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A Nation’s Wealth : It is not politicians and their policies that create wealth, but the hard work and ingenuity of ordinary people.
A Nation’s Wealth

Speech in the House of Commons (27 February, 1846).

Richard Cobden MP led the fight in the House of Commons to repeal the Corn Laws, which taxed imports of grain in order to shore up Britain’s agriculture industry. The laws caused the price of bread to rise, making the poor poorer; after the laws were repealed, Britain became the manufacturing centre of the world.

HOW can protection, think you, add to the wealth of a country? Can you by legislation add one farthing to the wealth of the country?

You may, by legislation, in one evening, destroy the fruits and accumulation of a century of labour; but I defy you to show me how, by the legislation of this House, you can add one farthing to the wealth of the country.

That springs from the industry and intelligence; you cannot do better than leave it to its own instincts.

If you attempt by legislation to give any direction to trade or industry, it is a thousand to one that you are doing wrong; and if you happen to be right, it is work of supererogation, for the parties for whom you legislate would go right without you, and better than with you.

Speech in the House of Commons (27 February, 1846).

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Picture: © Rover Car Club of Australia, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
A 1933 Rover 10 Special saloon and a 1925 Rover 9 open two-seater. The contrast between the British motor-car industry in private and public hands - British Leyland - remains a lesson to the world.

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