Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Concepts of Industry and Plunder (Spoliation) - Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
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The Concepts of “Industry” and “Plunder” (Spoliation) - 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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The Concepts of “Industry” and “Plunder” (Spoliation)
Bastiat got many of his ideas from reading a number of classical liberal theorists who were active during Napoléon’s empire and the restoration, most notably the economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832) and the lawyers and journalists Charles Comte (1782–1837) and Charles Dunoyer (1786–1862). The latter developed an “industrialist theory” of history in which the class of industriels played an important role.21 According to this school of thought there were only two means of acquiring wealth: by productive activity and voluntary exchanges in the free market (l’industrie, which included agriculture, trade, factory production, and services, etc.) or by coercive means (or “plunder,” such as conquest, theft, taxation, subsidies, protection, transfer payments, and slavery).
Anybody who acquired wealth through voluntary exchange and productive activities belonged to a class of people collectively called les industrieux. In contrast to les industrieux were those individuals or groups who acquired their wealth by force, coercion, conquest, slavery, or government privileges. The latter group was seen as a ruling class, or as “parasites” and plunderers, who lived at the expense of les industrieux.22 A parallel group of thinkers who shared many of these views developed around Henri Saint-Simon, who advocated rule by a technocratic elite rather than the operations of the free market as did Say, Comte, Dunoyer, and Bastiat.
In contrast to Bastiat’s use of the term industry is his use of the word la spoliation (or plunder), which was a key idea in his pamphlet “Propriété et spoliation,” which we have translated as “Property and Plunder.”23
It was the latter principle that had come to prominence during the revolution of 1848, exemplified in the National Workshops and the “right to work” movement, the opposition to which occupied a considerable amount of Bastiat’s time as a deputy.
[21. ]See Hart, Class, Slavery, and the Industrialist Theory of History in French Liberal Thought, 1814–1830.
[22. ]See Dunoyer, L’Industrie et la morale considérées dans leurs rapports avec la liberté. See also the entries for “Say, Jean-Baptiste”; “Comte, Charles”; and “Dunoyer, Barthélémy-Pierre-Joseph-Charles,” in the Glossary of Persons.
[23. ]See “Property and Plunder,” pp. 147–84 in this volume.