The Corn Laws Debate Essay

673 words - 3 pages

The Corn Laws debate was very controversial during the Industrial Revolution, because at that time there was the transition from what it was the mercantilism era to the liberal ideas and views towards the economy structure. The Corn Laws issue was that it had restricted agricultural imports (Cohn, pp. 7). This law illustrates the conflict between mercantilism and liberal economic ideologies; unlike liberal economic views, the Corn Laws under mercantilism favored the large landowners while being based on power and wealth. Their main goal in mercantilism was to have an economic independence, where their main concern was state’s own interest, instead of cooperating with others, which clearly contrasts liberal economic views such as trade. Mercantilism faded after the repeal of the Corn Laws and allowed liberal economic views to emerge on the international trade scene.
Before liberal economic views emerged, mercantilism was the economic doctrine the government practiced to protect his or her own domestic products. Voltaire’s quote explains the main goal of mercantilism, “It is clear that a country cannot gain unless another loses and it cannot prevail without making others miserable" (Ebeling, pp. 1). These remarks represent why the Corn Laws influenced the conflict between mercantilism and liberal views; the policy implications of this social idea were trade wars and territorial conquest (Ebeling, pp. 1). In the Mercantilist era, the Corn Law in the agricultural sector was about higher tariffs because it protected the farmers and the state’s wealth. It was entirely about self-interest and not about the people; it was based on a structure where the military and landowners, who were part of the Parliament, controlled the economy since it was a way of overpowering others, and making other individuals poorer. This policy, which was passed by the government, infuriated people because the Corn Laws made some products more expensive; in addition, it benefited landowners instead of consumers. On 1817 Ricardo argues “ the Corn Laws inflated agricultural rents and diminish industrial and other profits, thus impeding national economy growth...

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