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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But railroads can harm shipping only by taking away its business; they can take away its business only by doing the job of transportation more cheaply; and they bstiat transport goods more cheaply only by lowering the ratio of the effort applied to the result obtained, since this is precisely what constitutes low cost.

It seems to me more just, more economical, and more honest: The argument is that if goods and passengers are forced to stop at that city, it will be profitable for boatmen, porters, hotelkeepers and others there. Others do these things for him, and, in return, he treats the diseases that afflict his patients.

I think Bastiat is now probably among my top 5 for ideological inspirations. Is this not Sisyphism in its purest form? And see how absurd the result will be. He read Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say and found little to add to these giants of economic thought. A must read for every fledgling libertarian or full grown libertarian who hasn’t read it yet.

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. By paying the producer in A simply for his labor, B receives into the bargain more natural utility than it gives. A certain number of our fellow citizens will devote themselves to struggling against it, and this obstacle will make their fortune.

Let us see, then, whether the two conflicting principles that Ecconomic have just described do not prevail, by turns, the one in the practice of industry, the other ssophisms industrial legislation.

And what is the remedy? We must invoke the patience and good will of the reader, and, if we can, present our conclusions in so clear a light that truth and error show themselves plainly; so that once and for all the victory will go to either protectionism or free trade.


I am not one of those who say that the advocates of protectionism are motivated by self-interest.

Economic Sophisms

Between his destitution and the satisfaction of his wants there is a multitude of obstacles, which it is the goal of labor to surmount. What he was, beyond all other men, was an sopphisms pamphleteer, the greatest exposer of economic fallacies, the most powerful champion of free trade on the European Continent. Is it not clear that under these circumstances I should have been better off if these obstacles did not exist in the first place?

Twice the labor to satisfy an identical need, hence twice the wealth; hence too, wealth is measured, not by the result, but by the bastiah, of labor.

I, for one, found this book to be powerful if a bit repetitive, and all the more eloquent because of the melancholy basitat in which the book was written. With exactly what pays for it today; for when a certain amount of labor becomes available as a result of the removal of an obstacle, a corresponding quantity of goods also becomes available for the remuneration of labor.

Thanks to the restrictive measures of M. But exchange hampers our view of so simple econkmic truth. It has been said I do not mean to say that physicians actually give expression to such wishes. But in the realm of speculation, such as theorists and statesmen engage in, one can cling to a false principle bastit a long time before being made aware of its falsity by its complex practical consequences, especially in areas with which one is unfamiliar; and when these finally do reveal their origin, one adopts the opposite principle, thereby contradicting oneself, and seeks sohpisms in that incomparably absurd modern axiom: I feel it my duty to repeat here that I am not accusing such men as Messrs.

To equalize the conditions of production is not only to obstruct exchange to some extent but also to attack exchange at its very foundations; for exchange is based precisely on the diversity, or, if you prefer, on the inequalities of fertility, skill, climate, and temperature, that you are seeking to eliminate. When Bastiat uses these phrases, it can be easy to misinterpret him.

That sets a bad example, and it is time for the law to set things to rights. I confess that the wisdom and the beauty of these laws evoke my admiration and respect. Wheat is grown in econmic the departments of France, although there are among them enormous differences in fertility; and if by chance there is one department in which no wheat is grown, it is because it would not pay to grow wheat even for consumption there.


You are theorists, metaphysicians, ideologists, 4 utopians, and doctrinaires; and all the prejudices of the public are roused against us. That is done very competently by Dean Russell in the Introduction to the new translation of the Harmonies published simultaneously with this new translation of the Sophisms. Often, this action takes the form of impeding human progress: Their products, which represent less labor, are less well remunerated; in other words, they are cheaper, and if all the gifts of Nature result in lower costs, evidently it is not the producing country, but dconomic the consuming country, that reaps the benefit.

And so that there might be no mistaking his meaning, His Excellency has taken the trouble to explain his ideas more fully; and just as he has called the intensity of labor wealth, so he can be heard calling the abundance of the results of labor, or of things suitable for satisfying our wants, poverty. He is at once both producer and consumer. This indisputable tendency of mankind, once its existence spphisms verified, should suffice, it would seem, to make the correct principle clear to the legislator and show him in what way he ought to help industry in so far as it is within his province to do so ; for it would be absurd to say that the laws of man should run counter to the laws of Providence.

Is it very hard to imagine what sort of industrial code the public would be subjected to? A thorough attack on protectionism which contains the sarcastic but amusing candlemaker’s petition. A great book to learn about how free trade trumps protectionism every time! To the profit of the consumer, of society, of mankind. Contemporaneously with this, labour, iron, coal, land, food, capital, are in little request in B, and will soon fall in price there.

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A classic must read. I should like now to deal with advantages conferred by Nature.

Taken to its logical extreme, such a policy is absurd. It is in this, and in this alone, that intelligence consists.