce is greater now than a century ago at the restoration of Charles 2nd.
However, every five years some authoritative book or pamphlet is published demonstrating that=
- the national wealth is fast declining,
- the country is being depopulated,
- agriculture is being neglected,
- manufactures are decaying, and
- trade is becoming undone.
Many of them were written by very intelligent people who wrote what they believed in. Not all of these publications were party pamphlets.
- Party pamphlets are the wretched offspring of falsehood and greed.
34 England’s annual produce was much greater at the Restoration than at the accession of Elizabeth 100 years before.
- England was much more advanced during the accession of Elizabeth than during the end of the dissensions between the houses of York and Lancaster a century before.
- It was probably in a better condition during those dissensions than during the Norman Conquest.
- It was better during the Norman Conquest than during the confusion of the Saxon Heptarchy.
- It was more improved at the Saxon Heptarchy than at the invasion of Julius Cæsar, when its inhabitants were the same as savages in North America.
35 In each of those periods, there was much private and public profusion. There were many expensive and unnecessary wars. Such absolute waste and destruction of stock during those times=
- retarded the natural accumulation of riches, and
- rendered the country poorer than at the beginning.
Many disorders and misfortunes happened from the time of the Restoration that could have impoverished and ruined England=
- the fire and the plague of London in 1666,
- the two Dutch wars,
- the disorders of the Revolution,
- the war in Ireland,
- the four expensive French wars of 1688, 1702, 1742, and 1756, and
- two rebellions of 1715 and 1745
During the four French wars, England contracted a debt of more than £145m on top of all the other extraordinary expences. The total cannot be less than £200m.
Since the Revolution, so great a share of the national produce has been employed to maintain unproductive hands. Without those wars, most of the national produce would have been naturally employed in maintaining productive hands.
The value of the country’s annual produce would have considerably increased every year, increasing the produce of the following year.
- More houses would have been built.
- More lands would have been improved.
- Improved lands would have been better cultivated.
- More manufactures would have been established.
- Established manufactures would have been more extended.
The country could have reached unimaginable heights of wealth.
36 The wastefulness of government retarded, but was unable to stop, England’s natural progress towards wealth.
- Its national produce is currently much greater than it was at the Restoration or at the Revolution.
- Its annual capital must be much greater.
- Despite all the exactions of government, this capital was silently and gradually accumulated by the private frugality and good conduct of individuals from their universal, continual, and uninterrupted effort to better their own condition.
This effort was=
- protected by law, and
- allowed by liberty to exert itself in the most advantageous way.
This effort maintained English progress towards opulence and improvement in the past. Hopefully, it will do so in the future.
England was never blessed with a very parsimonious government, and so parsimony never became the characteristic virtue of the English.
Kings and ministers are extremely insolent. They restrained the expence of private people by=
- sumptuary laws, or
- banning the importation of foreign luxuries.
Kings and ministers are always the greatest prodigals in society.
- Let them look well after their own expence.
- Let them safely trust private people with their own expence.
- If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, the extravagance of their subjects never will.