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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They will say that combatting the principle of the balance of trade is like tilting at windmills.
Economic Sophisms by Frédéric Bastiat
That sets a bad example, and it is time for the law to set things to rights. How many are there today, when native sugar supplies one third of our consumption? Their principle is the same; their effect is the same: So far I have taken my examples from among human inventions.
However, in order not to weary the reader, I shall not probe very deeply into this theory. The figures prove it. I have already repeated a saying of M.
I shall later examine some of the further implications of this proposition. The present law seems to me to recognize the fact that it is not true, as economists have declared, that when we buy, we necessarily sell a corresponding quantity of merchandise.
In political economy, there is much to learn and little to do. Gaulthier himself, has espoused, in its votes, the theory of M. Just as logically, the proponents of the second doctrine welcome everything that has the effect of increasing exertion and of diminishing output: It would not be fair to reproach them for that.
The second contends that effort itself constitutes and measures wealth. A protective tariff is a tax directed against foreign goods, but that falls, let us never forget, on the domestic consumer. The clearest debunking of trade barriers I have ever seen. If they cannot prove that production eophisms sale are synonymous, I am justified in charging them, if not with playing on words, at least with confusing them. In what does his immediate self-interest consist?
This is so true that our protective tariffs have no other goal than to prevent us from importing all these things, to limit their supply, to forestall a decline in their prices, and to prevent their abundance.
I propose to examine it carefully, and to this end I solicit the reader’s attention and patience. Is this not Sisyphism in its purest form? You’ll also learn that before water lines were installed that some people made their living selling bucketsful of water to Parisian residents!!! Thus, when Baron Dupin deplores this diminution in the labor employed to obtain a given result, he is following the doctrine of Sisyphism.
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To multiply obstacles is, in their eyes, to encourage industry. He sells at a higher price in proportion to the shortage, the scarcity, of the type of commodity produced by his labor. I have also cited the opinion of another Minister of Commerce, M. It puts them to a bad use when it squanders its revenues without giving the public anything in return. Now, it is quite evident that the principle of M.
But it is still the labor connected with these things that I am paying for. The division of labor, which results from the opportunity to engage in exchange, makes it possible for each man, instead of struggling on his own behalf to overcome all the obstacles that stand in his way, to struggle against only one, not solely on his own account, but for the sohisms of his fellow men, who in turn perform the same service for him.
If the saw had not been invented, he would sophismx not have finished one board; yet I would have paid him no less for the day. Producers advocate all sorts of methods for reducing the total quantity of goods theirs excepted, of course. Second, he dismantles the argument that there are no economic laws. They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations.
Each person ought to wish, for his own sake as well as for the sake of his fellow citizens, that the production of the country sophiss protected against foreign competition, whenever a foreigner can furnish goods at a lower price. I was also libertarian and capitalist before reading him, but I wasn’t sold on free trade, in fact I was leaning slightly more toward protectionism, because I thought it helped this economy more.
Trivia About Economic Sophisms. As for domestic taxes that produce little revenue, abolish them if you can; but surely the strangest imaginable method of neutralizing their effects is to supplement taxes levied for public purposes with taxes levied for the profit of individuals. You may go further, and deduce the following principles from them:. We cannot, then, base our argument on one or the other of these two aspects of self-interest without determining beforehand which of the two coincides with and is identifiable with the general and permanent interest of the human race.
We do not pay for the light of the sun, because it is a gratuitous gift of Nature. A rigorously logical analysis would show, besides, that there is not one of their sophisms that would not lead to ruin and annihilation. I do not mean to say that physicians actually give expression to such wishes.
Producers seek to tax goods from other countries that compete with their own. From the point of view of the producer, competition doubtless often clashes with our immediate self-interest; but, if one considers the general aim of all labor, i. From this it is evident that exchange is concerned with exertion, effort, labor. Yet that is what you protectionists do with respect to industry. A physician, for instance, does not occupy himself with baking bastiwt own bread, making ins own instruments, or weaving or tailoring his own clothes.
Thus, we must again conclude that protectionist sophisms not only deviate from the truth, but are contrary to it, are, in fact, at the opposite pole from it. We may take the saw as an example. Exaggerate it as much as you wish; it has nothing to fear from that test. We could bastiay a railroad consisting aophisms nothing but such gaps—a negative railroad!
Iron, coal, land, food, and capital are all in great demand in A, and soon their prices rise. In all seriousness, this book is not quite as good as “The Law,” but that doesn’t say much since “The Law” is such a masterpiece. Is it the result of the effort?