September 28, 2019


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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In these smaller essays Bastiat shows a relentless and consistent worldview of defending the interests of the consumer and the larger population at large from the protectionist arguments of industrialists and their crony capitalist politician allies.

It is an imperfect understanding of the concept of exchange that produces these illusions. Because, in this extreme hypothetical case, all imaginable wants and desires world be fully satisfied. Schumpeter’s History of Economic Analysis. I am not going to set myself up here as the defender of the sugar beet, nor do I mean to pass judgment on the strange facts advanced by M. I am only combatting sophisms; that is all.

If I have insisted on this distinction between the conditions of production and the conditions of sale, a distinction that the protectionists will doubtless find paradoxical, it is because I am about to use it as the basis for inflicting on them yet another, even stranger paradox: But tariffs raise the prices of things only because they reduce their supply in the market!

The good is apparent to the outer eye; the harm reveals itself only to the inner eye of the mind. But there is a germ of truth in Schumpeter’s comment, and we can acknowledge this candidly and still see the much greater truth about Bastiat that Schumpeter missed.

Now, the result is that each man sees the immediate cause of his prosperity in the obstacle that he makes it his business to struggle against for the benefit of others. The economist school will doubtless censure me for arguing with M. In the case of a horse race, the weight that each of the horses is to carry is ascertained, and conditions are equalized; otherwise, the horses would no longer be competitors.

In an otherwise favorable criticism that the Vicomte de Romanet 5 published cf.

Remuneration is proportionate, not to the utility that the producer offers on the market, but to his labor. Among these copyists, there was one who sought and discovered the means of multiplying rapidly copies of the same work.

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

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a foreign rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation.

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Exaggerate it as much as you wish; it has nothing to fear from that test. All that remains to be paid for is current human labor; and it is paid without regard to the result of the invention, at any rate when the invention has gone through the inevitable cycle that I have just described. However, the producer of wheat cannot go on forever earning much more than the producer of potatoes. I have no need to reach conclusions. They ask only that our doctrine, which they accept as true, be relegated to books, and that their principles, which they admit to be faulty, constitute the rule in the realm of practical affairs.

There he will see, in the credit column of the profit-and-loss account—that is to say, as profit—two entries, one for 40, francs and the other for 70, francs; and M. Lestiboudois requires it, I shall send him some figures taken from the books of M. 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.

We have just seen that there are obstacles between our wants and their satisfaction. If all the producers are in this plight, they are all poverty-stricken; hence, it is abundance that ruins society.

The second contends that effort itself constitutes and measures wealth. Let us see, then, whether the two conflicting principles that I have just described do not prevail, by turns, the one in the practice of industry, the other in industrial legislation.

Thus, France loses millions yearly. Exchange creates, in relation to each object, two interests, that of its producer and that of its consumer; and these two interests are always directly opposed to each other. One has only to examine matters closely to be convinced that this is what the sophism I am combatting amounts to.

Nov 30, Nathan C.

Economic Sophisms

Thus, he was afraid of abundance. If, when the water carrier comes to supply my house, I paid him in proportion to the absolute utility of water, my whole fortune would not be enough. We were too well fed, too well clothed, too well provided with all things; production became too rapid and outran our demands.


But in this case the obstacle has been erected for a fiscal purpose. I, for my part, refuse to buy the product, and I shall wait until your climate, by becoming inclement, forces you to demand twice as much labor on my part; then I can deal with you on an equal footing.

I read this on my tablet and used the public domain version available in Google Books.

It is not my purpose here to discuss the theories of the Economic Harmonies. I think Bastiat is now probably among my top 5 for ideological inspirations. Are their houses better heated, because there is less coal?

He read Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say and found little to add to these giants of economic thought. However, on each French orange consumed, ninety centimes, or nearly that much, will be lost; for the buyer will certainly lose it, and the seller just sopgisms certainly will not gain it, since, on this hypothesis, he will leave received for the orange no more than its net cost. And is it not ridiculous to tell him: In such a world, man would not eat or drink, have clothing or buy luxuries.

But Bastiat’s supreme jest was the petition of the candlemakers and their allied industries for protection against the unfair competition of the sun.

But how was this saving manifested? Yet that is what you protectionists do with respect to industry. In all these respects, the bxstiat self-interest of the consumer follows a line parallel to that of the public interest.

As men, as consumers, they doubtless shared in the advantages that the invention had conferred upon the community. Free Trade Defense Masterly written defense of free trade.

We could have a railroad consisting of nothing but such gaps—a negative railroad! Iron, coal, land, food, capital, are much in demand in A, and they will soon rise in price there. Anyways, as a supporter of free market economics, I liked what he had eclnomic say. It would be all too evident, in that case, that abundance would economicc advantageous for him, whatever its source, whether he owed it to his industriousness, to the ingenious tools and powerful machines that he had invented, to the fertility of the soil, to the liberality of Nature, ox even to a mysterious invasion of goods that the tide had carried from abroad and left on the shore.