Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Political Pamphlets as Models of Applied Economics - Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
Return to Title Page for Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
The Political Pamphlets as Models of Applied Economics - Frédéric Bastiat, Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850, Jacques de Guenin, General Editor. Translated from the French by Jane Willems and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Pascal Salin. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation Editor Dennis O’Keeffe. Academic Editor, David M. Hart (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012).
About Liberty Fund:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
The Political Pamphlets as Models of Applied Economics
Bastiat was both a thinker and an actor in public affairs. He was a politician who was inspired by both economic and ethical principles, which is a rare occurrence, whether then or now. Next to Bastiat “the economist,” who wrote such monumental theoretical works as Economic Harmonies (1850), we have Bastiat the “political pamphleteer,” who wrote in response to the political and economic battles of the moment.2 To those economists who dream of attempting to implement their ideas, political life might seem attractive; however, only a very few, like Bastiat, are lucky enough to get that opportunity. While France was wracked by wave after wave of revolutionary change between 1848 and 1850, Bastiat had the chance to present his ideas in speeches to the Assembly, in broadsides handed out in the street, as essays in popular journals, and as articles in academic journals.
Throughout the pamphlets, Bastiat demonstrates how the combination of careful logic, consistency of principle, and clarity of exposition is the instrument for solving most economic and social problems. He does not hesitate to present facts and even statistics to his readers, but he does so in a manner that is understandable and coherent because the material is analyzed through the filter of rigorous economic theory.3
In this volume the reader will find discussions covering a wide variety of topics, such as the theory of value and rent (in which Bastiat made path-breaking contributions), public choice and collective action, regulations, taxation, education, trade unions, price controls, capital and growth, and the balance of trade, many of which topics are still at the center of political debate in our own time. Far from being dry and technical discussions of abstruse matters, all Bastiat’s pamphlets are written with such outstanding limpidity that reading them is a joy.
[2. ]A future volume will contain Bastiat’s “economic” pamphlets, better known as Economic Sophisms, but it must be understood that in Bastiat’s writing there is no hard and fast barrier between politics, ethics, and economic theory. He moves from one to the other with great ease.
[3. ]See, for example, the interesting way in which Bastiat is able to explain the poverty of vine growers in his province by referring to the effects of taxation and protectionism in “Discourse on the Tax on Wines and Spirits,” p. 328.