Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 4, Chapter 8b: Export Bans

Chapter 8b: Export Bans

15 The same commodities which we gave bounties on importation from America were subjected to considerable duties when imported from other countries.

16 The exportation of raw materials is sometimes discouraged:

The Ban On Wool Exportation

17 Our woollen manufacturers were more successful in persuading the legislature that the nation's prosperity depended on their business' success. 18 By the 1565 chap. 3, the exporter of sheep, lambs, or rams would be punished: 19 For the honour of the national humanity, we hope that neither of these statutes were ever executed. 20 The penalties imposed by this milder statute and the former penalties not repealed by this one, are still severe. 21 To prevent exportation, the whole inland commerce of wool is laid under very burdensome and oppressive restrictions.

The penalty is:

It can only be loaded on any horse or cart or carried by land within five miles of the coast between sunrise and sunset.

22 But in Kent and Sussex, the restrictions are still more troublesome. 23 When such restrictions are imposed on the inland trade, the coasting trade cannot be left very free. 24 To justify their demand of such extraordinary restrictions, our woollen manufactures confidently asserted that English wool was superior to foreign wool.

This is believed by:

It is so perfectly false that English wool is necessary for making fine cloth.

25 It has been shown in this book, that these regulations depressed the price of English wool:

The price of Scottish wool fell by about half after the union when it became subject to the same regulations.

26 This price reduction very much reduced the annual wool produce. 27 The effect of such regulations on the quantity of the wool produced annually was not very considerable. 28 The violence of these regulations did not affect the quantity or quality of the annual wool produce as expected. 29 These considerations will not justify the absolute prohibition of wool exportation. 30 To hurt the interest of any order of citizens to promote the interest of some other, is contrary to the justice and equality of treatment the sovereign owes to his subjects. 31 "Every different order of citizens is bound to contribute to the support of the sovereign or commonwealth." 32 The ban does not prevent wool exportation. 33 Fuller's earth or fuller's clay is supposed to be necessary for preparing and cleansing woollen manufactures. 34 By the 1661 and 1662 chap. 7. the exportation of raw hides and tanned leather was prohibited except as boots, shoes, or slippers. 35 Restraints by prohibitions or by taxes on exports which are not completely manufactured, are not peculiar to leather manufactures. 36 By some old statutes of Edward III., Henry VIII., and Edward VI., the exportation of all metals was banned.
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Next: Chapter 8c: High Duties and the Consumption Motive