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The Plight of American Manufacturing

As London is the market of England, to which the best of all things find their way, so Rome was the market of the Mediterranean world; but there was this difference between the two, that in Rome the articles were not paid for. Money, indeed, might be given, but it was money which had not been earned, and which therefore would come to its end at last.

Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought nothing out but loads of dung. That was their return cargo. London turns dirt into gold. Rome turned gold into dirt. And how, it may be asked, was the money spent? The answer is not difficult to give. Rome kept open house. It gave a dinner party every day; the emperor and his favourites dined upon nightingales and flamingo tongues, on oysters from Britain, and on fishes from the Black Sea; the guards received their rations; and bacon, wine, oil, and loaves were served out gratis to the people. Sometimes entertainments were given in which a collection of animals as costly as that in Regent's Park was killed for the amusement of the people. Constantine transferred the capital to Constantinople; and now two dinners were given every day. Egypt found the bread for one, and Africa found it for the other. The governors became satraps, the peasantry became serfs, the merchants and land owners were robbed and ruined, the empire stopped payment, the legions of the frontier marched on the metropolis, the dikes were deserted, and then came the deluge.

Source: “The Martyrdom of Man,” by Winwood Reade, 1872 - and from page 1 of "Manufacturing A Better Future For America" Edited by Richard McCormack

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