Bastiat makes three central contributions in Economic Sophisms. First, he reminds us that we should care about the consumer, not just the. SOPHISMS. Frédéric. Bastiat. Translated from the French and Edited by. ARTHUR GODDARD. Introduction by. HENRY HAZLITT. Foundation for Economic. Bastiat was a French liberal of the 19th century and perhaps the best popularizer of free market economics ever. This collection centers around.

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I am not one of those who say that the advocates baetiat protectionism are motivated by self-interest. I sophismw no need to reach conclusions. If we analyze the nature of our bastiay, we realize clearly that it is double. Others do these things for him, and, in return, he treats the diseases that afflict his patients. We should be little displeased if all the vines in the world save ours were blighted by frost: Or, to return to reality, let us say that industry would not have awaited this moment, for abrupt relocations are repugnant to its nature; from the very outset, in the absence of restrictions it would have been gradually dividing and distributing itself between A and B according to the laws of supply and demand, that is to say, according to the laws of justice and utility.

Why not have a railroad composed of nothing but stops that will make work for the porters?

Economic Sophisms

Are they better clad, because there is less linen and econommic cloth? A protective tariff computed on this basis merely assures free competition; There is a fundamental antagonism between the seller and the buyer. Whether the principle that he takes as his initial premise is true may be open to question, but at least he does base his reasoning on a principle. Most of his writing was done in the years directly before and after the Revolution of —a time when France was rapidly embracing socialism.

Economic Sophisms by Frédéric Bastiat

We might build some hopes on the new industry, and it would be worthy of the full protection of the state, for it would offer a vast field for our domestic labor force. But how econimic this saving manifested?


Thus, France loses millions yearly. It really is a shame that mainstream economics omit the works of Bastiat when teaching economics.

They say, for example: But tariffs raise the prices of things only because they reduce their supply in the market! But, you say, everyone will be protected. However, that is not my subject here.

Online Library of Liberty

How does it happen that in the eyes of workers, of publicists, and of statesmen, abundance seems dangerous and scarcity advantageous? How many hectares were planted in sugar beets in ? Will it be said that there is something else to pay for—supplies, materials, equipment? A possesses over B all kinds of advantages. But it is nonetheless true, in principle, that the contribution of the laws of Nature, though involved in all production, counts for nothing in the price of the product.

Naturally, the proponents of the first doctrine welcome everything that tends to diminish exertion and to increase output: A thorough attack on protectionism which contains the sarcastic but amusing candlemaker’s petition. Wool would ban cotton, cotton would ban wool, and so on, until the scarcity of all things made man himself disappear from the face of the earth.

So while the former methods may lead to higher cash incomes, they lead to less wealth to be had for all, while the latter method, though it may include dislocation from time to time, leads to abundance and greater wealth for all, even the cash-poor. And is it not ridiculous to tell him: We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights, and blinds—in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

Rather, I am trying to instill a principle into the minds of sincere men who hesitate to take a stand on the issue because they are in doubt.

Economic Sophisms (FEE ed.) – Online Library of Liberty

Do not tell him: However, the producer of wheat cannot go on forever earning much more than the producer of potatoes. What is to ecobomic expected, for example, from the cultivation of the sugar beet? We believe that our protective tariffs should simply represent the difference between the net cost of a commodity that we produce and the net cost of a similar commodity produced in a foreign country Has anyone ever suggested, or is it possible to maintain, that scarcity is the basis of man’s well-being?


Apparently it was introducing into the world, as I have said, an element of limitless inequality.

There is no hypocrisy in this language. This point is so important and the conclusions that I am going to draw from it throw so much light on the question sophismw the freedom of international trade that I believe I ought to elucidate it with some additional examples.

Bastiat did not, generally, clear new ground in the field of economics. A has all sorts of advantages over B.

You are theorists, metaphysicians, ideologists, 4 utopians, and doctrinaires; and all the prejudices of the public are roused against us. That had become the common and freely available heritage of all mankind. At first, I readily agree, it is the inhabitants of the favored region who will profit from this lucky circumstance.

The good is apparent to the outer eye; the harm reveals itself only to the inner eye of the mind. There are two elements to be noted in this quotation: They were compensated very well for being in the vanguard of the imitators, and this extra compensation was necessary to attract them and to induce them to contribute to the great, approaching, final result. Between these two systems I can see only one difference.

Bastiat’s arguments were very logical and common sense, so he was quickly able to turn me into a free trade supporter. His insights have been appropriated by dozens of prominent thinkers. Here, at least, is a man who makes his views clear.

It deserves our attention for a moment. Every year we give away million francs to foreigners.

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