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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A, you say, sells much more than it buys; B buys much more than it sells.

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If I were economoc in polemics, I should ask them: And, as every person holding a theory seeks to put it into practice, one sees in many countries the laws of man warring against the abundance of things.

To regard the obstacle as the cause—to mistake scarcity for abundance—is to be guilty of the same sophism in another guise. But if, before the enactment of the proposed law, the French public was paying the tax, and if, after the law is enacted, it will pay the customs duty as well as the tax, I really cannot see what will be gained by the law. The results of their work are quite different, but their daily wage is the same; for the remuneration is proportionate, not to the utility produced, but to the effort, the labor, demanded.

I shall confine myself to three points. This is so true that our protective tariffs have no other goal than to prevent us from importing spphisms these things, to limit their supply, to forestall a decline in their prices, and to prevent their abundance. His analysis of errors rested in the main on the theory he had acquired from Smith, Say, and Ricardo. This means that Nature does the larger portion of the work and leaves little to be done by human labor.

You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer.

Would anyone truly argue that total scarcity is preferable to having plenty? This purpose must be achieved; and if foreign salt were sold on our market duty-free, the treasury would lose hundreds of millions of francs which it would have to raise by means of some other tax.

Thereupon we proceed to put the theory into practice, and, in order to favor all producers, we artificially raise prices and cause a scarcity of all goods by restrictive and protectionist measures, the elimination of machinery, and other analogous means. But Bastiat’s supreme jest was the petition of the candlemakers and their allied industries for protection against the unfair competition of the sun.

I hope he will be good enough to remember the conclusion I have reached: It puts them to a good use when it performs services for the public equivalent to the value it receives from the public.

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Thus, in A, to the really high cost of living that stems from a very active demand is added a nominally high cost of living resulting from the overabundance of precious metals. Protection concentrates at a single point the good that it does, while the harm that it inflicts is diffused over a wide area.


In spite of the hundreds of economists who have pointed out the advantages of free markets and free trade, the persistence of protectionist illusions has kept protectionist and price-fixing policies alive and flourishing even today in most countries of the world.

In an effort to strike a blow at the sugar-beet industry, he said:.

Economic Sophisms by Frédéric Bastiat

I maintain that, the heavier our taxes on domestic products, the more quickly must we open our harbors and our frontiers to the goods bwstiat foreign countries less heavily taxed than we. Hence, the countries that do not possess these advantages have everything to gain by exchanging with those that do possess them, for exchange involves the products of labor, without regard to the utilities contributed to these products by Nature; clearly, the most favored countries are those that have combined with their labor the greatest number of these natural utilities in making a given product.

To get at the root of this sophism, one need only remind oneself that economjc labor is not an end, but a means. This book is really the 19th century equivalent economif a blog that has been made into a book, and the topics of the smaller essays in the book, some of them as short as a single page, and none of them extending particularly long, tend to repeat themselves over and over again as Bastiat bangs his head into the wall of argumentation and wholly thinking regarding protectionism.

To be consistent, either he would have to vote against every restrictive measure, or he would have to put into practice on his own farm the principle that he proclaims from the rostrum. I have considered it only in its bearing on the subject of free siphisms. It was sold at a profit of twenty per cent, or 40, francs, for a total price offrancs, which the consignee converted into cotton. Perhaps if more people had been more conversant with Bastiat, Lord Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes never would have gotten off the ground.

Do what you will, gentlemen; you cannot give money to some without taking it away from others. When he prefers a good plow to a poor one; when he improves his pastures; when, in order to turn bastita his soil, he economix as far as possible the action of the wind for that of the harrow or the hoe; when he summons ecconomic his aid all the processes whose power and efficacy science and experience have shown him; he has and can have only one goal: Thus, it may be said, in a very general way, that industry is an effort followed by a bastiay.

Catalog Record: Economic sophisms | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Perhaps people will say that, if these wishes were granted, the producer’s labor would be more and more limited, and finally would cease for want of anything to occupy it. Every circumstance that hampers production brings pain to the producer, for the immediate effect is to limit his services and consequently his remuneration.

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I have not said much here about his refutations of socialist arguments, because these refutations occur rather in the Essays and in the Harmonies than in the Sophisms; but they constitute a very important part of his contribution. We pay twenty millions for courts and police forces, it is true; but we do get courts and police forces, with the security that they provide us and the time that they save us; and it is hardly likely that production is either safer or brisker among those nations, if there are any, in which each man takes the law into his own hands.

He would easily understand that labor is not an end in itself, but a means, and that it would be absurd to reject the end for fear of doing injury to the means.

Then it will require more than twice as many people, and twice as many jobs, to get the same work done assuming consumption is the same. What, zophisms, are we to do? I might not be in lock step with all of his viewpoints but he paints a clear picture and rightly calls out fallacious arguments against his own philosphy. As a book this volume of about pages is divided into two sections and numerous smaller essays.

In what does the sopbisms self-interest of the consumer consist?

He would understand, too, that if he devotes two hours of sophidms day to providing for his needs, any circumstance machinery, the fertility of the soil, a gratuitous gift, no matter what that saves him an hour of this labor, so long as the product is as great, puts that hour at his disposal, and that he bastizt devote it to improving his well-being, He would understand, in short, that a saving in labor is nothing else than progress.

Their profits at first were considerable. The object of the demand is to recover, by raising the price of the product, the amount of the tax paid by the industry. It may be said perhaps that I am playing on words, but I reply by making the same charge against my opponents.

It is doubtful given the course of 19th century history that Bastiat’s eloquence and sound thinking alone could have prevented France from ruinous arms races and destructive wars and inflicting the horrors of imperialism on other areas, all of which are evils that Bastiat presciently condemns sopgisms, but at least a longer life would have meant more sophlsms from this great thinker to read. Thus, the newspapers, the Chambers, and the government put the theory sconomic scarcity into practice, and I was right to say that this theory is by far the most popular of all theories.