Front Page Titles (by Subject) 180.: Letter to M. de Fontenay 344 - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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180.: Letter to M. de Fontenay 344 - Frédéric Bastiat, The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics, translated from the French by Jane and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation editor Dennis O’Keeffe (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Letter to M. de Fontenay344
Les Eaux-Bonnes, 3 July 1850
[vol. 1, p. 204]
. . . Perhaps you are too ardently in favor of the Harmonies in the face of opposition from Le Journal des économistes. Middle-aged men do not easily abandon well-entrenched and long-held ideas. For this reason, it is not to them but to the younger generation that I have addressed and submitted my book. People will end up acknowledging that value can never lie in materials and the forces of nature. From this can be drawn the absolutely free characteristic of gifts from God in all their forms and in all human transactions.
This leads to the mutual nature of services and the absence of any reason for men to be jealous of and hate each other. This theory should bring all the schools together on a common ground. Since I live with this conviction, I am waiting patiently, since the older I become the clearer I perceive the slowness of human evolution.
However, I do not conceal a personal wish. Yes, I would like this theory to attract enough followers in my lifetime (even if only two or three) for me to be assured before dying that it will not be abandoned if it is true. Let my book generate just one other and I will be satisfied. This is why I cannot encourage you too strongly to concentrate your thinking on capital, which is a huge subject and may well be the cornerstone of political economy. I have no more than touched upon it; you will go further than I and will correct me if need be. Do not fear that I will take offence. The economic horizons are unlimited: to see new ones makes me happy, whether it was I that discovered them or someone else that is showing them to me.
. . . Yes, you are right. There is a complete avenue of science to be explored with regard to the dread word consumption; this is what I will be establishing at the start of my second volume. As for population, it is incomprehensible that M. Clément can attack me on a subject that I have not yet tackled! And basically, to deny the axiom that the density of the population is an advantage for production is to deny all the power of trade and the division of labor.345 What is more, it is to deny facts that are blindingly obvious. Doubtless, populations naturally organize themselves so as to produce as much as possible, and to do this they divide or merge as circumstances require; they obey a double tendency to spread out and to concentrate, but the more they increase, ceteris paribus, that is to say, all virtues, forward planning, and dignity being equal, the more the services divide and are mutually rendered and the more each person is rewarded for the least of his particular qualities, etc. . . .
[344 ]See Letter 175, note 336.
[345 ]Bastiat seems to be anticipating an argument that would be taken up by Julian Simon in the twentieth century. Simon saw population as “the ultimate resource.” See Julian P. Simon, The Ultimate Resource (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981).