Selected Essays On Political Economy Bastiat

Selected Essays On Political Economy Bastiat-68
The market cannot possibly solve it, at any rate, it cannot solve it as well as the government, the great , which is therefore necessary to bring relief.True to Bastiat's spirit, many Austrian and a few mainstream economists have again and again rebutted these twentieth-century allegations of market failure case by case.These rebuttals would certainly gain in strength if they were combined with a more general attack on the fallacy underlying all these individual cases.

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It has much common ground with present-day Austrian economics, though, and the purpose of this article is to unearth some of these similarities and to help restore Bastiat to his rightful place in the history of economic science.3 Bastiat is often presented as a champion of the doctrine of harmony.

While this is correct, it is generally not well understood what this doctrine actually says and how it contrasts with more recent views about the interrelation of social phenomena. It is in this book that he develops and defends the thesis that the interests of all members of society are harmonious if and insofar as private property rights are respected or, in modern parlance, that the unhampered market can operate independent of government intervention. He asserts that there is nothing in the nature of the free market that would make its well-ordered operation impossible from the outset.

In making the case for the harmony of interests in the free market, Bastiat argued on a rather fundamental level in order to confront a large and diverse group of intellectual opponents all at once.

He did not confine himself to discussing each proposal for government intervention on its own merit, but addressed the common premise of all these proposals, namely, the premise that in an unhampered market some interests are inherently antagonistic.

Bastiat analyzed many such alleged antagonisms of interest in detail, proving in each case that the allegation is unfounded.

Selected Essays On Political Economy Bastiat How To Write A Outline For A Essay

For example, although debtors and creditors seem to have conflicts of interest, this is not really so because a debtor himself has an interest in the well-being of his creditor, lest he would be unable to obtain further credits.In the preface, which he addressed to the Youth of France, Bastiat (1851, p.3; my translation) stressed that What sets the various socialist schools…And a creditor himself has an interest in the well-being of his debtor because only a healthy debtor can pay interest.Bastiat discussed countless similar relationships, such as those between consumers and producers, proletarians and owners, workers and capitalists, rural and urban population, citizens and foreigners, landowners and residents, the people and the bourgeoisie, etc.He also refuted Malthus's population theory, according to which population growth must bring about food shortages and, hence, end up in conflicts of interest between the members of society.Virtually all of the arguments he made in regard to these specific issues penetrate to the heart of the matter.In other words, the free market does not inherently operate against the interests of any strata of the population.The only group whose interests it cannot possibly reconcile with the interests of all other groups are the impostors or thieves who live off the invasion of other people's property.This type of argument was widespread in the 1930s and still is today, thanks to the efforts of free-market Chicago economists.In distinct contrast, Bastiat did not claim that laissez-faire was bound to produce a state of perfection.


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