Front Page Titles (by Subject) Freedom to Exchange - Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
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Freedom to Exchange - 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).
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Freedom to Exchange
It is not surprising that Bastiat frequently opposes protectionist measures and pleads the case for free trade, but what is surprising is the broad range of arguments he uses to make his case. He draws his arguments from many fields of inquiry, such as economics, history, philosophy, and ethics. He reminds us that he was the founder of the Association pour la liberté des échanges (the free-trade association) and not the “association for commercial freedom” or the “association for the gradual reform of tariffs.” The “association for commercial freedom” would suggest support for only a narrowly based interest group that worked in the area of “commerce.” Likewise, the “association for the gradual reform of tariffs” would be inappropriate in Bastiat’s view because it would imply a willingness to compromise with those groups who benefited from protection at the expense of the broad mass of consumers who suffered from it. Thus, he chose for his organization the more general and somewhat abstract name “Association pour la liberté des échanges,” explaining that “the term free trade implies the freedom to dispose of the fruits of your work, in other words, property,”27 and this property could be in the form of wine, cotton cloth, gold bullion, or ideas.
Bastiat also makes a striking comparison between slavery and protectionism: “If I use force to appropriate all the work of a man for my benefit, this man is my slave. He is also my slave if, while letting him work freely, I find a way through force or guile to take possession of the fruit of his work.”28 In his battle with both conservatives and socialists Bastiat wanted to make the rhetorical and philosophical point that protectionism was just another form of that age-old means of granting privileges to one group at the expense of the liberty and property of another group. Thus he gave “this new form of servitude the fine title of protection.”29
[27. ]“Protectionism and Communism,” p. 237. Italics in the original.
[28. ]Ibid., p. 250.
[29. ]Ibid., p. 250. Italics in the original.