ON SUDDEN CHANGES IN THE CHANNELS OF TRADE
A GREAT manufacturing country is peculiarly exposed to temporary reverses and contingencies, produced by the removal of capital from one employment to another. The demands for the produce of agriculture are uniform; they are not under the influence of fashion, prejudice, or caprice. To sustain life, food is necessary, and the demand for food must continue in all ages and in all countries. It is different with manufactures; the demand for any particular manufactured commodity is subject, not only to the wants, but to the tastes and caprice of the purchasers. A new tax, too, may destroy the comparative advantage which a country before possessed in the manufacture of a particular commodity; or the effects of war may so raise the freight and insurance on its conveyance, that it can no longer enter into competition with the home manufacture of the country to which it was before exported. In all such cases, considerable distress, and no doubt some loss, will be experienced by those who are engaged in the manufacture of such commodities; and it will be felt, not only at the time of the change, but through the whole interval during which they are removing their capitals, and the labour which they can command, from one employment to another.
Nor will distress be experienced in that country alone where such difficulties originate, but in the countries to which its commodities were before exported. No country can long import, unless it also exports, or can long export unless it also imports. If, then, any circumstance should occur which should permanently prevent a country from importing the usual amount of foreign commodities, it will necessarily diminish the manufacture of some of those commodities which were usually exported; and although the total value of the productions of the country will probably be but little altered, since the same capital will be employed, yet they will not be equally abundant and cheap; and considerable distress will be experienced through the change of employments. If, by the employment of £I0,000 in the manufacture of cotton goods for exportation,