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Appendix 1: Further Aspects of Bastiat’s Thought (CW5)

Introduction

This is a draft of "Appendix 1: Further Aspects of Bastiat's Thought" which is part of vol. 5 of the Collected Works of Bastiat in 6 volumes, Economic Harmonies.

Table of Contents

  1. Community, Property, and Communism
  2. Displacement: Theory of Displacement
  3. Economic Stories: The Use of Economic Stories to explain Economic Ideas
  4. Functionaries: Rule by Functionaries
  5. The Great Laws of Economics
  6. History of Plunder
  7. Legal Plunder (to do)
  8. Liberties: All Forms of Liberty
  9. Mechanics and Organizers
  10. Perfectibility and Progress
  11. Public Choice: Bastiat and Public Choice (to do)
  12. The Rediscovery of Bastiat in the United States
  13. Responsibility: The Law of Individual Responsibility and the Law of Human Solidarity
  14. Romans: Hostility to the Romans
  15. The Seen and the Unseen
  16. Self-Defense: The Right to Legitimate Self-Defense
  17. Self-Ownership and the Right to Property
  18. Theocratic Plunder
  19. Theory of Plunder
  20. Victimless Crimes
  21. The Writing of the Harmonies

Endnotes

 


 

Community, Property, and Communism

On several occasions Bastiat tried to refute some of the key concepts put forward by socialists and communists during the Second Republic. He challenged the socialist understandings of "organization" in chap I "Natural and Artificial Organization", "fraternity" in "Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848) (CW2, 82-92) and "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, June 1848) (CW2, pp. 60-81), and "community" in EH in chap. VIII "Property and Community."

His theory of community, private property, and communism is a complex one that is not helped by the confusing plethora of terms he used to describe it.

To begin with property, Bastiat thought there were three "domains" or realms each with their own form of property and which were clearly separated from each other by a boundary or line of demarcation. The three domains are "le domaine de la communauté" (the domain of commonly owned property, or "the Commons"), "le domaine de la propriété" (the domain of private property), and "le domaine de la spoliation" (the domain of plundered property). The latter domain's relationship to communism was that Bastiat considered it to be the most extreme and developed form of plunder imaginable.1

Each domain also had its own specific forms of social and economic organization and ways in which plunder was undertaken. They also had their own kinds of cost, utility, value, and wealth, and ways in which economic progress and equality were manifested. The complexity of his argument comes about from the way he constructed his terminology to describe how each domain functioned by pairing particular nouns and adjectives for each of the domains.

There is also the problem of how best to translated the rather abstract French words "la communauté" and "la propriété". "La communauté" could be translated in several ways, as simply "community" in the general sense of a group of people. With reference to property, there is the communist notion of "la communauté des biens" (the community or common ownership of goods) and even of "a communauté des biens et des femmes" (the community of goods and women). There is Bastiat's own notion that as the economy develops and expands there is increasingly "a common availability of things" or an increase in "what is common to all." And for someone steeped in the Anglo-American tradition one could interpret "la communauté" as a French way of describing what was known for centuries in the English speaking world as "the Commons" or "things that are commonly owned."

Bastiat believed that the three domains of property lay on a continuum with the domain of commonly owned property at one end, the domain of private property in the middle, and the domain of plundered property at the other end. As he put it, perhaps not as clearly as one might hope, in chap. VIII "Property and Community":2

Mais, avant d'analyser la spoliation publique ou privée, légale ou illégale, son rôle dans le monde, sa portée comme élément du problème social, il faut nous faire, s'il est possible, des idées justes sur la communauté et la Propriété: car, ainsi que nous allons le voir, la spoliation n'est autre chose que la limite de la propriété, comme la propriété est la limite de la communauté. But before analyzing public or private plunder, (that is) legal or illegal (plunder), its role in the world, or its influence as an element of the social problem, we have to form for ourselves (some) accurate ideas about (the nature of) community and (private) property, for as we will see, plunder is nothing more than the end point of private property, just as private property is the end point of community.

A better translation, or rephrasing, of the last sentence might make it easier to understand:

common ownership comes to an end where private property begins, and private property comes to an end where plunder begins.

In "le domaine de la communauté" (the domain of commonly owned property, or "the Commons") natural resources were provided by the bounty of nature and so were "gratuit" (gratuitous, or free of charge) and "commun" (common to all). One could help oneself to fruit on the trees, water in the streams, and breathe the air with no or only minimal effort. This "state of nature" could provide fairly simple resources and food for a relatively small population. If property could be said to exist in this domain, Bastiat described it as "relative" or "social" (as opposed to the "absolute" and "individual" kind of property which existed in the domain of private property). "L'utilité" (useful things) were "commune et gratuite" (common to all and free of charge); and "la richesse" (wealth), if it existed was also regarded as "commun" (common to all) and part of a greater "le fonds commun" (a common fund, or fund of communally owned property). Organizations were simple in nature (limited to the family or the tribe) and "naturelle" (voluntary). Concerning "la spoliation" (plunder) there was either "l'absence de Spoliation" (an absence of plunder) or it was "la spoliation extra-légale" (simple, unorganized thievery outside the law).

In contrast, in "le domaine de la propriété" (the domain of private property) people realized that by working hard, using foresight to plan for the future, putting supplies aside as savings, making tools to increase their productivity, engaging in the division of labour, and trading with others, a greater variety and sophistication of goods and services could be got from "the bounty of nature." However the goods and services were "onéreux" (onerous, burdensome, costly) to acquire and were thus "approprié" (appropriated or privately owned). Bastiat describe the kinds of property which existed in this domain as "absolue" (absolute), "privée" (private), and "individuelle" (individual). "L'utilité" (useful things) were "artificielle et onéreuse" (manmade and costly) to acquire; and "la richesse" (wealth) which began to appear in much greater quantities was "appropriée" (privately owned) and part of "le fonds approprié" (a privately owned fund, or savings). Concerning "la spoliation" (plunder) there was either "l'absence de Spoliation" (an absence of plunder) or it was "la spoliation extra-légale" (simple, unorganized thievery outside the law).

At the furthest extreme was a domain, "le domaine de la spoliation" (the domain of plundered property), in which private property was violated by being plundered by powerful groups (slave owners, the Church, well-connected manufacturers and landowners) or no longer existed in the case of socialism and communism. In chap. VIII "Property and Community" Bastiat paid special attention to communism, as he had dealt with other forms of plunder, especially protectionism, in his other writings, so we will focus on communism here as well. Defenders of communism thought that, either there already was an abundance of goods which were not being distributed to ordinary workers because they were being exploited by their bosses, or there would be abundance if the workplace was "organized" along socialist lines or taken over by the state. Given this existing or potential abundance they thought everybody could be provided with "gratuit" (gratuitous or free of charge) credit for loans, education, food, clothes, shelter, and more. Bastiat thought that under communism there would be "la négation de la Propriété" (the negation or denial of private property) and that there would be "la communauté des biens" (the community or common ownership of goods). Wealth would be equally redistributed from those who had to those who had not by "le nivellement légale" (a coercive levelling or equalisation by means of the law).3 Society was completely "organised" under socialist principles and run by an all-wise, all-caring, and selfless "Organisateur" (Organiser) or "Mécanicien" (Mechanic), where "la communauté seule doit décider de tout, régler tout" (the community alone ought to decide everything and rule everything).4 Concerning plunder, under the system of protectionism it was "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder) but it was "partielle" (partial). Under communism the plunder was "universelle" (universal), "systématique" (systematic), and "permanente" (permanent).

Given Bastiat's familiarity with the various socialist and communist groups in France in the late 1840s he was well aware of the great diversity in socialist thinking and he made allowances for this in his critique. He wrote a series of about 12 anti-socialist pamphlets between May 1848 and July 1850 addressing different socialists and their different schemes.5 He directly attacked communism in eight works written between June 1847 and June 1850 with his most sustained and detailed criticism coming in chap. VIII "Property and Community" in EH.6

He argued that both "socialism" and "communism" put forward "la fausse fraternité" (a false or counterfeit fraternity) which was based, in the case of the socialists on "la spoliation mutuelle" (mutual plunder) and in the case of the communists on the universal and complete plunder of everything. In his pamphlet "Protectionism and Communism" (January 1849)7 he argued that there were three different kinds of communism or "communitarianism." The first form was the voluntary sharing of work and living arrangements among a few individuals who came together for this purpose, and since it was voluntary Bastiat had no objection to people choosing to live like this. The second form was something he could see already emerging around him with the the modern welfare, regulatory, and redistributive state, or what he called "cet autre Communisme audacieux et subtil" (this other form of communism which is audacious/daring and subtle). This was "le Communisme en action" (communism in action, actually existing communism), as opposed to the fantasies of the revolutionary communists, and its goal was to regulate profits and redistribute wealth, take from some to give to others, and to level or equalize wealth by means of legal plunder:8

Faire intervenir l'État, lui donner pour mission de pondérer les profits et d'équilibrer les fortunes, en prenant aux uns, sans consentement, pour donner aux autres, sans rétribution, le charger de réaliser l'œuvre du nivellement par voie de spoliation, assurément c'est bien là du Communisme. Making the state intervene (in the economy), giving it the mission of regulating profits and redistributing wealth by taking from some without their consent or compensation in order to give to others, making it responsible for carrying out the work of leveling by means of plunder, this is definitely (a form of) communism.

However, it was the third kind of communism which worried him the most since it wanted the state to seize all private property, run all businesses, control every aspect of the people's lives and work, and to share the proceeds equally among the citizens. He called "ce Communisme grossier et absurde" (this crude and absurd form of communism) "la plus brutale forme" (the most brutal form), but consoled himself that it was only communism "en perspective" (a potential or future form of communism) and not yet a reality. If it were to ever appear it would be "la spoliation devenue règle dominante et universelle" (plunder which has become the dominant and universal rule) .

By spending so much time on the topic of "la communauté" (community) Bastiat wanted to achieve several things. He wanted to show that the economists also had a theory of community which was consistent with their theory of self-interest as "the driving force" of society. Also that the economists were the true defenders of "community" against the false defenders, the "communists" and "communitarians"; that just because they had the word "commun" in their name did not make them the true defenders of "community." And most importantly, that if the free market and private property were allowed to function freely it would in fact create the kind of community wished for by the socialists and communists. Bastiat called the community which emerged in the domain of private property "la communauté progressive" (the progressing or advancing community), by which he meant the steadily growing and improving domain of common ownership. This notion is closely related to his idea about progress and the perfectibility of mankind, and his "great law":9

le rapprochement indéfini de toutes les classes vers un niveau qui s'élève toujours ; en d'autres termes : l'égalisation des individus dans l'amélioration générale. the never ending approach of all classes to a standard of living that is constantly rising, in other words, making individual people (more) equal as part of the general process of improvement.

One of the key factors which made this economic progress possible in Bastiat's view was the steady movement of valuable things which were once onerous or costly to acquire and which had become private property, into "le domaine commun" (the domain of the Commons) where they became gratuitous or free of charge and freely available to everybody. He had in mind here things like the knowledge to make things, or they way in which tools and industrial processes could harness the forces of nature to create things at lower and lower cost to all consumers, the competition among producers to supply more and better and cheaper goods and services to their customers, or the abundance of capital which steadily reduced the cost of borrowing money for new economic ventures. As he noted in a speech for the Free Trade Association in Lyon in August 1847:10

ils descendent enfin autant que cela est possible, dans le domaine gratuit, et par conséquent commun de la famille humaine. Ils n'y arriveront jamais, sans doute; mais ils s'en rapprocheront sans cesse, et le monde économique est plein de ces asymptotes. Voilà la communauté, je ne dis point le communisme, que l'on ne peut mettre au commencement des temps et au point de départ de la société; mais la communauté qui est la fin de l'homme, la récompense de ses longs efforts, et la grande consommation des lois providentielles. (these goods and services become) like one of the elements that God has placed at the disposal of men, without linking any burdensome condition to its liberality, to the point at which it finally reaches a level that is as close as possible to being free of charge and consequently common to the human family. This will probably never happen, but it is constantly getting closer, and the world of economics is full of these asymptotes. Here is (that) community, and I do not mean communism, which cannot be found at the beginning of time and at the starting point of society, but (that) community, which is the final goal of man, the reward of his lengthy efforts, and the great end of the laws of Providence.

Bastiat explains things in his own words

Bastiat summarized his thinking on this complicated topic in two passages, one in the conclusion he wrote for EH1 which was published in January 1850, and the other in the closing section of chap. VIII "Property and Community" also in EH1. We reproduce them here:11

Mais je n'ai pas ici à réfuter le communisme. Tout ce que je veux faire remarquer, c'est qu'il est justement l'opposé, en tous points, du système que J'ai cherché à établir. But this is not the place to refute communism. All that I wish to point out is that it is exactly the opposite in all respects of the system I have sought to establish.
Nous reconnaissons à l'homme le droit de se servir lui-même, ou de servir les autres à des conditions librement débattues. Le communisme nie ce droit, puisqu'il centralise tous les services dans les mains d'une autorité arbitraire. We acknowledge that man has the right to serve himself or others in accordance with conditions that are freely negotiated. Communism denies this right, since it centralizes all services in the hands of an arbitrary authority.
Notre doctrine est fondée sur la Propriété. Le Communisme est fondé sur la spoliation systématique, puis qu'il consiste à livrer à l'un, sans compensation, le travail de l'autre. En effet, s'il distribuait à chacun selon son travail, il reconnaîtrait la propriété, il ne serait plus le Communisme. Our doctrine is based on property. Communism is based on systematic plunder, since it consists in handing over to one person the labor of another with no compensation. Indeed, if it distributed to each person in accordance with his labor, it would be recognizing property and would no longer be communism.
Notre doctrine est fondée sur la liberté. A vrai dire, propriété [294] et liberté, c'est à nos yeux une seule et même chose; car ce qui fait qu'en est propriétaire de son service, c'est le droit et la faculté d'en disposer. Le Communisme anéantit la liberté, puisqu'il ne laisse à personne la libre disposition de son travail. Our doctrine is based on freedom. To tell the truth, property and freedom are one and the same thing in our view, for what makes one person the owner of his service is his right and ability to dispose of it. Communism crushes freedom, since it allows nobody the free disposal of his labor.
Notre doctrine est fondée sur la justice; le Communisme, sur l'injustice. Cela résulte de ce qui précède. Our doctrine is based on justice, communism on injustice. This follows from the preceding passage.
Il n'y a donc qu'un point de contact entre les communistes et nous: c'est une certaine similitude des syllabes qui entrent dans les mots communisme et communauté. There is thus just one point of contact between communists and us: a certain similarity in the syllables that make up the words communism and community.
Mais que cette similitude n'égare pas l'esprit du lecteur. Pendant que le Communisme est la n'égation de la Propriété, nous voyons dans notre doctrine sur la communauté l'affirmation la plus explicite et la démonstration la plus péremptoire de la Propriété. But do not let this similarity lead the reader astray. While communism is the antithesis of property, we see in our theory of community the most explicit confirmation and unanswerable proof of property.
Car si la légitimité de la propriété a pu paraître douteuse et inexplicable, même à des hommes qui n'étaient pas communistes, c'est qu'ils croyaient qu'elle concentrait entre les mains de quelques-uns, à l'exclusion de quelques autres, les dons de Dieu communs à l'origine. Nous croyons avoir radicalement dissipé ce doute, en démontrant que ce qui était commun par destination providentielle reste commun à travers toutes les transactions humaines, le domaine de la propriété ne pouvant jamais s'étendre au delà de la valeur, du droit onéreusement acquis par des services rendus. For if the legitimacy of property might have appeared to be doubtful and inexplicable, even to people who were not communists, it is because they thought it concentrated the gifts of God that were originally common to all in the hands of a few to the exclusion of others. We think that we have completely dispelled this doubt by demonstrating that what was common to all by Providential intent remains common to all in all human transactions, since the domain of property can never extend beyond value, (beyond) the right (to property) which has been onerously acquired by services rendered.

And:12

Dans cette première partie de l'œuvre, hélas! trop hâtive, que je soumets au public, je me suis efforcé de tenir son attention fixée sur la ligne de démarcation, toujours mobile, mais toujours distincte, qui sépare les deux régions du monde économique: — La collaboration naturelle et le travail humain, — la libéralité de Dieu et l'œuvre de l'homme, — la gratuité et l'onérosité, — ce qui dans l'échange se rémunère et ce qui se cède sans rémunération, — l'utilité totale et l'utilité fractionnelle et complémentaire qui constitue la Valeur, — la richesse absolue et la richesse relative, — le concours des forces chimiques ou mécaniques, contraintes d'aider la production par les instruments qui les asservissent, et la juste rétribution due au travail qui a créé ces instruments eux-mêmes, — la communauté et la Propriété. In this, alas, too hasty, first part of the work that I am submitting to the general public, I have endeavored to concentrate its attention on the constantly shifting but always distinct line of demarcation that separates the two regions/domains of the world of economics: (between) the collaboration of nature and (that of) human labour, (between) the generosity/bounty of God and the work of man, (between) what is gratuitous (free of charge) and what is onerous (carries a price), (between) what is paid for in an exchange and what is given up without payment, (between) total utility and the partial and additional utility that makes up value, (between) (the) absolute (amount of) wealth and (the) relative (amount of) wealth, (between) the contribution made by chemical and mechanical forces which are forced to assist production by the tools that control them, and the just remuneration owed to the labor that created these tools themselves, and (finally) (between) community and property.
Il ne suffisait pas de signaler ces deux ordres de phénomènes, si essentiellement différents par nature, il fallait encore décrire leurs relations, et, si je puis m'exprimer ainsi, leurs évolutions harmoniques. J'ai essayé d'expliquer comment l'œuvre de la Propriété consistait à conquérir pour le genre humain de l'utilité, à la jeter dans le domaine commun, pour voler à de nouvelles conquêtes, — de telle sorte que chaque effort donné, et, par conséquent, l'ensemble de tous les efforts — livre sans cesse à l'humanité des satisfactions toujours croissantes. c'est en cela que consiste le progrès, que les services humains échangés, tout en conservant leur valeur relative, servent de véhicule à une proportion toujours plus grande d'Utilité gratuite et, partant, commune. Bien loin donc que les possesseurs de la valeur, quelque [389] forme qu'elle affecte, usurpent et monopolisent les dons de Dieu, ils les multiplient sans leur faire perdre ce caractère de libéralité qui est leur destination providentielle, — la Gratuité. It was not enough to point out these two orders of phenomena, so essentially different in nature, their relationship also had to be described together with, if I may express it thus, their harmonious evolution. I have tried to explain how the work of private property consisted in conquering utility for the human race, throwing it into the common domain in order to fly off to new conquests, so that each/any given effort and consequently the sum of (all) efforts, constantly provides the human race with an ever-increasing (number) of satisfactions. This is what constitutes progress, and the human services (which are) exchanged, while retaining their relative value, act as a vehicle for a constantly greater proportion of gratuitous utility and consequently (utility which is) common to all. Far from the owners (of things) of value (in whatever form they may take) usurping and monopolizing the gifts of God, they multiply them without making them lose that bounteous character that Providence intended them to have, (namely) gratuitousness.
A mesure que les satisfactions, mises par le progrès à la charge de la nature, tombent à raison de ce fait même dans le domaine commun, elles deviennent égales, l'inégalité ne se pouvant concevoir que dans le domaine des services humains qui se comparent, s'apprécient les uns par les autres et s'évaluent pour s'échanger. — d'où il résulte que l'Égalité, parmi les hommes, est nécessairement progressive. — Elle l'est encore sous un autre rapport, l'action de la Concurrence ayant pour résultat inévitable de niveler les services eux-mêmes et de proportionner de plus en plus leur rétribution à leur mérite. As the satisfactions paid for by nature as a result of progress, fall for this very fact into the common domain (le domaine commun), they become equal, since inequality can be conceived only within the domain of human services which can be compared, assessed with regard to one another, and evaluated in order to be exchanged. From which it results that equality among men is necessarily a progressive force. It is also progressive from another point of view, since the action of competition has the inevitable result of leveling (down) the services themselves and making their remuneration increasingly correspond to their worth.

Key Words List

To help the reading navigate around this linguistic minefield we have compiled this list of key words and phrases, and an accompanying table.

Another complication is that Bastiat introduces a number of pairings of terms and theoretical concepts some of which he uses nowhere else in this work (or in fact in any other of his writings). These include pairings of related words or concepts, such as

  • "la gratuité et la communauté" (gratuitousness and common availability; or what is free of charge and common to all), and
  • "l'onérosité et la propriété" (onerousness and private property; or what is onerous or burdensome to acquire and which is privately owned).

These nouns are also used in contrast, such as "la communauté" vs. "la propriété" and "la gratuité" vs. "l'onérosité."

He also uses a number of paired but contrasting adjectives, such as:

  • "relative" (relative) vs. "absolue" (absolute), and sometimes "réelle" (real, genuine)
  • "naturel" (natural) vs. "artificiel" (artificial),
  • "commun" (common or communal) vs. "approprié" (appropriated or owned),
  • "gratuit" (gratuitous, gratis, free of change) vs. "onéreux" (onerous, burdensome, costly), and
  • "sociale" (social) vs. "privée" (or "individuelle") (private or individual).

These adjectives are used with key words or concepts, such as "la domaine" (the domain), "le fonds" (fund), "la propriété" (property or private property), "la richesse" (wealth), and "l'utilité" (utility or things of utility) in a fairly complex web of terminology which includes the following:

  • "le domaine de la Communauté" vs "le domaine de la Propriété" (the domain of community (or things common to all) vs. the domain of private property)
  • "le domaine commun" vs. "le domaine approprié" (the domain of common ownership vs. the domain of private ownership or private property)
  • "le domaine relatif de la Propriété" vs. "le domaine absolu de la Propriété" (the relative domain of property vs. the absolute domain of property)
  • "le fonds commun" vs. "le fonds approprié" (the common fund, or fund of communally owned property vs. the fund of privately owned or appropriated property)
  • "la Propriété relative" vs. "la Propriété absolue" (relative vs. absolute property)
  • "la propriété sociale" vs "la propriété privée" (social vs. private property)
  • "la richesse relative" vs. "la richesse réelle" (relative vs. real or genuine wealth)
  • "la richesse commune" vs. "la richesse appropriée" (common wealth or commonly available wealth vs. privately owned or appropriated wealth)
  • "l'utilité gratuite" vs. "l'utilité onéreuse" (gratuitous vs. onerous utility)

We have indicated in the footnotes where these terms occur and tried to explain their meaning in any given context.

 

Table of Key Terms and Concepts

This visual representation of the three domains of property and their related concepts might also assist the reader.

la domaine de la Communauté
(commun)
la domaine de la Propriété
(approprié)
la domaine de la Spoliation
(spolié)
Plunder
  • l'absence de Spoliation
  • la spoliation extra-légale
  • l'absence de Spoliation
  • la spoliation extra-légale
  • la spoliation légale/gouvernementale
  • la spoliation partielle/réciproque/universelle
  • la spoliation est organisée, légalisée, systématisée
  • la spoliation systématique/permanente
Organization
  • l'organisation naturelle
  • l'organisation naturelle
  • l'organisation artificielle
  • l'Organisateur / le Mécanicien
  • la communauté seule doit décider de tout, régler tout
Property
  • la propriété relative
  • la propriété sociale
  • la Propriété absolue
  • la propriété privée
  • la propriété individuelle
  • la négation de la Propriété
    la communauté des biens (et des femmes)
Cost
  • la gratuité (gratuit)
  • l'onérosité (onéreux)
  • le crédit gratuit, l'instruction gratuite, la nourriture gratuite, le vêtement gratuit, le vivre et le couvert gratuits, etc.
Utility
  • l'utilité gratuite
  • l'utilité commune et gratuite
  • l'utilité onéreuse
  • l'utilité artificielle et onéreuse
Wealth
  • la richesse commune
  • le fonds commun
  • la richesse appropriée
  • le fonds approprié
  • le nivellement légale/par la loi

 


 

Displacement: "Theory of Displacement"

According to Bastiat's theory of "la déplacement" (displacement, distortion, misdirection) when the government intervened in the economy it caused a distortion in its structure through the misallocation of capital, labour, and population, and "artificial" changes in consumer needs, tastes, and interests which producers attempted to satisfy. These "displacements" did nothing to increase the amount of wealth in society and often led to economic fluctuations and periodic crises.

The words he used to describe this phenomenon were variations of "déplacer" (to displace, distort, shift), such as "la déplacement" (displacement) and "déplacé" (displaced), or "détourner" (to divert, distort, turn away), such as "le détournement" (diversion, distortion) and "détourné' (diverted, distorted), and these appear very frequently in his writings (over 80 for the former group, and over 20 for the latter). He began using these ideas as early as 1837 when he argued that the proposed government funded relocation of the Adour River Canal is his home town would cause "violent disruption" to traditional trading patterns:13

L'éloignement du Canal de l'Adour aurait encore l'inconvénient immense de brusquer toutes les habitudes du pays, et de déplacer violemment, si j'ose m'exprimer ainsi, tout le courant des transactions qui s'y exécutent. Il ne faut pas perdre de vue que le Canai est destiné à remplacer, en l'agrandissant, la navigation de l'Adour, dont les populations riveraines étaient en possession de temps immémorial. Locating the Canal far from the Adour would also involve the immense inconvenience of disrupting all the customary activity and of violently uprooting, if I may dare to speak thus, the entire flow of economic activity which takes place there at present. We should not lose sight of the aim of the Canal, which is to offer an alternative to the shipping on the Adour, which has provided an occupation for riverside populations from time immemorial.

Later, when he became involved in the free trade movement, his examples of "displacement" changed. For example, when the government subsidized an industry or imposed tariffs to protect an industry from foreign competition, it distorted the structure of the economy by encouraging capital to be invested in a place where it would not be profitable if it were not for the existence of the subsidy or tariff, and as a result, inducing labour (or "population" as Bastiat sometimes called it) to move there as well.

As he stated in an article in December 1846:14

Ces moyens peuvent être fort bons, on peut en attendre d'excellents effets; mais il en est un qu'ils ne parviendront jamais à produire, c'est de créer de nouveaux moyens de production. Déplacer les capitaux, les détourner d'une voie pour les attirer dans une autre, les pousser alternativement du champ à l'usine et de l'usine au champ, voilà ce que la loi peut faire; mais il n'est pas en sa puissance d'en augmenter la masse, à un moment donné; vérité bien simple et constamment négligée. These methods (subsidies and tariffs) can be quite good, and one can expect to get some excellent results; but there is one result which it will never produce, namely to create (any) new means of production. To displace capital, to divert it from (going down) one path in order to entice it to go down another, to push it in turn from the farm fields to the factories and from the factories to the farm fields, this is what the law can do; but it is not in its power to increase its quantity at any given moment. This is a truth which is quite simple but constantly ignored.

Later, when government trade and tax policies changed, these "artificially" created centres of industry and population would thus suffer declines in sales and employment and enter an economic recession. Although Bastiat did not have a very sophisticated explanation for the period economic crises which afflicted mid-century European society he did seem to sense that the misallocation of capital had something to do with it.15 As he stated in the opening to Economic Harmonies, "To the Youth of France," among the many factors which had brought France to Revolution and the brink of socialism in 1848 was "ces grands déplacements factices de capital et de travail, source de frottements inutiles, de fluctuations, de crises et de dommages" (those huge and artificial displacements of capital and labor, giving rise to unnecessary friction, fluctuation, crises, and other damage).16

By the time he came to write Economic Harmonies his theory of displacement had become central to his economic thinking and there are over one dozen uses of it in the text.

Bastiat also applied his "theory of displacement" to explaining the cause of poverty which, for the Malthusians was caused by "overpopulation," but which he attributed to the many "disturbing factors" which disrupted and "distorted" the harmony of the free market, especially "the displacement " of populations.17 For example, in chap. IV "Exchange" he blames the government's coercive intervention in trade as the cause of "crises, unemployment, and instability, and finally pauperism."18

Soit que cette intervention de la Force dans les échanges en provoque qui ne se seraient pas faits, ou en prévienne qui se seraient accomplis, il ne se peut pas qu'elle n'occasionne tout à la fois Déperdition et Déplacement de travail et de capitaux, et par suite perturbation dans la manière dont la population se serait naturellement distribuée. Des intérêts naturels disparaissent sur un point, des intérêts factices se créent sur un autre, et les hommes suivent forcément le courant des intérêts. C'est ainsi qu'on voit de vastes industries s'établir là où elles ne devaient pas naître, la France faire du sucre, l'Angleterre filer du coton venu des plaines de l'Inde. Il a fallu des siècles de guerre, des torrents de sang répandu, d'immenses trésors dispersés, pour arriver à ce résultat : substituer en Europe des industries précaires à des industries vivaces, et ouvrir ainsi des chances aux crises, aux chômages, à l'instabilité et, en définitive, au Paupérisme. Whether the intervention of this coercive power in exchanges stimulates some exchanges that would never have been made, or prevents some that would have been made, it cannot fail to cause the simultaneous loss or displacement of labor and capital, and consequently a disturbance in the way that populations are naturally distributed. Natural interests disappear at one place, artificial interests are created at another, and people are forced to follow the flow of these (opposing) interests. This is the reason why we see huge industries established in places where they should never be, (such as) France making sugar and England spinning cotton imported from the plains of India. Centuries of wars have been necessary, rivers of blood spilt, and huge (amounts of) treasure wasted to achieve the result of substituting unsound industries for sound ones in Europe, thus creating opportunities for crises, unemployment, and instability, and finally pauperism.

He was at pains to show that these "displacements" or "distortions;' were, firstly, the result of violent intervention by the state in the economy and were therefore a form of legal plunder,19 and not the natural result of free economic activity, and secondly, that the state did not increase the total amount of wealth in the country but merely moved it from one place to another (usually for the benefit one politically powerful group at the expense of ordinary consumers and taxpayers), or caused an outright loss of wealth. For example, he talks of government intervention in the economy as "un déplacement forcé et violent de la richesse" (a coerced and violent displacement of wealth),20 "un détournement abusif de la force publique" (an improper distortion of government power),21 and of "la population et le travail législativement déplacés" (population and labour displaced by law).22

In addition to this economic meaning of "displacement" Bastiat also applied the term to describe certain political and moral actions, such as when the government overstepped its legitimate bounds to protect life, liberty, and property, and became the focal point for "les quêteurs de places" (those seeking government jobs)23 or legal privileges and monopolies, "le pouvoir (est) détourné de sa véritable et simple mision" (political power (was) diverted from its original and sole purpose).24 This of course was a major theme of his pamphlet The Law in which he discussed how the law became "perverted" and "diverted" from its proper function.25 Or when the government attempted to regulate private behaviour and shield people from the consequences of their actions, thus "shifting" or "displacing" the burden of individual responsibility from one person or group to another.26 As he so eloquently expressed it in chap. XVII "Private and Public Services":27

Organiser la contrainte dans l'échange, détruire le libre arbitre sous prétexte que les hommes peuvent se tromper, ce ne serait rien améliorer; à moins que l'on ne prouve que l'agent chargé de contraindre ne participe pas à l'imperfection de notre nature, n'est sujet ni aux passions ni aux erreurs, et n'appartient pas à l'humanité. N'est-il pas évident, au contraire, que ce serait non-seulement déplacer la responsabilité, mais encore l'anéantir, du moins en ce qu'elle a de plus précieux, dans son caractère rémunérateur, vengeur, expérimental, correctif et par conséquent progressif? To organise trade by using coercion and destroy free will, on the pretext that people might make mistakes, would not improve anything, unless it can be proved that the agent (of the state) charged with exercising the coercion does not share the imperfection of our nature or that he is not subject to passion or error and does not (in effect) belong to the human race. Is it not obvious, on the contrary, that this would be not only to displace (individual) responsibility but also to eliminate it, at least in its most valuable aspect, its rewarding, punishing, experimental, corrective, and consequently progressive character?

 


Economic Stories: The Use of Economic Stories to explain Economic Ideas

Bastiat very successfully used stories, parables, and dialogs to explain economic ideas, especially in his Economic Sophisms, which made him one of the greatest economic journalists and popularizers of economic ideas. He continues this practice in his treatise in which we have counted 55 "economic stories" (34 in EH1 and 18 in EH2, and 3 in the Taranne Hall lecture).

In our analysis of Bastiat's "Rhetoric of Liberty"28 we have listed the range of devices Bastiat used in writing his "economic sophisms" which were designed to expose the follies of the policies of the ruling elite and their system of "legal plunder," and to undermine their authority and legitimacy with "la piqûre du ridicule" (the sting of ridicule).29 These include the following:30

  1. a standard prose format
  2. the single authorial voice in the form of a personal conversation with the reader
  3. a constructed dialogue between stock figures who represented different viewpoints
  4. satirical "official" letters or petitions to government officials or ministers, and other fabricated documents written by Bastiat
  5. the use of Robinson Crusoe "thought experiments" to make serious economic points or arguments in a more easily understandable format
  6. "economic tales" or fables modelled on classic French authors
  7. parodies of well-known scenes from French literature
  8. quoting scenes from classic plays
  9. quoting poems with political content
  10. quoting popular satirical and political songs
  11. the use of jokes, puns, and plays on words

To this list we would now add his use of popular sayings (les devises) such as Montaigne "one man's gain is another man's loss."

In Economic Harmonies he continues his practice of using many of these same rhetorical devices to make economic ideas more understandable to the reader but modifies it slightly in order to suit the more serious tone of an economic treatise.31 Even so, his treatise stands out as most unusual since even in this modified form it is still radically different in style compared to the other economic treatises of his day which were all stolidly serious and prosaic in their form. In the treatise he continues to use personal conversations with the reader, conversations between stock characters representing different points of view, invented speeches, Robinson Crusoe thought experiments,32 and many stories of various kinds and lengths. What he did not use very much, and which were his stock in trade in the more journalistic "economic sophisms," was humor, satire, and puns and other forms of word play which made the economic sophisms such a joy to read.33 Bastiat dispenses with the parodies of scenes of famous plays and quoting political or satirical popular songs. However, he does add many more references to popular sayings and the economic meaning they contain, as well as the use of geometrical lines and circles to illustrate his points (which may be a first in an economic treatise).34

Bastiat's use of geometric lines and concentric circles is also a very interesting rhetorical device which needs further exploration. Deidre McCloskey would probably see Bastiat's early use of this (but not mathematics, which would become the dominant rhetorical device of economics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) as "rhetorical" in nature, along with his elaborate metaphors of channels, clock mechanisms, basins filled with water, centripetal and centrifugal forces, apparatuses, spheres, and domains and their boundaries.35

The list of different rhetorical devices he uses in Economic Harmonies are listed below. There are 55 instances in total, with 3 occurring in the Taranne Hall lecture, 34 in EH1, and 18 in the additional chapters added to EH2:

  1. a conversation between two individuals who are representatives of different viewpoints (9)
  2. a discussion of the ideas behind a popular saying (5)
  3. a speech or comment by someone else (4)
  4. a speech or statement written by Bastiat (2)
  5. a longer story (23)
  6. a brief story (4)
  7. Robinson Crusoe thought experiments (6 references with 4 main stories)
  8. a quotation from a piece of classic French literature (2)

We have given every "economic story" a number which is cited in a footnote in the main text. Some references we thought were too short to merit being classified as a separate "story," for example the very brief reference to Banquo at Macbeth's feast,36 a one line reference to Molière's play Les Femmes savantes,37 and a reference to Diogenes warming himself in the sunshine.38

The following is a complete list of all 55 "economic stories" listed by type:

A conversation between two individuals who are representatives of different viewpoints (9):

  1. S1 - a conversation between a free trade candidate and some electors
  2. S32 - a conversation about the right to own land and charge rent between Bastiat, other "Economists", "Socialists", and "Egalitarians"
  3. S37 - a conversation between "someone in the tropics" and "someone in Europe" over trade
  4. S44 - a conversation between "Capital" and "Labour" and an "Entrepreneur" on spreading risk
  5. S48 - another story about the fall in value of "past labour" with two conversations between two individuals about the sale of a piece of old machinery and then the sale of a well-cultivated field
  6. S49 - a conversation between Bastiat, a socialist who follows the "new science" of Victor Considerant, and a worker in Paris chosen at random
  7. S53 - a conversation between various groups who wish to use the power of the state to plunder others for their own benefit
  8. S54 - a conversation between "the reader" who objects again to the excessive optimism of the economists and Bastiat who rejects this criticism
  9. S55 - a conversation between an "ignorant person" and an "anatomist" and an "astronomer" concerning Providential intent

A discussion of the ideas behind a popular saying (5):

  1. S2 - the man from Champagne and his dog
  2. S3 - Montaigne "One man's profit is another man's loss"
  3. S14 - his own sayings, "four propositions"
  4. S27 - Bastiat reverses Montaigne's saying
  5. S40 - debunking the economic ideas which lie behind two popular sayings: "one for all and all for one" (expressing socialist or fraternal sentiments) and "everyone for themselves and everyone looking after their own" (expressing selfish and egotistical sentiments)

A speech or comment by someone else (4):

  1. S4 - young students opposing the optimism of the economists
  2. S26 - a speech by a landowner who understands that Ricardo's view of land rent is incorrect
  3. S35 - a speech by an opponent of Bastiat's theory of property rights in land
  4. S51 - some advice given by "an old priest" to a family with a daughter of child bearing age

A speech or statement written by Bastiat (2):

  1. S5 - his "Credo"
  2. S15 - a speech Bastiat would have given if he had been the head of the new Republican government

A longer story (23):

  1. S6 - the village carpenter
  2. S7 - a simple student living in Paris
  3. S8 - a story about a "rough and hard-working artisan"
  4. S18 - a story about air being pumped into a diving bell
  5. S19 - a story about how Bastiat and his neighbour reach a voluntary agreement about fetching water from a spring
  6. S20 - a story about Bastiat walking by the seaside where he discovers a diamond
  7. S21 - a story about two men who reach an agreement on supplying each other with ice in the summer and coal in the winter
  8. S22 - a story about a group of people on a beach who cooperate in providing each other with defence
  9. S23 - a story about a wealthy banker in Paris who employs the outstanding opera singer
  10. S24 - a story of an old priest who enters a town in order to help a young inexperienced priest fulfill his duties
  11. S25 - a story about Jean and Pierre and the manufacture of pottery mugs
  12. S29 - a story about "a modest labourer" who buys a pair of socks
  13. S33 - a story about "Brother Jonathan" who moves from New York to go to the Far West to buy land in Arkansas
  14. S36 - another story about a water carrier
  15. S38 - an amusing story of a "bizarre transaction" in reverse
  16. S39 - a story about Jean, who represents all producers, and who invents a new industrial process
  17. S41 - another story about a "squatter" going to the Far West of America in search of land to farm
  18. S42 - a story about the famous vineyard "le Clos Vougeot" and the value of rare wine
  19. S43 - a story about a group of men each of whom own houses and agree to form an "association" to protect themselves from the risk of fire.
  20. S45 - a story about the fears of a "young and sturdy worker" who worries about falling sick or looking after himself in his old age
  21. S46 - a two-part story about two fishermen who reach an agreement on how to share the proceeds of their catch and introduce wages
  22. S50 - a story about a "service provider" who is a "thrifty soul" and a "third party" (a bank)
  23. S52 - a story in which Bastiat uses the image of a basin or reservoir with moveable walls being filled by a river of water, to explain how the standard of living of ordinary people is influenced by increases in population.

A brief story (4):

  1. S12 - brief story about ten families
  2. S13 - a doctor who provides services to his patients
  3. S34 - a story about a "life-boat" situation in which a ship in the middle of the ocean only has enough food for two weeks
  4. S47 - some questions a worker should and should not ask himself when thinking about his relationship with a capitalist and how much he gets paid for his labour

Robinson Crusoe thought experiments (6 references with 4 main stories):

  1. S9 - the problems faced by a "a man living in isolation"
  2. S10 - introduction to the story of Robinson Crusoe
  3. S16 - a story about Robinson Crusoe's interest in overcoming obstacles
  4. S28 - a story about Robinson Crusoe and why he would want to make a tool, or a "capital good"
  5. S30 - a story about Robinson Crusoe and how, once he has used a tool to better satisfy one need, he uses the time thus freed up to satisfy the next need in his hierarchy of needs
  6. S31 - a story about Robinson Crusoe on how the judgement made by consumers of their needs "governs the direction of production" even for a person living in isolation

A quotation from a piece of classic French literature (2):

  1. S11 - Molière's play Le malade imaginaire (The Hypocondriac) (1673)
  2. S17 - quotes a poem by Florian about how cooperation between "The Blind Man and the Cripple"

The following is a list of the stories in the order in which they occur in Economic Harmonies, with a brief description, and their location:

  1. Story 1: A conversation between a free trade candidate and some electors, in "Lecture on Free Trade at Taranne Hall (3 July 1847). " "the following dialogue between the electors and the candidate"
  2. Story 2: A brief reference to a popular saying of the man from Champagne who told his dog: "Poor animal, I have to cut your tail off but do not worry, to spare you suffering I will organize the transition and will only cut a bit off every day." Origin not known. In "Lecture on Free Trade at Taranne Hall (3 July 1847).
  3. Story 3: A brief reference to a popular saying by Montaigne "One man's profit is another man's loss" which was one of Bastiat's staples. "Lecture on Free Trade at Taranne Hall (3 July 1847). "you know the old saying: One man's profit is another man's loss."
  4. Story 4: A short speech Bastiat puts into the mouths of the youthful students he is addressing in "To the Youth of France" who might object to the excessive optimism of the economists like Bastiat, who downplay the poverty, injustice, and oppression which afflicts French society, turn a blind eye to the insurrections which disrupted France in 1848, and think that "this is the best of all possible worlds." In "To the Youth of France" ("Here is a good example," you will say")
  5. Story 5: Bastiat writes and recites his own "credo" modeled on that of the Christian's in which he sums up the ideas he will put forward in the book: that Providence or "He" has arranged the social and economic world to benefit humans, has created economic laws which enable mankind to prosper and progress indefinitely, and has ensured the classes will gradually rise up to a common, higher standard of living. He concludes by reaffirming his faith in liberty and the inherent harmony of interests. In "To the Youth of France" ("I believe, not with a faith that is submissive and blind")
  6. Story 6: This story of the village carpenter is Bastiat's version of Leonard Read's story of "I, Pencil" (1958) on the interconnectedness of economic activity, on international trade, and the division of labour. In I. "Natural and Artificial Organisation" ("Let us take a man who belongs to a modest class in society, a village carpenter")
  7. Story 7: A story about a "simple student" living in Paris who is taking advantage of exchanges and savings done in the past by many people, most unknown to him. Later, he will begin making deposits to this "social milieu" (or social bank) in the form of services he renders to others and savings of his own. In I. "Natural and Artificial Organisation." ("Let me assume that he is a simple student.")
  8. Story 8: A story about a "rough and hard-working artisan" who, after having satisfied one need, then moves on to satisfying the next need on his list of further needs, thus resulting in the steady improvement of mankind. In III. "On the Needs of Man" ("take this rough and hard-working artisan").
  9. Story 9: A brief reference to the economic problems faced by a "a man living in isolation" who needs to save some of the food he has hunted if he wishes to build and accumulate capital. Elsewhere he will use the story of Robinson Crusoe in quite elaborate "thought experiments" to explore this much further. In III. "On the Needs of Man" ("Let us go back and imagine a man living in isolation and reduced to living by hunting."
  10. Story 10: Bastiat introduces the reader to the story of Robinson Crusoe for the first time in EH (he will do so four times). He sets up the thought experiment by bringing him into the discussion in order to show a "man overcoming the difficulties of absolute solitude by his sheer energy, industriousness, and intelligence." In IV. Exchange: "In a novel with a matchless capacity for charming children from one generation to the next"
  11. Story 11: He quotes an amusing passage from Molière's play Le malade imaginaire (The Hypocondriac) (1673) on the narcotic properties of opium in order to argue that Condillac's argument that each party to an exchange profits is a tautology. In IV. Exchange. "This was how the "Imaginary Invalid" explained the narcotic property of opium"
  12. Story 12: A very brief story about ten families and how the division of labour and exchange enables them to share the use of one plough (or other capital goods) instead of each family having to own their own. In IV. Exchange. ("Let us imagine a small population made up of ten families")
  13. Story 13: A brief story of a doctor who provides services to his patients and instead of receiving other services in exchange through direct barter is paid in precious metals which is a more efficient form of "indirect barter." In IV. Exchange ("Let us take a doctor, for example")
  14. Story 14: As he likes to do, Bastiat uses common sayings to help his readers understand complex economic matters. Here he creates his own sayings which he believes "explain why society exists" in the first place: "In isolation, our needs are greater than our capacities" and "Through exchange, our capacities are greater than our needs"; and then two more which he says explain why progress is made possible by trade: "In a state of isolation, the prosperity of one man harms that of others" and "By exchanging with one another, the prosperity of one helps others to prosper."
  15. Story 15: A fictitious speech Bastiat would have given if he had been the head of the new Republican government which had come to power in February 1848. In it he outlines his vision of a government with very limited powers; which will respect all individuals' right to life, liberty, and property; and will not grant any favors to any vested interest groups. Bastiat's speech is followed soon afterwards by an anguished reply by "the people" who were afraid of being responsible for themselves.
  16. Story 16: The first story about Robinson Crusoe deals with his interest in overcoming obstacles to satisfying his needs, which is contrasted with the protectionists who demand more obstacles in the mistaken belief that more labor means more wealth. In IV. "Exchange". ("The relationship between these four elements, need, obstacle, effort, and satisfaction are perfectly visible and understandable in men living in isolation."
  17. Story 17: Bastiat quotes a poem by Florian about how cooperation between "The Blind Man and the Cripple" helps them solve their problems. In this case by means of the division of labour. In V. "On Value." ("It is rather strange that the true theory of value that one can look for in vain in many a heavy tome, is to be found in the delightful little fable by Florian entitled "The Blind Man and the Cripple")
  18. Story 18: A brief story about how something which in one context is a "gratuitous utility" (i.e. free of charge, like the air we breathe) can become an "onerous utility" (bears a cost) in another context. Here it is the costly, provision of air being pumped into a diving bell, and how the two parties come to agree on a price for this service. In V. "On Value." ("But if someone dives to the bottom of a river in a diving bell")
  19. Story 19: A story about how Bastiat and his neighbour reach a voluntary agreement about fetching water from a spring. In return for his neighbor fetching the water (and thus saving Bastiat the trouble of doin so), Bastiat offers in return the "equivalent" service of teaching his neighbor's child how to spell. In V. "On Value." ("However, since my neighbor also goes to the spring, I say to him: "Save me the trouble of making the journey.")
  20. Story 20: A story about Bastiat walking by the seaside where he discovers a diamond. He then enters a conversation with someone who wants to buy it and they discuss the "utility" of the diamond, its "value," the amount of labour it took to find it, and the service Bastiat provides in selling it. In V "On Value." ("I am walking by the seaside. By good fortune I come across a superb diamond.")
  21. Story 21: A story about two men who reach an agreement on supplying each other with ice in the summer and coal in the winter. The value of each good lies in the physical properties of the ice and the coal, but their value lies in the "equivalent" service each man provides to the other. In V. "On Value" ("Two men consider that ice is a good thing in the summer and coal better in winter.")
  22. Story 22: A story about a group of people on a beach who cooperate in providing each other with defence. By means of the division of labour those who are more skilled with weapons will specialise in providing the "productive" service of defence to the others. The price of this service will be freely negotiated by all the parties involved. In V. On Value ("A certain number of people land on an inhospitable beach")
  23. Story 23: A story about a wealthy banker in Paris who employs the outstanding opera singer Malibran and the actress Rachel to perform for his guests at his private soirée. Bastiat discusses how the parties negotiate terms for the performances, i.e. haggle over the price. The rarity of their talent is a key factor. In V. "On Value" ("We are in Paris. In this huge metropolis a great number of desires are bubbling to the surface")
  24. Story 24: A story of an old priest who enters a town in order to help a young inexperienced priest fulfill his duties. The question is, what services does he provide to the community (enlightenment and moral guidance) and how he is paid for those services (voluntary donations by some wealthy parishioners). In V. "On Value" ("Let us imagine an old priest who walks along pensively, his stick in his hand, and breviary under his arm.")
  25. Story 25: A story about Jean and Pierre and the manufacture of pottery mugs. Pierre uses foresight to anticipate Jean's need for a mug in the future and goes about manufacturing mugs. There is also a discussion of Bastiat's distinction between facio ut facias (I do (something) for you so that you may do (something) for me) but facio ut des (I do (something). In V. "On Value" ("Jean says to Pierre: "I would like a new mug.")
  26. Story 26: A speech by a landowner who understands that Ricardo's view of land rent is incorrect and that he and all his ancestors who have worked on and improved the land are not entitled to be reimbursed for those sunk costs ("past labour") but only for the current services he now provides. In V "Value" ("We have prepared services and ask to exchange these for equivalent services")
  27. Story 27: Here Bastiat cleverly reverses Montaigne's maxim that "one man's loss is another man's gain" to help make his point about the mutually beneficial gains to had from voluntary exchange: "one man's profit is another man's profit." In VI "Wealth" p. 303 "One man's profit is another man's profit"
  28. Story 28: The second story about Robinson Crusoe. Here we follow Crusoe's thinking about why he would want to make a tool, or a "capital good" (how much more productive it will make him in the future) and how he will go about doing so (the time it will take to make, the stock of food he will have to accumulate and put aside to consume while making the tool). In VII. "Capital" ("No man wants to waste his strength for the pleasure of wasting it. Our Robinson Crusoe will therefore not devote himself to manufacturing a tool unless he perceives in the end a clear saving of effort")
  29. Story 29: A story about "a modest labourer" who buys a pair of socks which cost half a day's pay. Bastiat points out that the labourer could never make a pair of socks himself from scratch but depends upon the productivity of previously accumulated capital, the use of which requires the payment of interest. Bastiat concludes that, to outlaw the payment of interest (as the socialists were demanding), would mean workers like the "modest labourer" would have do do without socks or make them himself. In VII "Capital" ("Take a modest laborer who earns four francs a day. With two francs, that is to say, half a day's work, he buys a pair of cotton socks.")
  30. Story 30: The third story about Robinson Crusoe. A brief reference to Robinson Crusoe in a discussion of how, once he has used a tool to better satisfy one need, he uses the time thus freed up to satisfy the next need in his hierarchy of needs. In VIII "Property and Community" ("Scarcely had Robinson Crusoe made nature take over part of his labor than he devoted this portion to new enterprises.")
  31. Story 31: The fourth and final story about Robinson Crusoe. Another brief reference to Robinson Crusoe. Here Bastiat discusses how the judgement made by consumers of their needs "governs the direction of production" even for a person living in isolation like Crusoe. He chooses whether to spend his time hunting for food or "arranging the feathers of his headdress." In VIII "Property and Community" ("This is true even of men (living) in isolation, and if stupid vanity spoke louder than hunger to Robinson Crusoe, instead of spending his time hunting he would have devoted it to arranging the feathers of his headdress.""
  32. Story 32: A conversation about the right to own land and charge rent for its use, between Bastiat and some other "Economists" (those of his colleagues who disagreed with him about seeing rent as another kind of "service" and not as payment for the "productive e power of the soil"), "Socialists" (who think workers are exploited by not having an equal right to the land unless paid compensation in the form of "a right to job"), and "Egalitarians" (who oppose the monopoly landowners have in being paid for what the "earth-tool" produces). In IX "Property in Land" ("Now I call on every attentive reader to say whether this complaint is well founded. … Economists, you say")
  33. Story 33: A long story about "Brother Jonathan" who moves from New York to go to the Far West to buy land in Arkansas. Jonathan has false ideas about "the natural and indestructible power of the soil" which he got from reading Adam Smith and David Ricardo and which he slowly comes to realize are incorrect as he goes about producing and selling food and buying and selling land. He eventually tries to organise the other landowners to seize control of the state legislature in order to grant themselves a monopoly in owning land in order to drive up their profits, and thus become plunderers. In IX "Property in Land" ("Brother Jonathan, a hard-working water-carrier")
  34. Story 34: A brief story which is literally about a "life-boat" situation in which a ship in the middle of the ocean only has enough food for two weeks and it four weeks away from land. It is a continuation of his discussion about food supply and the limits to population growth which he discusses in more detail in XIV "On Population." The relevance of this problem here is Bastiat's view that only private property in land, and the greater productivity this creates in food production, is the best solution to the "life-boat" problem. In IX "Property in Land" ("Supposing there is a ship in the middle of the ocean that is a month away from land, and in which there is food and drink for just two weeks, what should be done?")
  35. Story 35: A speech by an opponent of Bastiat's theory of property rights in land. The critic points out that land prices are different across France and often reflect the differing fertility and productiveness of the land, that the value of the land reflects its future earning capacity, and thus the land does have an "intrinsic value" which bastiat denies. In IX "Property in Land" ("Your theory is belied by the facts")
  36. Story 36: This is another story about a water carrier. Here Bastiat explores why "value" fluctuates, first by using the story of the water carrier and then applying the same principle to the fluctuating value of land. The value of the water carried yesterday will drop if it rains heavily today. On the other hand, if exceptional needs arise (not specified here by Bastiat) the value of the water will rise. The point Bastiat is making is the the value does not lie in the water itself but in the "service" it provides. In IX "Property in Land" ("Let us return once more to the particular industry, the simplest of all, and the most suited to showing us the delicate point that separates work that has to be paid for and the contribution made by nature free of charge. I refer to the humble job of water-carrier.")
  37. Story 37: A conversation between "someone in the tropics" (who is blessed with the sunshine necessary to produce sugar and cotton) and "someone in Europe" (who has iron and coal mines) on how the upper and lower bounds (price) of a potential transaction are established through negotiation (including the important right of not entering into any exchange if the terms are not favorable). The haggling which goes on before any deal is made will take into account the "trouble taken" and the "trouble saved" by the services offered by each party. In X "Competition" ("For example, someone in the tropics would say to someone in Europe"
  38. Story 38: An amusing story of a "bizarre transaction" in reverse. This is another example of Bastiat using the reductio ad absurdum approach to refute his opponents. He makes fun of the socialists' opposition to two parties to an exchange engaging in a voluntary negotiation. He creates a conversation between a buyer and a seller who do not pursue their own self-interest but the interest of the other party, thus reversing the situation with amusing effect. In XI. "Producer - Consumer" ("Will the negotiation take place in reverse, with the buyer taking the side of the seller wholeheartedly and vice versa? You have to admit that the transactions would be very amusing.")
  39. Story 39: A story about Jean, who represents all producers, and who invents a new industrial process which enables him to produce a good with half the labour it took before. So long as his industrial "secret" remains a secret he will make a lot of money. Bastiat uses this to show how Smith and the other supporters of the "labour theory of value" are wrong, as Jean gets more value by using less labor by using his new invention. Gradually knowledge of the new industrial process is learned by other producers and Jean's higher profits diminish as a result of competition, thus benefiting all consumers. This story is significant because Bastiat uses geometric lines to illustrate his story. In XI. "Producer - Consumer" ("Let us suppose that Jean, the producer of IB, discovers a process by which he accomplishes his work with half the labor that he needed before")
  40. Story 40: Bastiat returns to using a popular saying to make his economic arguments easier for the ordinary reader to understand. The entire chapter is devoted to debunking the economic ideas which lie behind two popular sayings: "one for all and all for one" (expressing socialist or fraternal sentiments) and "everyone for themselves and everyone looking after their own" (expressing selfish and egotistical sentiments). Bastiat defends his view that the pursuit of self-interest leads to satisfying the needs of others, and that people are naturally sociable and do come to each other's assistance according to his "law of human solidarity." In XII "Two Sayings" ("Modern moralists who contrast the saying: One for all and all for one with the ancient proverb: Everyone for themselves and everyone looking after their own, are insisting on a very inadequate idea of society")
  41. Story 41: Another story about a "squatter" going to the Far West of America in search of land to farm. He begins by being completely isolated but as more settlers come they demonstrate their natural sociability and need for community by clustering together to take advantage of the benefits of the division of labour, cooperation, and mutual defence and protection. In XII. "Two Sayings" ("And see how things happen. A squatter goes and clears some land in the Far West.")
  42. Story 42: A story about the famous vineyard "le Clos Vougeot" with a discussion between Bastiat and a buyer which involves the difference in value between "past labour" and "present value." Normally, "past labour" in the form of a piece of industrial machinery or a cleared and cultivated piece of land, drops in value as a result of deterioration and loss of fertility. In a few circumstances the reverse happens, as with the rare wines produced by the Clos Vougeot vineyard. The service provided by keeping good wine for a long time is very great and the person doing this is suitably rewarded, thus reversing the general principle about "past labour." In XIII. "On Rent" ("Twenty years ago, I made a thing that took me one hundred days of work. I propose an exchange and say to my buyer: "Give me something that costs you one hundred days as well."")
  43. Story 43: A story about a group of men each of whom own houses and agree to form an "association" to protect themselves from the risk of fire. They begin by agreeing to raise money to rebuild the house of one of the group if it burns done. The next step as the group grows in size is to contract with a third party (an entrepreneur or a company) which specializes in insuring risk for a set annual premium. This provides all the members with the certainly of a fixed price and limited responsibility. The third stage is for insurance companies all over the world to mutually reinsure each other to spread the risk even further. In XIV "On Wages" ("A group of men each has a house.")
  44. Story 44: A conversation between "Capital" and "Labour" and an "Entrepreneur" on spreading risk and creating some predicability in payment for services rendered over time. Wages arise because the worker prefers to get a guaranteed regular payment for work done (and the factory owner assumes the risk of making sales and covering costs), and interest arises because the entrepreneur prefers to pay a fixed annual amount to the capitalist (and again the factory owner assumes the risk of making greater profits in a good year). In XIV. "On Wages" ("Nothing is simpler than hearing capital say to labor: "Experience has shown us")
  45. Story 45: A story about the fears of a "young and sturdy worker" who worries about falling sick or looking after himself in his old age. Bastiat takes these fears of the working class very seriously and his solution is the creation of "self-help" or mutual aid societies modeled on those in England which can provide health and retirement savings services. In XIV "On Wages" ("But let us put ourselves in the shoes of a worker or an artisan who, on awakening each morning, is haunted by the following thought:"
  46. Story 46: A two-part story about two fishermen who reach an agreement on how to share the proceeds of their catch and the introduction of wages. The older fisherman who has the capital (nets, boats) negotiates with the young fisherman who only has his labour to offer. They begin with a "share-cropping" arrangement where the young fisherman gets a share of a sometimes uncertain catch, but later move to a fixed and more certain wage. If ever this arrangement becomes no longer is suitable, either party can withdraw from the agreement and be no worse off than when they started. In XIV. "On Wages" ("One day, the old fisherman said to his comrade:") Part 2 "Let us recall the example I gave a moment ago. Two men were reduced to fishing in order to live"
  47. Story 47: Some questions a worker should and should not ask himself when thinking about his relationship with a capitalist and how much he gets paid for his labour. He should not ask himself if he he gets paid as much as he would like, but whether or not he would be better off working by himself in a state of isolation where there was no capital or stay employed with the good chance that as more capital is accumulated his productivity will rise and thus his future wages as well. In XIV. "On Wages" ("The questions that the worker should ask himself are not the following")
  48. Story 48: Another story about the fall in value of "past labour" where there are two conversations between two individuals about the sale of a piece of old machinery and then the sale of a well-cultivated field. One of the parties wants to be paid for past labour (sunk costs) while the other only wants to pay the current value as determined by the productivity of current labour. In XIV "Wages" ("If you say to me: Here is a machine.")
  49. Story 49: A conversation between Bastiat, a socialist who follows the "new science" of Victor Considerant, and a worker in Paris chosen at random. Bastiat mocks the socialist by agreeing to destroy all the "damned capital" which has been accumulated over the centuries, then places the worker in this socialist "paradise" and listens to what he has to say. The worker realties that even if he has all 300 million hectares of land in France he canot create all the things he needs and decides he would be better off earning a wage under the old system. In XIV. On"Wages" ("Yes, take the first worker you come across in Paris")
  50. Story 50: A story about a "service provider" who is a "thrifty soul" and a "third party" (a bank). The service provider is willing to render his service immediately but is happy to receive a service in return (payment) in ten years time. The bank negotiates for the right to this and agrees to repay the "service provider" the full amount plus interest in ten years time. In XV "On Saving" ("Let us say a man provides a service now")
  51. Story 51: Some advice given by "an old priest" to a family with a daughter of child bearing age. He urges them to encourage her to delay marriage until at least 25 and to wait for a suitor who can support her financially since a "marriage in poverty brings a great deal of suffering." The father replies with a quote from the Bible about the commandment by God to "go forth and multiply." The economist Bastiat reminds us that both the priest and the girl's father ignore the fact that mankind is "perfectible" and able to increase production and general wealth to avoid these social and economic problems. In XVI "On Population" (""Hide your daughter," the old priest will say")
  52. Story 52: A story in which Bastiat uses the image of a basin or reservoir with moveable walls being filled by a river of water, to explain how the standard of living of ordinary people is influenced by increases in population. The river represents the ever increasing amount of wealth being produced in a free and prosperous society. The walls of the basin represent the size of the population at any give time and the depth of the reservoir represents the standard of living of the people. If the distance between the walls (the size of the population) increases faster than the amount of water flowing into the basin (wealth), the depth of the water in the basin will drop (lower standard of living). And vice versa. In XVI. "On Population" ("Let us imagine a basin in which a channel that is growing ever wider brings in water that is ever more abundant.")
  53. Story 53: A conversation between various groups who wish to use the power of the state to plunder others for their own benefit. Bastiat shows how deeply embedded the "sophism of the ricochet effect" was in both the wealthy privileged classes and the working class. The argument was that taxes and subsidies which benefitted the wealthy classes would gradually "trickle down" to the poor and benefit them as well. When the working class got access to the French state after the Revolution of February 1848 they tried to turn the table on the rich by arguing that subsidies and benefits to them in the form of free education and free credit would "trickle up" to the wealthy class when the poor bought more clothes made in the capitalist's factories or meat grown on the landowners farms. In XVII PSPS (""Let us hand over to the wealthy the taxes levied on the poor,"")
  54. Story 54: A conversation between "the reader" who objects again to the excessive optimism of the economists who do not see the poverty and suffering of the people and still want to adhere to a policy of laissez-faire, and Bastiat who rejects this criticism. He argues that harm exists in the world partly through human error and poor judgment (which is self-correctly through the "law of individual responsibility"), and partly through acts of violence which prevent the harmonious laws of society from operating as they should. He argues that war, slavery, plunder, and economic disruption occurs because liberty is prevented from functioning in large parts of society because of coercion (both individual and state supported). In XVIII "Disturbing Factors" ("I can hear the reader cry (out)")
  55. Story 55: A conversation between an "ignorant person" and an "anatomist" and an "astronomer" concerning Providential intent in the design of the universe and the nature of ultimate causes in explaining phenomena. Given his belief in "harmonious intent" Bastiat seems to be siding with the "ignorant person" and against the "incomplete science" of the anatomist and the astronomer. In XXV. "The Relationships of Political Economy with Morality, with Politics, with Legislation, and with Religion" ("How marvelous it is," says an ignorant person")

 


 

Functionaries: Rule by Functionaries

In Bastiat's history of plunder39 there are six historical stages: that of war, slavery, theocracy,40 monopoly, exploitation by the government (or "Functionaryism"),41 and socialism/communism (or what he called "false fraternity"). The first four stages are systems of organized plunder which benefit a small class of landowners, slave owners, religious leaders, and manufacturers at the expense of the majority. The kind of plunder which existed in these stages was called "la spoliation partielle" (partial plunder).42 Under democracy and socialism plunder became "universal" where "everybody attempted to live at the expence of everyone else."43

Unfortunately, Bastiat did not live long enough to write his planned book on the history of plunder, but he did sketch out in a little bit of detail his thoughts on two of the stages, that of "theocratic plunder" and "exploitation by government."

The fifth stage of "l'exploitation gouvernementale" (governmental exploitation, or exploitation by the government) was different from the others in that the government itself, and "les fonctionnaires" (functionaries, state bureaucrats) or the people who work for its bureaucracy, have become a special interest or "plunderer" in its own right. It is not just the tool of some other class or small group of plunderers (although it might be this as well). The state functionaries act to protect and expand the benefits they get from the access they have to the legislature, the legal system, and the tax system which provide them with "plunder" of various kinds: "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder),44 "la spoliation par abus et excès du gouvernement" (plunder by abusive and excessive government),45 and "la spoliation par l'impôt" (plunder by means of taxation).46

Bastiat called this political system a variety of terms such as "l'exploitation gouvernementale" (governmental exploitation, or exploitation by government),47 "le gouvernementalisme" (governmentalism, or systematic and excessive support for everything government does),48 "la bureaucratie" (bureaucracy), and "le fonctionnarisme" (rule by functionaries, or government bureaucrats).49 By June 1848 Bastiat had come to believe that "the state" itself was in essence nothing more than "la collection de tous les fonctionnaires publics" (the collection of all the public functionaries" who worked for it.50

Some of Bastiat's harshest language was used to attack the French government bureaucracy. In a satirical history of "notre bureaucratie" (our bureaucracy) in "The Mayor of Énios" (6 February 1848) he mocks the infighting between the different bureaucratic departments which used pens for guns and files for artillery in their turf wars;51 in an untitled article in one of his revolutionary street magazines from February 1848 he denounces "une armée de percepteurs" (an army of tax collectors) and "une bureaucratie innombrable" (an uncountable bureaucracy) which encroach upon the liberty of the citizens;52 in his "Statement of Electoral Principles" which he distributed in his electorate for the April 1848 election (which he won) he declared "Guerre à tous les abus: un peuple enlacé dans les liens du privilége, de la bureaucratie et de la fiscalité, est comme un arbre rongé de plantes parasites." (War against all abuses! A people bound by the ties of privilege, of bureaucracy, and by taxation is like a tree being eaten away by parasitic plants);53 in an article in JDE attacking the socialists just before the violence of the June Days of 1848 he calls for "Plus de cette fiscalité tenace, de cette bureaucratie dévorante, qui sont la mousse et la vermine du corps social" (no more of this never ending taxation, this devouring bureaucracy, which are the parasites and vermin on the body politic);54 that in France the government bureaucracy had become a new kind of aristocracy which was devouring the country, in which industry was dying and the people were suffering;55 and finally that plunder was evolving into new forms, where more and more private activity was being forced into "le domaine de l'activité publique" (the domain of public activity), and that "Tout se fait par des fonctionnaires; une bureaucratie inintelligente et tracassière couvre le pays." (all this is being done by state functionaries, (and) an unintelligent and interfering bureaucracy (now) covers the country.)56

The general term Bastiat used to describe those who benefited from plunder was "la classe spoliatrice" (the plundering class) and those who suffered from this "les classes spoliées" (the plundered classes).57 In this particular stage he had a more specific term for them, "la classe des fonctionnaires" (the class of functionaries, state bureaucrats)58 who, he said in very derogatory terms, made up "une bureaucratie inintelligente et tracassière (qui) couvre le pays" (an unintelligent and interfering bureaucracy (which) covers the country),59 "une tourbe de fonctionnaires" (a rabble or mob of functionaries),60 or "plusieurs armées de fonctionnaires" (several armies of functionaries)61 who fed off the taxpaying public like parasites. Bastiat's language could be quite sharp at times, for example when he criticizes "le parasitisme des fonctions publiques" (the parasitism, or parasitic nature of the public sector) or "ce parasitisme desséchant" (this parasitism which sucks them (the people) dry).62

The question of whether or not state functionaries engaged in productive work was an important one for the Economists. Jean-Baptiste Say and Molinari trended to think that all government functions were unproductive and parasitical ("gangrenous" or "ulcerous" in Molinari's view); while Bastiat was more moderate. To the extent that the state limited its activities to the very strict and limited number of duties of protecting the citizen's life, liberty, and property, then he thought the work of those functionaries involved was productive even if it was less efficient than work done in the private, market sector. To the extent that the state expanded its powers and functions beyond that, it and the functionaries who worked in its bureaucracies became exploiters, plunderers, and parasites of those who were productive. The functionaries then developed "une autre mission" (another goal) which was to make a career out of regulating (pondérer) the people's economic activity in all the myriad ways the modern centralized French state had invented.63 This, Bastiat argued, divided society into two groups, only one of which (the host) made it possible for the other (the parasite) to survive:64

"Là, soyons de bon compte, qu'est-ce que l'État? N'est-ce pas la collection de tous les fonctionnaires publics? Il y a donc dans le monde deux espèces d'hommes, savoir: les fonctionnaires de toute sorte qui forment l'État, et les travailleurs de tout genre qui composent la société. Cela posé, sont-ce les fonctionnaires qui font vivre les travailleurs, ou les travailleurs qui font vivre les fonctionnaires?" Let us get it right, what is the State? Is it not the collection of all state functionaries? Therefore, there are two species of men in the world: the state functionaries of all sorts who make up the State and the workers of all sorts who make up society. That said, is it the state functionaries who enable workers to live or the workers who enable state functionaries to live? In other words, does the State enable society to live, or does society enable the State to live?

His answer of course, was that the productive people made it possible for the state and its army of functionaries to survive, and not the other way around. He says something very similar in chap. XVII "Private and Public Services" with "Au fond, les citoyens travaillent pour les fonctionnaires, et les fonctionnaires pour les citoyens, de même que dans les services libres les citoyens travaillent les uns pour les autres." (In reality payment is in kind, with citizens working for the functionaries and the functionaries for the citizens, just as in private services citizens work for one another.)

Even when the state functionaries kept to their proper role of protecting the citizen's property and liberty they were hamstrung by the inherent sterility, rigidity, and unchanging practices of all government bureaucracies. Bastiat thought this was perhaps an inevitable cost of having the government undertake any duty, including those duties it was required to perform, but it was an unnecessary burden to have to bear in areas in which the government should have no role whatsoever, such as education. He bemoaned the fact that educational practices in France, for example, hadn't changed since the time of King François I (who had ruled between 1515–1547) because of the dead hand of the state. He concluded that "Tout ce qui est tombé dans le domaine du fonctionnarisme est à peu près stationnaire" (everything which has fallen into the domain of functionaryism (the bureaucratic state) is more or less stagnant).65

He thought the major difference between services provided by the private and public sectors was that in the former the price and terms of the service were freely negotiated between the two parties, while in the latter the price and terms were set by the state and imposed upon the consumer by its coercive legislative power. He made this point very clearly to M. de Larnac who was a Deputy representing his district of Les Landes in a piece on parliamentary reform in 1846:66

Or, monsieur, quoique les fonctions publiques et les industries privées aient ceci de commun, que les unes et les autres rendent à la société des services analogues, on ne peut nier qu'elles diffèrent par une circonstance qu'il est essentiel de remarquer. Chacun est libre d'accepter ou de refuser les services de l'industrie privée, de les recevoir dans la mesure qui lui convient et d'en débattre le prix. Tout ce qui concerne les services publics, au contraire, est réglé d'avance par la loi; elle soustrait à notre libre arbitre, elle nous prescrit la quantité et la qualité que nous en devrons consommer (passez-moi ce langage un peu trop technique), ainsi que la rémunération qui y sera attachée. However, sir, although public functions and private industry have in common that both render similar services to society, it cannot be denied that they differ in one circumstance which it is essential to note. Each person is free to accept or refuse the services of private industry and receive them insofar as they suit him and to negotiate their price. On the other hand, anything that concerns public services is regulated in advance by law and removed from our free will. It prescribes for us the quantity and quality we have to consume (pardon this rather too technical language) as well as the remuneration that will be attached.

He would continue this line of argument in an important speech he had prepared to give in the Chamber in March 1849 on reforming the electoral law, but couldn't because of his failing voice (he published it as a pamphlet instead). He argued that the sale of "les produits gouvernementaux" (government supplied products) were very different from other kinds of products in that there was a strong temptation to lower the quality and raise the price since their was no competition:67

Mais tout ce qui concerne les services publics est réglé d'avance par la loi. Ce n'est pas moi qui juge ce que j'achèterai de sécurité et combien je la paierai. Le fonctionnaire m'en donne tout autant que la loi lui prescrit de m'en donner, et je le paie pour cela tout autant que la loi me prescrit de le payer. Mon libre arbitre n'y est pour rien. But everything that concerns public services is regulated in advance by law. It is not I who judge how much security I will buy and how much I will pay for it. The state functionaries give me as much as the law prescribes that they should and I pay for it as much as the law ordains that I should. My free will counts for nothing.
Il est donc bien essentiel de savoir qui fera cette loi. It is therefore essential to know who will be making these laws.
Comme il est dans la nature de l'homme de vendre le plus possible, la plus mauvaise marchandise possible, au plus haut prix possible, il est à croire que nous serions horriblement et chèrement administrés, si ceux qui ont le privilége de vendre les produits gouvernementaux avaient aussi celui d'en déterminer la quantité, la qualité et le prix. Since it is in the nature of man to sell for as high a price as possible as many goods as possible, and those of the poorest-possible quality, it might be thought that we would be governed horribly and expensively if those who had the privilege of selling government products also had the privilege of determining their quantity, quality, and price.
C'est pourquoi, en présence de cette vaste organisation qu'on appelle le gouvernement, et qui, comme tous les corps organisés, aspire incessamment à s'accroître, la nation, représentée par ses députés, décide elle-même sur quels points, dans quelle mesure, à quel prix elle entend être gouvernée et administrée. For this reason, faced with that vast organization that we call the government and that, like all organized bodies, is constantly seeking to grow, the nation, as represented by its deputies, decides for itself on which matters, to what extent, and at what price it wants to be governed and administered.

He would say something similar again in the Conclusion to EH1, almost despairingly, that state functionaries increasingly create the conditions whereby individual liberties are gradually destroyed and bureaucratic plunder becomes the norm:68

Elle (la spoliation) ne se rend pas pour cela: elle se fait seulement plus rusée, et, s'enveloppant dans des formes de gouvernement, des pondérations, des équilibres, elle enfante la Politique, mine longtemps féconde. On la voit alors usurper la liberté des citoyens pour mieux exploiter leurs richesses, et tarir leurs richesses pour mieux venir à bout de leur liberté. L'activité privée passe dans le domaine de l'activité publique. Tout se fait par des fonctionnaires; une bureaucratie inintelligente et tracassière couvre le pays. Le trésor public devient un vaste réservoir où les travailleurs versent leurs économies, qui, de là, vont se distribuer entre les hommes à places. Le libre débat n'est plus la règle des transactions, et rien ne peut réaliser ni constater la mutualité des services. It (plunder) does not give up for all that; it merely becomes more cunning. By wrapping itself in different forms of government, of checking and balancing (one group against another), it gives birth to politics, a (productive) mine (which it has exploited) for a long time. It is then seen to usurp the freedom of citizens in order to better exploit and exhaust their wealth, and to better bring an end to their freedom. Private activity moves into the domain of public activity. Everything is done by state functionaries; an unintelligent and interfering bureaucracy covers the country. The public treasury becomes a huge reservoir into which workers pour their savings, which are then shared out among those with government positions. Free negotiation is no longer the rule for (economic) transactions and, (without this) nothing can be done to undertake or confirm the mutual exchange of services.

He was probably writing these pessimistic lines in late 1849 when he was also getting ready to give one of his most important speeches in the Chamber opposing the taxes on alcohol (December 1849). There he concluded that in France the government bureaucracy had become a new kind of aristocracy which was devouring the country, in which industry was dying and the people were suffering.69 The implication of course was, just as the old aristocracy had been overthrow, in a revolution in 1789, the "new aristocracy of bureaucrats" would also one day have its come-uppance.

Bastiat's interest in functionaries and the bureaucratic state they ran led him to many "public choice" insights into how politicians and bureaucrats behaved.70 He thought that many people were attracted to government jobs because of job security, its relatively decent pay and pensions, the unchanging nature of their work, and their contempt for working in commerce or industry (due Bastiat thought to the influence of their classical education). They thus had a selfish, vested interest in defending their jobs from tax cuts or attempts to abolish unnecessary government departments as Bastiat had been advocating in the Chamber and in the Chamber's Finance Committee since his election in April 1848. There is an interesting passage in chap. XIV "On Wages" where Bastiat quotes the advice a concerned father might give to a son who wants a secure job in a government bureau. It is also interesting because of the figures he gives for salaries:

Qui n'a entendu le père de famille dire de son fils: « Je sollicite pour lui une aspirance au surnumérariat de telle administration. Sans doute il est fâcheux qu'on exige de lui une éducation qui m'a coûté fort cher. Sans doute encore, avec cette éducation, il eût pu embrasser une carrière plus brillante. Fonctionnaire, il ne s'enrichira pas, mais il est certain de vivre. Il aura toujours du pain. Dans quatre ou cinq ans, il commencera à toucher 800 fr. de traitement ; puis il s'élèvera par degrés jusqu'à 3 ou 4,000 fr. Après trente années de service, il aura droit à sa retraite. Son existence est donc assurée : c'est à lui de savoir la tenir dans une obscure modération, etc. » Who has not heard the father of a family say about his son: "I am asking for an opening for a temporary appointment in such and such a department on his behalf. It is undoubtedly regrettable that they require an education that has cost me a great deal of money. It is even more certain that with this education he might have pursued a more brilliant career. He will never become wealthy as a government functionary but he is certain to earn a living. He will always have something to eat. In four or five years' time he will begin to earn 800 francs and will rise by degrees to 3 or 4,000 francs. After thirty years' service, he will have the right to a pension. His existence is thus assured: it is up to him to be able to lead it in a modest obscurity, etc."

Bastiat called these interests "les droits acquis des fonctionnaires" (the acquired rights or vested interests of state functionaries)71 and thought of functionaries, not as a disinterested third party above the fray, but "d'hommes enfin, qui, comme tous les hommes, portent au cœur le désir et saisissent toujours avec empressement l'occasion de voir grandir leurs richesses et leur influence" (men, who in the end like all men carry in their heart the desire (to better themselves) and are always quick to seize the opportunity to see their wealth and influence grow).72

State functionaries also had an interest in expanding the number of functions the government undertook in order to expand the number of jobs and to advance their careers. This was particularly noticeable when there was a change in régime as happened in February and March 1848 after the July Monarchy was overthrown and the Second Republic founded. This sparked "la curée des places" (the scramble for government positions),73 and "la convoitise des fonctions publiques" (the desire/lust for public functions)74 which he observed first hand.

As he himself noted, when it came to population growth he was no "Malthusian,"75 but he was when it came to the growth in the size and power of the state and the number of its functionaries. In a major speech in the Chamber on the tax on alcohol (15 December, 1849) he wittily compared the level of taxation to the "means of subsistance" which placed an upper limit on uncontrolled population growth (say of rabbits). When the rabbits had eaten all the food they would begin to die off until a new equilibrium was reached between the food supply and the growth in the number of rabbits. Similarly with state functionaries and taxes. If the legislature increased the amount of "food" available for functionaries to eat, they would inevitably expand in number. If the legislature starved them by cutting the budget, they would "die off." In his speech to the Chamber he confessed that:76

(J)e suis malthusien en ce qui concerne les fonctionnaires publics. Je sais bien qu'ils ont suivi parfaitement cette grande loi, que les populations se mettent au niveau des moyens de subsistance. Vous avez donné 800 millions, les fonctionnaires publics ont dévoré 800 millions; vous leur donneriez 2 milliards, il y aurait des fonctionnaires pour dévorer ces deux milliards" (Y)es, I am a Malthusian with regard to civil servants. I am fully aware that they have followed perfectly the great law that populations reach the level of the means of subsistence. You have contributed eight hundred million; public civil servants have devoured eight hundred million. If you gave them two billion, there would be enough civil servants to devour this two billion).

In some interesting articles and speeches he gave in the Chamber Bastiat also expressed interest in how political parties or "factions" developed in the Chamber, and how various groups jostled to form a new government, get plum ministerial positions, and provide special privileges to the different interest groups they represented.77 He was especially interested in reforming the electoral law which allowed state functionaries to be elected to the Chamber while continuing to keep their state funded job. He regarded this as a serious conflict of interest since, as deputies, they would be voting on bills which would directly influence the size and funding of the government departments they worked in. He thought they should at least be forced to resign their state jobs while they sat in the Chamber. He also thought that elected Deputies should not be allowed to become Ministers in the government. He thought that if they were allowed, the people's representatives lost their interest in those they were supposed to represent and instead began to focus on their own personal interests and ambitions as they began "climbing the greasy pole to power."78 Deputies, he thought, should not be allowed to "use the job of deputy as a stepping-stone to lucrative office." Hence, there should be "total exclusion" of all elected Deputies from higher paid positions within the government.79

In addition to thinking that functionaries were not immune from the self-interest which drives all human beings, Bastiat also thought that their actions were not "neutral" because they tended to favour one party or group over another, or actually caused more harm than good. The former was the result of "plunder" in its various forms; the latter was because most government regulations were inefficient and destroyed wealth by causing "dislocations" in the placement of capital and labour,80 by preventing mutually beneficial exchanges from taking place, by causing "dead weight loss" in the economy,81 or just by infringing upon individuals' liberty. In an angry and frustrated article he wrote soon after the February Revolution he stated that:82

Remarquons, en effet, que la fonction publique n'agit pas sur les choses, mais sur les hommes ; et elle agit sur eux avec autorité. Or l'action que certains hommes exercent sur d'autres hommes, avec l'appui de la loi et de la force publique, ne saurait jamais être neutre. Elle est essentiellement nuisible, si elle n'est pas essentiellement utile. Let us note that in reality the civil service does not act on things, but on people, and it acts on them with authority. Well, the action that certain men exercise on other men with the support of the law and public coercion can never be neutral. It is essentially harmful if it is not essentially useful.
Le service de fonctionnaire public n'est pas de ceux dont on débat le prix, qu'on est maître d'accepter ou de refuser. Par sa nature, il est imposé. Quand un peuple ne peut faire mieux que de confier un service à la force publique, comme lorsqu'il s'agit de sécurité, d'indépendance nationale, de répression des délits et des crimes, il faut bien qu'il crée cette autorité et s'y soumette. The service of a public functionary is not one whose price is negotiated or one that people are in a position to accept or refuse. By its very nature, it is imposed. When a nation can do no better than to entrust a service to public coercion, as in the instance of security, national independence, or the repression of misdemeanors and crimes, it has to create this authority and be subject to it.
Mais s'il fait passer dans le service public ce qui aurait fort bien pu rester dans le domaine des services privés, il s'ôte la faculté de débattre le sacrifice qu'il veut faire en échange de ces services, il se prive du droit de les refuser ; il diminue la sphère de sa liberté. But if a nation puts into the domain of public service what absolutely ought to have remained in that of private services, it denies itself the ability to negotiate the sacrifice it wishes to make in exchange for these services and deprives itself of the right to refuse them; it reduces the sphere of its freedom.
On ne peut multiplier les fonctionnaires sans multiplier les fonctions. Ce serait trop criant. Or, multiplier les fonctions, c'est multiplier les atteintes à la liberté. The number of state functionaries cannot be increased without increasing the number of functions they occupy. That would be too flagrant. The point is that increasing the number of functions increases the number of infringements on freedom.

In his last and perhaps best known written piece, What is Seen and What is Not Seen (July 1850) which contains the story about "The Broken Window," he provides a dozen examples of how people do not understand the idea of "opportunity cost" when assessing government intervention in the economy. One of these examples involves the expenditure of tax money on the salaries of state functionaries.83 Defenders of the public sector argue that, among other things, taxpayer's money spent on functionaries salaries "eventually" finds its way back into the taxpayers' pocket by means of the "ricochet" or flow on effect (also known as the "trickle down effect").

Les avantages que les fonctionnaires trouvent à émarger, c'est ce qu'on voit. Le bien qui en résulte pour leurs fournisseurs, c'est ce qu'on voit encore. Cela crève les yeux du corps. The advantages that civil servants find in drawing their salaries are what is seen. The benefit that results for their suppliers is again what is seen. It is blindingly obvious to the eyes.
Mais le désavantage que les contribuables éprouvent à se libérer, c'est ce qu'on ne voit pas, et le dommage qui en résulte pour leurs fournisseurs, c'est ce qu'on ne voit pas davantage, bien que cela dût sauter aux yeux de l'esprit. However, the disadvantage felt by taxpayers in trying to free themselves is what is not seen and the damage that results for their suppliers is what is not seen either, although it is blindingly obvious to the mind.
Quand un fonctionnaire dépense à son profit cent sous de plus, cela implique qu'un contribuable dépense à son profit cent sous de moins. Mais la dépense du fonctionnaire se voit, parce qu'elle se fait; tandis que celle du contribuable ne se voit pas, parce que, hélas! on l'empêche de se faire. When a civil servant spends one hundred sous too much for his own benefit, this implies that a taxpayer spends one hundred sous too little for his own benefit. However, the expenditure of the civil servant is seen because it is carried out whereas that of the taxpayer is not seen as, alas! he is prevented from carrying it out.

He uses the same argument in chap. XVII "Public and Private Services" where he uses the image of health-giving rain falling on the heads of the masses:

Nous plaçons ici cette observation pour prévenir un sophisme très-répandu, né de l'illusion monétaire. On entend souvent dire : L'argent reçu par les fonctionnaires retombe en pluie sur les citoyens. Et l'on infère de là que cette prétendue pluie est un second bien ajouté à celui qui résulte du service. En raisonnant ainsi, on est arrivé à justifier les fonctions les plus parasites. On ne prend pas garde que, si le service fut resté dans le domaine de l'activité privée, l'argent qui, au lieu d'aller au trésor et de là aux fonctionnaires, aurait été directement aux hommes qui se seraient chargés de rendre librement le service, cet argent, dis-je, serait aussi retombé en pluie dans la masse. Ce sophisme ne résiste pas quand on porte la vue au-delà de la circulation des espèces, quand on voit qu'au fond il y a du travail échangé contre du travail, des services contre des services. Dans l'ordre public, il peut arriver que des fonctionnaires reçoivent des services sans en rendre ; alors il y a perte pour le contribuable, quelque illusion que puisse nous faire à cet égard le mouvement des écus. We have made this observation here to ward off a widespread sophism born of the money illusion. You often hear it said that the money received by functionaries falls again like rain on the citizens, with the inference that this alleged rain is a second benefit added to the one resulting from the service. Such reasoning serves to justify the most parasitical functions. No notice is taken of the fact that if the service had been left in the domain of private activity, the money, instead of going to the treasury and thence to functionaries, would have gone directly to people who would have been responsible for freely providing the service, and would also have fallen like rain on the population. This sophism does not stand up if we look beyond the circulation of money and see that this is basically work being exchanged for work and services for services. In the public realm, it may happen that functionaries receive services without rendering any in return. In this case taxpayers are the losers, whatever the illusion the movement of écus may have on us.

However, one should not get the idea that Bastiat was hostile to all state functionaries. As he wittily says, he himself had been and still was a "state functionary" (he had been a Justice of the Peace for many years in the town of Mugron (1831–1846),84 had been a member of the local advisory General Council of Les Landes (1833-?), was an elected member of the National Assembly (1848–1850), and besides, most of his best friends were state functionaries too. He jokingly reflected on this sad fact in a speech he gave on the tax on alcohol (which he opposed) in the Chamber in December 1849, where he reminisced that of his old school and college friends three quarters had become state functionaries who did not provide adequate services to the taxpayers who paid their salaries.85 This remark prompted some lively comments from the back benches.

Bastiat's ideas about "functionaryism" and the "functionary class" were taken up by only a small handful of economists or classical liberal theorists after his death. These included Ambroise Clément and Gustave de Molinari. Clément who wrote an important article on "Legal Plunder" (JDE, July 1848)86 and the entry on "Functionaries" in the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852).87 In "Legal Plunder" he discusses a number of institutional forms of "les vols" (theft) rather than "la spoliation" (plunder) which was Bastiat's preferred term. The two which are most relevant here are "les vols réglementaires" (regulatory theft) which existed under the Old Regime and "les vols administratifs" (administrative theft) which existed in the present. In the DEP entry on "Functionaries" he makes the interesting claim (though he cited no government documents in support) that he estimated that there were 500–600,000 functionaries in France and another 400,000 men in the armed forces, making a total of over a million men employed by the state at taxpayer expense.

The other economist who developed Bastiat's insights on plunder and functionaryism at some length was his younger colleague Gustave de Molinari. Two years after Bastiat's death Molinari wrote a very interesting analysis of the class structure of France under the Second Republic and the part played by state functionaries and the military in a lecture he gave in Brussels in October 1852, Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériel. In this lecture Molinari argued that the administrators and senior bureaucrats in any government are what he colorfully calls "des mangeurs de taxes" (tax eaters) who push for ever more government expenditure because it is in their professional interests to do so.88 He was still arguing this some 50 years later but had changed his terminology to describe the class of people who lived off the taxpayers, "la classe budgétivore" (the budget eating class).89 His most detailed treatment of the bureaucratic class which controlled the modern regulatory state came in the second part of his lengthy sociological analysis of revolution and the state, L'évolution politique et la révolution (1884) in a chapter on "The Internal Politics of the Modern State."90

 


The Great Laws of Economics

Like all the economists writing in the mid-nineteenth century, Bastiat believed that the economic world was governed by economic laws which were just as obligatory to follow as Newton's famous "law of gravitation." The most explicit advocate of this point of view was Bastiat's friend and colleague Gustave de Molinari who wrote a book in mid-1849 (while Bastiat was writing the first volume of EH) called Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare: Entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété, the sub-title of which reads "discussions about the laws of economics and the defense of property rights."91 Forty years later Molinari would return to this topic and published two more books: Les Lois naturelles de l'économie politique (The Natural Laws of Political Economy) (1887) and La Morale économique (Economic Moral Philosophy) (1888).92

Molinari thought the world was governed by three sets of interlocking natural laws, the natural laws of the physical world, such as "la loi de la gravitation" (the law of gravitation), "les lois naturelles" (the natural laws) of the moral and social world, such as justice, property, and utility, and a six "lois économiques" (economic laws) such as "la loi naturelle de l'économie des forces ou du moindre effort" (the natural law of the economising of forces, or the law of the least effort), "la loi naturelle de la concurrence" (the natural law of competition), "la loi de l'offre et de la demande" (the law of supply and demand), and "la loi de l'équilibre" (the law of economic equilibrium) which is Molinari's version of Bastiat's theory of Harmony.93

Bastiat shared Molinari's view about the existence and importance of these economic laws, especially the idea that one of the great injustices the economists had to face was the blame socialists and others placed on the free market for causing problems which were in fact the result of people not heeding these economic laws94 or ignoring the fact that various "des causes perturbatrices" (disturbing factors) prevented the laws of economics from functioning as they should.95 As he told "The Youth of France" in his Introduction to EH:

Il ne suffisait donc pas d'exposer, dans leur majestueuse harmonie, les lois naturelles de l'ordre social, il fallait encore montrer les causes perturbatrices qui en paralysent l'action. C'est ce que j'ai essayé de faire dans la seconde partie de ce livre. It was thus not enough to set out in their majestic harmony the natural laws of the social order; it was also necessary to point out the disturbing factors that paralyze their action. This is what I have endeavored to do in the second part of this book.

Unfortunately he was not able to live long enough to finish the second part of EH so all we have is a few fragments which make up chapter XVIII.

Molinari began his book on economic laws with a quote from the Physiocrat economist François Quesnay's essay "Le droit naturel" (Natural Law) (1765):96

Il faut bien se garder d'attribuer aux lois physiques les maux qui sont la juste et inévitable punition de la violation de l'order même de ces lois, instituées pour opérer le bien. It is necessary to refrain from attributing to the physical laws which have been instituted in order to produce good, the evils which are the just and inevitable punishment for the violation of this very order of laws.

This was a frustration which Bastiat himself also expressed several times in his writings. In chap. IV "Exchange" he notes that:

On peut appeler lois sociales naturelles l'ensemble des phénomènes, considérés tant dans leurs mobiles que dans leurs résultats, qui gouvernent les libres transactions des hommes. What may be called natural social laws is the group of phenomena, considered both from their driving force and their results, that govern free transactions between men.
Cela posé, la question est celle-ci : This having been said, the question is this:
Faut-il laisser agir ces lois, — ou faut-il les empêcher d'agir ?… Should we let these laws act freely or should we prevent them from acting?…
Il est bien évident que la solution de ces questions est subordonnée à l'étude et à la connaissance des lois sociales naturelles. On ne peut se prononcer raisonnablement avant de savoir si la propriété, la liberté, les combinaisons des services volontairement échangés poussent les hommes vers leur amélioration, comme le croient les économistes, ou vers leur dégradation, comme l'affirment les socialistes. — Dans le premier cas, le mal social doit être attribué aux perturbations des lois naturelles, aux violations légales de la propriété et de la liberté. Ce sont ces perturbations et ces violations qu'il faut faire cesser, et l'Économie politique a raison. It is very clear that the solution to these questions is subject to the study and knowledge of natural social laws. We cannot utter a reasonable opinion without knowing whether property, freedom, or the groups of services that are voluntarily exchanged between men, encourage them to advance, as economists believe, or to regress, as socialists claim. In the first case, social harm has to be attributed to the disruption of natural laws and the violation of property and freedom by the state. It is these disruptions and violations that have to be stopped, and political economy is right.

And in the Conclusion to EH1, he answers the accusation of the socialists that freedom is the cause of the workers' suffering and that government intervention is the solution:

Nous aurons donc à examiner l'abus qui a été fait dans ces derniers temps des mots association, organisation du travail, gratuité du crédit, etc. Nous aurons à les soumettre à cette épreuve : Renferment-ils la Liberté ou l'Oppression ? En d'autres termes : Sont-ils conformes aux grandes lois économiques, ou sont-ils la perturbation de ces lois ? We will therefore have to examine the abuse of the words "association," "organization of work," "free credit," etc. that has been carried out lately. We will have to subject them to the following test: do they contain (the idea) of freedom or of oppression? In other words, do they conform to the great economic laws or are they a disturbance of these laws?

Bastiat had his own slightly different way than Molinari of describing the natural laws of economics. At times, he simply called them "les lois naturelles" (natural laws), "les lois providentielles" (providential laws), or "les grandes lois de la nature" (the great laws of nature). In reference to society he referred generally to "les grandes lois sociales" (the great laws of society), with specific reference to three great laws, that of "les grandes lois de la mécanique sociale" (the great laws of the social mechanism), "la grande loi de la responsabilité" (the great law of individual responsibility), and "la grande loi de la solidarité humaine" (the great law of human solidarity).97 In reference to the economy he referred in general to "les grandes lois économiques" (the great economic laws, or laws of economics), with specific reference to the following five laws:98

1. la grande loi de la concurrence (the great law of competition) - discussed in chap. X "Competition."

2. la grande loi économique est celle-ci: Les services s'échangent contre des services (the great economic law that services are exchanged for other services) - discussed in chap. IV "Exchange."

3. la grande loi du Capital et du Travail, en ce qui concerne le partage du produit de la collaboration, est déterminée. Chacun d'eux a une part absolue de plus en plus grande, mais la part proportionnelle du Capital diminue sans cesse comparativement à celle du Travail. (the great law of capital and labour, that each party receives a greater and greater absolute share (of wealth), but the proportional share of capital steadily decreases compared to that of labour's) - discussed in chap. VII "Capital."

4. la grande loi : le bien glisse sur le producteur pour aller s'attacher au consommateur. (the great law that benefits "slip through the hands" of producers (or flow on to) and attach themselves (or end up in the hands of) the consumer99

5. cette grande loi que je prétends être celle des sociétés humaines : l'égalisation graduelle des individus et des classes combinée avec le progrès général. (this great law of human society that there is a gradual equalization (of the standard of living) of both individuals and classes, which is combined with the general progress (of society))100

Whereas Bastiat believed that, if left free of government intervention and the "disturbing factors," these great laws would result in social and economic harmony, he realized that he had colleagues among the economists (the Malthusians), as well as adversaries who were socialists and Catholic social theorists who believed the opposite, that "les grandes lois providentielles précipitent la société vers le mal" (the great laws of Providence are hurling society toward disaster). In some impassioned passages in his Preface "To the Youth of France" he appealed to them to listen carefully to what he had to say, that these laws had exactly the opposite effect:

Il ne faut pas croire, jeunes gens, que les socialistes aient réfuté et rejeté ce que j'appellerai, pour ne blesser personne, la théorie des dissonances. Non, quoi qu'ils en disent, ils l'ont tenue pour vraie ; et c'est justement parce qu'ils la tiennent pour vraie qu'ils proposent de substituer la Contrainte à la Liberté, l'organisation artificielle à l'organisation naturelle, l'œuvre de leur invention à l'œuvre de Dieu.... (They say) nous réagissons contre votre théorie précisément parce qu'elle est vraie ; nous voulons briser la société actuelle précisément parce qu'elle obéit aux lois fatales que vous avez décrites ; nous voulons essayer de notre puissance, puisque la puissance de Dieu a échoué. Young people, you should not think that the socialists have refuted and rejected what I will call, so as not to offend anyone, the theory of disharmony (that evil exists, that injustice is inevitable, and inequality will get worse as a result of economic laws). No, whatever they say, they have held it to be true and it is precisely because they hold it to be true that they propose coercion as a substitute for freedom, an artificial form of organization for a natural form, and work of their own invention for the work of God. … (They say) we react against your theory precisely because it is true. We want to destroy society as it is today precisely because it obeys the fatal laws you have described. We want to try out our power since the power of God has failed.
Ainsi, on s'accorde sur le point de départ, on ne se sépare que sur la conclusion. Thus, we agree on the starting point and only the conclusion separates us.
Les Économistes auxquels j'ai fait allusion disent : Les grandes lois providentielles précipitent la société vers le mal; mais il faut se garder de troubler leur action, parce qu'elle est heureusement contrariée par d'autres lois secondaires qui retardent la catastrophe finale, et toute intervention arbitraire ne ferait qu'affaiblir la digue sans arrêter l'élévation fatale du flot. The Economists to whom I refer say: The great laws of Providence are hurling society toward disaster; but you have to be careful not to disturb their action because this action is fortunately counteracted by other secondary laws, which delay the final catastrophe, and any arbitrary intervention would only weaken the dam without stopping the fatal rising of the waters.
Les Socialistes disent : Les grandes lois providentielles précipitent la société vers le mal; il faut les abolir et en choisir d'autres dans notre inépuisable arsenal. The Socialists say: The great laws of Providence are hurling society toward disaster; they have to be abolished and others chosen from our inexhaustible arsenal.
Les catholiques disent : Les grandes lois providentielles précipitent la société vers le mal; il faut leur échapper en renonçant aux intérêts humains, en se réfugiant dans l'abnégation, le sacrifice, l'ascétisme et la résignation The Catholics say: The great laws of Providence are hurling society toward disaster; we have to escape from them by renouncing human self-interest and taking refuge in self-denial, sacrifice, asceticism, and resignation.
Et, au milieu de ce tumulte, de ces cris d'angoisse et de détresse, de ces appels à la subversion ou au désespoir résigné, j'essaye de faire entendre cette parole devant laquelle, si elle est justifiée, toute dissidence doit s'effacer : Il n'est pas vrai que les grandes lois providentielles précipitent la société vers le mal. And, in the midst of this tumult, the cries of anguish and distress and the calls for subversion or for resigned despair, I am attempting to make the following statement heard, in the face of which, if it is justified, all disagreement ought to fade away: It is not true that the great laws of Providence are hurling society toward disaster.
Ainsi toutes les écoles se divisent et combattent à propos des conclusions qu'il faut tirer de leur commune prémisse. Je nie la prémisse. Thus, all the schools of thought are divided and oppose one another with regard to the conclusions that have to be drawn from their common premise. I deny this premise.

As he stated elsewhere, "the great law that I maintain is the one that governs human society is, that there is a steady approach by all men and women towards a standard of living which is always increasing, in other words, improvement and equalization, or in a single word, HARMONY."101

 


 

The History of Plunder

Bastiat's Plans to write a History of Plunder

On several occasions Bastiat stated that he planned to write a book on the history of plunder after he had finished the Economic Harmonies. What he really had in mind was to apply the ideas of J.B. Say, Charles Comte, and Charles Dunoyer (who had had the most profound impact on his thinking),102 to a study of "all forms of freedom" in a very ambitious research project in liberal social theory which might take at least three large volumes to complete. He says as much in the "Draft Preface" he wrote for the book he planned for the lectures he was giving to some law students in the fall of 1847 (which would eventually become EH), in which he expressed frustration at being intellectually "imprisoned" by the free trade movement in which he had been active for the past three years, which left him little time to think about the broader dimension of freedom and harmony. In an ironic letter written to himself he asks:103

Et puis, pourquoi te limiter? pourquoi emprisonner ta pensée? Il me semble que tu l'as mise au régime cellulaire avec l'uniforme croûte de pain sec pour tout aliment, car te voilà rongeant soir et matin une question d'argent. J'aime autant que toi la liberté commerciale. Mais tous les progrès humains sont-ils renfermés dans cette liberté? Autrefois, ton cœur battait pour l'affranchissement de la pensée et de la parole, encore enchaînées par les entraves universitaires et les lois contre l'association. Tu t'enflammais pour la réforme parlementaire et la séparation radicale de la souveraineté qui délègue et contrôle, de la puissance exécutive dans toutes ces branches. Toutes les libertés se tiennent. Toutes les idées forment un tout systématique et harmonieux; il n'en est pas une dont la démonstration n'eût servi à démontrer les autres. Mais tu fais comme un mécanicien qui s'évertue à expliquer, sans en rien omettre, tout ce qu'il y a de minutieux détails dans une pièce isolée de la machine. On est tenté de lui crier: Montrez-moi les autres pièces; faites-les mouvoir ensemble; elles s'expliquent les unes par les autres… In any case, why limit yourself? Why imprison your thoughts? It seems to me that you have subjected them to a prison diet of a single crust of dry bread as food, since there you are, chewing night and day on a question of money. I love commercial liberty as much as you do. But is all human progress encapsulated in that (one kind of ) freedom? In the past, your heart beat (faster) for the freeing of thought and speech which were still chained by the shackles imposed by the university system and the laws against free association. You enthusiastically supported parliamentary reform and the radical division of that sovereignty, which delegates and controls, from the executive power in all its branches. All forms of freedom go together. All ideas (about liberty) form a systematic and harmonious whole, and there is not a single one whose proof does not serve to demonstrate the truth of the others. But you act like a mechanic who makes a virtue of explaining an isolated part of a machine in the smallest detail, not forgetting anything. The temptation is strong to cry out to him, "Show me the other parts; make them work together; each of them explains the others. …"

In several letters he refers to his project as a multi-volume study of "social harmonies" which would include a social, legal, and historical aspect, in addition to the economic. In a letter to Richard Cobden (Aug. 1848) he explained that his aim was "to set out the true principles of political economy as I see them, and then to show their links with all the other moral sciences,"104 and in a letter to Casimir Cheuvreux (July 1850) he stated that "When I said that the laws of political economy are harmonious, I did not mean only that they harmonize with each other, but also with the laws of politics, the moral laws, and even those of religion."105

The plan was to devote one volume to economic theory (the "economic harmonies") before devoting another volume to broader social matters ("the social harmonies"), and then at least one volume to the "disturbing factors" which disrupted these economic and social harmonies. The latter volume would be a study of the "disharmonies" which resulted from the upsetting of the natural harmony of voluntary and non-violent human interaction by "disturbing factors" (causes perturbatrices) such as war, slavery, and legal plunder. In a note Paillottet found among Bastiat's papers after his death, Bastiat reveals that he thought he had got the order wrong and would have done it differently:106

J'avais d'abord pensé à commencer par l'exposition des Harmonies économiques, et par conséquent à ne traiter que des sujets purement économiques : valeur, propriété, richesse, concurrence, salaires, population monnaie, crédit, etc. - Plus tard, si j'en avais eu le temps et la force, j'aura appelé l'attention du lecteur sur un sujet plus vaste : les Harmonies sociales.C'est là que j'aurais parlé de la constitution humaine, du moteur social, de la responsabilité, de la solidarité, etc. L'œuvre ainsi conçue était commencée quand je me suis aperçu qu'il était mieux de fondre ensemble que de séparer ces deux ordres de considérations. Mais alors la logique voulait que l'étude de l'homme précédât les recherches économiques. Il n'était plus temps; puissé-je réparer ce défaut dans une autre édition ! At first I had thought to begin with a discussion of the Economic Harmonies, and therefore only deal with purely economic subjects, such as value, property, wealth, competition, wages, population, money, and credit, etc. Later, if I had the time and the strength, I would have called the reader's attention to a much larger subject, that of the Social Harmonies. It is there that I would have discussed human nature, the driving force of society (Editor: i.e. self-interest), individual responsibility, human solidarity, etc. The work thus conceived had begun when I realized that it was better to merge these two approaches together rather than to keep them separate. But then logic demands that the study of man should precede research into economic theory. There was no more time; I will have to rectify the error in another edition!

Because he was so pressed for time by 1849-50 he decided to focus on one aspect, the "economic harmonies," first and leave the others to another time.

This third volume on the "disharmonies" would be "The History of Plunder" he had also planned to write. In a note at the end of the "Conclusion" to ES1 Paillottet tells us that:107

L'influence de la Spoliation sur les destinées de l'humanité le préoccupait vivement. Après avoir plusieurs fois abordé ce sujet dans les Sophismes et les Pamphlets (V. notamment Propriété et SpoliationSpoliation et Loi), il lui destinait une place étendue dans la seconde partie des Harmonies, parmi les causes perturbatrices. Enfin, dernier témoignage de l'intérêt qu'il y attachait, il disait, à la veille de sa mort: « Un travail bien important à faire, pour l'économie politique, c'est d'écrire l'histoire de la Spoliation. C'est une longue histoire dans laquelle, dès l'origine, apparaissent les conquêtes, les migrations des peuples, les invasions et tous les funestes excès de la force aux prises avec la justice. De tout cela il reste encore aujourd'hui des traces vivantes, et c'est une grande difficulté pour la solution des questions posées dans notre siècle. On n'arrivera pas à cette solution tant qu'on n'aura pas bien constaté en quoi et comment l'injustice, faisant sa part au milieu de nous, s'est impatronisée dans nos mœurs et dans nos lois. » The influence of plunder on the destiny of the human race preoccupied him greatly. After having covered this subject several times in the Sophisms and the Pamphlets (see in particular "Property and Plunder" (July 1848), CW2, pp. 147–184, and "Plunder and Law" (May 1850), CW2, pp. 266–76), he planned a more ample place for it in the second part of the Harmonies, among the disturbing factors. Lastly, as the final evidence of the interest he took in it, he said on the eve of his death (November or December 1850): "A very important task to be done for political economy is to write the history of plunder. It is a long history in which, from the outset, there appeared conquests, the migrations of peoples, invasions, and all the disastrous excesses of force in conflict with justice. Living traces of all this still remain today and cause great difficulty for the solution of the questions raised in our century. We will not reach this solution as long as we have not clearly noted in what and how injustice, when making a place for itself amongst us, has gained a foothold in our customs and our laws."

Bastiat himself tells us in the conclusion to the first edition of Economic Harmonies which appeared in early 1850 that he planned to write "a monograph" on the "long history" of plunder:108

La Spoliation! voici un élément nouveau dans l'économie des sociétés. Plunder! This is a new element in the economy of societies.
Depuis le jour où il a fait son apparition dans le monde jusqu'au jour, si jamais il arrive, où il aura complétement disparu, cet élément affectera profondément tout le mécanisme social; il troublera, au point de les rendre méconnaissables, les lois harmoniques que nous nous sommes efforcés de découvrir et de décrire. From the day it first appeared in the world to the day, if ever that should arrive, when it will have completely disappeared, this element will profoundly affect the entire social mechanism. It will disrupt the (operation of the) harmonious laws that we have endeavored to discover and describe, to the (point) of making them unrecognizable.
Notre tâche ne sera donc accomplie que lorsque nous aurons fait la complète monographie de la Spoliation. Our task will therefore be completed only when we have written a detailed monograph on plunder.

Bastiat's Outline for a History of Plunder

The Importance of Plunder in Human History

In several articles he hinted at how he planned to structure that history. He viewed plunder as a constant in human history going back to the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, which saw two rival classes in conflict - "la classe spoliatrice" (the plundering class" and "les classes spoliées" (the plundered classes)109 - the former using force to maintain or expand its plundering activities and the latter attempting to resist that plundering. By the end of 1845 when he was assembling his first collection of economic sophisms he wrote:110

La spoliation, qui joue un si grand rôle dans les affaires du monde, n'a donc que deux agents : la force et la ruse, et deux limites: le courage et les lumières. Plunder, which plays such a major role in the affairs of the world, has thus only two things which promote it: force and fraud, and two things which limit it: courage and enlightenment.
La force appliquée à la spoliation fait le fond des annales humaines. En retracer l'histoire, ce serait reproduire presque en entier l'histoire de tous les peuples: Assyriens, Babyloniens, Mèdes, Perses, Égyptiens, Grecs, Romains, Goths, Francs, Huns, Turcs, Arabes, Mongols, Tartares, sans compter celle des Espagnols en Amérique, des Anglais dans l'Inde, des Français en Afrique, des Russes en Asie, etc., etc. Force used for plunder forms the bedrock upon which the annals of human history rest. Retracing its history would be to reproduce almost entirely the history of every nation: the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Goths, the Francs, the Huns, the Turks, the Arabs, the Mongols, and the Tartars, not to mention the Spanish in America, the English in India, the French in Africa, the Russians in Asia, etc., etc.

He made similar comments two years later in the opening chapter of his second collection where he gives one his most detailed accounts of the theory and history of plunder: "voyez sur quelle immense échelle, depuis les temps historiques, s'est exercée la Spoliation par abus et excès du gouvernement" (just look at the immense scale on which Plunder has been carried out throughout history by the abuse and excesses of the government,"111 and in the Conclusion to EH1 (probably written in November 1849) he observes that:112

La Spoliation occupe, dans la tradition des familles, dans l'histoire des peuples, dans les occupations des individus, dans les énergies physiques et intellectuelles des classes, dans les arrangements de la société, dans les prévisions des gouvernements, presque autant de place que la Propriété elle-même In the traditions of (some) families, in the history of nations, in the lives of individuals, in the physical and intellectual activities of classes, in the organization of society, or in the plans of governments, plunder plays nearly as large a part as property itself.

The Reason for the Persistance of Plunder in History

The reason for the persistance of plunder in human history lay at a fundamental theoretical level, namely the "Oppenheimer dichotomy." The German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer (1864-1943) in 1907 made the distinction between two fundamentally opposed means of acquiring wealth, "das ökonomische Mittel" (the economic means) and "das politische Mittel" (the political means), that is using "one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others" or "the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others" respectively.113

Es gibt zwei grundsätzlich entgegengesetzte Mittel, mit denen der überall durch den gleichen Trieb der Lebensfürsorge in Bewegung gesetzte Mensch die nötigen Befriedigungsmittel erlangen kann: Arbeit und Raub, eigne Arbeit und gewaltsame Aneignung fremder Arbeit. … Ich habe aus diesem Grunde und auch deshalb, um für die weitere Untersuchung … vorgeschlagen, die eigne Arbeit und den äquivalenten Tausch eigner gegen fremde Arbeit das "ökonomische Mittel," und die unentgoltene Aneignung fremder Arbeit das "politische Mittel" der Bedürfnisbefriedigung zu nennen. There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. … I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the "economic means" for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "political means."

Bastiat made a similar distinction he picked up from the works of J.B. Say, Charles Comte, and Charles Dunoyer written in first 25 years of the 19th century. In his vocabulary the fundamental distinction was between "la production" (production, or to use the older terms preferred by Say and Dunoyer, "l'industrie" and the system based on this "l'industrialisme")114 and "la spoliation" (plunder) and this dichotomy (or "contradiction" as he called it) became a core element of his economic thought. One of the clearest statements of this view can be found in the speech he gave for the French Free Trade Association in July 1847:115

Il n'y a rien qui modifie aussi profondément l'organisation, les institutions, les mœurs et les idées des peuples que les moyens généraux par lesquels ils pourvoient à leur subsistance ; et ces moyens, il n'y en a que deux : la spoliation, en prenant ce mot dans son acception la plus étendue, et la production. — Car, Messieurs, les ressources que la nature offre spontanément aux hommes sont si limitées, qu'ils ne peuvent vivre que sur les produits du travail humain ; et ces produits, il faut qu'ils les créent ou qu'ils les ravissent à d'autres hommes qui les ont créés. There is nothing that modifies the organization, institutions, customs, and ideas of a nation as profoundly as the general means through which they provide for their existence, and there are just two of these means: plunder, taking this word in its widest sense, and production. For, Gentlemen, the resources that nature spontaneously offers people are so limited that they are able to live only on the products of human work, and they have either to create these products or take them by force from other people who have created them.

Bastiat would develop this much further in Economic Harmonies where it is implicit in much of his argument and made quite explicit in places like the unfinished chapter XIX "War" where he talks about "ces deux grandes sources d'acquisition" (these two major sources of acquiring (wealth or property)) which were to either "créer" (create (wealth)) or "voler" (to steal (wealth)). At a theoretical level, the process of wealth "creation" or "production" logically had to take place first, and only once this had been accomplished could it be "stolen" or "plundered" by others - "la Spoliation, dans toutes ses variétés, loin d'exclure la Production, la suppose" (plunder in all its forms, far from excluding production, assumes that it occurs (first)). And like any other economic activity there would inevitably be a division of labour whereby some individuals would specialise in certain occupations and thus become more efficient at that task. Some individuals would inevitably specialize in being "un spoliateur" (a plunderer), such as a warrior, a slave owner, a manufacturer who successfully lobbies for a grant of monopoly from the government, a professional politician or bureaucrat, and so on, and make it their full-time occupation. This passage is worth quoting in full as it reveals a very important aspect of Bastiat's thinking about the nature of plunder and the impact this has on both individuals and societies:116

Un homme (il en est de même d'un peuple) peut se procurer des moyens d'existence de deux manières : en les créant ou en les volant. A person (this is also true of a nation) may get (its) means of existence in (one of) two ways: (either) by creating them or by stealing them (from others).
Chacune de ces deux grandes sources d'acquisition a plusieurs procédés. Each of these two major sources of acquiring (wealth or property) has several methods (to achieve this).
On peut créer des moyens d'existence par la chasse, la pêche, la culture, etc. (Their ) means of existence may be created by hunting, fishing, farming, etc.
On peut les voler par la mauvaise foi, la violence, la force, la ruse, la guerre, etc. They may be stolen by acting in bad faith, (by the use of) violence, force, fraud, war, etc.
S'il suffit, sans sortir du cercle de l'une ou de l'autre de ces deux catégories, de la prédominance de l'un des procédés qui lui sont propres pour établir entre les nations des différences considérables, combien cette différence ne doit-elle pas être plus grande entre le peuple qui vit de production, et un peuple qui vit de spoliation? Just staying within the limits (established) by either one of these two methods, if it is sufficient for the predominance of one of the appropriate procedures to give rise to considerable differences among the nations, how much greater must not this difference be between a people that lives by producing and a people that lives by plundering.
Car il n'est pas une seule de nos facultés, à quelque ordre qu'elle appartienne, qui ne soit mise en exercice par la nécessité qui nous a été imposée de pourvoir à notre existence ; et que peut-on concevoir de plus propre à modifier l'état social des peuples que ce qui modifie toutes les facultés humaines ? For there is not one of our faculties, (whatever kind it might be), that is not exercised by the necessity imposed (up)on us to provide for our existence, and what can we imagine that is more likely to modify the social state of nations than something that modifies all human faculties?
Cette considération, toute grave qu'elle est, a été si peu observée, que je dois m'y arrêter un instant. As serious as it is, this consideration has been so little observed that I have to pause a while to comment on it.
Pour qu'une satisfaction se réalise, il faut qu'un travail ait été exécuté, d'où il suit que la Spoliation, dans toutes ses variétés, loin d'exclure la Production, la suppose. In order for some satisfaction to be enjoyed, work has to be done, from which it follows that plunder in all its forms, far from excluding production, assumes that it occurs.
Et ceci, ce me semble, est de nature à diminuer un peu l'engouement que les historiens, les poëtes et les romanciers manifestent pour ces nobles époques, où, selon eux, ne dominait pas ce qu'ils appellent l'industrialisme. À ces époques on vivait ; donc le travail accomplissait, tout comme aujourd'hui, sa rude tâche. Seulement, des nations, des classes, des individualités étaient parvenues à rejeter sur d'autres nations, d'autres classes, d'autres individualités, leur lot de labeur et de fatigue. And I believe that this is likely to put a damper on the enthusiasm shown by historians, poets, and novelists for these noble (historical) eras when, according to them, what they call industrialism was not dominant. At these times, people lived, therefore work accomplished its harsh task just as it does today. The only difference is that some nations, classes, and individuals had succeeded in imposing on other nations, classes, and individuals their own share of hard work and drudgery.

Hence, given the theoretical and practical priority of production over plunder, and the ever changing division of labour required for both the production of wealth and its confiscation or plundering, Bastiat felt obliged to document in some detail the complex and changing way plunder had evolved over time.

Stages in the History of Plunder

Bastiat thought history had gone through various stages depending upon how wealth was produced, how the plundering took place, who benefited from it, and who lost out from it, and his thinking on this remained remarkably constant over time. As early as his first book on Cobden and the League (July 1845) he was predicting the end of "le privilége, l'abus, la caste et monopole" (privilege, abuse of power, castes, and monopolies" and was listing the historical forms these things had gone through: "tour à tour conquérant, possesseur d'esclaves, théocrate, féodal, industriel, commercial, financier et même philanthrope" (in turn by conquest, owning slaves, theocracy, feudal, industrial, commercial, financial, and even philanthropic."117 The similarity to the list of types of plunder he planned for the expanded volume of EH is quite striking (see the discussion below).

It is also important to note that conflict between the two classes, "la classe spoliatrice" (the plundering class) and "les classes spoliées" (the plundered classes), had been a key feature in the evolution of European society since the ancient Roman period and was continuing in Bastiat's own day with "la guerre sociale" (the social war) which the socialist parties planned to conduct. In a letter to his friend and confidant, Hortense Cheuvreux, written in June 1850 just six months before he died, he summarized his "class conflict theory of history" in which history is divided into two alternating phases of "struggle" and "truce" to control the state and the plunder which flows from this:118

Il est déplorable que les classes qui font la loi ne veuillent pas pas être justes quoi qu'il en coûte, car alors chaque classe veut faire la loi: fabricant, agriculteur, armateur, père de famille, contribuable, artiste, ouvrier ; chacun est socialiste pour lui-même, et sollicite une part d'injustice ; puis on veut bien consentir envers les autres à l'aumône légale, qui est une seconde injustice ; tant qu'on regardera ainsi l'État comme une source de faveurs, notre histoire ne présentera que deux phases : les temps de luttes, à qui s'emparera de l'État ; et les temps de trêve qui seront le règne éphémère d'une oppression triomphante, présage d'une lutte nouvelle. It is to be deplored that the classes who make the laws are unwilling to be just whatever that might cost, since, if this were so, each class would want to make the law, whether he be a manufacturer, farmer, shipowner, family man, taxpayer, artist, or worker. In the event, each person is a socialist as far as he himself is concerned and claims a share in the injustice, after which people are quite willing to grant others state charity, and this is a second form of injustice. As long as the state is regarded in this way as a source of favors, our history will be seen as having only two phases, the periods of conflict as to who will take control of the state and the periods of truce, which will be the transitory reign of a triumphant oppression, the harbinger of a fresh conflict.

In "The Physiology of Plunder" (ES2 1, late 1847) he had four stages in his history: war, slavery, theocracy, and monopoly.119 This could be expanded to six if one included two other stages he mentioned in the next chapter "Two Moral Philosophies": serfdom and a catch all category which included "l'abus du gouvernement, les priviléges, les fraudes de toute nature" (abuse by government, privileges, frauds of all kinds).120 By mid-1848, after the Revolution had broken out in February and he was now confronting his socialist opponents head on, his categories had become more numerous and complex as he continued to refine his theory of plunder. In the essay "Property and Plunder" (JDD June 1848)121 he retained the first three (war, slavery, theocracy) but provided much more detail about the kind of plunder that was taking place in the 19th century, for which he listed five sub-categories: standing armies and the debt needed to pay for them, regulations which restricted people entering professions and trades, tariffs which benefited a few producers at the expense of the many consumers, the rapidly growing government with its army of "functionaries," and, what frightened him most, the threat of a new socialist government which would make "rule by functionaries" even worse. He concluded his historical survey with these pessimistic words:

(C)e n'est pas à la Propriété qu'il faut imputer l'Inégalité désolante dont le monde nous offre encore le triste aspect, mais au principe opposé, à la Spoliation, qui a déchaîné sur notre planète les guerres, l'esclavage, le servage, la féodalité, l'exploitation de l'ignorance et de la crédulité publiques, les priviléges, les monopoles, les restrictions, les emprunts publics, les fraudes commerciales, les impôts excessifs, et, en dernier lieu, la guerre au capital et l'absurde prétention de chacun de vivre et se développer aux dépens de tous. (I)t is not property that is responsible for the distressing inequality that can still be seen around the world, it is its opposing principle, plunder, that has triggered wars, slavery, serfdom, the feudal system, the exploitation of public ignorance and credulity, privilege, monopolies, restrictions, public borrowings, commercial fraud, excessive taxes, and lastly the war against capital and the absurd pretension of each person to live and develop at the expense of all.

During 1849 Bastiat was working on getting the first volume of EH ready for publication and he was revising some of his earliest published articles "On Competition" and "On Population" both of which had been published in 1846. The latter article was revised very extensively for the book and would have an important new section inserted on "disturbing factors" and their relationship to the different kinds of plunder the world had gone through. He now listed seven kinds of plunder: war, slavery, theocratic deception, privilege, monopoly, trade restrictions, tax abuses:122

Je crois qu'il y en a plusieurs. L'une s'appelle spoliation, ou, si vous voulez, injustice. Les économistes n'en ont parlé qu'incidemment, et en tant qu'elle implique quelque erreur, quelque fausse notion scientifique. Exposant les lois générales, ils n'avaient pas, pensaient-ils, à s'occuper de l'effet de ces lois, quand elles n'agissent pas, quand elles sont violées. Cependant la spoliation a joué et joue encore un trop grand rôle dans le monde pour que, même comme économiste, nous puissions nous dispenser d'en tenir compte. Il ne s'agit pas seulement de vols accidentels, de larcins, de crimes isolés. — La guerre, l'esclavage, les impostures théocratiques, les priviléges, les monopoles, les restrictions, les abus de l'impôt, voilà les manifestations les plus saillantes de la spoliation. On comprend quelle influence des forces perturbatrices d'une aussi vaste étendue ont dû avoir et ont encore, par leur présence ou leurs traces profondes, sur l'inégalité des conditions; nous essayerons plus tard d'en mesurer l'énorme portée. I believe that there are several (causes of poverty). One is plunder, or if you prefer, injustice. Economists have mentioned this only incidentally and in so far as it implies some error or erroneous scientific notion. When setting out general laws, they considered that they did not have to take notice of the effect of these laws when they do not work or when they are violated. However, plunder has played and still plays too great a role in the world for us, even as economists, to feel free to disregard it. It is not just a question of casual theft, larceny and isolated crime. War, slavery, theocratic deception, privilege, monopoly, trade restrictions, tax abuses, are all the most obvious examples of plunder. It is easy to understand the influence that such wide-ranging disturbing forces must have had and still have on the inequality of situations by their very presence or the deep-rooted traces they leave. Later, we will endeavor to measure their huge effect.

The original editor Paillottet found a hand written list of proposed future chapters Bastiat planned for his additional volumes, including seven chapters of what is called "Disturbing Phenomena," and included it in the expanded second edition of EH which was published posthumously in July 1851. There is now a chapter on "Plunder," presumably an exposition of his theory of plunder, as well as chapters on specific forms of plunder such as War, Slavery, Theocracy, Monopoly, "Exploitation gouvernementale" (Exploitation by Government), and "Fausse fraternité ou communisme" (False fraternity or Communism). The last two stages reflected Bastiat's growing concern during the Second Republic about the rapid growth of state "functionaryism," as it was appearing under the rule of Napoléon III, and as might continue to do if the socialists camped to power.

A Summary of Bastiat's History of Plunder

We can summarize Bastiat's history of plunder in the following composite list, which shows the various stages in the history of plunder depending upon how wealth was produced, when and how the plundering took place, and who benefited from it. We have tried to use Bastiat's own terms whenever possible. In all stages there were two groups of people: those who lived by plunder who constituted "la classe spoliatrice" or "les spoliateurs" (the plundering class or the plunderers); and those whose property was taken who constituted "les classes spoliées" or "les spoliés" (the plundered classes, or those who were plundered).

I. War

  • Type of plunder: "La spoliation par la guerre" (plunder by means of war), "La Spoliation par la force" (plunder by means of force), "la spoliation militaire" (military plunder), "la Spoliation partielle" (partial plunder), "la Spoliation naïve par voie de conquêtes" (primitive/blatant plunder by means of conquest), "la spoliation au dehors" (external plunder), "une spoliation transitoire" (transitory plunder)
  • By whom: warriors killing and looting the vanquished; whereby a small group of privilege individuals live at the expense of others
  • When: in the Ancient world (especially by the Romans)

 

II. Slavery (and serfdom)

  • Type of plunder: "la Spoliation directe et naïve" (direct and blatant plunder), "La Spoliation par la force" (plunder by means of force), "la Spoliation partielle" (partial plunder), "l'esclavage consiste non dans la forme, mais dans le fait d'une spoliation permanente et légale" (slavery consists not in the form but in the fact of permanent and legal plunder), "l'esclavage, qui est la spoliation poussée jusqu'à sa limite idéale" (slavery is plunder pushed to its ideal/theoretical limit), "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder), "la spoliation permanente" (permanent plunder), "l'Esclavage, qu'est-ce autre chose que l'oppression organisée dans un but de spoliation" (slavery is nothing else than organised oppression for the purpose of plunder)
  • By whom: powerful individuals use the military to capture and enslave the conquered and force them to work or pay tribute;
  • When: in the Ancient world (especially by the Romans), but also extending to serfdom in the medieval period

 

III. Theocracy

  • Type of plunder: "la Spoliation par ruse théocratique" (plunder by theocratic fraud), "la Spoliation partielle" (partial plunder), "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder)
  • By whom: a privileged monopoly Church imposes compulsory tithes, sells fraudulent benefices for salvation, controls eduction, and prevents critical thought
  • When: the period before the French Revolution of 1789

 

IV. Monopoly (and economic privilege)

  • Type of plunder: "la Spoliation par la ruse/fraude commerciale" (plunder by commercial fraud), "la spoliation par l'intermédiaire de la loi" (plunder by means of the law), "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder), "la spoliation par l'impôt" (plunder by taxes), "la Spoliation partielle" (partial plunder), "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder)
  • By whom: powerful individuals and groups are granted special privileges such as tariffs, subsidies and "sinecure, privilege, and trade restriction"; standing armies, high government debt, regulations on entering professions and trade; ordinary people are mislead by "sophisms" that this is in their own interest
  • When: from the 17th century to the present (1850); also known as mercantilism and protectionism

 

V. The Government itself

  • Type of plunder: "la Spoliation par abus et excès du gouvernement" (plunder by the abuses and excesses of government), "la spoliation gouvernementale" (plunder by government), "l'abus des services publics, champ immense de Spoliation" (the abuse of government services is an immense field for plunder), "la spoliation gouvernementale" (plunder by the government), "la spoliation par l'impôt" (plunder by taxes), "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder)
  • By whom: a self-interested and self-perpetuating and expanding class of "functionaries" who run the new regulatory state, and the vested interests who attempt to get special favors from the government; government itself has now become a "vested interest," "place-seeking" (government jobs)
  • When: in the 19th century from Napoleon's Empire up to the present (1850)

 

VI. Socialism (or what he dismissively called "false fraternity") and Communism

  • Type of plunder: "La Spoliation par la force" (plunder by means of force), "la spoliation par l'intermédiaire de la loi" (plunder by means of the law), "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder), "la spoliation par l'impôt" (plunder by taxes), "la spoliation universelle" (universal plunder), "un système de spoliation réciproque" (a system of reciprocal plunder), "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder)
  • By whom: a government which promises all kinds of tax-payer funded benefits to the people (such as "droit au travail, droit au crédit, droit à l'assistance, droit à l'instruction, impôts progressifs" (the right to a job, to free credit, to public welfare, education, and progressive taxation)), and which attempts to reorganize the economy by using government imposed "association," "organization," and "legal charity;" a system in which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else (Bastiat's famous definition of the state)
  • 123
  • When: the threat of socialism became apparent in 1848 Revolution; Bastiat attempts to predict the form plunder will take in the future if socialism becomes popular; the modern welfare state

 

Two Specific Forms of Plunder

The two historical forms of plunder on which he wrote the most before he died was that of "monopoly" and "socialism," the former being the focus of his "economic sophisms" attacking tariffs and subsidies, and the latter being the focus of his stream of anti-socialist pamphlets which he wrote during the Second Republic.124 However, he also referred on several occasions to two other stages in the history of plunder in some detail, namely "theocratic plunder"125 which is less well-known but deserves some attention by scholars because of the importance Bastiat placed on the mechanisms of ideological control and the legitimization of plunder by theocracy; and the other was "functionaryism" or "plunder by government" for itself and not just for other powerful vested interest groups.126

Conclusion

In a potentially very important but never finished chapter in EH2 on "War" Bastiat uses the striking metaphor of the "plough" and the "sword" to show the inseparable distance between the two opposing ways of producing wealth, production versus plunder, which lay at the heart of the problem of plunder:127

Pour produire, il faut diriger toutes ses facultés vers la domination de la nature; car c'est elle qu'il s'agit de combattre, de dompter et d'asservir. C'est pourquoi le fer converti en charrue est l'emblème de la production. In order to produce, it is necessary to direct all of one's capacities to the task of dominating nature, for it is nature that must be fought, tamed, and subjugated. This is why iron made into ploughs is a symbol of production.
Pour spolier, il faut diriger toutes ses facultés vers la domination des hommes ; car ce sont eux qu'il faut combattre, tuer ou asservir. C'est pourquoi le fer converti en épée est l'emblème de la spoliation. In order to plunder (some one), it is necessary to direct all of (one's) capacities to the task of dominating human beings, for these are the people that must be fought, killed, or subjugated. This is why iron made into swords is a symbol of plunder.
Autant il y a d'opposition entre la charrue qui nourrit et l'épée qui tue, autant il doit y en avoir entre un peuple de travailleurs et un peuple de spoliateurs. Il n'est pas possible qu'il y ait entre eux rien de commun. Ils ne sauraient avoir ni les mêmes idées, ni les mêmes règles d'appréciation, ni les mêmes goûts, ni le même caractère, ni les mêmes mœurs, ni les mêmes lois, ni la même morale, ni la même religion. Just as there is a contradiction between the plow that feeds us and the sword which kills us, there has to be (a similar contradiction) between a nation of workers and a nation of plunderers. It is not possible that they would have anything in common. They could not have the same ideas, the same standards to judge things, the same tastes, the same character, the same customs, the same laws, the same moral code, or the same religion.

 


 

Plunder: "Legal Plunder" (to do)

  

Liberties: "All Forms of Liberty"

Bastiat used the phrase "toutes les libertés" (all the different kinds of liberty, or all forms of freedom) many times in his writings. The most concise definition is found is the pamphlet "The Law" (June 1850) where states "la Liberté … est l'ensemble de toutes les libertés" (Liberty is the collection (or sum) of all the different kinds of liberty) and then lists those individual liberties. The full passage is worth quoting:128

Et qu'est-ce que la Liberté, ce mot qui a la puissance de faire battre tous les cœurs et d'agiter le monde, si ce n'est l'ensemble de toutes les libertés, liberté de conscience, d'enseignement, d'association, de presse, de locomotion, de travail, d'échange ; d'autres termes, le franc exercice, pour tous, de toutes les facultés inoffensives ; en d'autres termes encore, la destruction de tous les despotismes, même le despotisme légal, et la réduction de la Loi à sa seule attribution rationnelle, qui est de régulariser le Droit individuel de légitime défense ou de réprimer l'injustice. And what is liberty, this word that has the power of making all hearts beat faster and causing agitation around the world, if it is not the sum of all freedoms: freedom of conscience, education, and association; freedom of the press; freedom to travel, work, and trade; in other words, the free exercise of all harmless faculties by all men and, in still other terms, the destruction of all despotic regimes, even legal despotism, and the reduction of the law to its sole rational attribution, which is to regulate the individual law of legitimate defense or to punish injustice.

He provides a similar list in an article called "Freedom" which appeared on the streets of Paris in his revolutionary magazine Jacques Bonhomme (11-15 June 1848), namely the freedom of discussion and conscience, the freedom of education, the freedom of the press, the freedom to work, the freedom of association, the freedom to trade, in other words "toutes les libertés dont l'ensemble forme la liberté" (all the liberties the total of which makes up Liberty).129

Because all "the liberties" are interconnected they have to be understood and treated as a whole in his view. He chastises himself in an ironic letter he wrote to himself in the fall of 1847, his "Draft Preface" to the future book on Economic Harmonies, for having given too much attention to only one of "the liberties", namely the freedom to trade. As the figurehead of the French Free Trade Association he had turned this one liberty into "a single crust of dry bread" and had ignored the others. He also calls himself one of the worst things in his anti-socialist vocabulary, "un mécanicien" (a mechanic),130 who only talks about one part of the machine and ignores the others. One purpose of the Economic Harmonies was to rectify this omission and explain "all the liberties" which made up society. As he says at the close of his "Draft Preface":131

Et puis, pourquoi te limiter ? pourquoi emprisonner ta pensée ? Il me semble que tu l'as mise au régime cellulaire avec l'uniforme croûte de pain sec pour tout aliment, car te voilà rongeant soir et matin une question d'argent. J'aime autant que toi la liberté commerciale. Mais tous les progrès humains sont-ils renfermés dans cette liberté ? Autrefois, ton cœur battait pour l'affranchissement de la pensée et de la parole, encore enchaînées par les entraves universitaires et les lois contre l'association. Tu t'enflammais pour la réforme parlementaire et la séparation radicale de la souveraineté qui délègue et contrôle, de la puissance exécutive dans toutes ces branches. Toutes les libertés se tiennent. Toutes les idées forment un tout systématique et harmonieux ; il n'en est pas une dont la démonstration n'eût servi à démontrer les autres. Mais tu fais comme un mécanicien qui s'évertue à expliquer, sans en rien omettre, tout ce qu'il y a de minutieux détails dans une pièce isolée de la machine. On est tenté de lui crier : Montrez-moi les autres pièces ; faites-les mouvoir ensemble ; elles s'expliquent les unes par les autres… In any case, why limit yourself? Why imprison your thoughts? It seems to me that you have subjected them to a prison diet of a single crust of dry bread as food, since there you are, chewing night and day on a question of money. I love commercial liberty as much as you do. But is all human progress encapsulated in that (one kind of ) freedom? In the past, your heart beat (faster) for the freeing of thought and speech which were still chained by the shackles imposed by the university system and the laws against free association. You enthusiastically supported parliamentary reform and the radical division of that sovereignty, which delegates and controls, from the executive power in all its branches. All forms of freedom go together. All ideas (about liberty) form a systematic and harmonious whole, and there is not a single one whose proof does not serve to demonstrate the truth of the others. But you act like a mechanic who makes a virtue of explaining an isolated part of a machine in the smallest detail, not forgetting anything. The temptation is strong to cry out to him, "Show me the other parts; make them work together; each of them explains the others. …"

Also worth noting is that in the Economic Harmonies Bastiat often bundles the phrase "toues les libertés" with other phrases, such as "toutes les libertés et toutes les propriétés" (all forms of liberty and all forms of property) in chap. IV "Exchange" and "le maintien de toutes les libertés, de toutes les propriétés, de tous les droits individuels" (the upholding of all forms of freedom, all forms of property, and all forms of individual rights - or "all our liberties, property, and individual rights") in chap. XVII "Private and Public Services."

 


 

Mechanics and Organizers

See also "The Social Mechanism and its Driving Force," in Appendix 1 CW4, (forthcoming).

Bastiat distinguished between "natural organisations," based upon voluntary cooperation and which operated according to the general laws which governed humanity; and "artificial organisations," which had been dreamt up or invented (often by socialists), which took no account of these laws, denied their existence, or disdained them, and thus had to use coercion to make them work.132

Related to this was his idea of "le mécanisme" (a mechanism or machine like a clock) and "l'appareil" (an apparatus or device).133 As with organizations, "mechanisms" could be natural or artificial depending on how they were established, but they all were made up of interconnected parts such as "les rouages" (cogs or wheels), "les ressorts" (springs), and "les mobiles" (movements, or driving force. "Le mécanisme social naturel" (the natural social mechanism) of the free market was voluntary, self-organized, and its cogs and wheels were independent, thinking and acting, individuals with free will who were "driven" by self-interest. Contrasted with this were "les mécanismes artificiels" (artificial or "man-made" mechanisms) which socialists and other planners tried to set up. They treated the human beings who were the mechanism's cogs and wheels as so many inanimate, unthinking, mechanical parts which could be manipulated by the social planner or "l'organisateur" (the organizer) at will.

These "organizers" were also of two kinds. There was a "good," "natural" organizer who had created a world which was governed by natural laws and human beings with free will: Bastiat called this organizer "Providence," "le divin Ouvrier" (the divine worker),134 "le grand Mécanicien" (the great mechanic),135 or even "le divin inventeur de l'ordre social" (the divine inventor of the social order).136

However, there were also many "bad," "artificial" organizers who thought they could replace the "social mechanism" created by Providence with ones created by themselves, as they saw fit. This type of organisation was based on coercion, control, and direction from a "Legislator" (Rousseau-ian) or a "Prince" (Machiavellian) who arranged men in society according their whim. Bastiat uses several derogatory terms to describe the people who attempt to run this "artificial social mechanism," such as "un mécanicien" (a mechanic, engineer), "l'inventeur" (the inventor), "le grand organisateur" (the great organizer), "les grands manipulateurs" (the great manipulators), "notre grand instituteur" (our great school teacher), and even an "entrepreneur" in a negative sense, as "les entrepreneurs d'organisations sociales" (entrepreneurs of socialist organizations).137

Bastiat linked together many of these ideas in the following passage from chap. XXI "On Solidarity":138

Cette idée de Rousseau, que le législateur a inventé la société, — idée fausse en elle-même, — a été funeste en ce qu'elle a induit à penser que la solidarité est de création législative ; et nous verrons bientôt les modernes législateurs se fonder sur cette doctrine pour assujettir la société à une Solidarité artificielle, agissant en sens inverse de la Solidarité naturelle. En toutes choses, le principe de ces grands manipulateurs du genre humain est de mettre leur œuvre propre à la place de l'œuvre de Dieu, qu'ils méconnaissent. This idea of Rousseau's, that society was invented by legislators – an idea that is intrinsically false - has been disastrous in that it led people to believe that solidarity was a creation of the law, and we shall see shortly how modern legislators used this doctrine as a basis for subjecting society to a form of artificial solidarity that acts in quite the opposite way from natural solidarity. In every sphere, the project of these great manipulators of the human race, has been to substitute their own work for that of God, which they misunderstand.

In addition and more colorfully, Bastiat also likens these organizers to "le jardinier " (the gardener) who trims people like he does his hedges and topiaries,139 "le berger" (the shepherd) who treats people like so many of his sheep to be shorn for their wool or slaughtered for their meat as he sees fit,140 "l'instituteur" (the school teacher) who treats all people like so many ignorant pupils,141 or "le potier" (the potter) and his clay (l'argile) who treats people as so much malleable clay which he can work into whatever shape pleases him.142

Perhaps Bastiat's most passionate denunciation of this way of treating humans as mere things to be manipulated and organized appears in his late pamphlet The Law (June 1850) on socialists as "the gardeners of men":143

Les publicistes modernes, particulièrement ceux de l'école socialiste, fondent leurs théories diverses sur une hypothèse commune, et assurément la plus étrange, la plus orgueilleuse qui puisse tomber dans un cerveau humain.

Ils divisent l'humanité en deux parts. L'universalité des hommes, moins un, forme la première ; le publiciste, à lui tout seul, forme la seconde et, de beaucoup, la plus importante.

Modern political writers, particularly those of the socialist school, base their various theories on a common hypothesis, definitely the strangest and most arrogant hypothesis that the human brain has ever devised.

They divide humanity into two parts. All men minus one form the first and the political writer all on his own forms the second and by far the most important part.

En effet, ils commencent par supposer que les hommes ne portent en eux-mêmes ni un principe d'action, ni un moyen de discernement ; qu'ils sont dépourvus d'initiative ; qu'ils sont de la matière inerte, des molécules passives, des atomes sans spontanéité, tout au plus une végétation indifférente à son propre mode d'existence, susceptible de recevoir, d'une volonté et d'une main extérieures, un nombre infini de formes plus ou moins symétriques, artistiques, perfectionnées. In effect, they begin with the premise that men do not have within themselves either a principle of action or any means of discernment; that they lack initiative; that they are made of inert matter, passive molecules, and atoms deprived of spontaneity; and that they are at most a form of plant life that is indifferent to its own mode of existence and willing to accept an infinite number of more or less symmetrical, artistic, and developed forms from an external initiative and hand.
Ensuite chacun d'eux suppose sans façon qu'il est lui-même, sous les noms d'Organisateur, de Révélateur, de Législateur, d'Instituteur, de Fondateur, cette volonté et cette main, ce mobile universel, cette puissance créatrice dont la sublime mission est de réunir en société ces matériaux épars, qui sont des hommes. Each of them then quite simply supposes that he is himself, wearing the hats of organizer, prophet, legislator, teacher, and founder, this driving force and hand, this universal dynamo and creative power whose sublime mission is to gather together in society the scattered stuff of humanity.
Partant de cette donnée, comme chaque jardinier, selon son caprice, taille ses arbres en pyramides, en parasols, en cubes, en cônes, en vases, en espaliers, en quenouilles, en éventails, chaque socialiste, suivant sa chimère, taille la pauvre humanité en groupes, en séries, en centres, en sous-centres, en alvéoles, en ateliers sociaux, harmoniques, contrastés, etc., etc. From this given starting point, just as each gardener according to his whim prunes his trees into pyramids, umbrellas, cubes, cones, vases, fruit-tree shapes, distaffs, or fans, each socialist, according to his vision, prunes poor humanity into groups, series, centers, subcenters, honeycombs, and social, harmonious, or contrasting workshops, etc., etc.
Et de même que le jardinier, pour opérer la taille des arbres, a besoin de haches, de scies, de serpettes et de ciseaux, le publiciste, pour arranger sa société, a besoin de forces qu'il ne peut trouver que dans les Lois ; loi de douane, loi d'impôt, loi d'assistance, loi d'instruction. And just as the gardener needs axes, saws, sickles, and shears in order to prune his trees, the political writer needs forces that he can find only in the laws in order to marshal his society: customs laws, tax laws, laws governing assistance or education.
Il est si vrai que les socialistes considèrent l'humanité comme matière à combinaisons sociales, que si, par hasard, ils ne sont pas bien sûrs du succès de ces combinaisons, ils réclament du moins une parcelle d'humanité comme matière à expériences : on sait combien est populaire parmi eux l'idée d'expérimenter tous les systèmes, et on a vu un de leurs chefs venir sérieusement demander à l'assemblée constituante une commune avec tous ses habitants, pour faire son essai. It is so true that the socialists consider humanity to be material that can be modeled to fit social templates that if by chance they are not certain of the success of these arrangements, they claim at least a part of humanity as material for experimentation. We know just how popular the idea of trying out all their systems is among them, and we have already seen one of their leaders5 come in all seriousness to ask the Constituent Assembly to give them a commune with all its inhabitants in order for them to carry out tests.
C'est ainsi que tout inventeur fait sa machine en petit avant de la faire en grand. C'est ainsi que le chimiste sacrifie quelques réactifs, que l'agriculteur sacrifie quelques semences et un coin de son champ pour faire l'épreuve d'une idée. In this way, every inventor makes a small-scale model of his machine before making it full scale. In this way, chemists sacrifice a few reagents and farmers a little seed and a corner of a field in order to test an idea.
Mais quelle distance incommensurable entre le jardinier et ses arbres, entre l'inventeur et sa machine, entre le chimiste et ses réactifs, entre l'agriculteur et ses semences !… Le socialiste croit de bonne foi que la même distance le sépare de l'humanité." But what incommensurable distance there is between a gardener and his trees, the inventor and his machine, the chemist and his reagents, and the farmer and his seed! This is the very distance that the socialist quite sincerely believes separates him from humanity.

Bastiat blamed the classical education many of these thinkers had received for filling their minds with ideas about designing and building model societies.144 One in particular, Mably, came in for special attention in Bastiat's pamphlet "Baccalaureate and Socialism" (early 1850). He said that the Abbey Mably suffered from "la gréco-romano-manie" (Graeco-Roman mania) and had turned the ideas of Plato into a form of communism. In an angry and lengthy passage he charged Mably with the following:145

Il n'est pas besoin de citations pour prouver la gréco-romano-manie de l'abbé Mably. … Aussi fut-il franchement platonicien, c'est-à-dire communiste. Convaincu, comme tous les classiques, que l'humanité est une matière première pour les fabricants d'institutions, comme tous les classiques aussi, il aimait mieux être fabricant que matière première. En conséquence, il se pose comme Législateur. No quotations are needed to demonstrate the Graeco-Roman mania of Abbé Mably. … As well, he was an out and out supporter of Plato, that is to say, a communist. Convinced, like all the classical authors, that humanity is the raw material for the manufacturers of institutions, and also like all the classical authors he preferred to be one of the manufacturers rather than part of the raw material. Consequently he set himself up to be a legislator.

Not only was the economy or even the broader society seen by these "mechanics and organizers" as a "mechanism" to be built and used by them, but they also viewed government itself, either as a "tool" which they could use to achieve this goal,146 or just another "mechanism" or "apparatus" which they could build or rebuild as they wished and then "operate" like any good mechanic or engineer would do.147

Thus, Bastiat thought the socialists's big mistake was to think that individual human beings were inanimate objects (like metal cogs and wheels, or pieces of putty or clay, or plants and trees) who could be manipulated by a central planner, designer, or "mechanic" and not thinking, choosing, acting individuals with free will. For these reformers, societies or economies were just "les inventions sociales" (social inventions or creations) and individuals were like pieces of putty in their hands which could be molded into any shape they wished, or like bushes which could be clipped into strange shapes by "social gardeners." As he eloquently put it in chap. XXII"The Driving Force of Society":148

Jamais l'idée ne leur vient que l'humanité est un corps vivant, sentant, voulant et agissant selon des lois qu'il ne s'agit pas d'inventer, puisqu'elles existent, et encore moins d'imposer, mais d'étudier; qu'elle est une agglomération d'êtres en tout semblables à eux-mêmes, qui ne leur sont nullement inférieurs ni subordonnées ; qui sont doués, et d'impulsion pour agir, et d'intelligence pour choisir; qui sentent en eux, de toutes parts, les atteintes de la Responsabilité et de la Solidarité; et enfin, que de tous ces phénomènes, résulte un ensemble de rapports existants par eux-mêmes, que la science n'a pas à créer, comme ils l'imaginent, mais à observer. The idea never enters their heads that the human race is a living, feeling, willing, and acting body, one which acts according to laws that there is no question of inventing, since they already exist, and still less of imposing (on others), but rather a question of studying (it). They do not see that the human race is a group of beings similar to themselves in all respects; these beings are in no way inferior or subordinate to them and are endowed with both an incentive to act and the intelligence to choose. They feel within themselves on every side the promptings of responsibility and solidarity and in a word, from all these phenomena there results a collection of relationships which exist in their own right, that science does not have to create, as they imagine, but has to observe.

 


Perfectibility and Progress

Bastiat intended to write a whole chapter on the topic of "Perfectibility" for the second, enlarged edition of Economic Harmonies but did not live long enough to complete it. What we have is only a brief 1,200 word introduction to which two additional fragments found in his papers have been added. He began talking about "la perfectibilité de l'homme" (the perfectibility of mankind) early in 1845 in his articles "On the Book by M. Dunoyer. On The Liberty of Working" and "Letter from an Economist to M. de Lamartine" (JDE, Feb. 1845), and then in earnest in 1846 in his articles "On Competition" (JDE, May 1846) and "On Population" (JDE, October 1846),149 after which it became a central part of his social theory. He used the terms "perfectible" (perfectible) as in "L'homme est perfectible; il est susceptible d'amélioration et de détérioration" (man is perfectible, he is capable of improvement or becoming worse);150 "la perfectibilité" (perfectibility) as in "la perfectibilité, qui est le caractère distinctif de l'homme" (perfectibility is the distinctive characteristic of man);151 as well as other related terms such as "progressif" (improving or increasing) and "l'avancement" (progress).152

Bastiat's idea of perfectibility or improvement applied to both individuals and to societies, and had a moral and economic dimension. Individuals, under the impulse of the "law of individual responsibility" and "the driving force of society" (namely self-interest),153 could learn from their mistakes (which imposed "pain" on themselves), correct their errors of judgement, and change their poor behavior accordingly. In the process they could become morally better individuals and their material standard of living could improve (in other words, they could enjoy more and greater "satisfactions"), if they chose to do so. This latter point was very important for Bastiat as he believed that man was an acting being,154 capable of free will, able to make choices between alternatives, and learn from their mistakes. However, this progress or improvement in their condition was not inevitable. If individuals made poor choices and did not correct their own behaviour they could regress and become worse off. There were not "perfect" but they were "perfectible."155

L'homme est perfectible; il est susceptible d'amélioration et de détérioration: si, à la rigueur, il peut demeurer stationnaire, il peut aussi monter et descendre les degrés infinis de la civilisation ; cela est vrai des individus, des familles, des nations et des races. Man is perfectible, he is capable of improvement or becoming worse. If it is called for, he may remain stationary. He is also capable, however, of ascending or descending the numberless steps of civilization. This is true for individuals, families, nations, or races.

And in chap. XXII "The Driving Force of Society" he sated that:

La force impulsive, qui est en chacun de nous, se meut sous la direction de notre intelligence. Mais notre intelligence est imparfaite. Elle est sujette à l'erreur. Nous comparons, nous jugeons, vous agissons en conséquence ; mais nous pouvons nous tromper, faire un mauvais choix, tendre vers le mal le prenant pour le bien, fuir le bien le prenant pour le mal. C'est la première source des dissonances sociales ; elle est inévitable par cela même que le grand ressort de l'humanité, l'intérêt personnel, n'est pas, comme l'attraction matérielle, une force aveugle, mais une force, guidée par une intelligence imparfaite. Sachons donc bien que nous ne verrons l'Harmonie que sous cette restriction. Dieu n'a pas jugé à propos d'établir l'ordre social ou l'Harmonie sur la perfection, mais sur la perfectibilité humaine. Oui, si notre intelligence est imparfaite, elle est perfectible. Elle se développe, s'élargit, se rectifie ; elle recommence et vérifie ses opérations ; à chaque instant, l'expérience la redresse, et la Responsabilité suspend sur nos têtes tout un système de châtiments et de récompenses. Chaque pas que nous faisons dans la voie de l'erreur nous enfonce dans une douleur croissante, de telle sorte que l'avertissement ne peut manquer de se faire entendre, et que le redressement de nos déterminations, et par suite de nos actes, est tôt ou tard infaillible. The impulsive force which is within each of us is driven by our mind. Our mind, however, is flawed. It is subject to error. We compare, judge, and act accordingly, but we may be mistaken, make a wrong choice, and turn towards evil by mistaking it for the good, turn away from the good by mistaking it for evil. This is the leading source of social disharmony and is inevitable for the very reason that the major incentive of the human race, self-interest, is not a blind force like physical attraction, but a force governed by imperfect thinking. Let us be fully aware, therefore, that we will see harmony only subject to this restriction. God has not judged it appropriate to base social order or harmony on perfection, but on the perfectibility of mankind. Yes, although our mind is flawed it is perfectible. It develops, grows, and corrects itself. It starts its operations again and checks them; at each instant experience corrects it and responsibility suspends over our heads a system of punishments and rewards. Each step that we take down the path of error makes us sink deeper into increasing pain, so that we cannot fail to hear the warning, and the correction of our decisions and thus of our actions becomes inevitable sooner or later.

Societies as well as individuals could improve or were "perfectible." In fact, Bastiat was confident that both society and "man" were "naturally progressive"156 unless disturbing factors (such as war, legal plunder, tariffs, and other economic regulations)157 intervened to prevent the "harmonious laws" of the market from operating as they should. To prevent this from happening people needed to understand the "great laws of economics"158 and to act with them and not against them in order to enjoy their full benefit. In particular, they had to abstain from personally using coercion against others to get the things they wanted, and from using the state as "la grande fabrique des lois" (the great law factory)159 to use coercion on their behalf to do this.

If others continued to act in an anti-social manner there was "the law of human solidarity"160 by which law abiding and economically productive people could band together to use the power of public opinion to encourage peacefully the former to change their behaviour, namely to improve themselves and to cease harming others.

When the great productive powers made possible by free markets, free trade, the accumulation of capital, and the division of labour were unleashed and the "disturbing factors" which hampered them were removed, Bastiat believed that we would then see not only all classes gradually enjoying much higher standards of living (le niveau) but also that all classes would gradually approach a more equal and commonly shared standard of living at this much higher level. Bastiat called this "ce grand nivellement" (this great levelling, or leveling out)161 and "la loi essentielle de l'harmonie sociale" (the essential law of social harmony).162 This statement is one of the main themes of the book and Bastiat referred to it some 20 times.163

He summarized this view most clearly in chap. V "Value" as:164

Ce qui fait que ces lois sont harmoniques et non discordantes, c'est que tous les principes, tous les mobiles, tous les ressorts, tous les intérêts concourent vers un grand résultat final, que l'humanité n'atteindra jamais à cause de son imperfection native, mais don't elle approchera toujours en vertu de sa perfectibilité indomptable ; et ce résultat est : le rapprochement indéfini de toutes les classes vers un niveau qui s'élève toujours ; en d'autres termes : l'égalisation des individus dans l'amélioration générale. What makes these laws harmonious and not disharmonious is that all the principles, driving forces, springs, and interests contribute to the attainment of a great end result, which the human race will never achieve because of its innate imperfection, but toward which it will constantly progress because of its indomitable ability to perfect itself, this result is the never ending approach of all classes to a standard of living that is constantly rising, in other words, making individual people (more) equal as part of the general process of improvement.

Related to the term "le niveau" (level or standard of living) towards which all classes were gradually moving, is the word "le nivellement" (levelling).165 Bastiat distinguished between two very different ways in which "levelling" between the classes and the gradual equalisation of the standard of living could be accomplished; a "natural" way brought about by the free and uncoerced activities of people exchanging services in the free market; or an "artificial" way brought about by the use of the coercive powers of the state, in particular its use of the law.166 As early as July 1845 he was already talking about "ce nivellement naturel des phénomènes économiques" (this natural levelling out of economic phenomena) in his arguments with protectionists167 and then again during the Revolution when arguing with socialists, "la force de nivellement qui est dans la Liberté" (the force for levelling which lies in freedom).168 In an entirely new section he added to the article he had published in JDE (Sept. 1848) which would become chap. III "On the Needs of Man" he provided much more detail about his idea that "levelling" and a state of "equality" were the end result of unhampered market forces:

Oui, l'inégalité factice, l'inégalité que la loi réalise en troublant l'ordre naturel du développement des diverses classes de la société, cette inégalité est pour toutes une source féconde d'irritation, de jalousie et de vices. C'est pourquoi il faut s'assurer enfin si cet ordre naturel ne conduit pas vers l'égalisation et l'amélioration progressive de toutes les classes : et nous serions arrêtés dans cette recherche par une fin de non-recevoir insurmontable, si ce double progrès matériel impliquait fatalement une double dégradation morale. Yes, (there is) an artificial form of inequality, one that is created by the law when it upsets the natural order of development of the various classes in society, (and which) is a fertile source of resentment, jealousy, and vice for all. This is why we have to find out whether this natural order does not lead toward the equalisation and the gradual improvement of all classes, and our enquiries into this would be faced with a flat rejection if this twofold progress in the material sphere inevitably implied a twofold degradation in the moral one.

and then towards the end of the chapter:

Mais à supposer que cet état antisocial dit état de nature ait jamais existé, je me demande par quelle série d'idées Rousseau et ses adeptes sont arrivés à y placer l'égalité ? Nous verrons plus tard qu'elle est, comme la richesse, comme la liberté, comme la fraternité, comme l'unité, une fin et non un point de départ. Elle surgit du développement naturel et régulier des sociétés. L'humanité ne s'en éloigne pas, elle y tend. C'est plus consolant et plus vrai. But supposing that this anti-social situation known as a state of nature has ever existed, I wonder through what sequence of ideas Rousseau and his followers have managed to locate equality in it? We will see later that, like wealth, like freedom, like fraternity, and like unity, equality is an end (point) and not a starting point. It arises from the natural and regular development of societies. The human race does not move away from it (equality) but moves towards it. This is both more reassuring and truer.

As he would say to the left-anarchist Proudhon, his vision of the absolute equality of wealth was illusionary, but a close approximation of equality was possible with the steady accumulation of capital under "the regime of liberty":169

Mais si l'égalité absolue des fortunes est chimérique, ce qui ne l'est pas, c'est l'approximation constante de tous les hommes vers un même niveau physique, intellectuel et moral, sous le régime de la liberté. Parmi toutes les énergies qui concourent à ce grand nivellement, une des plus puissantes, c'est celle du capital. But if the absolute equality of wealth is illusionary, what is not is the constant, ever growing closeness of all men to the same physical, intellectual, and moral level under a regime of freedom. Among all the forms of energy that contribute to this great leveling out, one of the most powerful is capital.

On the other hand, the socialists of his day wanted to bring about levelling and equality by means of the coercive powers of the state or what he termed "ce nivellement légal" (this legally coerced form of levelling),170 "le nivellement des fortunes par la loi" (the levelling out of wealth by law),171 or "le nivellement par voie de spoliation" (levelling by means of plunder).172 In his mind "le nivellement légal" was just another form of "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder) which had to be resisted.173

 


 

Public Choice: "Bastiat and Public Choice" (to do)

 


 

The Rediscovery of Bastiat in America

The Nineteenth Century

Introduction

The impact of Bastiat's ideas were rather patchy in late–19th century America partly because he did not have a promoter of the stature of Thomas Jefferson (who promoted the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Say) and partly because his ideas about free trade were increasingly becoming marginalised in post-Civil War America. The heyday of his influence would not come until the second half of the 20th century.

Bastiat's influence in America was primarily as an economic journalist who wittily and cleverly demolished arguments for tariffs and subsidies to industry. His Economic Sophisms (1846, 1848) were immediately translated into the major European languages and an American edition appeared in 1848 with an introduction by the Prussian-American economist Francis Lieber (1800–72) who taught at the University of South Carolina and then Columbia University in NYC from 1856.174 Later, his essays were adapted by American free trade groups such as the American Free Trade Association in the late 1860s and 1870s for use in the American campaign for free trade, especially in Chicago and New York City.175

Bastiat was less well known in America as a theorist because of the problems faced with translating into English his magnum opus Economic Harmonies (1850, 1851). He published the first half of his Treatise in 1850, knowing that he would die before he could finish the project. His friends published a more complete edition in 1851 after his death from his papers.176 Thus, his work was not in good shape even in French. An English edition was undertaken by a Scottish economist Patrick James Stirling who translated the first part (chapters 1–10 which appeared originally in French in 1850) in 1860, and then for some reason the second part (chapters 11–25 which had appeared in French originally in 1851) in 1870; and the complete book with part 1 and part 2 together did not appear in English until 1880.177 This crippling of the complete English edition meant that Bastiat's work was largely inaccessible unless one read French. No American edition of the full version of Bastiat's Treatise appeared until 1944–45 when the conservative newspaperman R.C. Hoiles published it. This may explain why English-only readers largely neglected his theoretical work until the 20th century.

Nevertheless, in spite of these serious difficulties, Bastiat's ideas were taken up and taught in American universities by several economists and social theorists: the economists Amasa Walker (1799–1875) and Arthur Latham Perry (1830–1905), and the sociologist William Graham Sumner (1840–1910).178 One way to measure the influence of Bastiat in their thinking about economics is the obvious one of how many times they cite him directly (which is numerous). Another is to examine their use of terminology which was unique to Bastiat's economic and social theory, which included such key words and concepts as "plunder," "services," opposition to commonly held economic "sophisms" such as the supposed benefits of tariff protection and subsidies to national industry, the idea of opportunity cost (which Anthony de Jasay argues is one of Bastiat's greatest contributions to economic theory),179 and the idea that one should place the consumer and not the producer at the centre of economic policy.

Amasa Walker (1799–1875)

Taking these three figures in chronological order: Amasa Walker (1799–1875) was a businessman, a Massachusetts and national Congressman, and an economist. He taught political economy at Oberlin College 1842–48, Harvard 1853–60, and then Amherst College 1859–69. He was active in the anti-slavery movement, and in 1848 he was one of the founders of the Free Soil Party. Walker was a delegate to the first International Peace Congress in London of 1843, and he served at the Paris Congress in 1849 when he probably met Bastiat who gave one of the main addresses to the Congress.180 He was the father of another economist Francis Amasa Walker (1840–1897) who taught economics at Yale (1872) and was President of MIT (1881) and President of the American Economic Association (1885–92).181 Amasa Walker's major work was The Science of Wealth: A Manual of Political Economy (1866) which went through seven editions between 1866–74.182 A typical comment on Bastiat by Walker is the following:

References are made in this work to the writings of the late M. Frederick Bastiat. No author of the present age has done more to dispel popular delusions, and expose popular sophisms, — especially in his own country, France. It would be well if his writings were more extensively read in this country; and the republication of his "Harmonies of Political Economy" here would be a great benefaction to the public.183

 

Arthur Latham Perry (1830–1905)

The second economist inspired by Bastiat was Arthur Latham Perry (1830–1905) who was born in Lyme, New Hampshire, and became a prominent American economist and advocate of free trade. He graduated from Williams College in 1852 and was Orrin Sage Professor of history and political economy from 1853 to 1891. His book Political Economy (1865) went through 22 editions during his life, and his Introduction to Political Economy (1877) went through five editions. His last book was Principles of Political Economy (1891).184 He was a popular lecturer for the free trade movement and toured the country on behalf of the American Free Trade League in the late 1860s and 1870s and also publicly debated one of the leading protectionists of the day, Horace Greeley, in Boston and New York. One of his students was James Garfield who was also a member of the Cobden Club (England) and became President of the U..S (1881). After Garfield was assassinated Perry resigned from the Republican Party to join the more free trade Democratic Party and was appointed by Pres. Grover Cleveland to be Secretary of the Treasury.

In the Preface to Political Economy (1883) Perry notes his debt to Bastiat in the following terms:

… my late friend, Amasa Walker, who was even then a political economist of reputation, though he had not yet published his "Science of Wealth," recommended to me Bastiat's "Harmonies of Political Economy." I had scarcely read a dozen pages in that remarkable book, when the Field of the Science, in all its outlines and landmarks, lay before my mind just as it does to-day. I do not know how much I brought to that result, and how much towards it was derived from Bastiat. I only know, that from that time Political Economy has been to me a new science; and that I experienced then and thereafter a sense of having found something, and the cognate sense of having something of my own to say. It is a pleasure to acknowledge in ample terms one's indebtedness to such a quickening writer as Bastiat is …185

Although he had some objections to Bastiat's theory of value he did adopt with some vigor Bastiat's idea of exchange as the mutually beneficial exchange of "services" between two individuals, a term which he used 119 times in his book. He also developed Bastiat's incipient theory of subject value and his praxeological approach to analysing human action in making economic decisions as the following passage makes very clear:

Economical reasoning has a vast advantage both in gaining its starting-points and also in guarding its steps in that power of Introspection that is possessed by every man, woman, and child. Everybody buys and sells. Almost everybody watches the action of his own mind enough to see what are the motives in buying and selling. Even the child knows that in each act of exchange something is rendered and something is received. Everybody within the pale of compos mentis knows that it takes two to make a bargain, and two to make a trade. Each party to a trade knows what his motive is in making it, and soon comes to know that the other party has a corresponding motive. It is not needful that a man should be a banker or merchant or even a so-called "business man" in order to know just as well as anybody can know that what is rendered in an exchange is thought less of on the whole than what is received. The slightest introspection tells any man that. As this must always be true of each of the parties to any exchange, that which is rendered by each must stand in a different relation to his own mind from that which is received by each. In other words, each is glad to part with something for the sake of receiving something else; and this higher estimate put by each on what is received from the other marks for each the gain of the exchange. A very little introspection will inform any person, that were this higher estimate wanting in the mind of either of the two parties, the trade would not take place at all. It is perfectly natural to trade when these conditions are present, and morally impossible to trade when they are absent. Hence no law or encouragement is needed to induce any persons to trade; trade is natural, as any person can see who stops to ask himself why he has made a given trade; and on the other hand, any law or artificial obstacle that hinders two persons from trading who would otherwise trade, not only interferes with a sacred right, but destroys an inevitable gain that would otherwise accrue to two persons alike. Introspection, accordingly, breaks up some economical fallacies. "How would you like it yourself?" is often a relevant question to inquirers in this field. An easy self-knowledge open to all persons alike thus gives sound starting-points and guides to safe steps in economics.186

One could cite many more passages such as this one, but I think the point has been made that Bastiat innovative economic thinking from the 1840s had deeply influenced at least one American economist who continued to develop ideas which Bastiat had originated.

 

William Graham Sumner (1840–1910)

It was not only in the field of economics that Bastiat's ideas had an impact in this country. One could also point to the influential Yale sociologist William Graham Sumner (1840–1910) who was appointed to the Chair of Political Economy at Yale in 1872 (where he remained until 1909) and who published numerous works on sociology, banking, and tariff policy. In a widely circulated list of recommended books on economics to which he contributed, Sumner recommended Bastiat's Economic Harmonies and stated that:

All of Bastiat's writings have a charm of simplicity, combined with the clearest and most forcible reasoning that has not been surpassed by any other author. No one who reads Bastiat will ever be disappointed or have any reason to complain of dryness or abstruseness.187

 

American Free Trade Groups

In addition to the handful of academics who promoted French-inspired free market ideas in the colleges there were also other avenues for its distribution, such as popular books, pamphlets, encyclopedias, and private associations and lobby groups. The key lobby groups were centered around The American Free Trade League which was founded in 1864 by the lawyer Simon Sterne (1839–1901) and the economist and statistician Alexander del Mar (1836–1926) and included among its membership the economist Arthur Latham Perry (1830–1905), the New York politician Horace White (1865–1943), the engineer and economist David Ames Wells (1828–1898), and the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). Related to this were regional groups such as The New York Free-Trade Club which was founded in 1878 and seems to have been quite active, publishing a magazine called The Free-Trader, and books like William Graham Sumner's Lectures on the History of Protection in the United States (1883).188 A free trade group was also active in Chicago and it and the NYC group published their own versions of Bastiat's works which had been adapted slightly to suit American conditions.

The engineer and economist David Ames Wells (1828–1898) wrote many pamphlets for the League as well as an important article on "Free Trade" for Lalor's Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States (1881).189 The French economist and friend and colleague of Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari (1819–1912), wrote the article on "Protection" (based upon his article on "Tariffs" in the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1853–54); and David H. Mason wrote the lengthy pro-protectionist article "Protection in the United States."190

 

The Renaissance of Bastiat in Post-WW2 America

Unfortunately, Bastiat disappeared from sight in America for about 50 years until interest was revived in the mid–1940s. Their ideas were eclipsed by the rise of modern statism which occurred in the guise of Progressivism, the New Deal, and the war economy which was constructed during the Second World War and which was never completely dismantled afterwards.

 

The Rediscovery of Bastiat in WW2 Los Angeles: R.C. Hoyles

The rediscovery of Bastiat began in America in the late 1930s and early 1940s from two different sources and reached a peak in the 1950s and 1960s. The first came from the West Coast and the second from the East Coast. The western rediscovery came about when the conservative newspaper publisher Raymond Cyrus "R.C." Hoiles (1878–1970) moved from Ohio to run a daily newspaper in California, the Santa Ana Register, in 1935 when he was 56 years old. Around this time he discovered the work of Bastiat and used his newspaper's printing presses to publish a series of works by Bastiat using the 19th century English translations by Patrick James Stirling which had been published in the 1850s, 1860s, and the 1870s. Hoiles adapted them for an American audience by commissioning new forewords or by making his own compilations of Bastiat's writings to be used in his battle against the New Deal. The new foreword to what was now called Social Fallacies by the libertarian journalist and writer Rose Wilder Lane (1886–1968) in 1944 is particularly noteworthy.191 She described Bastiat as "one of the leaders of the revolution" who will be recognised one day by the "free world" for his great contribution:

Frederic Bastiat is one of the leaders of the revolution whose work and fame, like Aristotle's, belong to the ages. Aristotle, too, was a pioneer in an unexplored continent of human knowledge; he did little more than blaze two trees where the Wilderness Road began; he showed the way to a new world that he did not reach. What modern science owes to Aristotle, a free world will someday owe to Bastiat.192

This was quickly followed by a two volume edition of the Harmonies of Political Economy which also included a translation of The Law which Americans have found especially congenial because of Bastiat's linking of the harmony of the free market with divine intent.193 Hoiles in his "Publisher's Statement" which introduces the Social Fallacies explains why he thought reprinting Bastiat in 1944 was warranted as part of his campaign against FDR's New Deal:

The reason for republishing Bastiat's "Economic Sophisms" (which we have called "Social Fallacies") is that we believe Bastiat shows the fallacy of government planning better than any other writer of any period. Since he wrote a century ago, his work cannot be regarded as party-policies now. It deals with fundamental principles of political economy which out-last all parties.194

 

Bastiat's Expanding Circles on the East Coast/NYC: Leonard Reed and FEE

On the East Coast several individuals also contributed to raising Bastiat's profile. Leonard Read moved from L.A. to Irvington-on-Hudson just north of New York city in 1946 to set up the Foundation for Economic Education and began an new and expanded translation and publication program of Bastiat's works which appeared in the early 1960s; the economic journalist Henry Hazlitt wrote columns for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and published a popular book on economics which took as its title the subtitle of one of Bastiat's last works "Economics in One Lesson" (1946);195 Ludwig von Mises ran his seminar at NYU, spoke highly of Bastiat, and encouraged some of his students to set up a Circle Bastiat in the 1950s; and Ronald Reagan drew upon Bastiat's ideas for the speeches and educational programs he organised for General Electric and CBS in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Leonard Read came to hear about Bastiat through the work of Hoiles. At the time Read was the head of the Los Angeles branch of the American Chamber of Commerce and no doubt knew of R.C. Hoiles' defence of free market ideas in his "Freedom Newspapers." While still in California, Read wrote a foreword to a translation of another Bastiat pamphlet, Protection and Communism (1944),196 most likely also published by Hoiles, and began publishing some of Bastiat's works for his new organisation, the Foundation for Economic Education, which he was to set up in 1946 and moved to the east coast. After Hoiles had helped financially in the founding of the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946 Read repaid the favour by beginning an ambitious program to make the life and work of Bastiat better known to Americans by translating several of his works and commissioning a short biography by Dean Russell. One of the first publishing efforts by the new FEE was his own edition of The Law in the first issue of The Freeman magazine in 1944.197 This was followed soon afterwards by an unusual illustrated edition of The Law by an unnamed artist which was called Samplings of Important Books No. 4. The Law by Frederic Bastiat (the other 3 "important books" are not indicated).198 Read also commissioned a new translation of The Law by Dean Russell which was published in 1950 exactly one hundred years after its first appearance in June 1850.199

According to the introductory blurb to the pamphlet the reason given for its retranslation and republication was that

The Law is here presented again because the same situation exists in America today as in the France of 1848. The same socialist-communist ideas and plans that were then adopted in France are now sweeping America. The explanations and arguments then advanced against socialism by Mr. Bastiat are - word for word - equally valid today. His ideas deserve a serious hearing.

Russell later turned his PhD thesis on Bastiat which had been supervised by Wilhelm Röpke at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva between 1956 and 1959 into a intellectual biography which FEE published in 1965.200 The biography capped off a twenty year period at FEE devoted to Bastiat studies. Other works by Bastiat were translated with the assistance of the William Volker Fund and these appeared in 1964: Selected Essays on Political Economy (including the seminal "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen" and a rather luke-warm introduction by Friedrich Hayek), Economic Sophisms, and Economic Harmonies.201 These editions have remained the backbone of Bastiat studies in America ever since. They also reminded readers that there is more to Bastiat than just witty and insightful economic journalism. The translation of the long pamphlet "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen" in the Selected Essays on Political Economy and the thoughtful editorial apparatus of footnotes in the Economic Harmonies would lay the groundwork for a re-interpretation of Bastiat as a significant and original economic theorist in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

Henry Hazlitt and the NYT

In the years immediately following the end of the Second World War, Bastiat's ideas found an American supporter with the economic journalist Henry Hazlitt (1894–1993) who wrote for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In 1946 Hazlitt published a popular defence of free market ideas with the title Economics in One Lesson in which he acknowledged the influence of Bastiat by taking Bastiat's subtitle for What is Seen and What is Not Seen as the title for his own book. He noted in his introduction that, like Bastiat, he wanted to debunk the economic sophisms he saw around him and even borrowed the subtitle of Bastiat's 1850 pamphlet as the title of his book:

My greatest debt, with respect to the kind of expository framework on which the present argument is being hung, is to Frédéric Bastiat's essay "Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas," now nearly a century old. The present work may, in fact, be regarded as a modernization, extension, and generalization of the approach found in Bastiat's pamphlet.202

 

Ludwig von Mises at NYU

Another important individual in the rediscovery of Bastiat's economic ideas was the Austrian Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises who had moved to NYC from Switzerland in 1940 to escape the Nazis. Mises eventually was able to secure a post (unpaid) at NYU in 1945 where he taught until his retirement in 1969.203 Mises was certainly aware of Bastiat and referred to him positively several times in Liberalism (1927), Human Action (1949), Theory and History (1957), and in some of his essays and papers. In a series of lectures he gave in 1959 in Argentina he called Bastiat "the great French political economist" and referred to him in the same breath as Smith and Ricardo, but did not deal with his ideas in any detail because he had gone so far beyond Bastiat in his thinking of money and credit in particular where Bastiat had been weak or had said little.204 This was not the case with some younger attendees of the Mises Seminar and his PhD student Israel Kirzner who as a very sympathetic account of Bastiat's arguments that economics should place more importance on "exchange" rather than "production," and how the economy is organised in order to produce the outcomes desired by consumers.205

 

Rothbard's Circle Bastiat in Manhattan

However, it was a group of young libertarians who attended Mises seminar who took up the ideas of Bastiat most enthusiastically and formed their own "Circle Bastiat" which was in existence between 1953 and 1959. It consisted of Rothbard, Leonard Liggio, Ralph Raico, George Reisman, Ronald Hamowy, and Robert Hessen and they met in Rothbard's Manhattan apartment to discuss ideas and to socialise. Rothbard discovered Bastiat's work while he was researching and writing his own treatise on Austrian economics, which became Man, Economy, and State (1962)206 and was taken with Bastiat's pioneering use of thought experiments involving Robinson Crusoe to explore the nature of human action.207 Rothbard incorporated Bastiat's methodology in the opening two chapters "Fundamentals of Human Action" and "Direct Exchange" and again in The Ethics of Liberty (1982) his major work of political theory where he has three short chapters on "A Crusoe Social Philosophy," "Interpersonal Relations: Voluntary Exchange," and "Interpersonal Relations: Ownership and Aggression" in which Robinson Crusoe plays a vital role.208

Bastiat was not the only French classical liberal whose work had a profound impact on the members of Rothbard's Circle Bastiat. Through his work (probably by carefully reading his footnotes!) they gradually became aware of other classical liberals who had been part of Bastiat's network of friends and colleagues in Paris. These included Charles Comte (1782–1837) and Charles Dunoyer (1786–1862) (most notably his magnum opus De la Liberté du travail (1845)) whom Rothbard discovered and introduced to Liggio who did pioneering research into their life and work by writing a PhD (never completed) on Dunoyer.209 Ralph Raico was also inspired to write his PhD on French classical liberal thought (notably on Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville) under Hayek at the University of Chicago.210

 

Ronald Reagan at General Electric and CBS

Another possible consequence of R.C. Hoiles' and Leonard Read's activity in bringing Bastiat's books back into print between 1944 and 1965 is that it indirectly may have influenced the thinking of Ronald Reagan before he became Governor of California. It is likely that Ronald Reagan came across the journalism of Henry Hazlitt, and thus Bastiat, while he was working for General Electric as their public spokesman and internal staff educator, or "Travelling Ambassador." Thomas W. Evans in his book The Education of Ronald Reagan (2006) describes how Reagan moved from being a typical Hollywood "liberal" (in the American sense of a social democrat) to a "Conservative" when he was working for GE. In a post on the History News Network blog in 2007 he notes that:

I trace Reagan's evolution from liberal to conservative, from actor to politician. The changes took place during the time when he served as host of the General Electric Theater on television. His contract also called for him to spend a quarter of his eight years (1954–1962) with the company touring the forty states and 139 plants of GE's far-flung decentralized corporate domain, addressing 250,000 employees and their neighbors… Reagan learned more in his GE years than a set of prepared remarks. He became familiar with such diverse thinkers as von Mises, Lenin, Hayek, and the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. He read and reread the practical economics of Henry Hazlitt. He quoted Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton.211

In an earlier interview with Manuel Klausner in Reason magazine in 1975 Reagan is even more explicit in mentioning the name of Bastiat as one of the "classical economists" who had influenced his thinking. As he told Klausner:

REASON: Are there any particular books or authors or economists that have been influential in terms of your intellectual development?

REAGAN: Oh, it would be hard for me to pinpoint anything in that category. I'm an inveterate reader. Bastiat and von Mises, and Hayek and Hazlitt–I'm one for the classical economists….212

 

The Mises Institute's Bastiat Project

Rothbard's high regard for FB as an economic theorist meant that he became an important figure for the new generation of Austrian economists affiliated with the Mises Institute and their supporters such as Ron Paul. In his history of classical economics Rothbard devotes a chapter to the "Bastiat and the French laissez-faire tradition" and calls Bastiat "the central figure."213 As a result the Mises Institute has devoted considerable resources to producing their own edition of Bastiat's works using the older 19th century translation of Stirling and others214 and named their blog the "Circle Bastiat."

 

Liberty Fund's expanded French translation and publishing project

To commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Bastiat an international conference was held in Bayonne in South West France in June 2001 under the auspices of the Cercle Frédéric Bastiat and the French businessman Jacques de Guenin. It was here that the Liberty Fund's project of translating the Collected Works of Bastiat was conceived. The aim was to translate for the first time all of Bastiat's known writings (FEE had done less than half in the 1960s) and to add more editorial information of Bastiat's life and times and the intellectual context in which he was working.

Concurrent with Liberty Fund's publishing project, the late Jacques de Guenin and the Institut Charles Coquelin have been publishing a seven volume French language edition based upon the collected works of 1864, the first volume of which appeared in late 2009.215

The Liberty Fund's Bastiat Project should thus be seen as the culmination of a long period of discovery and rediscovery of the ideas of Frédéric Bastiat in America which has spanned nearly 170 years.

 


 

Responsibility: "The Law of Individual Responsibility and the Law of Human Solidarity".

Introduction

Bastiat developed several important pairings of concepts in his social theory which we have discussed elsewhere in the Collected Works. Some pairings are antagonistic, such as harmony vs. disharmony, and disturbing vs. restorative factors,216 while others are complementary, such as the relationship between producers and consumers, and in this case the corollary laws of individual responsibility and human solidarity.217

Some of these pairings were developed at greater length in chapters in EH1 which appeared in his lifetime (January 1850), for example chap. 1 "Natural and Artificial Organization" (originally as an article in JDE) and chap 8 "Property and Community (communal or shared property), while others were planned for inclusion in the expanded volume of the EH and were at best only in note form when he died on 24 Dec. 1850. They were eventually compiled and published posthumously by "la Société des amis de Bastiat" (the "Society of the Friends of Bastiat," namely Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay) in July 1851 and included chap. 11 "Producer (and) Consumer"; chap. 17 "Private and Public Services," chap. 18 "Disturbing Factors," chap. 20 "On Responsibility," and chap. 21 "On Solidarity."

A very important pairing of concepts was that of "la responsabilité" and "la solidarité" which he considered to be a pair of corollary natural "laws" and which formed an "appareil" (literally an apparatus or mechanism,218 but which is perhaps better translated as a system or structure) which was one of several he used in his social and economic theory. This "apparatus" or mechanism transmitted information to individuals and groups about what is good or bad, and harmful or beneficial concerning their activities and behaviors; it made possible a "responsive force" for improving the human condition (their "perfectibility" and moral improvement) and make it more equal (in both physical and economic terms); and was one part of the self-correcting mechanism of a free society.

Given the French preference for quite abstract concepts, a more accurate English translation of these expressions would be for "la loi de responsabilité" (7 instances) or "la loi de la responsabilité" (8), "the law of individual responsibility"; and for "la loi de solidarité" (11) or "la loi de la solidarité" (8), "the law of human solidarity" (which is a term Bastiat also used occasionally).219

His first use of this pairing came in a published "Letter to Lamartine" (JDE Feb. 1845) (in only his second ever article published in JDE) and also in a contemporaneous unpublished review of Charles Dunoyer's book (c. Feb. or March 1845):220

"l'homme n'est pas seulement soumis à la loi de la responsabilité, mais encore à celle de la solidarité" (mankind is not only subject to the law of (individual) responsibility but in addition to that (law) of (human) solidarity).

Like so many of his key ideas they were first presented in these two seminal articles which he wrote in early 1845 just as he was entering the orbit of the Parisian economists, which suggests he had most of his social and economic theory already thought out (at least in embryonic form) very early on. (i.e. before he moved to Paris).221

These "grandes lois naturelles" (great natural laws) consisted of two connected/related parts, the first of which, "la loi de la responsabilité," focuses on the single individual, while the second, "la loi de la solidarité," focused on a collection of individuals in a society or community. By this, Bastiat had in mind a network of social relationships which spread out from one's immediate family, friends and relations, and which extended to one's fellow citizens, and then to humanity in general in a series of expanding concentric circles. Bastiat also calls solidarity "une sorte de Responsabilité collective" (a form of collective responsibility);222 or shared responsibility223 which is passed on or transmitted to others.224 Both laws were tied up with the notion of "l'action humaine" (human action),225 free will, choosing between alternatives, and the idea that it is the acting individual who reaps the benefits or suffers the harms of the consequences of that action. These natural laws guided individuals and societies away from harm or pain, either in their personal behaviour (in the form of vice) or social practices (in the form of bad government policy).

In the case of an individual, the "pleasures" and "pains" which result from one's own actions are usually immediately felt as there is a "l'enchaînement naturel" (a natural linkage)226 between cause and effect which provides information the individual needs to change their future behaviour to increase pleasure and reduce pain. Thus the law of individual responsibility is "une force moralisatrice" (a moralizing force)227 which stimulates good habits and restrains bad habits in the individual. Since individuals have free will and are acting and choosing creatures they soon learn to correct their own behaviour and thus have no need of an outside force like a state, a dictator, a "mechanic," or an "organizer" to tell them how to behave.228 The would-be dictator of Barataria, Sancho tells his people exactly this when he promises that:229

J'aimerais mieux vous voir actifs que paresseux, économes que prodigues, sobres qu'intempérants, charitables qu'impitoyables; mais je n'ai pas le droit, et, en tout cas, je n'ai pas la puissance de vous jeter dans le moule qui me convient. Je m'en fie à vous-mêmes et à cette loi de responsabilité à laquelle Dieu a soumis l'homme. I would prefer to see you active than lazy, thrifty than spendthrifts, sober than intemperate, or charitable than merciless, but I have no right, and in any case I have no authority, to cast you in the mold that suits me. I place my trust in all of you and in the law of (individual) responsibility to which God has subjected man.

In the case of groups of individuals or even entire societies, they feel only indirectly or later in time the good or bad consequences of the actions of others but they nevertheless are still able to react in many ways to encourage the good effects and reduce the bad effects which impinge upon them. Bastiat developed the idea of "the ricochet effect" (par ricochet)230 to describe the "flow on effects" which changes in the economy introduced and which affected other people indirectly or later. Some of these flow on effects could be good, such as the introduction of printing which lowered the cost of transmitting information, or they could be bad, such as tariffs or heavy taxation which increased the cost of goods for most consumers. As part of this theory of the ricochet effect Bastiat used several hydraulic or electrical metaphors to describe the flow of information and the passing on of benefits or harms to other people. Examples include ripples on the surface of a pond, things slipping or sliding, hidden channels, lines of force or flows of electricity. In the case of solidarity he uses the word "jaillir" (spring forth) which suggests water gushing from a spring, and the vibration of two strings (quoted below).

In both cases these laws are a means of transferring information about what is harmful or destroys wealth, and what produces happiness or creates wealth. In the case of individuals the personal pain of making errors leads them to make changes in their behavior or actions: "l'erreur rencontre tôt ou tard pour limite la Responsabilité" (error sooner or later runs into the limit imposed by individual responsibility);231 in the case of society, social harms or injustices are met with opposition in the form of public opinion or sometimes active collective resistance to oppression: "l'oppression se brise tôt ou tard à la Solidarité" (oppression sooner or later is stopped/smashed by human solidarity).232 A good example of the latter was popular resistance to the growth of the state. Bastiat thought the state would continue to grow until it reached the limit of its "means of subsistence" which was the level of taxation it could impose. Once it had reached this "Malthusian limit" in the form of resistance by tax payers to further increases, the growth of the state would stop.233

Whether for individuals or for groups, the disruption caused by bad individual behaviour or government policy brings into play the self-correcting process of "les forces restoratives' (restorative forces) to restore harmony or equilibrium to society. Bastiat calls this feedback mechanism "un appareil" (apparatus, system) which acts as such a restorative force in that it was both "correctif et progressif" (correcting and improving) for both individuals and societies and served as "un système de peines et de récompenses réciproques" (a system of reciprocal pains and compensations).234 He also likens it to two vibrating strings which can produce either harmonious or disharmonious vibrations or sounds which induce people to act in various ways,235 thus linking this notion to other aspects of his social theory.236

Bastiat ties all these ideas together in one of the unfinished notes which his editors (Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay) included in EH2 chap. XX "Responsibility":

Toute action humaine, — faisant jaillir une série de conséquences bonnes ou mauvaises, dont les unes retombent sur l'auteur même de l'acte, et dont les autres vont affecter sa famille, ses proches, ses concitoyens et quelquefois l'humanité tout entière, — met, pour ainsi dire, en vibration deux cordes dont les sons rendent des oracles: la Responsabilité et la Solidarité. All human action that produces (faisant jaillir = making spring forth, calls forth) a series of good or harmful consequences, of which some affect the actual author of the action and others affect his family, his relations, and fellow-citizens and on occasion the entire human race, causes two cords to vibrate, so to speak, whose notes produce the oracles of responsibility and solidarity.
La responsabilité, c'est l'enchaînement naturel qui existe, relativement à l'être agissant, entre l'acte et ses conséquences; c'est un système complet de peines et de Récompenses fatales, qu'aucun homme n'a inventé, qui agit avec toute la régularité des grandes lois naturelles, et que nous pouvons par conséquent regarder comme d'institution divine. Elle a évidemment pour objet de restreindre le nombre des actions funestes, de multiplier celui des actions utiles. Responsibility is the natural link that exists between an action and its consequences with regard to the person who acts. It is a complete system of inevitable penalties and rewards, that is not of human invention, one which acts with all the regularity of great natural laws and which we may consequently consider a Divine institution. Its obvious object is to limit the number of disastrous actions and to increase the number of useful ones.
Cet appareil à la fois correctif et progressif, à la fois rémunérateur et vengeur, est si simple, si près de nous, tellement identifié avec tout notre être, si perpétuellement en action, que non-seulement nous ne pouvons le nier, mais qu'il est, comme le mal, un de ces phénomènes sans lesquels toute vie est pour nous inintelligible. This apparatus, (which is) at once corrective and progressive, which is both paymaster and avenger, is so simple and close to us, so intimately identified with our entire being, so perpetually in action that not only can we not deny it but, like evil, it is one of the phenomena without which all life would be unintelligible to us.

The end result of both laws is that both individuals and society are encouraged to gradually improve or "perfect" themselves both morally and physically (also economically), and to identify and then remove the obstacles or barriers to that improvement.

The Law of Human Solidarity

The law of human solidarity has some more complex aspects to it than the law of individual responsibility which need to be explained.

To begin with, the terseness of the French language makes it hard to translate "la solidarité" into one English word. Bastiat does use the term "la solidarité humaine" on occasion which we have adopted as the general term to use here, but it also suggests other things such as sociability, cooperation, the sharing of information and experiences, collective responsibility, and group or collective reactions to events.

Although Bastiat thought individuals have a strong personal selfish interest, which he termed "le moteur social" (the driving force of society), they also had (perhaps equally) strong interest in relating to / engaging with a larger group (such as society). Likewise, Bastiat described this as a powerful force which also drove society like the internal spring which drives the movement of a clock - "le ressort de la solidarité" (the spring of solidarity).237

This was because he thought individuals were naturally sociable and that there was "le lien de solidarité qui unit les hommes" (a bond of solidarity which united all human beings).238 Like the right to property, Bastiat thought "la solidarité des intérêts, comme la propriété, existe en dehors de la loi" (the solidarity of (shared) interests" existed prior to and outside the law).239 Much of his economic theory was devoted to showing how selfish individuals benefited from interacting peaceably with others through the "mutual exchange of services,"240 the division of labour, free trade, and even competition.

In Bastiat's view "la Responsabilité n'est pas exclusivement personnelle" (responsibility was not exclusively personal)241 but was also "collective" in that it was shared (se partager) or passed on to others (répercutée). In other words, there was "l'enchaînement de leurs intérêts" (an interlinking of their interests).242 In an interesting parallel to Destutt de Tracy's idea of society being make up of a collection of exchanges,243 Bastiat thought that society was made up of "un ensemble de solidarités " (a collection of smaller/individual interlocking/intersecting "solidarities")244 - such as that between consumer and producer, buyer and seller, capitalist and worker - which are steadily increasing in number and complexity as markets expand and societies develop.

Action might be individual but the consequences of such individual action affected the community as well. The same held for actions by the state, such as tariffs or taxes imposed on one group of people for the benefit of another. Since all individual interests are connected or tied together in some way, when one group of people are injured others are also affected: "les intérêts sont liés par une telle solidarité qu'il est impossible de blesser les uns sans que les autres en souffrent" ((peoples') interests are bound/tied by such solidarity that it is impossible to harm some without causing suffering to others.)245

Much of Bastiat's time following the February Revolution was spent countering the socialists' critique of the free market that it promoted "heartless individualism" at the expense of the fraternity and solidarity of the workers. He did this by arguing that their idea of state fostered or coercive solidarity or fraternity was a false, "artificial" form of solidarity which would not bring about the goals they sought, and that the free market, wage labour, and competition was a more "natural" form of association which did a better job of promoting solidarity in the longer term.246

Interestingly, Bastiat thought there was considerable solidarity between workers and capitalists (their employers and bosses) which would have been a very provocative thing to argue during the political and economic turmoil of the Second Republic. In his final Letter to Proudhon on free credit (7 March 1850) he tells an economic parable of the sighted helping the blind in a hospice they both inhabited. Although there is solidarity between the blind who are helped by those with sight, their condition can never be cured; whereas the solidarity which exists between capitalists who own property (capital) and the workers they employ is much greater since the latter can eventually acquire property as a result of their employment and thus, in a way, be "cured" of their affliction of poverty:247

La comparaison cependant pèche par un point essentiel. La solidarité entre les aveugles et les clairvoyants est loin d'être aussi intime que celle qui lie les prolétaires aux capitalistes; car si ceux qui voient rendent des services à ceux qui ne voient pas, ces services ne vont pas jusqu'à leur rendre la vue, et l'égalité est à jamais impossible. Mais les capitaux de ceux qui possèdent, outre qu'ils sont actuellement utiles à ceux qui ne possèdent pas, facilitent à ces derniers les moyens d'en acquérir. Nevertheless, the comparison is in error in one important aspect. Solidarity between the blind and the sighted is far from being as close as that linking the proletariat and capitalists, since while those who see provide services to those who do not, these services do not go so far as to restore their sight, and equality is forever impossible. But apart from the fact that it is currently useful to those who lack it, the capital of those who possess it helps provide the means to acquire it to those without.

The idea of competition was another interesting and perhaps unexpected inclusion in Bastiat's idea of solidarity as it is usually seen more as a source of rivalry between individuals rather than a source of solidarity.248 Instead Bastiat saw competition as "une des branches de la grande loi de la solidarité humaine" (a branch/part of the great law of solidarity)249 by which producers sought to provide consumers with new kinds of "services" from all over the world in order to better satisfy their needs, thus equalizing access to the cheapest and best goods from all over the world, gradually raising the standard of living of everybody,250 and in the process strengthening and broadening the ties/bonds of solidarity between individuals and nations.

In addition to the economic benefits, individuals also benefited from sharing knowledge with each other such as the spread of science and literature (made increasingly easier by the invention of printing and lower costs of transport). Bastiat called this "ce vaste trésor d'utilités et de connaissances acquises" (this vast treasury of acquired/accumulated useful things and knowledge).251

There was also the benefit of having large numbers of people join forces to achieve certain common goals. Bastiat refers specifically to collective action to enforce group norms as well as justice if the state failed to fulfill its most important (and only??) function. In addition to directly feeling the costs of imprudent or erroneous behaviour, individuals who suffered from vices such as laziness, drunkenness, breaking promises, occasionally needed some form of outside pressure to help them change their ways, such as critical public opinion or even ostracism, both of which which were non-violent acts.

However, Bastiat realized that sometimes necessary reforms could only be achieved through acts of violence, such as when powerful vested interests (large landowners and protected manufacturers), the ruling class, or even the government itself252 violated individual rights to life, liberty, and property in a systematic way. Then collective solidarity could be used to mobilise some form of organized opposition to these injustices and acts of plunder in the form of resistance to taxes or sometimes in revolution as in 1789, 1830, and 1848 in France. Bastiat termed this "cet appareil à la fois correctif et progressif, à la fois rémunérateur et vengeur" (this wonderful apparatus/system which was both correcting and improving, and rewarding and vengeful/punishing).253

Bastiat thought the role of public opinion, "this queen of the world," was crucial in reforming may of the abuses which existed in the world and he thought this force for good came directly out of the feeling of solidarity which tied people together. He called it "l'opinion … est fille de la solidarité" (pubic opinion (which) is the daughter/child of solidarity). In a lengthy note at the end of Chap. XX "On Responsibility" he observed that individual grievances against injustice were very weak and only became strong when they were joined together as a result of public opinion; they became "un faisceau formidable de résistances" (a powerful bundle for the purpose of resistance):254

Mais l'opinion, cette reine du monde, qui est fille de la solidarité, rassemble tous ces griefs épars, groupe tous ces intérêts lésés en un faisceau formidable de résistances. Quand les habitudes d'un homme sont funestes à ceux qui l'entourent, la répulsion se manifeste contre cette habitude. On la juge sévèrement, on la critique, on la flétrit; celui qui s'y livre devient un objet de défiance, de mépris et de haine. S'il y rencontrait quelques avantages, ils se trouvent bientôt plus que compensés par les souffrances qu'accumule sur lui l'aversion publique; aux conséquences fâcheuses qu'entraîne toujours une mauvaise habitude, en vertu de la loi de Responsabilité, viennent s'ajouter d'autres conséquences plus fâcheuses encore en vertu de la loi de Solidarité. However, public opinion, this queen of the world that is the daughter of solidarity, reunites all these scattered complaints and regroups all these harmed interests into a formidable knot of resistance. When the behaviour of one man harms his neighbors, opposition to this behavior appears. It is severely judged, criticized, and decried. The person who caused this becomes an object of mistrust, scorn, and hatred. If he gleaned a few benefits from it, these would soon be more than countered by the suffering that public aversion would heap on him. To the unfortunate consequences that bad behaviour always brings in its wake as a result of the law of (individual) responsibility, would be added other consequences that are even more unfortunate as a result of the law of (human) solidarity.
Le mépris pour l'homme s'étend bientôt à l'habitude, au vice; et comme le besoin de considération est un de nos plus énergiques mobiles, il est clair que la solidarité, par la réaction qu'elle détermine contre les actes vicieux, tend à les restreindre et à les détruire. Scorn for the person soon extends to a scorn for the behaviour or vice, and as the need for esteem is one of our most dynamic incentives it is clear that solidarity, through the reaction it generates against vicious actions, tends to restrain and destroy them.
La Solidarité est donc, comme la responsabilité, une force progressive; et l'on voit que, relativement à l'auteur de l'acte, elle se résout en responsabilité répercutée, si je puis m'exprimer ainsi; — que c'est encore un système de peines et de récompenses réciproques, admirablement calculé pour circonscrire le mal, étendre le bien et pousser l'humanité dans la voie qui mène au progrès. (Human) solidarity, like (individual) responsibility, is thus a force for progress, and it can be seen that with regard to the author of the act it results in responsibility which is passed on to others, if I may put it this way, which is another system of reciprocal rewards and punishments which are admirably calculated to limit evil/harm, extend good, and propel the human race along the path that leads to progress.

 


 

Romans: Hostility to the Romans

Bastiat on many occasions expressed great hostility towards ancient Greece and Rome, which was so admired by his contemporaries and played such a crucial role in French education as proficiency in Latin was a requirement of the state Baccalauréat in order to get into university. He mentions this several times in his theoretical work, in his letters, and in his speeches and articles on educational reform. He rejected the morality of the ancient Roman authors in particular whom he regarded as nothing more than warriors and slave owners who kept the majority of the Roman people in political subjection and ruled the rest of the Mediterranean world as subjects of their ever growing empire. The Romans disliked manual labor, used violence to maintain their economic privileges and political rule, and regarded war and the warrior virtues as supreme. For all these reasons, Bastiat despised the Romans.

In his writings on the theory of plunder, Bastiat placed Roman slavery at an early point in the evolution of European society which he saw as moving from primitive plunder, through war, slavery, theocracy, monopoly, governmental exploitation, and communism (or what he called "false fraternity").255

Bastiat's very first reference to Rome was in a letter to his friend Victor Calmètes (8 December, 1821) which set the tone for his views for the remainder of his life:256

À Rome la fortune était le fruit du hasard, de la naissance, de la conquête ; aujourd'hui elle n'est que le prix du travail, de l'industrie, de l'économie. Dans ce cas elle n'a rien que d'honorable. C'est un fort sot préjugé qu'on puise dans les colléges, que celui qui fait mépriser l'homme qui sait acquérir avec probité et user avec discernement. Je ne crois pas que le monde ait tort, dans ce sens, d'honorer le riche ; son tort est d'honorer indistinctement le riche honnête homme et le riche fripon… In Rome, wealth was the fruit of chance, birth, and conquests; today, it is the reward only of work, industry, and economy. In these circumstances, it is nothing if not honorable. Only a real fool taken from secondary school would scorn a man who knows how to acquire assets with honesty and use them with discernment. I do not believe that the world is wrong in this respect when it honors the rich; its error is to honor indiscriminately the honest rich man and the rich scoundrel. . . .

As someone who attended a private, experimental school in Sorèze, where modern languages, history, and music were taught, Bastiat believed that the study of the Latin language and Roman classics in government schools help twist the minds of modern-day youth and prejudiced them against voluntary cooperation and industrious work. As he stated in an early article "On a New Secondary School to Be Founded in Bayonne" (1834) he warned educators about teaching pupils too much about the Romans:257

Car qu'y a-t-il de commun entre la Rome antique et la France moderne ? Les Romains vivaient de rapine, et nous vivons d'industrie ; ils méprisaient et nous honorons le travail ; ils laissaient aux esclaves la tâche de produire, et c'est justement la tâche dont nous sommes chargés ; ils étaient organisés pour la guerre et nous pour la paix, eux pour la spoliation et nous pour le commerce ; ils aspiraient à la domination, et nous tendons à la fusion des peuples. For what is there in common between ancient Rome and modern France? The Romans lived from plunder and we live from production, they scorned and we honor work, they left to slaves the task of producing and this is exactly the task for which we are responsible, they were organized for war and we aim for peace, they were for theft and we are for trade, they aimed to dominate and we tend to bring peoples together.
Et comment voulez-vous que ces jeunes hommes échappés de Sparte et de Rome ne troublent pas notre siècle de leurs idées, que, comme Platon, ils ne rêvent pas de chimériques républiques ; que, comme les Gracques, ils n'aient pas le regard fixé sur le mont Aventin ? que comme Brutus, ils ne méditent pas la gloire sanglante d'un sublime dévouement. And how do you expect these young men who have escaped from Sparta and Rome not to upset our century with their ideas? Will they not, like Plato, dream of illusory republics; and like the Gracchi, have their gaze fixed on the Aventine Mount; and like Brutus, contemplate the bloody glory of sublime devotion?

He was still saying the same thing during the Revolution of 1848 where he stated in an article on "The Scramble for Office" in his revolutionary newspaper La République française (March, 1848) that:258

Dans un pays où, depuis un temps immémorial, le travail libre est partout gêné et comprimé, où l'éducation propose pour modèle à toute la jeunesse les mœurs de la Grèce et de Rome, où le commerce et l'industrie sont constamment exposés par la presse à la risée des citoyens sous les noms de mercantilisme, industrialisme, individualisme, où la carrière des places mène seule à la fortune, à la considération, à la puissance, où l'État fait tout et se mêle de tout par ses innombrables agents, — il est assez naturel que les fonctions publiques soient avidement convoitées. In a country in which, since time immemorial, the labor of free men has everywhere been demeaned, in which education offers as a model to all youth the mores of Greece and Rome, in which trade and industry are constantly exposed by the press to the scorn of citizens under the label profiteering, industrialism, or individualism, in which success in office alone leads to wealth, prestige, or power, and in which the state does everything and interferes in everything through its innumerable agents, it is natural enough for public office to be avidly sought after.
Comment détourner l'ambition de cette direction funeste et refouler l'activité des classes éclairées vers les carrières productives ? How can we turn ambition away from this disastrous direction and redirect the activity of the enlightened classes toward productive careers?

One of the last major pieces he wrote in his final year, Baccalaureate and Socialism (early 1850), is his most extended work on the defects of a classical education and the teaching of "Roman morals." He blamed the classical education many 18th century thinkers had received, men like Montesquieu, Rousseau, Raynal, and Mably, for inclining them towards social and economic planning, and even in some cases like Mably's, towards socialism or communism. Their writings in turn, influenced people like the Jacobin Robespierre in the first French Revolution of 1789 and then the leader of the socialist Montagnard group, Ledru-Rollin, in 1848. Typical of his thought was the long and quite angry passage he devoted to the thought of the Abbey Mably where, among other things he accused him of wanting to be "a manufacturer of institutions," a founder of new societies, a peddler of absurd and subversive ideas, someone who exalted war , slavery, priestly deception, and the community of goods, and finally a communist.259

Bastiat attributed much of the violence and interventionist legislation during the recent revolution to the classical ideas taught in French schools:260

Tel était, sur la Famille, la Propriété, la Liberté, la Société, l'état où l'éducation donnée par le clergé avait réduit l'opinion publique en France, quand éclata la Révolution. Elle s'explique, sans doute, par des causes étrangères à l'enseignement classique. Mais est-il permis de douter que cet enseignement n'y ait mêlé une foule d'idées fausses, de sentiments brutaux, d'utopies subversives, d'expérimentations fatales ? Qu'on lise les discours prononcés à l'Assemblée législative et à la Convention. C'est la langue de Rousseau et de Mably. Ce ne sont que prosopopées, invocations, apostrophes à Fabricius, à Caton, aux deux Brutus, aux Gracques, à Catilina. Va-t-on commettre une atrocité ? On trouve toujours, pour la glorifier, l'exemple d'un Romain. Ce que l'éducation a mis dans l'esprit passe dans les actes. Il est convenu que Sparte et Rome sont des modèles ; donc il faut les imiter ou les parodier. L'un veut instituer les jeux Olympiques, l'autre les lois agraires et un troisième le brouet noir dans les rues. The causes of the Revolution probably had no connection with a classical education, but can we doubt that this form of education contributed a host of mistaken ideas, sadistic feelings, subversive utopias and deadly experimentation? Read the speeches made in the Legislative Assembly and the Convention. They are in the language of Rousseau and Mably. They are just tirades in favor of, and invocations and exclamatory addresses to, Fabricius, Cato, the two Brutuses, the Gracchi, and Catilina. Is an atrocity going to be committed? There is always the example of a Roman to glorify it. What education has instilled in the mind is translated into act. Sparta and Rome are agreed on as models and so they must be imitated or parodied. One person wants to establish the Olympic Games, another the agrarian laws and a third (the distribution of) black broth in the streets.

He thus wanted to see the state imposed Baccalauréat replaced by a competitive and privately provided educational system in which the teaching of Greek and Latin and the classics would be downplayed or even eliminated entirely. As he pointed out to his colleagues in the Chamber when the topic of educational reform came up for discussion, many of them said they opposed socialism and communism, but seemed unable to refute the ideas which lay behind these political ideologies. This he argued was because their own classical education blinded them from seeing the "poison" which was in the cup they were about to put to their lips:261

Oui, j'accuse le Baccalauréat de préparer, comme à plaisir, toute la jeunesse française aux utopies socialistes, aux expérimentations sociales. Et c'est là sans doute la raison d'un phénomène fort étrange, je veux parier de l'impuissance que manifestent à réfuter le socialisme ceux-là mêmes qui s'en croient menacés. Hommes de la bourgeoisie, propriétaires, capitalistes, les systèmes de Saint-Simon, de Fourier, de Louis Blanc, de Leroux, de Proudhon ne sont, après tout, que des doctrines. Elles sont fausses, dites-vous. Pourquoi ne les réfutez-vous pas ? Parce que vous avez bu à la même coupe : parce que la fréquentation des anciens, parce que votre engouement de convention pour tout ce qui est Grec ou Romain vous ont inoculé le socialisme. Yes, I accuse the baccalaureate of shaping, as though wantonly, all French youth for socialist utopias and social experimentation. And doubtless that is the reason for a very strange phenomenon, the incapacity to refute socialism shown by the very people who think they are threatened by it. Men from the bourgeoisie, landowners and capitalists, the systems of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Louis Blanc, Pierre Leroux, and Proudhon, are only doctrines, after all. You say they are wrong. Why do you not refute them? Because you have drunk from the same cup, because frequent reading of the ancients and your conventional liking for everything that is Greek or Roman has inoculated you with socialism.

 


 

The Seen and the Unseen

In his last major work, Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'Économie politique en une leçon (What is Seen and What is Not Seen, or Political Economy in One Lesson),262 written for the third time over the summer of 1850,263 Bastiat explores one of his most original and important economic insights, what we would called today "opportunity cost." In the opening paragraph he explains his insight as follows:264

Dans la sphère économique, un acte, une habitude, une institution, une loi n'engendrent pas seulement un effet, mais une série d'effets. De ces effets, le premier seul est immédiat ; il se manifeste simultanément avec sa cause, on le voit. Les autres ne se déroulent que successivement, on ne les voit pas ; heureux si on les prévoit. In the sphere of economics an action, a habit, an institution, or a law engenders not just one effect but a series of effects. Of these effects only the first is immediate; it is revealed simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The others merely occur successively; they are not seen; we are lucky if we foresee them.
Entre un mauvais et un bon Économiste, voici toute la différence : l'un s'en tient à l'effet visible ; l'autre tient compte et de l'effet qu'on voit et de ceux qu'il faut prévoir. The entire difference between a bad and a good Economist is apparent here. A bad one relies on the visible effect, while the good one takes account both of the effect one can see and of those one must foresee.

In an otherwise fairly dismissive comment on Bastiat's abilities as an economic theorist (essentially agreeing with Schumpeter that "I do not hold that he was a bad theorist. I hold that he was no theorist."),265 Friedrich Hayek does admit that his insight into WSWNS was both "clear" and "decisive":

No one has ever stated more clearly in a single phrase the central difficulty of a rational economic policy and, I would like to add, the decisive argument for economic freedom. It is the idea compressed into these few words that made me use the word "genius" in the opening sentence ("a publicist of genius"). It is indeed a text around which one might expound a whole system of libertarian economic policy.

Anthony de Jasay, on the other hand, thinks that Bastiat's understanding of "opportunity cost," as expressed in the idea of "the seen" and "the unseen," was both original and very important in theoretical terms.266

As is often the case with Bastiat, his changing use of terminology makes it hard to pin down exactly the first time he expressed this idea in his writing. He talks about "seeing" and "not seeing," having "foresight" or not having foresight, "perceiving" and being "deceived," "looking at one side" and not the other, "looking at one party" and not the other or the whole of society, "things that are done" and things that are not done or merely "displaced," only seeing "abnormal things" and not seeing the everyday things around us, only "seeing the surface appearance of things" and not the totality, only seeing immediate benefits and not future benefits or losses, and so on.

A very early usage is in ES1 20 "Human Labor and Domestic Labor" (c. 1845),267 where he argues against opponents of imported goods and the use of machines by contrasting their "immediate and transitory effects" (which are seen to be harmful) and their "general and permanent consequences" (which are beneficial). Thus the range of words he used before he settled on "ce qu'on voit" (that which one sees, or the seen) and "ce qu'on ne voit pas" (that which one does not see, the unseen) is considerable which makes tracking his changing usage problematical.

In his definitive work on the matter, Bastiat provides the reader with a dozen specific examples of his principle at work which can be summarized as follows:

1. replacing a broken window provides work for the glazier but not for the shoemaker whose shoes Jacques Bonhomme does not buy

2. dismissing members of the armed forces reduces the expenditure of the troops in the garrison town but the taxes saved allows taxpayers to spend more in the town where they live

3. defenders of taxes which go to public servants (functionaries) argue that because of the "ricochet" or flow on effect the taxes ultimately find their way back into the pockets of taxpayers; but what would the taxpayers have done if they been able to keep their tax money and spend it as they chose?

4. the same for spending on theaters and the fine arts

5. the same for workers employed in public works projects

6. socialists who condemn "the middlemen" such as capitalists, bankers, speculators, entrepreneurs, merchants, and traders, as "unproductive" ignore what it would cost the state to provide those same services to consumers

7. when a protectionist goes to "the great law factory" in Paris to get foreign trade restricted for his own benefit, the losses imposed on ordinary consumers like Jacques Bonhomme are ignored

8. when a new machine is introduced and replaces a labourer what is not seen is that the savings to the manufacturer (in labour costs) and to the consumer (in lower cost of the products made) are spent on other things which increases the demand for labour in those areas

9. when the state intervenes to control the allocation of credit it does not create any new credit but merely "displaces" it from one person (perhaps more creditworthy) to another (perhaps less creditworthy)

10. when the state spends taxpayers money on the colony of Algeria what is seen is an increase in trade out of Marseilles and the building of new ports and roads in Algeria, but what is not seen are the things not built by the taxpayers

11. when a thrifty person saves money what is seen is that he is not spending his money on the businesses around him, but what is not seen is the employment created by the investments made by the bank in which he places his savings; the reverse is the case for the spendthrift who spends everything on luxury goods and saves nothing for the future.

12. when the state uses taxpayer's money to fund a government run "right to a job" make-work scheme (as the socialists in 1848 tried to do with the National Workshops program run by Louis Blanc) what is seen are only those government jobs and not those private sector jobs which would have been created had the taxpayers been able to keep their tax money; the same is true for those politically privileged companies which demand "the right to a profit" guaranteed by the state vis-à-vis the consumers who have to pay more for their products.

 

In EH we have been able to flag eleven instances of this principle being referred to directly and indirectly (with key phrases in bold):

  1. IV Exchange p. 179:
Soit que cette intervention de la Force dans les échanges en provoque qui ne se seraient pas faits, ou en prévienne qui se seraient accomplis, il ne se peut pas qu'elle n'occasionne tout à la fois Déperdition et Déplacement de travail et de capitaux, et par suite perturbation dans la manière dont la population se serait naturellement distribuée. Whether the intervention of this coercive power in exchanges stimulates some exchanges that would never have been made, or prevents some that would have been made, it cannot fail to cause the simultaneous loss or displacement of labor and capital, and consequently a disturbance in the way that populations are naturally distributed.

2. V On Value, p. 213:

Communistes, vous rêvez la communauté. Vous l'avez. L'ordre social rend toutes les utilités communes, à la condition que l'échange des valeurs appropriées soit libre. Communists, you dream of the community (of goods). Well you have it. The social order makes all things of use common (to all), on condition that the exchange of privately owned things of value is made freely.
Vous ressemblez à des architectes qui disputent sur un monument, dont chacun n'a observé qu'une face. Ils ne voient pas mal, mais ils ne voient pas tout. Pour les mettre d'accord, il ne faut que les décider à faire le tour de l'édifice. You are like architects who quarrel over a monument, which they have seen from just one side. They do not see incorrectly, but they do not see everything. To make them agree, all you need is to persuade them to walk around the edifice.

 

3. addition to EH2 version of V On Value, p. 269:

Il est surprenant qu'au point de vue de l'économie politique ce noble attribut de l'homme, la Prévoyance, n'ait pas été plus remarqué. C'est toujours, ainsi que le disait Rousseau, à cause de la difficulté que nous éprouvons à observer le milieu dans lequel nous sommes plongés et qui forme notre atmosphère naturelle. Il n'y a que les faits anormaux qui nous frappent, et nous laissons passer inaperçus ceux qui, agissant autour de nous, sur nous et en nous d'une manière permanente, modifient profondément l'homme et la société. It is surprising that from the point of view of political economy this noble attribute of man, foresight, has not been more noted. This, as Rousseau said, stems always from the difficulty we have in observing the environment that surrounds us, forming the very air we breathe. Only abnormal events strike us and we let pass unnoticed those that have their effects around us, on us, and in us, and create permanent and profound changes in man and society.

 

4. IX Property in Land, p. 422. Note: Here "the seen" is "le travail actuel" (present labour) and what is harder to see is "le travail antèrieur" (labour which had been completed before) and was now in the form of capital:

Passez en revue toutes les améliorations permanentes dont l'ensemble constitue la valeur du sol, et vous pourrez faire sur chacune la même remarque. Après avoir détruit le fossé, détruisez aussi la clôture, réduisant l'agriculteur à monter la garde autour de son champ ; détruisez le puits, la grange, le chemin, la charrue, le nivellement, l'humus artificiel ; replacez dans le champ les cailloux, les plantes parasites, les racines d'arbres, alors vous aurez réalisé l'utopie égalitaire. Le sol, et le genre humain avec lui, sera revenu à l'état primitif : il n'aura plus de valeur. Les récoltes n'auront plus rien à démêler avec le capital. Leur prix sera dégagé de cet élément maudit qu'on appelle intérêt. Tout, absolument tout, se fera par du travail actuel, visible à l'œil nu. L'économie politique sera fort simplifiée. La France fera vivre un homme par lieue carrée. Tout le reste aura péri d'inanition ; — mais on ne pourra plus dire : La propriété est un monopole, une illégitimité, un vol. If we review all the permanent improvements that constitute the value of the soil you would be able to make the same comment for each of them. Having destroyed the ditch, destroy the fencing as well, thus reducing the farmer to mounting guard on his field. Destroy the well, the barn, the track, the plough, the leveling (which has been) carried out, and the artificial fertilizer. Put the stones back into the field, together with the weeds and the roots of trees, and then you will have achieved egalitarian utopia. The soil, and the human race with it, will be returned to its original state, and will no longer have any value. Harvests would no longer have anything to do with. Their price would be free of this damn thing known as interest. Everything, absolutely everything, will be done through present labor visible to the naked eye. Political economy will be very much simpler. France will provide a living for one man per square league; all the others will have died of starvation, but nobody will be able to say: property is a monopoly, illegitimate, a theft.

 

5. X Competition, p. 455:

J'ai cité deux exemples, et, pour rendre le phénomène plus frappant par sa grandeur, j'ai choisi des relations internationales opérées sur une vaste échelle. Je crains d'être ainsi tombé dans l'inconvénient de dérober à l'œil du lecteur le même phénomène agissant incessamment autour de nous et dans nos transactions les plus familières. Qu'il veuille bien prendre dans ses mains les plus humbles objets, un verre, un clou, un morceau de pain, une étoffe, un livre. Qu'il se prenne à méditer sur ces vulgaires produits. Qu'il se demande quelle incalculable masse d'utilité gratuite serait, à la vérité, sans la Concurrence, demeurée gratuite pour le producteur, mais n'aurait jamais été gratuite pour l'humanité, c'est-à-dire ne serait jamais devenue commune. … et il comprendra alors le vice des théories socialistes, qui, ne voyant que la superficie des choses, l'épiderme de la société, se sont si légèrement élevées contre la Concurrence, c'est-à-dire contre la liberté humaine ; il comprendra que la Concurrence, maintenant aux dons que la nature a inégalement répartis sur le globe le double caractère de la gratuité et de la communauté, il faut la considérer comme le principe d'une juste et naturelle égalisation I have cited two examples, and in order to make the phenomenon even more striking in its grandeur I have chosen international relations operating on a vast scale. I fear that I may thereby have fallen into the trap of shifting the reader's gaze from the very same phenomenon happening constantly around us in our most mundane transactions. Let him pick up the most humble of objects, a glass, a nail, a piece of bread, a piece of fabric or a book. He should meditate a while on these commonplace objects. Let him ask himself whether, without competition, such an incalculable mass of free utility would truly have remained free for the producer but would never have become free for the human race, that is to say, would never have become common to all. … At this point he will understand the flaws in socialist theories that, merely seeing the surface appearance of things, the epidermis of society, have spoken out so irresponsibly against competition, that is to say, against human freedom, and will realize that since competition safeguards the twin character of gratuitousness and common availability of the gifts that nature has inequitably distributed over the planet, it has to be considered as the basis of a just and natural process of equalization.

 

6. X Competition, p. 466:

Il est vrai que le prolétaire, quand il se considère comme producteur, comme offreur de travail ou de services, se plaint aussi de la concurrence. Admettons donc qu'elle lui profite d'une part, et qu'elle le gêne de l'autre ; il s'agit de savoir si la balance lui est favorable, ou défavorable, ou s'il y a compensation. It is true that when they consider themselves producers or suppliers of work or services, the proletariat also complain about competition. Let us assume therefore that it benefits them on one hand and harms them on the other. What we need to know is whether on the whole competition is beneficial or detrimental to the proletariat or whether it balances out.
Je me serais bien mal expliqué si le lecteur ne comprenait pas que, dans ce mécanisme merveilleux, le jeu des concurrences, en apparence antagoniques, aboutit à ce résultat singulier et consolant qu'il y a balance favorable pour tout le monde à la fois, à cause de l'Utilité gratuite agrandissant sans cesse le cercle de la production et tombant sans cesse dans le domaine de la Communauté. … C'est cette portion d'utilité gratuite, forcée par la Concurrence de devenir commune, qui fait que les valeurs tendent à devenir proportionnelles au travail, ce qui est au profit évident du travailleur. C'est elle aussi qui explique cette solution sociale, que je tiens constamment sous les yeux du lecteur, et qui ne peut nous être voilée que par les illusions de l'habitude : pour un travail déterminé chacun obtient une somme de satisfactions qui tend à s'accroître et à s'égaliser. I would have explained myself very badly if the reader failed to understand that in this marvelous mechanism, the interplay of these different kinds of competition which appear (on the surface) to be antagonistic result in this important and reassuring conclusion that there is a balance which is favourable to everybody at the same time, because gratuitous utility constantly increases the sphere of production and (then) falls into the domain of the Commons. … It is also this portion that explains the solution to the social problem that I constantly keep before the reader's eyes, and which only the illusions of habit alone are capable of shrouding. For a given quantity of work each person receives a quantity of satisfaction that tends to increase and become equal.

 

7. XVII Private and Public Services, p. 680:

Nous plaçons ici cette observation pour prévenir un sophisme très-répandu, né de l'illusion monétaire. On entend souvent dire : L'argent reçu par les fonctionnaires retombe en pluie sur les citoyens. Et l'on infère de là que cette prétendue pluie est un second bien ajouté à celui qui résulte du service. En raisonnant ainsi, on est arrivé à justifier les fonctions les plus parasites. On ne prend pas garde que, si le service fut resté dans le domaine de l'activité privée, l'argent qui, au lieu d'aller au trésor et de là aux fonctionnaires, aurait été directement aux hommes qui se seraient chargés de rendre librement le service, cet argent, dis-je, serait aussi retombé en pluie dans la masse. Ce sophisme ne résiste pas quand on porte la vue au-delà de la circulation des espèces, quand on voit qu'au fond il y a du travail échangé contre du travail, des services contre des services. Dans l'ordre public, il peut arriver que des fonctionnaires reçoivent des services sans en rendre ; alors il y a perte pour le contribuable, quelque illusion que puisse nous faire à cet égard le mouvement des écus. We have made this observation here to ward off a widespread sophism born of the money illusion. You often hear it said that the money received by functionaries falls again like rain on the citizens, with the inference that this alleged rain is a second benefit added to the one resulting from the service. Such reasoning serves to justify the most parasitical functions. No notice is taken of the fact that if the service had been left in the domain of private activity, the money, instead of going to the treasury and thence to functionaries, would have gone directly to people who would have been responsible for freely providing the service, and would also have fallen like rain on the population. This sophism does not stand up if we look beyond the circulation of money and see that this is basically work being exchanged for work and services for services. In the public realm, it may happen that functionaries receive services without rendering any in return. In this case taxpayers are the losers, whatever the illusion the movement of écus may have on us.

 

8. XVII Private and Public Services, p. 689:

Dans quel cas l'emploi de la force est-il légitime ? Il y en a un, et je crois qu'il n'y en a qu'un : le cas de légitime défense. S'il en est ainsi, la raison d'être des gouvernements est trouvée, ainsi que leur limite rationnelle. In what circumstances is the use of force legitimate? There is one, and I believe there is only one: the case of legitimate self-defense If this is so, the raison d'être of governments is apparent, as is their rational limit.
Quel est le droit de l'individu ? C'est de faire avec ses semblables des transactions libres, d'où suit pour ceux-ci un droit réciproque. Quand est-ce que ce droit est violé ? Quand l'une des parties entreprend sur la liberté de l'autre. En ce cas il est faux de dire, comme on le fait souvent : « Il y a des excès, abus de liberté. » Il faut dire : « Il y a défaut, destruction de liberté. » Excès de liberté sans doute si on ne regarde que l'agresseur ; destruction de liberté si l'on regarde la victime, ou même si l'on considère, comme on le doit, l'ensemble du phénomène. What is the right of an individual? It is to carry out free transactions with his fellow men, which gives rise to a reciprocal right in these people. When is this right violated? When one of the parties infringes the freedom of the other. In this case, it is wrong to say, as is so often done: "There has been an excess, an abuse of freedom." What ought to be said is: "There has been a lack, a destruction of freedom." An excess of freedom, doubtless, if you take notice only of the aggressor; destruction of freedom if you take notice only of the victim, or even if you consider, as you should, the phenomenon as a whole.

 

9. XVII Private and Public Services, p. 701:

On pourrait cependant leur faire observer que si, au lieu d'exercer la spoliation par l'intermédiaire de la loi, ils l'exerçaient directement, leur sophisme s'évanouirait : Si, de votre autorité privée, vous preniez dans la poche d'un ouvrier un franc qui facilitât votre entrée au théâtre, seriez-vous bien venu à dire à cet ouvrier : « Mon ami, ce franc va circuler et va donner du travail à toi et à tes frères ? » Et l'ouvrier ne serait-il pas fondé à répondre : « Ce franc circulera de même si vous ne me le volez pas ; il ira au boulanger au lieu d'aller au machiniste ; il me procurera du pain au lieu de vous procurer des spectacles ? » However, it might be pointed out to them that if, instead of carrying out plunder using the law as an intermediary, they exercised it directly, their sophism would vanish: "If on your individual authority you took from the pockets of a workman one franc to help to pay for your admission to the theatre, would you be in any position to say to this workman: 'My friend, this franc will be put into circulation and will give work to you and your brethren."? And would the workman not be entitled to reply: "This franc would circulate even if you did not steal it from me. It would go to the baker instead of the stagehand; it would provide me with bread instead of entertainment for you."
Il faut remarquer, en outre, que le sophisme des ricochets pourrait être aussi bien invoqué par les pauvres. Ils pourraient dire aux riches : « Que la loi nous aide à vous voler. Nous consommerons plus de drap, cela profitera à vos manufactures ; nous consommerons plus de viande, cela profitera à vos terres ; nous consommerons plus de sucre, cela profitera à vos armements. » What is more, it should be noted that the sophism of the ricochet effect might also be invoked by the poor. They might say to the wealthy: "Let the law help us to rob you. We will consume more woolen cloth, and that will benefit your factories. We will consume more meat, and that will benefit your land. We will consume more sugar, and that will benefit your shipping."

 

10. XX Responsibility, p. 746:

Quand un de nos actes produit une première conséquence qui nous agrée, suivie de plusieurs autres conséquences qui nuisent, de telle sorte que la somme des maux l'emporte sur celle des biens, cet acte tend à se restreindre et à disparaître à mesure que nous acquérons plus de prévoyance. When one of our actions produces an initial consequence that we like, followed by several others that are harmful, so that the total evil outweighs the good, this act tends to become limited and disappear as we acquire more foresight.
Les hommes aperçoivent naturellement les conséquences immédiates avant les conséquences éloignées. D'où il suit que ce que nous avons appelé les actes vicieux sont plus multipliés dans les temps d'ignorance. Or la répétition des mêmes actes forme les habitudes. Les siècles d'ignorance sont donc le règne des mauvaises habitudes. People naturally perceive immediate consequences before those that occur later. From this it follows that what we have called vicious/harmful acts are more frequent in eras of ignorance. Well, a repetition of the same act forms a habit. Centuries of ignorance therefore cause bad habits to reign.
Par suite, c'est encore le règne des mauvaises lois, car les actes répétés, les habitudes générales constituent les mœurs sur lesquelles se modèlent les lois, et dont elles sont, pour ainsi parler, l'expression officielle. As a result bad laws still reign, for repeated acts and general habits make up the customs on which the laws are modeled and of which they are, so to speak, the official expression.
Comment cesse cette ignorance ? Comment les hommes apprennent-ils à connaître les secondes, les troisièmes et jusqu'aux dernières conséquences de leurs actes et de leurs habitudes ? How do we stop this ignorance? How do people learn to identify the second, third, and so on to the final consequences of their actions and habits?
Ils ont pour cela un premier moyen : c'est l'application de cette faculté de discerner et de raisonner qu'ils tiennent de la Providence. The first means for them to do this is to apply the faculty of discernment and reason that they receive from Providence.

 

11. XXI Solidarity, p. 774:

Un acte nuit à la masse ; mais la masse est convaincue que cet acte lui est avantageux. Qu'arrive-t-il alors ? C'est qu'au lieu de réagir contre cet acte, au lieu de le condamner et par là de le restreindre, le public l'exalte, l'honore, le célèbre et le multiplie. If an action causes harm to the masses but the masses are convinced that this action is beneficial to them, what happens? Instead of reacting against this act, instead of condemning it and restraining it, the general public exalts, honors, praises, and multiplies it.
Rien n'est plus fréquent, et en voici la raison : Nothing happens more often, and this is the reason why:
Un acte ne produit pas seulement sur les masses un effet, mais une série d'effets. Or il arrive souvent que le premier effet est un bien local, parfaitement visible, tandis que les effets ultérieurs font filtrer insensiblement dans le corps social un mal difficile à discerner ou à rattacher à sa cause. An action does not have just one effect on the masses, but a series of effects. Well, it often happens that the initial effect is good locally and perfectly visible, while subsequent effects filter insidiously into the social body a form of harm difficult to discern or to relate to its cause.
La guerre en est un exemple. War is an example of this.

 


 

Self-Defense : The Right to Legitimate Self-Defense

As a believer in natural rights Bastiat thought that every individual had an inherent right to defend themselves and their property from attack by others, or what he called "le droit individuel de légitime défense" (the individual's right to legitimate self-defense). This right existed prior to the existence of any state or other social organisation and was only limited by the individual's obligation not to initiate the use of force against others. He thought these pre-existing rights were "la Personnalité, la Liberté et la Propriété" ((the rights to) the person (or "personhood," i.e. to life), liberty, and property).

As he stated in chap. abc "Public and Private Services":268

Le droit de celui dont on attaque la liberté, ou, ce qui revient au même, la propriété, les facultés, le travail, est de les défendre même par la force ; et c'est ce que font tous les hommes, partout et toujours quand ils le peuvent. De là découle, pour un nombre d'hommes quelconque, le droit de se concerter, de s'associer, pour défendre, même par la force commune, les libertés et les propriétés individuelles.

The right of the person whose freedom or, which comes to the same thing, whose property, capabilities, or labor is attacked is to defend these things, even by force, and this is what all people do and have always done when they have been able to.

From this follows the right for any number of people to get together and to associate with one another in order to defend, even by the common (or joint) use of force, individual freedoms and property.

Bastiat first used the expression "the individual's right to legitimate self-defense" fairly late in his career, in the essay "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) and then many more times after that. He used it in the following articles and chapters:

    1. "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, pp. 250-51, 252, 255).
    2. "Plunder and Law" (JDE, May 1850) (CW2, pp. 271, 275-6).
    3. "The Law" (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107-8, 113, 133, 142).
    4. In EH: "To the Youth of France" ("Any government action outside this limit)
    5. Chap. XVII "Private and Public Services" ("In what circumstances is the use of force legitimate?" and "Among individuals, the use of force")
    6. Chap. XX "Responsibility" ("The same goes for religious commands").

The best expression of this view can be found in the earliest essay "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) where he states:269

Sans prétendre philosopher ici sur l'origine et l'étendue des droits des gouvernements, vaste sujet bien propre à effrayer ma faiblesse, permettez-moi de vous soumettre une idée. Il me semble que les droits de l'État ne peuvent être que la régularisation de droits personnels préexistants. Je ne puis, quant à moi, concevoir un droit collectif qui n'ait sa racine dans le droit individuel et ne le suppose. Donc, pour savoir si l'État est légitimement investi d'un droit, il faut se demander si ce droit réside dans l'individu en vertu de son organisation et en l'absence de tout gouvernement. C'est sur cette idée que je repoussais, il y a quelques jours, le droit au travail. Je disais : Puisque Pierre n'a pas le droit d'exiger directement de Paul que celui-ci lui donne du travail, il n'est pas davantage fondé à exercer ce prétendu droit par l'intermédiaire de l'État, car l'État n'est que la force commune créée par Pierre et par Paul, à leurs frais, dans un but déterminé, lequel ne saurait jamais être de rendre juste ce qui ne l'est pas. C'est à cette pierre de touche que je juge aussi entre la garantie et la pondération des propriétés par l'État. Pourquoi l'État a-t-il le droit de garantir, même par force, à chacun sa Propriété ? Parce que ce droit préexiste dans l'individu. On ne peut contester aux individualités, le droit de légitime défense, le droit d'employer la force au besoin pour repousser les atteintes dirigées contre leurs personnes, leurs facultés et leurs biens. On conçoit que ce droit individuel, puisqu'il réside en tous les citoyens, puisse revêtir la forme collective et légitimer la force commune. Et pourquoi l'État n'a-t-il pas le droit de pondérer les propriétés ? Parce que pour les pondérer il faut les ravir aux uns et en gratifier les autres. Or, aucun des trente millions de Français n'ayant le droit de prendre, par force, sous prétexte d'arriver à l'égalité, on ne voit pas comment ils pourraient investir de ce droit la force commune. Without claiming to philosophize here on the origin and extent of the prerogatives of governments, a huge subject very likely to daunt me in my [251] weakness, I ask that you allow me to put an idea before you. It seems to me that the prerogatives of the state can consist only in the codification of preexisting personal rights. For my part, I cannot conceive of a collective right that is not rooted in individual right and does not presuppose it. Therefore, to know whether the state is legitimately endowed with a right, the question must be asked whether this right exists in individuals by virtue of their organization and in the absence of any form of government. It is on the basis of this idea that I rejected the right to work a few days ago. I said, "Since Peter does not have the right to force Paul directly to give him work, he is no more entitled to exercise this alleged right through the intervention of the state, since the state is only the common force created by Peter and Paul at their expense with a clear aim, which can never be to make something just that is not just. This is the touchstone I use to judge between the guarantee and the leveling of property by the state. Why has the state the right to guarantee everyone his property, even by force? Because this right preexists in each individual. The right of legitimate defense of individual entities, the right to employ force if need be to repel attacks directed against their persons, faculties, and assets, cannot be challenged. It is accepted that, since it is within each citizen, this individual right can take a collective form and make the common force legitimate. And why should the state not have the right to level property? Because in order to do so it has to take away from some and give to others. Well, since none of the thirty million French citizens have the right to take by force on the pretext of achieving equality, it is difficult to see how they can invest this right in the common force.

Furthermore, he thought that the main reason why individuals came together to form a government in the first place was to more effectively defend their rights to life, liberty, and property than they could by acting alone. Thus they delegated their pre-existing personal right to use violence against aggressors to a third party (a government) ("à lui délégués par d'autres hommes") and so neither governments nor "the law" created this right.270

Ce n'est pas parce que les hommes ont édicté des Lois que la Personnalité, la Liberté et la Propriété existent. Au contraire, c'est parce que la Personnalité, la Liberté et la Propriété préexistent que les hommes font des Lois. It is not because men have enacted laws that personhood, freedom, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personhood, freedom, and property are already in existence that men enact laws.

In his view governments had their sole raison d'être in providing this service and were strictly limited to providing only this service.271 If they stepped over this limit they were no longer legitimate but had become "illégitime, spoliatrice" (illegitimate (and) plunderous),272 and their actions had become "une usurpation de la conscience, de l'intelligence, du travail, en un mot de la Liberté humaine" (a usurpation/infringement of (one's) conscience, mind, and labour, or in a word, of human liberty).273

Thus the government or "la loi" (the law) was only the organisation of individuals' pre-existing rights to defend themselves from attacks on their person or their property and this meant that the government or the functionaries who carried out the law had no rights of their own, no rights other than the rights particular individuals had delegated to them. And if the government adhered to these very strict and limited duties it would be small in size, cheap to run, and supported by the citizens:274

Si vous faites de la Loi, pour tous les citoyens, le palladium de la liberté et de la propriété, si elle n'est que l'organisation du droit individuel de légitime défense, vous fonderez sur la Justice un gouvernement rationnel, simple, économique, compris de tous, aimé de tous, utile à tous, soutenu par tous, chargé d'une responsabilité parfaitement définie et fort restreinte, doué d'une solidité inébranlable. If you make the law the safeguard of freedom and property for all citizens, if it is limited to the organization of the individual right of legitimate defense, you will found on justice a government that is rational, uncomplicated, economical, understood by all, loved by all, useful to all, supported by all, given responsibility that is perfectly defined, highly restricted, and endowed with unshakeable solidity.

Bastiat used one his economic stories to illustrate the economic reasons why individuals might come together and voluntarily form a government in order to protect their pre-existing rights to life, liberty, and property more cheaply and efficiently than they could as mere individuals. In Story 22275 a group of people on a beach cooperate in providing each other with defence. By means of the division of labour those who are more skilled with weapons will specialise in providing the "productive" service of defence to the others. The price of this service, like all other services provided in the market, will be freely negotiated by all the parties involved.276 The story begins:277

Passons maintenant à un de nos besoins les plus impérieux, celui de la sécurité.

Un certain nombre d'hommes abordent une plage inhospitalière. Ils se mettent à travailler. Mais chacun d'eux se trouve à chaque instant d'étourné de ses occupations par la nécessité de se défendre contre les bêtes féroces ou des hommes plus féroces encore. Outre le temps et les efforts qu'il consacre directement à sa défense, il en emploie beaucoup à se pourvoir d'armes et de munitions. On finit par reconnaître que la déperdition totale des efforts serait infiniment moindre, si quelques-uns, abandonnant les autres travaux, se chargeaient exclusivement de ce service. On y affecterait ceux qui ont le plus d'adresse, de courage et de vigueur. Ils se perfectionneraient dans un art dont ils feraient leur occupation constante ; et pendant qu'ils veilleraient sur le salut de la communauté, celle-ci recueillerait de ses travaux, désormais non interrompus, plus de satisfactions pour tous que ne lui en peut faire perdre le détournement de dix de ses membres. En conséquence, l'arrangement se fait. Que peut-on voir là, si ce n'est un nouveau progrès dans la séparation des occupations, amenant et exigeant un échange de services ?

Let us now move on to one of our most pressing needs, that of security.

A certain number of people land on an inhospitable beach. They start to work. But each of them is constantly distracted from his work by the need to defend himself from fierce animals, or even fiercer men. Apart from the time and effort he devotes directly to his defense, he employs a great deal in acquiring weapons and munitions for himself. People end up acknowledging that the total waste of effort would be infinitely less if a few of them gave up other work and took exclusive responsibility for (providing) this service. Those who have the most skill, courage and strength will be assigned to (do) this. They will train in an art that they will make their constant occupation, and while they watch over the safety of the community the community will obtain more satisfactions for all from work that is no longer interrupted than it loses through the reassignment of ten of its members. Consequently, the arrangement is confirmed. What can we see in this, other than a new form of progress in the division of labor leading to and requiring an exchange of services?

Thus, in Bastiat's ideal world, the state could theoretically emerge naturally as a result of cooperation among individuals, the division of labour, and the provision of mutually beneficial services. However, he realized that historically this had not been the case (as his work on the history of plunder clearly showed) and that there was the ever present danger of the state overstepping its assigned limits and becoming a new and powerful plunderer in its own right.278

 


 

Self-Ownership and the Right to Property

The Lockean idea of "self-ownership" was less well established in France than in England, but can be traced back to the work of Pierre-Louis Roederer (1754-1835) in the 1800s and the 1810s279 and Victor Cousin (1792-1867) in the 1830s and 1840s.280 Within Bastiat's circle this idea was taken up by Louis Leclerc, who had been briefly editor of the JDE, and by Gustave de Molinari in late 1848 and early 1849. During the late 1840s Bastiat developed his own theory of "the self" independently of Victor Cousin as he did not cite any of Cousin's work.

Victor Cousin's idea of "le Moi" (the Self) which he developed in his book Justice et Charité (1848) was particularly important for laying the theoretical foundation of this way of looking at property and self-ownership.281

(C)ette propriété première , au delà de laquelle on ne peut remonter, c'est notre personne. Cette personne , ce n'est pas notre corps ; notre corps est à nous, il n'est pas nous. Ce qui constitue la personne , c'est essentiellement, nous l'avons établi depuis longtemps , notre activité volontaire et libre, car c'est dans la conscience de cette libre énergie que le moi s'aperçoit et s'affirme. Le moi , [32] voilà la propriété primitive et originelle , la racine et le modèle de toutes les autres. This original property, beyond which one cannot go (any further), is our person (notre personne). This person is not our body; our body belongs to us (but) it is not us. What constitutes the person, what we have essentially established some time ago, is our voluntary and free action, since it is in the awareness (conscience) of this free energy that "le moi" (the self) perceives itself and affirms/asserts itself. "Le moi" (the self) , here is the first and original (primitive et originelle) (form of) property, the root and the model for all the others.
C'est de celle-là que toutes les autres viennent; elles n'en sont que des applications et des développements. Le moi est saint et sacré par lui-même; ainsi voilà déjà une propriété évidemment sainte et sacrée. Pour effacer le titre des autres propriétés , il faut nier celle-là , ce qui est impossible ; et si on la reconnaît , par une conséquence nécessaire , il faut reconnaitre toutes les autres qui ne sont que celle-là manifestée et développée. Notre corps n'est à nous que comme le siége et l'instrument de notre personne , et il est après elle notre propriété la plus intime. Tout ce qui n'est pas une personne, c'est-à-dire tout ce qui n'est pas doué d'une activité intelligente et libre, c'est-à-dire encore tout ce qui n'est pas doué de conscience, est une chose. It is from the latter that all the other (forms of) property come; they are only applications and developments (of them). The self is holy and sacred by itself (on its own); thus we have already a property which obviously is holy and sacred. To erase the title to the other (forms of) property, we have to deny the latter (property in one's self), which is impossible; and if one does recognize it, it necessarily follows that we have to recognize all the other (forms of property) which are only the latter manifested and developed. Our body is only ours as the seat and the tool/instrument of our person, and it is our most personal property after it (our person). Everything which is not a person, that is to say everything which is not endowed with intelligent and free action (activité), that is to say everything which is not endowed with awareness, is a thing.

Cousin's ideas were brought to the attention of the Economists by Louis Leclerc in an article in the JDE in October 1848. Most of the more utilitarian minded economists did not pay it much attention, except for Molinari and Bastiat. In his article, Leclerc gave a most poetic and moving defence of self-ownership and other property rights based upon Cousin's insight which obviously struck a chord with Molinari:282

Cette quotité de ma vie et de ma puissance, est perdue sans retour; je ne la recouvrerai jamais; la voici comme déposée dans le résultat de mes efforts; lui seul représente donc ce que je possédais légitimement, et ce que je n'ai plus. Je n'usais pas seulement de mon droit naturel en pratiquant cette substitution, j'obéissais à l'instinct conservateur, je me soumettais à la plus impérieuse des nécessités : mon droit de propriété est là! Le travail est donc le fondement certain, la source pure, l'origine sainte du droit de propriété; ou bien le moi n'est point propriété primordiale et originelle, ou bien les facultés (d'??) expansion du moi, et les organes mis à son service ne lui appartiennent pas, ce qui serait insoutenable. … Le moi a donc conscience parfaite de la consommation folle ou sage, utile ou improductive de sa propre puissance, et, comme il sait aussi que cette puissance lui appartient, il en conclut sans peine un droit exclusif et virtuel sur les résultats utiles de cette inévitable extinction, quand elle s'est laborieusement et fructueusement accomplie. This "thing" which is my life and my power is lost without recovery (as I work and age). I will never be able to recover it. There it lies, the result of all my efforts. It alone therefore represents what I had legitimately possessed and what I (will) no longer have. I did not only use up my natural right(s) in maintaining what has been lost, I was obeying the instinct of self-preservation, I submitted to the most imperious of necessities: my right to property is right here! Labour is therefore the certain foundation, the pure source, the holy origin of the right to property. Otherwise I (le moi) am not the primordial and original property, otherwise my ability to extend myself, and the organs which I have at my disposal, do not belong to me, which would be indefensible. … Therefore I am perfectly within my rights to use my own powers foolishly or wisely, productively or unproductively, and, because I also know that this power belongs to me, because I retain without any penalty the exclusive and virtual/potential right to the useful results of this inevitable loss, when it has been laboriously and fruitfully been accomplished.

Three months later in January 1849 Molinari wrote a very critical book review of Adolphe Thiers' On Property,283 contrasting Theirs' poor defense of the right to own property with that of Cousin's and Leclerc's. Bastiat would something similar in his pamphlet "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) which was also a response to Thiers' book.284 Molinari commended Leclerc for having recognized Cousin's insight that "la propriété n'est autre chose que l'expansion, le prolongement du moi" (property nothing more than the expansion or the extension of "le moi" (the I)) and then for having gone far beyond Cousin and the other economists in seeing that property had to be defended on the grounds of both utility and justice. He summed up his view of property in the following paragraph:285

Dans l'opuscule cité plus haut, M. Cousin établit clairement la différence des deux systèmes qui se sont jusqu'à présent occupés de la propriété, je veux parler du système des économistes et du système des vieux jurisconsultes, copiés par Rousseau et son école. Selon les économistes, la propriété est un véhicule primordial de la production et de la distribution des richesses, un des organes essentiels de la vie sociale : on ne peut, disent-ils, toucher à cet organe sans nuire à l'organisme, et les gouvernements, institués en vue de l'utilité générale, manquent complètement à leur mission lorsqu'ils portent [167] atteinte à la propriété. A cette règle, aucune exception ! Aux yeux des véritables économistes, comme à ceux des véritables philosophes, Le Droit De Propriété N'est Pas ou Il Est Absolu. Selon les jurisconsultes de la vieille école, au contraire, la propriété a un caractère essentiellement mobile, variable, humain; elle ne vient pas de la nature, elle résulte d'un convention conclue à l'origine des sociétés, elle est née du contrat social, et selon que les contractants le jugent nécessaire, ils peuvent, modifiant la convention primitive, imposer des règles, donner des limites à la propriété. Ce qui nécessairement suppose qu'ils ne la considèrent ni comme essentiellement équitable, ni comme absolument utile. In the small book cited above M. Cousin clearly establishes the difference between the two schools of thought which are at present busy with the question of property. I am speaking of the Economists and the old Legal Philosophers (Jurisconsultes) who have been copied by Rousseau and his school. According to the Economists property is a primordial vehicle for the production and distribution of wealth, one of the essential organs of social life. They say that one cannot touch this organ without harming the organism, and that governments, which have been instituted with the view of guarding general welfare, fail completely in their mission when they cause harm to property. To this rule there is no exception! In the eyes of true economists, as with true philosophers, THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY IS NOTHING OR IT IS ABSOLUTE. According to the legal philosophers of the old school, on the other hand, property is essentially movable, variable, and man made. It does not come from nature; it is the result of a agreement (convention) made at the birth of society; it is born from a social contract, and according to what the contractors judge necessary, they can, by modifying the original agreement, impose rules and establish limits to property. This necessarily implies that they do not consider it (property) as essentially just or as essentially useful.
Entre ces deux systèmes, je n'ai pas besoin de dire que la distance est immense, incommensurable : le premier contient toute l'économie politique, le second contient tout le socialisme. Between the two schools of thought, I don't need to say that the distance between them is immense and unmeasurable. The first school comprises all of political economy; the second all of socialism.

However, the majority of the economists rejected this absolutist view of individual property rights and did not think that it was the economist's job to delve too deeply into the foundations of property rights and its relationship to political economy. The majority viewpoint was the one summarised by Léon Faucher in the article on "Property" he wrote for the DEP.286 It seems that the economists were divided on this question as one can identify a small group who were influenced by Victor Cousin such as Leclerc and Molinari, and Bastiat independently, but also Louis Wolowski and Émile Levasseur who co-wrote the article on property in Block's Dictionnaire générale de la politique which appeared in 1863.287 The article began with a very Cousinian defense of private property as an extension of "le moi" (the self).

Thus, Bastiat needs to be seen as being part of this "absolutist school" of thinking about self-ownership and property rights in general which he incorporated in his treatise on Economic Harmonies and which show many similarities with Cousin's ideas, especially Bastiat's notion of property as "une prolongement" (an extension) of the self.

However, Bastiat had his own vocabulary to describe the idea of "self-ownership," as he had for nearly all aspects of his social and economic theory. Here, the idea of "self-ownership" is that each individual "owns" or has "control" (l'empire) over their body, mind, thoughts, faculties, and "sa personnalité tout entière" (his or her entire person). Not to have this ownership of oneself means that someone else "owned" or had control over you, which was "slavery."

The Self

He begins with his idea of "the self" which he variously termed "le moi" (Me, the self), "le soi" or "soi-même" (the self, oneself), "l'individualité" (the individual, the idea of the individual), "la personne" (the person), or more often "la personnalité" (personhood, the person, one's person). The latter term he used in the phrase "le sentiment de la personnalité" (the sense or idea of oneself) which he contrasted with "le principe de la fraternité" (the principle of fraternity) in an unpublished essay "Individualism and Fraternity" (c. June 1848) which was intended as a chapter in his book Economic Harmonies. This "self" had free will and was a thinking, choosing, acting being,288 which was driven by "l'intérêt" or "l'intérêt personnel" (self interest) to avoid "le Mal" (harm) and seek "le Bien" (benefits, the good). This self-interested, acting being Bastiat believed was "le grand ressort de le Mécanique sociale" (the great driving force or main spring of the social mechanism).289 This view is summarized in the opening paragraphs of chap. XXII "The Driving Force of Society":

(Man is) un être vivant, pensant, voulant, aimant, agissant" … (with) le libre arbitre … (and) a doués de la faculté, au moins dans une certaine mesure, de fuir le mal et de rechercher le bien. Le libre arbitre suppose et accompagne l'intelligence. Que signifierait la faculté de choisir, si elle n'était liée à la faculté d'examiner, de comparer, de juger?… (Man is) a living, thinking, desiring, loving, and acting being … (with) free will … (and is) endowed … with the capacity, at least to a certain extent, of fleeing evil and seeking out good. Free will assumes and goes hand in hand with having a mind. What use would the capacity to choose be if it were not linked with the capacity to examine, compare, and judge?…
Le moteur, c'est cette impulsion intime, irrésistible, essence de toutes nos forces, qui nous porte à fuir le Mal et à rechercher le Bien. On le nomme instinct de conservation, intérêt personnel ou privé. … This driving force is the impulse deeply personal and irresistible, the essence of all of our strengths, which impels us to flee from evil and to seek out good. It is called the instinct of self-preservation, self-interest, or individual interest.
La force impulsive, qui est en chacun de nous, se meut sous la direction de notre intelligence. Mais notre intelligence est imparfaite. Elle est sujette à l'erreur. Nous comparons, nous jugeons, vous agissons en conséquence ; mais nous pouvons nous tromper, faire un mauvais choix, tendre vers le mal le prenant pour le bien, fuir le bien le prenant pour le mal. C'est la première source des dissonances sociales; elle est inévitable par cela même que le grand ressort de l'humanité, l'intérêt personnel, n'est pas, comme l'attraction matérielle, une force aveugle, mais une force, guidée par une intelligence imparfaite. Sachons donc bien que nous ne verrons l'Harmonie que sous cette restriction. … The impulsive force which is within each of us is driven by our mind. Our mind, however, is flawed. It is subject to error. We compare, judge, and act accordingly, but we may be mistaken, make a wrong choice, and turn towards evil by mistaking it for the good, turn away from the good by mistaking it for evil. This is the leading source of social *disharmony* and is inevitable for the very reason that the major incentive of the human race, self-interest, is not a blind force like physical attraction, but a force governed by imperfect thinking. Let us be fully aware, therefore, that we will see harmony only subject to this restriction. …
Ce mobile interne, impérissable, universel, qui réside en toute individualité et la constitue être actif, cette tendance de tout homme à rechercher le bonheur, à éviter le malheur, ce produit, cet effet, ce complément nécessaire de la sensibilité, sans lequel elle ne serait qu'un inexplicable fléau, ce phénomène primordial qui est l'origine de toutes les actions humaines, cette force attractive et répulsive que nous avons nommée le grand ressort de le Mécanique sociale … This internal, indestructible, and universal driving force that is within each individual and makes him into an acting being, this tendency in everyone to seek happiness and avoid misfortune, this product, effect, and complement essential to the faculty of feeling and without which it would be just an inexplicable scourge, this primitive phenomenon that is the origin of all human action, this force for attraction and repulsion that we have called the giant main spring of the social mechanism …

What he was attempting to do in the essay was to show the socialists that "selfish individualism" was in fact compatible with fraternity, since he believed that people would gradually come to realise that their interests were in harmony with the interests of others, that the wealth and prosperity of others contributed to their own wealth and prosperity, and that mutually beneficial exchanges were to be had with others. From this essentially "selfish" perspective Bastiat thought there would eventually be a "merging" of private interests and the general interest of society, and that "le principe de la fraternité naîtrait du sentiment même de la personnalité avec lequel il semble, au premier coup d'œil, en opposition" (the principle of fraternity would arise from the very sense of self to which at first sight it is opposed).290 But this was not to deny the importance of "la personnalité," "l'individualité," "l'amour du moi," or whatever one wanted to call it, which to the individual was like the pull of gravity on pieces of matter:291

Je commencerai par le déclarer très franchement : le sentiment de la personnalité, l'amour du moi, l'instinct de la conservation, le désir indestructible que l'homme porte en lui-même de se développer, d'accroître la sphère de son action, d'augmenter son influence, l'aspiration vers le bonheur, en un mot, l'individualité me semble être le point de départ, le mobile, le ressort universel auquel la Providence a confié le progrès de l'humanité. C'est bien vainement que ce principe soulèverait l'animadversion des socialistes modernes. Hélas ! qu'ils rentrent en eux-mêmes, qu'ils descendent au fond de leur conscience, et ils y retrouveront ce principe, comme on trouve la gravitation dans toutes les molécules de la matière. Ils peuvent reprocher à la Providence d'avoir fait l'homme tel qu'il est ; rechercher, par passe-temps, ce qu'il adviendrait de la société, si la Divinité, les admettant dans son conseil, modifiait sa créature sur un autre plan. Ce sont des rêveries qui peuvent amuser l'imagination ; mais ce n'est pas sur elles qu'on fondera les sciences sociales. I will begin by declaring very frankly that the concept of the individual, of self-love, the instinct of self-preservation, the indestructible desire within man to develop himself, to increase the sphere of his action, increase his influence, his aspiration to happiness, in a word, individuality, appears to me to be the point of departure, the motive and universal dynamic to which providence has entrusted the progress of humanity. It is absolutely in vain that this principle arouses hostility in modern socialists. Alas! Let them look into themselves, let them go deep into their consciences and they will rediscover this drive, just as we find gravity in all the molecules of matter. They may reproach providence for having made man as he is and, as a pastime, seek to find out what would happen to society if the divinity, accepting them as counselors, changed his creatures to suit another design. These are dreams for distracting the imagination, but it is not on these that social sciences are founded.
Il n'est aucun sentiment qui exerce dans l'homme une action aussi constante, aussi énergique que le sentiment de la personnalité. There is no feeling that is so constantly active in man or so dynamic as the sense of self.

Self-ownership

Bastiat used two ways to express the idea that every individual owned themselves. The first was the idea that there was "la propriété des bras, des facultés et de l'intelligence" (property in oneself (literally "les bras" - one's arms), one's faculties, and one's mind); while the second one was the idea that "l'homme naît propriétaire" (man was born a property owner).

This "l'être actif" (acting being) had "le sentiment de la personnalité" (a sense or understanding of itself as a person) as well as exercising control over its mind, feelings, and faculties. Bastiat described this control as "l'empire sur soi-même" (authority or power over oneself)292 and believed that this power or control gave rise to a natural property right in oneself, or in other words "la propriété de soi-même" (property or ownership of oneself, self-ownership).293 This was the first kind of property an individual has, and for many poor workers, it would be their only property, i.e. in themselves and their labour. As he stated in "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) "la propriété (est) d'abord dans la libre disposition de la personne" (property first of all lies in the free use of one's (own) person).294

He continued this argument that the poor person's "seule Propriété" (only or sole property) was in their own faculties and labour. He pointed out to the conservative protectionist politician Adolphe Theirs that the protectionist system, of which Thiers was an ardent supporter, was in fact "le Communisme de la pire espèce" (Communism of the worst kind) because it subjected "les facultés et le travail du pauvre, sa seule Propriété, à la discrétion du riche" (the faculties and labour of the poor, their sole property, to the discretion of the rich).295

The colorful term he used to describe this first kind of property was "la propriété des bras" (literally, owning one's own arms) which he first used in the Introduction to his history of the Anti-Corn Law League, Cobden and the League (July 1845). He used it to contrast the different classes and the kind of property they held on each side of the struggle for free trade in England. On the one hand, there was "the aristocracy" or "the Oligarchy" who benefitted from tariffs and trade restrictions and who based their power on the ownership of agricultural land and who drew support from the agricultural workers ("les classes agricoles") whom they employed. On the other, there were the ordinary workers and consumers who paid the higher prices caused by the tariffs and who only had their own bodies and minds to draw upon. As Bastiat put it:

Si l'aristocratie a pour elle la propriété foncière et les classes agricoles, la Ligue s'appuie sur la propriété des bras, des facultés et de l'intelligence. While the aristocracy had on its side property in land and the agricultural classes, the League counted on (was supported by) property in their own selves ("arms"), their own faculties, and their own minds).

He would make a similar point some four years later in EH VIII "Property and Community" where he contrasted the ownership of "things" like a plot of land or a bag of coins with the property each person had in themselves, their faculties, and their minds, and hence the "services" which ownership of these quite different things made possible for them to provide:

Il y a des gens aux yeux de qui la Propriété n'apparaît jamais que sous l'apparence d'un champ ou d'un sac d'écus. Pourvu qu'on ne déplace pas les bornes sacrées et qu'on ne vide pas matériellement les poches, les voilà fort rassurés. There are those in whose eyes property never appears in any other light than as a plot of land or a sack of money. Provided that the venerable boundary posts are not moved and that people's pockets are not emptied physically, they are very reassured.
Mais n'y a-t-il pas la Propriété des bras, celle des facultés, celle des idées, n'y a-t-il pas, en un mot, la Propriété des services ? But, is there not also the property one has in oneself, one's faculties, or one's ideas; is there not, in a word, the property one has in one's services?

In his mind, ownership of oneself was just as important (or "sacred") as the ownership of things, and was perhaps even more important for those members of the working class whose bodies were the only thing they may own. He made this point in an article written in May 1847 when revolution appeared to some as a likely outcome of the "social war" which was being waged in France by the rising socialist movement. He appealed to "the Bourgeoisie" to show their solidarity with the workers ("the people") by recognizing their natural right to property in themselves:296

Si donc la bourgeoisie veut éviter la guerre sociale, dont les journaux populaires font entendre les grondements lointains, qu'elle ne sépare pas ses intérêts de ceux des masses, qu'elle étudie et comprenne la solidarité qui les lie; si elle veut que le consentement universel sanctionne son influence, qu'elle la mette au service de la communauté tout entière ; si elle veut qu'on ne s'inquiète pas trop du pouvoir qu'elle a de faire la loi, qu'elle la fasse juste et impartiale ; qu'elle accorde à tous ou à personne la protection douanière. Il est certain que la propriété des bras et des facultés est aussi sacrée que la propriété des produits. Puisque la loi élève le prix des produits, qu'elle élève donc aussi le taux des salaires ; et, si elle ne le peut pas, qu'elle les laisse librement s'échanger les uns contre les autres. If, therefore, the bourgeoisie wants to avoid a social war, whose distant rumblings are being echoed by the popular journals, let it not separate its interests from those of the masses, and let it examine and understand the solidarity that binds them. If the bourgeoisie wants universal approval to sanction its influence, let it put this influence at the service of the entire community. If it wants its power to enact laws not to arouse too much anxiety, it has to make laws just and impartial and award Customs protection to everyone or no one. It is certain that the ownership of oneself and one's faculties is as sacred as the ownership of products. Since the law raises the price of products, let it also raise the rate of pay, and if it cannot, let it allow both to be exchanged freely for the other.

He gave more details about he meant by this in the series of Letters he wrote on "Property and Plunder" for the Journal des débats (July 1848), to describe self-ownership. This first kind of property extended from one's mind, one's faculties, one's feelings to encompass "sa personnalité tout entière" (one's entire person). In the Third Letter he stated "c'est la propriété, non celle du sol seulement, mais celle des bras, de l'intelligence, des facultés, de la personnalité" (it its property, not only of that in land, but property in oneself, one's mind, one's faculties, and one's person) and in the Fifth Letter "propriété … de ses œuvres, de ses bras, de son intelligence, de ses facultés, de ses affections, de sa personnalité tout entière" (property … in one's work, oneself, one's mind, one's faculties, one's feelings, and one's entire self).297

The second way Bastiat expressed the idea of self ownership was with the idea that "l'homme naît propriétaire" (man was born a property owner), by which he meant that "on naît donc avec la propriété de sa personne et de ses facultés" (one was born therefore having property in one's person and one's faculties) and that this was part of one's nature as a human being. In a speech to a group of publishers (December 1847) in which he defended the right of intellectual property he forcefully stated that:298

Ce mot, Messieurs, je le répète ici comme l'expression la plus énergique et la plus juste de ma propre pensée.

Oui, l'homme naît propriétaire, c'est-à-dire que la propriété est le résultat de son organisation.

This phrase, Sirs, I am pleased to repeat here as being the most forceful and accurate expression of my own thought.

Yes, man is born a property owner, that is to say, property is the result of his nature.

On naît propriétaire, car on naît avec des besoins auxquels il faut absolument pourvoir pour se développer, pour se perfectionner et même pour vivre ; et on naît aussi avec un ensemble de facultés coordonnées à ces besoins.

On naît donc avec la propriété de sa personne et de ses facultés. C'est donc la propriété de la personne qui entraîne la propriété des choses, et c'est la propriété des facultés qui entraîne celle de leur produit.

Il résulte de là que la propriété est aussi naturelle que l'existence même de l'homme.

People are born property owners, for they are born with needs that have to be satisfied in order for them to develop, advance, and even live, and they are also born with a set of faculties in line with these needs.

They are thus born having property in their person and their faculties. It is therefore ownership of their person that leads to the ownership of things, and it is the ownership of their faculties that leads to the ownership of what they produce.

The conclusion from this thinking is that property is as natural as the very existence of man.

Ownership of other things by extension (from the self)

The latter point, that "la propriété de la personne qui entraîne la propriété des choses, et c'est la propriété des facultés qui entraîne celle de leur produit" (ownership of their person that leads to the ownership of things, and it is the ownership of their faculties that leads to the ownership of what they produce) is the next stage in Bastiat theory of property. The key concept here was the idea of "le prolongement" (extension) whereby property in oneself led "by extension" to owning the things one created by using one's labour (one's "arms"), one's faculties, and one's mind. He made this argument in an essay he addressed to socialists a few months after the February Revolution. He defended the right to own property against attacks by socialists by arguing that property existed before there were any laws or any government, that it was a necessary consequence of the nature of human beings, and that there was a progression or "le prolongement" (extension) which went from one's person, to the faculties which the person exercised in order to survive, to the things or the property which the person created in order to do this:299

Les économistes pensent que la Propriété est un fait providentiel comme la Personne . Le Code ne donne pas l'existence à l'une plus qu'à l'autre. La Propriété est une conséquence nécessaire de la constitution de l'homme. Economists consider that property, like the person, is a providential fact. The law does not give existence to one any more than to the other. Property is a necessary consequence of the constitution of man.
Dans la force du mot, l'homme naît propriétaire, parce qu'il naît avec des besoins dont la satisfaction est indispensable à la vie, avec des organes et des facultés dont l'exercice est indispensable à la satisfaction de ces besoins. Les facultés ne sont que le prolongement de la personne; la propriété n'est que le prolongement des facultés. Séparer l'homme de ses facultés, c'est le faire mourir; séparer l'homme du produit de ses facultés, c'est encore le faire mourir. In the full sense of the word, man is born a property owner, since he is born with needs whose satisfaction is essential to life, with organs and faculties whose exercise is essential to the satisfaction of these needs. These faculties are merely an extension of the person, and property is just an extension [45] of these faculties. To separate man from his faculties is to make him die; to separate man from the product of his faculties is once again to make him die.

He would make a similar argument in chap. VIII "Property and Community" that "la propriété, c'est le droit de s'appliquer à soi-même ses propres efforts" (property is the right to keep for oneself (the fruits of) one's own efforts).

In his mind, the right to property was one of the three essential rights every individual had, the right to one's person, to one's liberty, and to one's property,300 but which were constantly under threat: "la Personnalité par l'esclavage, la Liberté par l'oppression, la Propriété par la spoliation" (self-ownership by slavery, liberty by oppression, and property by plunder).301

 


 

Theocratic Plunder

In Bastiat's history of plunder there are six historical stages:302that of war, slavery, theocracy, monopoly, exploitation by the government (or "Functionaryism"),303 and socialism/communism (or what he called "false fraternity"). The first four stages were systems of organized plunder which benefited a small class of landowners, slave owners, religious leaders, and manufacturers at the expense of the majority. The kind of plunder which existed in these stages was called "la spoliation partielle" (partial plunder).304 Under democracy and socialism plunder became "legal" and "universal"305 where "everybody attempted to live at the expence of everyone else."306

Theocratic plunder was the third stage in his history of plunder and was the form which Bastiat discussed in most detail in his sketches and drafts especially in ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder."307 In general terms, the kind of plunder which took place under theocracy, as it also did in other stages, was "la Spoliation partielle" (partial plunder) where a small group benefited at the expense of the majority of the people, and "la spoliation au dedans" (internal plunder) where the acts of plunder took place mostly within a given nation, although in the case of the Catholic Church it did have an influence across the entire continent of Europe.

In this particular form of plunder we see a politically privileged Church with a monopoly impose compulsory tithes on the inhabitants, selling fraudulent benefices for the salvation of its believers, controlling the eduction system, and preventing criticism by indoctrination and censorship. Bastiat was vague about the exact time period this stage covered as he made reference to theocracies in ancient Egypt but it seems he also thought it applied to European churches up to the French Revolution of 1789.

The terms he used to describe this stage was "la Théocratie" (Theocracy), "le monopole théocrate" (theocratic monopoly) (Introduction to CL), "la Spoliation par ruse théocratique" (plunder by theocratic trickery, deception) (ES2 1), "la domination par l'autorité théologique" (domination/oppression by theocratic authority/power) ("Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848), "les impostures théocratiques" (theocratic deceptions) (EH XVI "On Population"), "l'exploitation des théocraties sacerdotales" (exploitation by priestly theocracies) (Conclusion to EH1), "les spoliateurs de tous costumes et de toutes dénominations" (plunderers (who wear) all kinds of robes and (who come from) all kinds of denominations)) (Conclusion to EH1), and "l'enchaînement des bras et des esprits" (the chaining up of the body and the mind) or "l'esclavage mental" (mental slavery, enslaving the mind) (Conclusion to EH1).

Theocratic plunder provided a case study of how trickery and sophistic arguments could be used to ensure compliance with the demands of the plundering class. He argued that the rule of the Church in European history was one which had practiced plunder and deception "on a grand scale." The Church had developed an elaborate system of theocratic plunder through its tithing of income and production, and on top of this it created a system of "sophisme théocratique" (theocratic sophistry and trickery) based upon the notion that only members of the church could ensure the people's passage to an afterlife. This and other theocratic sophisms created "les dupes" (dupes, fools) of the ordinary people,308 who duly handed over their property to the Church in exchange for a counterfeit or fraudulent service in return. Bastiat had no squabble with a church in which the priests were "the instrument of the religion" and who provided mutually agreed upon services for their "customers," but for hundreds of years religion had become instead "the instrument of its priest" who had plundered and enslaved the people and had become wealthy and powerful as a result.

Theocratic plunder ("la Spoliation par ruse théocratique" ) was based upon three things: monopoly, fraud, and the credulity of the people caused by "les superstitions, les fausses croyances, les opinions imposées" (superstition, false beliefs, and opinions which had been imposed upon them) by "la domination par l'autorité théologique" (oppression by theocratic authority).309

Theocratic Monopoly

Bastiat saw theocracy as just another form of monopoly, in this case only one church was allowed to practice legally, their "consumers" were forced to pay tithes and attend religious services, and their competitors were outlawed or punished. He mentioned "theocratic monopoly" early in his writings in the "Introduction" to his first book Cobden and the League (July,1845) where he talks about monopoly as a Proteus which can change its outward form at will:310

(L)e monopole, ce Protée aux mille formes, tour à tour conquérant, possesseur d'esclaves, théocrate, féodal, industriel, commercial, financier et même philanthrope. Quelque déguisement qu'il emprunte, il ne saurait plus soutenir le regard de l'opinion publique ; car elle a appris à le reconnaître sous l'uniforme rouge, comme sous la robe noire, sous la veste du planteur, comme sous l'habit brodé du noble pair." (M)onopoly, that Proteus with a thousand forms, by turns conqueror, slave-owner, theocrat, feudal lord, industrialist, trader, financier and even philanthropist. Whatever disguise it assumes, it can no longer endure the scrutiny of public opinion; for the latter has learnt to recognize it, be it under the red uniform (of a soldier) or under the black gown (of a priest), under the planter's jacket, or under the noble peer's embroidered cloak.

Theocratic Fraud and Deception

Whereas other forms of plunder depended upon a more direct and explicit use of force, "la Spoliation directe et naïve" (direct and crude/blatant plunder),311 such as military conquest or slavery, other forms of plunder depended upon indirect, more subtle, or even hidden means, such as "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder) and "la spoliation, enveloppée dans les sophismes qui la voilent" (plunder clad in the sophismes which conceal it),312 which is the case with state protected monopolies and theocracies.

He believed that the era of theocratic plunder provided a case study of this more indirect or "softer" form of plunder based upon fraud and deception, which he called "la Spoliation par ruse théocratique" (plunder by theocratic fraud).313 This form of plunder depended upon an elaborate system of "la ruse et l'imposture" (fraud and deception)314 which he called "les sophismes théocratiques." As with his better known "economic sophisms" which were used to justify the protectionist system, these theocratic sophisms sounded plausible or were based upon half-truths and were used to ensure compliance with the demands of the theocratic plundering class.

He argued that the rule of the Church in European history was one which had practiced plunder and deception "sur une très-grande échelle" (on a very grand scale) and reduced an entire society to "l'esclavage mental" (mental slavery, slavery of the mind).315

Si la spoliation arme la Force contre la Faiblesse, elle ne tourne pas moins l'Intelligence contre la Crédulité. Quelles sont sur la terre les populations travailleuses qui aient échappé à l*'exploitation des théocraties sacerdotales*, prêtres égyptiens, oracles grecs, augures romains, druides gaulois, bramines indiens, muphtis, ulémas, bonzes, moines, ministres, jongleurs, sorciers, devins, spoliateurs de tous costumes et de toutes dénominations ? Sous cette forme, le génie de la spoliation place son point d'appui dans le ciel, et se prévaut de la sacrilége complicité de Dieu ! Il n'enchaîne pas seulement le bras, mais aussi les esprits. Il sait imprimer le fer de la servitude aussi bien sur la conscience de Séide que sur le front de Spartacus, réalisant ce qui semble irréalisable : l'Esclavage Mental. If plunder arms the strong against the weak, it no less turns the intelligent against the credulous. What industrious nations around the world have escaped the exploitation of priestly theocracies, the Egyptian priests, Greek oracles, Roman auguries, Gallic druids, Indian Brahmins, muftis, ulemas, bonzes, monks, ministers, jugglers, sorcerers, fortune tellers, plunderers in all religious costumes and of all creeds? In this guise the genius of plunder (is to) locate its main locus of support in heaven (itself) and claim sacrilegiously the complicity of God! This not only enchains people's hands but also their minds. It knows how to (place the branding iron of servitude) as firmly on the conscience of Seide as on the brow of Spartacus, achieving what might be thought unachievable: namely, mental slavery.
Esclavage Mental ! quelle effrayante association de mots ! — Ô liberté ! On t'a vue traquée de contrée en contrée, écrasée par la conquête, agonisant sous l'esclavage, insultée dans les cours, chassée dans les écoles, raillée dans les salons, méconnue dans les ateliers, anathématisée dans les temples. Il semblait que tu devais trouver dans la pensée un refuge inviolable. Mais si tu succombes dans ce dernier asile, que devient l'espoir des siècles et la valeur de la nature humaine ?" Mental slavery! What a frightful association of words! O Freedom! We have seen you hounded from place to place, crushed by conquest, in your death throes under slavery, insulted in the courts, expelled from schools, mocked in salons, misunderstood in workshops, and cursed in places of worship. You ought to have been able to find an inviolable refuge in thought. But if you succumb in this sanctuary, what will become of the hope of centuries and the value of human nature?

The fraud and deception took several forms, such as taking real "goods and services" from the people in the present (such as "aliments, vêtements, luxe, considération, influence, pouvoir" (food, clothing, luxury goods, respect, influence, and power))316 and promising them "imaginary" or "fraudulent" services in the future which may or may not appear (such as a promise for an afterlife). As he put it in his his usual conversational manner, he has a priest explain to a believer "Selon ce que tu me donneras ou me refuseras de ce qui t'appartient, je t'ouvrirai la porte du ciel ou de l'enfer" (Depending on whether you give me or refuse to give me your property, I will open the gates of heaven or hell to you).317 Or, as he put it in "Property and Plunder" (June 1848):318

Recevoir des hommes des services positifs, et ne leur rendre en retour que des services imaginaires, frauduleux, illusoires et dérisoires, c'est les spolier de leur consentement, il est vrai ; circonstance aggravante, puisqu'elle implique qu'on a commencé par pervertir la source même de tout progrès, le jugement. Receiving positive services from men and supplying them in return only with imaginary, fraudulent, illusionary, and ridiculous services is to plunder them of their consent, it is true, an aggravating circumstance since it implies that the plunderers have begun by perverting the very source of all progress, human judgment.

Furthermore, theocratic fraud and deception wasted the time and effort of the people by diverting their energies to "childish or disastrous purposes"319 away from more productive activities, as well as by forcing them into a kind of "mental slavery" by imposing false beliefs upon them and monopolising education and thus denying them a better education which would encourage diverse and critical thinking. The net result of this was that a group of priests were able to seize control of the Church and use it for their own purposes (to make religion "the tool of the priests") and thus to acquire wealth and power for themselves at the expense of ordinary people. At times, Bastiat agued, theocracy "a tellement hébété le peuple et détruit son énergie qu'elle n'en peut plus rien tirer" (has so stupefied the people and sapped their energy that it can no longer wring anything (more) out of them).

These theocratic sophisms created mental slaves or dupes of the ordinary people,320 who duly handed over their property to the church. They were deceived by "impostors" (les imposteurs) who pretended to have supernatural powers and by "swindlers" (des fourbes) who were able to use the church as a tool to further their own interests and become powerful and wealthy. "Un tel édifice d'iniquité" (an edifice of iniquity like this)321 also controlled the people by banning the use of reason, making it taboo to investigate or challenge the claims of the priests to have supernatural powers, creating a monopoly of education in order to better control the minds of the people, forcing the people to use a dead language (like Latin) in religious services and in education, and spying on everybody by forcing them to confess. The end result was a population of slaves who loved their bondage. Speaking as if he were a member of the priestly theocracy, Bastiat concludes that:322

Quand les choses en seraient là, il est clair que ce peuple m'appartiendrait plus que s'il était mon esclave. L'esclave maudit sa chaîne, mon peuple bénirait la sienne, et je serais parvenu à imprimer, non sur les fronts, mais au fond des consciences, le sceau de la servitude. Should things reach this pass, it is clear that this people would belong to me more surely than if they were my slaves. Slaves curse their chains, while my people would bless theirs, and I would have succeeded in imprinting the stamp of servitude not on their foreheads, but in the depths of their conscience.

The true test of whether or not a religion had become a plundering theocracy or not, was to examine whose interests were being served by the church. If it were clear that the priests were "the tools of the religion" they served for the benefit of the people, then it was not a theocracy. However, if the reverse was the case, if the priests were rich and powerful, then the religion had been seized by the impostors and swindlers and had become "the tool of the priests" at the expense of the ordinary people. As Bastiat expressed it:323

Si, au contraire, la Religion est l'instrument du prêtre, il la traitera comme on traite un instrument qu'on altère, qu'on plie, qu'on retourne en toutes façons, de manière à en tirer le plus grand avantage pour soi. Il multipliera les questions tabou; sa morale sera flexible comme les temps, les hommes et les circonstances. Il cherchera à en imposer par des gestes et des attitudes étudiés ; il marmottera cent fois par jour des mots dont le sens sera évaporé, et qui ne seront plus qu'un vain conventionalisme. Il trafiquera des choses saintes, mais tout juste assez pour ne pas ébranler la foi en leur sainteté, et il aura soin que le trafic soit d'autant moins ostensiblement actif que le peuple est plus clairvoyant. Il se mêlera des intrigues de la terre ; il se mettra toujours du côté des puissants à la seule condition que les puissants se mettront de son côté. En un mot, dans tous ses actes, on reconnaîtra qu'il ne veut pas faire avancer la Religion par le clergé, mais le clergé par la Religion ; et comme tant d'efforts supposent un but, comme ce but, dans cette hypothèse, ne peut être autre que la puissance et la richesse, le signe définitif que le peuple est dupe, c'est quand le prêtre est riche et puissant. If, on the other hand, Religion is the instrument of the priest, he will treat it as some people treat an instrument that is altered, bent, and turned in many ways so as to draw the greatest benefit for themselves. He will increase the number of questions that are taboo; his moral principles will bend according to the climate, men, and circumstances. He will seek to impose it through studied gestures and attitudes; he will mutter words a hundred times a day whose meaning has disappeared and which are nothing other than empty conventionalism. He will peddle holy things, but just enough to avoid undermining faith in their sanctity, and he will take care to see that this trade is less obviously active where the people are more keen-sighted. He will involve himself in terrestrial intrigue and always be on the side of the powerful, on the sole condition that those in power ally themselves with him. In a word, in all his actions, it will be seen that he does not want to advance Religion through the clergy but the clergy through Religion, and since so much effort implies an aim and as this aim, according to our hypothesis, cannot be anything other than power and wealth, the definitive sign that the people have been duped is when priests are rich and powerful.

By instilling false beliefs and sapping the will and strength of the people the "priestly class" had less need to use direct and overt force to control and plunder them. They could indirectly control both the people's actions and their thoughts, thus doing away with the need for "la spoliation brutale" (plunder using brute force). Only later, when enlightenment had spread, could people dispense with these false imposed beliefs and gradually bring theocratic plunder to an end.324

J'en dirai autant de la domination par l'autorité théologique. Que, pour asservir les hommes, on emploie la force ou la ruse, qu'on exploite leur faiblesse ou leur crédulité, le fait même d'une domination injuste ne révèle-t-il pas dans le dominateur le sentiment de l'égoïsme ? Le prêtre égyptien, qui imposait de fausses croyances à ses semblables pour se rendre maître de leurs actions et même de leurs pensées, ne recherchait-il pas son avantage personnel par les moyens les plus immoraux ? … I would say the same thing with regard to domination by theological authority. Whether force or fraud is used to enslave men, whether their weakness or credulity is exploited, does not the very fact of unjust domination reveal a feeling of egoism in those who dominate? Did not Egyptian priests who imposed false beliefs on their fellow men in order to make themselves masters of their actions and even of their thought seek personal advantage through the most immoral means? …
À mesure que les hommes se sont éclairés, ils ont réagi contre les superstitions, les fausses croyances, les opinions imposées. As men became more enlightened, they reacted against the superstition, false beliefs and opinions that were imposed (upon them).

Religion not sufficient to make plunder come to an end

Even if the Church were not corrupted by its own plundering, fraudulent, and monopolistic behavior Bastiat believed that it would be unable to do very much to end "la spoliation military" (military plunder) and the most extreme form plunder which was slavery. Defenders of the Church sometimes justified its plunderous behaviour by arguing that it had helped end or reduce plunder in previous stages and was continuing to do so in the present, but Bastiat was not convinced this was true or even possible. He believed that religious and moral arguments against plundering counted for nothing given the strong self-interest of those in the military or those who were slave owners. In fact he thought religious arguments were "powerless" and "inadequate" and should be replaced by economic ones that spoke to the self interest of the plunderers (that slave labour was inefficient compared to free wage labour) as well as to the plundered, thus rousing them to take action. The importance of economists like him who exposed the "sophisms" which justified and legitimized plunder should not be underestimated in his opinion. Once the "dupes" had become enlightened they would begin to resist and eventually defeat their plunderers.325 Thus, political economy had much greater "utility" than religious and moral sentiment in changing the world, and when political economy was able to harness the power of public opinion it would become the flame which would unmask fraud and dissipate error for good:326

l'Économie politique a une utilité pratique évidente. C'est le flambeau qui, dévoilant la Ruse et dissipant l'Erreur, détruit ce désordre social, la Spoliation. Political Economy has an obvious practical use. It is the flame that destroys this social disorder which is Plunder, by unveiling Fraud and dissipating Error.
Malheureusement, elles ont encore la sympathie des populations du sein desquelles l'esclavage a disparu ; par où l'on voit qu'encore ici l'Opinion est souveraine. Unfortunately, they still have the sympathy of the populations within which slavery has disappeared, which shows us once again that Opinion is still sovereign here.
Si elle est souveraine, même dans la région de la Force, elle l'est à bien plus forte raison dans le monde de la Ruse. À vrai dire, c'est là son domaine. La Ruse, c'est l'abus de l'intelligence ; le progrès de l'opinion, c'est le progrès des intelligences. Les deux puissances sont au moins de même nature. Imposture chez le spoliateur implique crédulité chez le spolié, et l'antidote naturel de la crédulité c'est la vérité. Il s'ensuit qu'éclairer les esprits, c'est ôter à ce genre de spoliation son aliment. If it is sovereign, even in the context of power, it is even more so in the world of Fraud. To tell the truth, this is its real domain. Fraud is the abuse of knowledge; the progress of Opinion is the progress of knowledge. The two powers are at least of the same nature. Fraud by a plunderer involves credulity in the person being plundered, and the natural antidote to credulity is truth. It follows that to enlighten minds is to remove the sustenance from this type of plunder.

Concerning plunder in general, Bastiat pointed out that the 7th Commandment, "Thou shall not steal"327 was repeated endlessly by believers but not acted upon when privileged manufacturers pressured the government to impose tariffs on consumer goods, or when slave owners pressed for more tax payer funds for the Navy or the Colonial Administration to protect their "property" from rising up in rebellion. Concerning war, Bastiat granted that in principle that "there (never has) been a Religion more disposed toward peace and more universally accepted than Christianity" but the Church played an important role in legitimizing war when priests blessed the flag in times of war and extolled martial values from the pulpit.328

La guerre prend un caractère de sainteté et de grandeur. Le drapeau, bénit par les ministres du Dieu de paix, représente tout ce qu'il y a de sacré sur la terre ; on s'y attache comme à la vivante image de la patrie et de l'honneur ; et les vertus guerrières sont exaltées au-dessus de toutes les autres vertus. War takes on an aura of sanctity and greatness. The flag, blessed by the ministers of the God of Peace, represents all that there is sacred on earth; people adhere to it as to the living image of the fatherland and honor, and warlike virtues are exalted above all the other virtues.

Concerning slavery in the French colonies, he points out that slaveowners in the Antilles are good Christians, who bring up their children in the faith, preach that "all men are brothers" from the Gospel, and that there is no example to found in history of slavery being abolished "par la libre et gracieuse volonté des maîtres" (by the free and gracious will of the slave masters).329

The Challenge to Theocracy

The challenge to this theocratic plundering eventually came through the invention of the printing press, which enabled the transmission of ideas critical of the power and intellectual claims of the Church and gradually led to the weakening of this form of organized, legal plunder. The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment gradually exposed the theocratic sophisms for what they really were — so many tricks, deceptions, lies, and contradictions — and many people were thus no longer willing to be the dupes of the Church. Unfortunately, plundering did not thereby end, it merely changed into a new form (Bastiat had called in "Protean" in 1845). What followed the stage of pure theocratic plunder was the mercantilist system which emerged in the late 17th and 18th century and persisted into the 19th century in which powerful land owners and industrialists gained control of the state and began to challenge the power of the Church.

Conclusion

In mid-1848 Bastiat was quite pessimistic that the main religions of his own day still retained "trop d'esprit et de moyens d'exploitation pour se concilier avec l'inévitable progrès des lumières" (too much of the spirit and the methods of exploitation to be reconciled with the inevitable progress of enlightenment). The roots of theocracy lay deep in the past and would be hard to dig up. Just as some men wanted to make other men literally their physical slaves, other wanted to use "Dieu pour faire d'un autre homme son esclave intellectuel" (God to make another man his intellectual slave).330

J'ai toujours pensé que la question religieuse remuerait encore le monde. Les religions positives actuelles retiennent trop d'esprit et de moyens d'exploitation pour se concilier avec l'inévitable progrès des lumières. D'un autre côté, l'abus religieux fera une longue et terrible résistance, parce qu'il est fondu et confondu avec la morale religieuse qui est le plus grand besoin de l'humanité. I always thought that the religious question would continue to move the world. The legitimate religions of today, however, retain too much of the spirit and methods of exploitation to be reconciled with the inevitable progress of enlightenment. On the other hand, corrupt religious practice will put up a long and terrible resistance, being based on, nay confused with, the greatest need of humanity, that is to say with religious morality.
Il semble donc que l'humanité n'en a pas fini avec cette triste oscillation qui a rempli les pages de l'histoire : d'une part, on attaque les abus religieux et, dans l'ardeur de la lutte, on est entraîné à ébranler la religion elle-même. De l'autre, on se pose comme le champion de la religion, et, dans le zèle de la défense, on innocente les abus. It appears, therefore, that humanity has not done with this sad pendulum swing which has filled the pages of history. On the one hand religious abuse is attacked, and in the heat of the conflict people are led on to dislodging religion itself. On the other hand, people stand as the champions of religion, and in the zeal of defense abuses are justified.
Ce long déchirement a été décidé le jour où un homme s'est servi de Dieu pour faire d'un autre homme son esclave intellectuel, le jour où un homme a dit à un autre : « Je suis le ministre de Dieu, il m'a donné tout pouvoir sur toi, sur ton esprit, sur ton corps, sur ton cœur. » … This long tearing apart was decided upon on the day a man used God to make another man his intellectual slave, the day one man said to another, "I am the minister of God. He has given me total power over you, your soul, your body, and your heart." …

Post Bastiat

After Bastiat's death two of his friends and colleagues among the economists, Ambroise Clément and Gustave de Molinari, took up his interest in theocratic plunder and monopoly power which they explored from the point of view of political economy in several works, in particular Clément's Essai sur la Science sociale (1867)331 and Molinari in two much later works, La Morale économique (1888) and Religion (1892).332 Molinari in particular regarded the established Church in the mid-19th century as a "protectionist" monopoly which used the power of the state to eliminate its competition, thus prompting the "smuggling of ideas" in order to get around these controls.333

 


 

Bastiat's Theory of Plunder

The idea of "la spoliation" (plunder) was a central part of Bastiat's social and economic theory. For more information see:

  1. "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 473-85).
  2. "The History of Plunder," in Appendix 1 (CW5)
  3. "Bastiat on Enlightening the "Dupes" about the Nature of Plunder" in the Introduction, (CW3, pp. lv-lviii).
  4. "Functionaryism and the Functionary Class," in Appendix 1 (CW5)
  5. "Theocratic Plunder," in Appendix 1 (CW5)

 

Definition

Bastiat defined plunder as the taking of another person's justly acquired property without their consent by force (la force) or fraud (la ruse). As he stated in "The Physiology of Plunder" (Nov. 1847):334

La véritable et équitable loi des hommes, c'est : Échange librement débattu de service contre service. La Spoliation consiste à bannir par force ou par ruse la liberté du débat afin de recevoir un service sans le rendre. The true and just law governing man is "The freely negotiated exchange of one service for another." Plunder consists in banishing by fraud or force the freedom to negotiate in order to receive a service without offering one in return.

He provided another definition a few months later in "Property and Plunder" (July 1848): "la Spoliation consiste à employer la force ou la ruse pour altérer à notre profit l'équivalence des services." (Plunder consists in employing force or fraud to distort for our (own) profit (the exchange of) equivalent services).335

In his sometimes complex theory he thought there were several different forms plunder could take, several methods by which it could operate, and many different ways it could be justified to those who had to pay for it.

The Different Forms of Plunder

He believed plunder could take many different forms depending on who did it, how and when and where it was done, and the institutional framework in which it took place. This was reflected in the rather complex terminology he used to describe these different forms. For example, he distinguished between legal and extra-legal plunder, partial and universal plunder, domestic and foreign plunder, "hard" vs. "soft" plunder, and transitory vs. permanent plunder.

Legal and Extra-Legal Plunder

In its relation to the state and the legal system, plunder could take the form of "la spoliation extra-légale" (extra—legal plunder, plunder which takes place outside of or against the law) by run of the mill thieves and robbers; or "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder) which was done with the sanction and under the protection of the law and the state. He first made this distinction in "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, June 1848) where he states:336

La spoliation extra-légale soulève toutes les répugnances, elle tourne contre elle toutes les forces de l'opinion et les met en harmonie avec les notions de justice. La spoliation légale s'accomplit, au contraire, sans que la conscience en soit troublée, ce qui ne peut qu'affaiblir au sein d'un peuple le sentiment moral. Extra-legal plunder arouses total aversion and turns against itself all the forces of public opinion, making them agree with the notions of justice. Legal plunder, on the other hand, is accomplished without disturbing consciences, which leads only to a weakening of a moral sense within a people.
Avec du courage et de la prudence, on peut se mettre à l'abri de la spoliation contraire aux lois. Rien ne peut soustraire à la spoliation légale. Si quelqu'un l'essaie, quel est l'affligeant spectacle qui s'offre à la société ? Un spoliateur armé de la loi, une victime résistant à la loi. With courage and prudence, we can avoid the plunder that is contrary to law. Nothing can protect us from legal plunder. If someone tries it, what dreadful sight is set before society? A plunderer armed by the law against a victim resisting the law.

Legal plunder could take many forms. A government might allow and protect a favored small group who plunder the majority for their own benefit, for example the Church which engaged in "la spoliation par la ruse théocratique" (plunder by theocratic fraud, or theocratic plunder);337 or the government may grant favored industries a monopoly, tax-payer funded subsidies, or tariff protection from competitors. Most of the articles in his two series of Economic Sophisms were directed at this latter kind of economic plunder. In a speech for the Free Grade Association in August 1847 he stated that "le régime restrictif est un système de spoliation réciproque" (the régime of trade restriction is a system of reciprocal plunder).338

Or the government itself might engage in plunder for the benefit of the politicians and bureaucrats who run the government at taxpayer expense. This argument was one of several "public choice" like arguments Bastiat made in his writings about the self-interested behaviour of politicians and bureaucrats who claimed to be above politics and were acting in the interest of voters and consumers not themselves.339 Bastiat called this kind of plunder when done by the government itself as "la spoliation gouvernementale" (plunder by government) or "gouvernementalisme" (governmentalism);340 and if done by the bureaucrats "la fonctionarisme" (functionaryism, or rule by functionaries).341 Some people actively sought this out as they were afraid of not being "administered" by the state:342

Certaines nations paraissent merveilleusement disposées à devenir la proie de la Spoliation gouvernementale. Ce sont celles où les hommes, ne tenant aucun compte de leur propre dignité et de leur propre énergie, se croiraient perdus s'ils n'étaient administrés et gouvernés en toutes choses. Certain nations appear to be astonishingly well disposed to becoming the prey of government Plunder. They are the ones in which men, totally disregarding their own dignity and energy, think that they would be lost if they were not being administered and governed in every sphere.

The most extreme version of this form of plunder would come under socialism or communism, in Bastiat's view, when the government owned and controlled everything. He called it "la spoliation devenue règle dominante et universelle" (plunder which has become the dominant and universal rule).343

Partial and Universal Plunder

With respect to its extent, plunder could be either "la spoliation partielle" (partial plunder) which was undertaken for the benefit of a specific small group such as slaveowners or protected land-owners and manufacturers, at the expense of the majority; or "la spoliation universelle" (universal plunder) which he predicted would emerge under socialism or the welfare state where everybody tried to live at the expense of everyone else (this was his famous definition of the state).344 In "Plunder and Law" (May 1850) he described the system of tariffs and customs duties as "partial plunder" as it served the needs of the very limited electoral franchise which existed before 1848. Once near universal manhood suffrage was introduced in 1848 the masses would soon learn from the behaviour of their predecessors that "universal suffrage" can all too easily lead to "universal plunder".345

However, as he pointed out on many occasions, if everybody was trying to "pillage," "plunder," or otherwise live off the efforts of other people the net result would be a new and unintended form of plunder, "entre tous les citoyens un instrument d'oppression et de spoliation réciproque" (an instrument of mutual oppression and plunder between all its citizens).346 He wrote these lines at the conclusion of his famous essay "The State" in which he offered his own definition of what the state was rapidly becoming: "L'Etat, c'est la grande fiction à travers laquelle tout le monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de tout le monde" (The State is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else).347

Being a methodical thinker, Bastiat also raised the possibility of a third logical possibility, namely "l'absence de Spoliation" (the absence of plunder), which he thought could only exist in a society with a very small government, with very limited powers, which only looked after protecting the life, liberty, and property of its citizens, and did not use its legislative powers to grant privileges to some at the expect of others.348 He described this future free society in very Smithian terms as "le système de la liberté" (the system of liberty).349

Domestic and Foreign Plunder

Concerning the location where plunder took place, it could also be differentiated into "la spoliation au dedans" (plunder which takes place within a country), such as domestic serfdom, taxes, government jobs for the elite, monopoly privileges and subsidies to industry, and welfare transfer payments; or "la spoliation au dehors" (plunder which takes place outside the country) such as wars, military conquest of other nations, and overseas colonies. He first used these expressions in the Introduction to his book Cobden and the League (1845) where he was exploring the behaviour of the aristocracy and oligarchy which ruled Britain:350

La spoliation au dehors s'appelle guerre, conquêtes, colonies. La spoliation au dedans se nomme impôts, places, monopoles. Les aristocraties civilisées se livrent généralement à ces deux genres de spoliation ; les aristocraties barbares sont obligées de s'interdire le second par une raison bien simple, c'est qu'il n'y a pas autour d'elles une classe industrieuse à dépouiller. External plunder is called war, conquests, colonies. Internal plunder is called taxes, government offices, monopolies. Civilized aristocracies usually practice both forms of plunder; primitive aristocracies are compelled to deny themselves the latter form for a very simple reason, which is that there is no industrious class around them to dispossess.

"Hard" vs. "Soft" Plunder

With respect to how it was carried out, plunder could be "hard" (brutale) with the use of naked force (la force) or "soft" (douce) with the use of fraud (la ruse) and deception (l'imposture) and minimal use of explicit force.

The best examples of "hard plunder" or what he also called "la Spoliation directe et naïve" (direct and crude plunder)351 were military conquest and slavery. "La spoliation militaire" (military plunder) was so bad that it was given its own special category.352 Slavery in his view was an even worse form of plunder as it literally destroyed "the person" or "the self" by taking everything away which constituted the person.353

l'esclavage, qui est la spoliation poussée jusqu'à sa limite idéale, puisqu'elle dépouille le vaincu de toute propriété actuelle et de toute propriété future, de ses œuvres, de ses bras, de son intelligence, de ses facultés, de ses affections, de sa personnalité tout entière. slavery, which is plunder extended to its theoretical limit, since it dispossessed the vanquished of all their current and future property, their work, their arms (body), their minds, their faculties, their affections, and their entire person.

And similarly:354

D'un autre côté, liberté c'est propriété généralisée. Mes facultés m'appartiennent-elles si je ne suis pas libre d'en faire usage, et l'esclavage n'est-il pas la négation la plus compléte de la propriété comme de la liberté? On the other hand, liberty is private property made widespread. Do my faculties belong to me if I am not free to make use of them, and is not slavery the most total negation of property as it is of liberty?

However in the modern era he thought that "naked plunder" was being replaced by a more insidious form of "hidden" or "disguised" plunder in which the violence of the state was "more subtle" and was "cloaked" behind "sophistical" arguments designed to mislead the people.355 In his view it was the task of the economist to "unveil" and expose these sophisms, such as justifying tariffs and subsidies as being in the "national interest" since they supposedly increased the wages and job opportunities of all French people, thus actually benefiting those who paid the higher taxes and prices.356 He called this "la Spoliation par la ruse" (plunder by fraud or trickery)357 and it typically took the form in the protectionist system of manufacturers getting the state to use violence or threats of violence on their behalf, instead of having to use violence themselves. Thus plunder became "infiniment plus douce, plus lucrative, moins périlleuse" (infinitely gentler, more lucrative, and less dangerous) for the favored manufacturers.358

Bastiat thought the most sophisticated form of "soft" plunder was that which had been perfected by the Church over the centuries, or what he called "la spoliation par ruse théocratique" (plunder by theocratic fraud). Here, a religious elite controlled the Church for its own purposes and used "les Sophismes théocratiques" (theocratic sophisms) to justify their actions. In his proposed History of Plunder "Theocracy" was the third stage is its evolution and he wrote more on this than any other with the exception of the protectionist system. In both systems he thought that consumers, taxpayers, and believers were being "duped" by their plunderers into accepting plunder as necessary, inevitable, and part of God's will.359

Transitory vs. Permanent Plunder

With respect to its duration, it could be "la spoliation transitoire" (transitory or temporary plunder) with occasional acts of plunder being undertaken, where, to use Mancur Olson's terminology,360 "roving bandits" like pirates, bands of robbers, or invading barbarians would steal from small groups or communities of producers and then leave, only to return at a later date. But over the course of the time transitory plunder was turned into "la spoliation permanente" (permanent plunder) when plunder became systematized or institutionalized usually in the form of a permanent, organized state. Olson called them "stationary bandits," who would create permanent institutions to collect "taxes," "tithes," or "dues."361

Plus tard, les spoliateurs se raffinèrent. Passer les vaincus au fil de l'épée, ce fut, à leurs yeux, détruire un trésor. Ne ravir que des propriétés, c'était une spoliation transitoire ; ravir les hommes avec les choses, c'était organiser la spoliation permanente. Later, the plunders became more refined. Putting the vanquished to the sword was, in their eyes, to destroy a (form of) wealth. Plundering only property was a transitory form of plunder; plundering men along with property was to organize permanent plunder.

Bastiat had a variety of names for the permanent institutions which organised plunder in his own day, such as "le régime protecteur" (the protectionist regime), "le système de la protection" (the system of trade protection); or were in the process of evolving into new and more dangerous forms, such as "le fonctionarisme" (functionaryism or rule by government functionaries),362 or the all pervasive "le gouvernementalisme"363 or the "le système de domination universelle" (the system of universal domination) of a future socialist or communist government .

The Different Methods of Plundering

Bastiat also thought that there were several different means or methods by which acts of plunder could be carried out, such as the following:

  1. the direct use of naked force as in war and slavery;
  2. by acts of fraud (la ruse) or deception (l'imposture) as with theocratic fraud (see the entry on "Theocratic Fraud" in the Appendix) or monopoly privileges, subsidies, and tariff protection for industry and agriculture supposedly to improve the "national economy";
  3. by the government protecting its own interests and the interests of those who worked for it (the "functionaries") with unnecessary jobs, high taxes, and the regulation of all aspects of life supposedly because the government had the interests of all citizens in mind and had the knowledge and ability to protect the interests of its citizens better than they could themselves; and
  4. one of its most important methods by the intermediary of the law (or legislation), or "legal plunder,"36 which allowed privileged interests to hide behind the legitimacy of the law to carry out acts of plunder they could not or would not do openly and in their own name.

A New Definition of the State as "the organisation of plunder in order to acquire wealth"

We could perhaps reformulate Bastiat's definition of the state along the lines of Franz Oppenheimer's famous definition, which was that "the state is the organization of the political means (of acquiring wealth)".365

Bastiat also made a similar distinction between two ways in which wealth could be acquired:"la richesse acquise par la force à la richesse acquise par le travail" (wealth acquired by (the use of ) force (or) wealth acquired by (means of) work).366 Thus, Bastiat's famous definition of the state might be revised to state that:

"The state is the organisation of plunder on a permanent, legal, and orderly basis for the benefit of one group and at the expense of others."

Plunder and Bastiat's Theory of Class

A consequence of the existence of plunder was that society was divided into two antagonistic groups or classes, the smaller group of individuals who benefited from the acts of plunder, "la classe spoliatrice" (the plundering class) or "les spoliateurs" (the plunderers) and a larger group, "les classes spoliées" (the plundered classes) or "les spoliés" (the plundered), who paid the taxes, tithes, and tariffs, who served as conscripts in the army, and who were prevented from entering the occupations of their choice.367 For a more extended discussion of Bastiat's theory of class see "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 473-85).

The resistance of the plundered classes to their plunderers placed an upper "Malthusianism" limit on the degree to which they could be exploited (the state grew until it reached the capacity of the taxpayers to continue paying their tribute to the rulers), as the periodic tax revolts and revolutions in European history clearly showed. For more details see "On Malthus and Malthusian Limits to the Growth of the State" in Appendix 1(CW3, pp. 461-64).

Bastiat was very much part of the classical liberal tradition of thinking about class conflict in this way, a tradition which predated Marx's theory of class analysis but which largely came to an end with the First World War and the end of classical liberalism in Europe.368

Sophisms which justify and legitimize Plunder

Another consequence of "la spoliation permanente et légale" (permanent and legal plunder)369 was the need for the plundering class to persuade those they plundered to acquiesce in their being plundered and not to resist as it was expensive and time consuming to repress dissent and revolts. Hence the need for the dissemination of "sophisms" which justified the system of plunder as being dictated by God, part of the natural order, essential for the well-being of the nation, or even in the long-term interests of those who were being plundered.

As he stated in the final passage in the first series of Economic Sophisms (penned in November 1845 and published in early 1846):370

Seulement, l'agent est changé : ce n'est plus par force, c'est par ruse qu'on s'empare des richesses publiques. Only the thing which promotes it (plunder) has changed; it is no longer by force but by fraud that public wealth can be seized.
Pour voler le public, il faut le tromper. Le tromper, c'est lui persuader qu'on le vole pour son avantage; c'est lui faire accepter en échange de ses biens des services fictifs, et souvent pis. — De là le Sophisme. — Sophisme théocratique, Sophisme économique, Sophisme politique, Sophisme financier. — Donc, depuis que la force est tenue en échec, le Sophisme n'est pas seulement un mal, c'est le génie du mal. Il le faut tenir en échec à son tour. — Et, pour cela, rendre le public plus fin que les fins, comme il est devenu plus fort que les forts. In order to steal from the public, it is first necessary to deceive them. To deceive them it is necessary to persuade them that they are being robbed for their own good; it is to make them accept imaginary services and often worse in exchange for their possessions. This gives rise to sophistry. Theocratic sophistry, economic sophistry, political sophistry, and financial sophistry. Therefore, ever since force has been held in check, sophistry has been not only a source of harm, it has been the very essence of harm. It must in its turn be held in check. And to do this the public must become cleverer than the clever, just as it has become stronger than the strong.
Bon public, c'est sous le patronage de cette pensée que je t'adresse ce premier essai … My good public, it is with this last thought in mind that I am addressing this first essay to you …

Every historical stage of plunder, he argued, had a ruling elite which felt obliged to establish "une loi qui la sanctionne, une morale qui la glorifie" (a law that sanctions plunder and a moral code that glorifies it) and both these laws and moral codes required in turn "sophisms" to legitimise them.371 These "sophisms" consisted of lies, fraud (la ruse), deception (l'imposture), half-truths, and sophistical arguments which were used to "dupe" or delude the people into acquiescing to those who plundered and ruled them. Bastiat made a name for himself as one of the most articulate, clever, and witty debunkers of the "economic sophisms" which were used to justify subsidies to industry and tariff protection for manufacturers and farmers. However, he realized he was only scratching the surface, as each régime had its own set of sophisms used to justify its rule and which needed to be debunked,372 such as theocratic sophistry (discussed below), economic sophistry,373 political sophistry,374 and financial sophistry.375

On Ending Plunder

With the rise of the discipline of political economy in the 18th century with the work of the Physiocrats like Turgot in France, and Adam Smith in Britain Bastiat thought that economics had replaced religious morality as the best means of challenging the power of the plundering classes and the sophisms they used to justify their privileges. ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, pp. 118-19). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1061>. The privileged landowners and slaveowners would never give up their privileges and power, he argued, merely because of an appeal by religious-minded reformers to do so. They would only do so if the economists could point out three salient facts to them:

  1. that their method of exploiting others (whether by enslaving or enserfing some, or by forcing others as consumers to pay higher prices for the food or clothes they bought from protected industry) was inefficient or less profitable than other ways they could make money (such as using the vastly more productive free labour which could be found only in a dynamic free market)
  2. that the costs of protecting their privileged position was rising because of the resistance of those whom they exploited as tax revolts and even revolutions were demonstrating
  3. that as economic ideas spread among the people they would gradually come to no longer believe in the sophisms the plunderers peddled to justify their position of political privilege.

The Book on Plunder Bastiat never wrote

These many insightful ideas about the nature of plunder and its role in human history were scattered over dozens of articles and book chapters and never put together into a coherent whole. He planned to do this is a book he wanted to write on A History of Plunder after he had finished the books on Economic Harmonies and Social Harmonies but unfortunately died before he could do so.

For more information on this ambitious project see "History of Plunder" and the short articles on some of the specific forms of plunder, such as "Legal Plunder," "Functionaryism," and "Theocratic Plunder," all in Appendix 1.

Key Texts on Plunder

We list here in chronological order the main works where he discusses the nature of plunder:

1. "Introduction" to Cobden and the League (July 1845) in CW6 (forthcoming), in which he discusses the English "oligarchy" which benefited from the system of tariffs which Cobden and his Anti–Corn Law League were trying to get repealed.

2. ES1 "Conclusion" (November 1845) (CW3, pp. 104-10), where he reflects on the use of force throughout history to oppress the majority, and the part played by "sophistry" (ideology and false economic thinking) to justify this.

3. ES2 9 "Theft by Subsidy" (JDE, January 1846) (CW3, pp. 170-79), where he insists on the need to use "harsh language"—like the word "theft"—to describe the policies of governments which give benefits to some at the expense of others.

4. ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (c. 1847) (CW3, pp. 113-30), his first detailed discussion of the nature of plunder, which is contrasted with "production," and the historical progression of stages through which plunder has evolved from war, slavery, theocracy, and monopoly.

5. ES2 2 "Two Moral Philosophies" (c. 1847) (CW3, pp. 131-38), where he distinguishes between religious moral philosophy, which attempts to persuade the men who live by plundering others (e.g., slave-owners and protectionists) to voluntarily refrain from doing so, and economic moral philosophy, which speaks to the victims of plundering and urges them to resist by understanding the true nature of their oppression and making it "increasingly difficult and dangerous" for their oppressors to continue exploiting them.

6. "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, 15 June 1848) (CW2, pp. 60–81), where Bastiat first used the terms "la spoliation extra-légale" (extra-legal plunder) and "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder); he describes the socialist state as "un intermédiaire parasite et dévorant" (a parasitic and devour- ing intermediary) which embodies "la Spoliation organisée" (organized plunder).

7. "Property and Plunder" ( JDD, 24 July 1848) (CW2, pp. 147–84), in the "Fifth Letter" of which Bastiat talks about how transitory plunder gradually became "la spoliation permanente" (permanent plunder) when it became organized and entrenched by the state.

8. "Conclusion" to the first edition of Economic Harmonies (late 1849), where he sketches what his unfinished book would have included, such as the opposite of the factors leading to "harmony," namely "les dissonances sociales" (the social disharmonies), such as plunder and oppression, or what he also calls "les causes perturbatrices" (disturbing factors); here he concentrates on theocratic and protectionist plunder.

9. "Plunder and Law" ( JDE, 15 May 1850) (CW2, pp. 266–76), where he addresses the protectionists who have turned the law into a "sword" or "un instrument de Spoliation" (a tool of plunder) which the socialists will take advantage of when they get the political opportunity to do so.

10. The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107–46), Bastiat's most extended treatment of the natural law basis of property and how it has been "perverted" by the plunderers who have seized control of the state, where "la loi a pris le caractère spoliateur" (the law has taken on the character of the plunderer); he reminds the protectionists that the system of exploitation they had created before 1848 has been taken over, first by the socialists and soon by the Bonapartists, to be used for their own purposes, thus creating a new form of plundering by a new kind of class rule by "le gouvernementalisme" (government bureaucrats).

11. WSWNS 3 "Taxes" ( July 1850) (CW3, pp. 410-13), on the conflict between the tax-payers and the payment of the salaries of civil servants, whom he likens to so many thieves, who provide no (or very little) benefit in return for the money they receive, and thus create a form of "legal parasitism."

12. WSWNS 6 "The Middlemen" ( July 1850) (CW3, pp. 422-27), where he describes the government's provision of some services as a form of "dreadful parasitism."

13. Economic Harmonies, part 2, chapter 17, "Private Services, Public Services" (published posthumously in 1851), an examination of the extent to which "public services" are productive or plunderous; he discusses how in the modern era "la spoliation par l'impôt s'exerce sur une immense échelle" (plunder by means of taxation is exercized to a high degree), but rejects the idea that they are plunderous "par essence" (by their very nature); beyond a very small number of limited activities (such as public security, managing public property) the actions of the state are "autant d'instruments d'oppression et de spoliation légales" (only so many tools of oppression and legal plunder); he warns of the danger of the state serving the private interests of "les fonctionnaires" (state functionaries) who become plunderers in their own right; the plundered class is deceived by sophistry into thinking that they will benefit from whatever the plundering classes seize as a result of the "ricochet" or trickle down effect as they spend their ill-gotten gains.

 


 

Victimless Crimes

Bastiat had a very relaxed attitude towards people engaging in activities which were not approved by the broader society or what today we would call "victimless crimes." He thought that each individual had a natural right to produce or consume whatever they liked regardless of what other people thought, so long as that activity did not violate the right to life, liberty, or property of others. He thought that "It is up to the person seeking the satisfaction to know whether this satisfaction is honest, moral, reasonable, and beneficial. It is his responsibility." (XI "Producer (and) Consumer") and that "it is for the person desiring and demanding the product to assume the consequences, (whether) useful or disastrous." Whatever individual consumers chose to consume "the law remains neutral, and leaves matters to natural responsibility." (XX "On Responsibility").

The examples he discusses included the production and consumption of opium, wine and brandy, eating too much food, luxurious or frivolous clothing, non-traditional educational practices, and interestingly, ostentatious and expensive religious practices. These examples are discussed in three places in EH: chapters VIII "Property and Community, " XI "Producer and Consumer," and XX "On Responsibility."376

For example:

Combien ne s'est-on pas récrié contre les Anglais de ce qu'ils récoltaient de l'opium dans l'Inde avec l'idée bien arrêtée, disait-on, d'empoisonner les Chinois ! C'était méconnaître et déplacer le principe de la moralité. Jamais on n'empêchera de produire ce qui, étant recherché, a de la valeur. C'est à celui qui aspire à une satisfaction d'en calculer les effets, et c'est bien en vain qu'on essayerait de séparer la prévoyance de la responsabilité. How much have we criticized the English because they harvested opium in India with the deliberate and official idea, it was said, of poisoning the Chinese! This was to misunderstand and displace the principle of morality. We will never prevent the production of something that has value because it is sought after. It is up to the person who aspires to enjoy some form of satisfaction to estimate its effects, and in vain will we endeavor to separate foresight from responsibility. [In chap. VIII "Property and Community."]
Aussi, voyez : qui songe à blâmer nos travailleurs méridionaux de faire de l'eau-de-vie ? Ils répondent à une demande. Ils bêchent la terre, soignent leurs vignes, vendangent, distillent le raisin sans se préoccuper de ce qu'on fera du produit. C'est à celui qui recherche la satisfaction à savoir si elle est honnête, morale, raisonnable, bienfaisante. La responsabilité lui incombe. Le monde ne marcherait pas sans cela. Où en serions-nous si le tailleur devait se dire : « Je ne ferai pas un habit de cette forme qui m'est demandée, parce qu'elle pèche par excès de luxe, ou parce qu'elle compromet la respiration, etc., etc. ? » Whoever thinks, actually, of blaming our workers in the south for making brandy? They are meeting a demand. They dig the earth, take care of their vines, harvest the grapes, and distill them without concerning themselves as to the use made of their product. It is up to the person seeking the satisfaction to know whether this satisfaction is honest, moral, reasonable, and beneficial. It is his responsibility. The world would not work without this. Where would we be if tailors had to say to themselves: "I will not make a jacket in the style I have been asked to because it is excessively opulent or because it hampers breathing, etc." [In chap. XI "Producer and Consumer."]
Vous affirmez que je ferais mieux de prendre telle carrière, de travailler selon tel procédé, d'employer une charrue en fonte au lieu d'une charrue en bois, de semer clair au lieu de semer dru, d'acheter en Orient plutôt qu'en Occident. Je soutiens tout le contraire. — J'ai fait tous mes calculs ; en définitive, je suis plus intéressé que vous à ne pas me tromper sur des matières d'où dépendent mon bien-être, mon existence, le bonheur de ma famille, et qui n'intéressent que votre amour-propre ou vos systèmes. Conseillez-moi, mais ne m'imposez rien. Je me déciderai à mes périls et risques, cela suffit, et l'intervention de la loi serait ici tyrannique. You assert that I would do better to follow this or that career, to work using this or that particular method, to use an iron plough instead of a wooden one, to sow broadly instead of closely, or to purchase goods from the East instead of the West. I maintain quite the opposite. I have made all my calculations, and in the end I have more interest than you in not making a mistake in matters on which my well-being, my existence, or my family's happiness depend, and which interest only your self-esteem or your theories. Advise me, but do not impose anything on me. I will take the decision at my risk and peril; that is enough, and the intervention of the law would be tyranny in this instance. [chap. XX "On Responsibility."]

 


 

The Writing of the Harmonies

Conceiving and Planning "the Harmonies"

It is hard to know exactly when Bastiat thought he had the ability to write a major treatise on economic and social theory, but we do know that from quite early on he thought one needed to be written and that gradually, as his confidence in himself as an economist grew, he was the person to do so. As he said to his friend and neighbor Félix Coudroy in June 1845 when he was working on his first set of Economic Sophisms:377

If my small treatise, Economic Sophisms, is a success, we might follow it with another entitled Social Harmonies. It would be of great use because it would satisfy the tendency of our epoch to look for (socialist) organizations and artificial harmonies by showing it the beauty, order, and progressive principle in natural and providential harmonies.

It is interesting to see that even at this early stage the idea of "natural and providential harmonies" being at work in the economic world was central to his thinking.

Why he thought one (or more) volumes of a new theoretical treatise needed to be written is a longer story which goes back to the 1820s when he and his friend Félix Coudroy, both living in the small south western town of Mugron, were discussing in earnest the writings of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer who had a profound impact on their thinking. Bastiat had discovered the writings of these two Restoration liberals in the Revue encyclopédique in the late 1820s and eagerly reported this to Félix in a letter.378 They then began reading copies of Comte and Dunoyer's journal Le Censeur européen (1817-1819) in which they took the economic theories of J.B. Say and the political ideas of Benjamin Constant and wove them into a new form of classical liberalism which had, in addition to the traditional economic and political components, a social component which involved notions of class, exploitation, and the relationship between the mode of production and political culture. They called this the "industrialist theory" of society379 which they explored in considerable depth in a number of works which appeared in the 1820s and 1830s, most notably Dunoyer's L'Industrie et la morale considérées dans leurs rapports avec la liberté (1825) and Comte's Traité de législation, (1826) and its sequel Traité de la propriété (1834).

Bastiat wanted to do something similar to the economic theory of his own day by using the ideas of Say, Constant, Comte, and Dunoyer to study "all forms of freedom"380 in a very ambitious research project on liberal social theory. This new synthesis,381 "un sujet plus vaste" (a much larger subject),382 he would call "Social Harmonies." In another letter to Richard Cobden on 18 August, 1848 he explained that he wanted to "first of all to set out the true principles of political economy as I see them, and then to show their links with all the other moral sciences."383 And in a late letter to Casimir Cheuvreux (14 July 1850) he stated "When I said that the laws of political economy are harmonious, I did not mean only that they harmonize with each other, but also with the laws of politics, the moral laws, and even those of religion."384 And finally, in his "Draft Preface" to the Economic Harmonies (fall 1847) he said he wanted to show how "All forms of freedom go together. All ideas form a systematic and harmonious whole, and there is not a single one whose proof does not serve to demonstrate the truth of the others."385

An early reference to this elaborate project can be found in a letter he wrote to his dear friend and neighbour Félix Coudroy in Mugron on 5 June, 1845, soon after his arrival in Paris. The use of the word "we" suggests that Bastiat regarded Félix as a kind of co-author:386

If my small treatise, Economic Sophisms, is a success, we might follow it with another entitled Social Harmonies. It would be of great use because it would satisfy the tendency of our epoch to look for organizations and artificial harmonies by showing it the beauty, order, and progressive principle in natural and providential harmonies.387

From his scattered remarks in his correspondence (interestingly mostly written to non-economists like Félix Coudroy, Richard Cobden, and the Cheuvreux family) and elsewhere we can piece together a rough outline of what he had in mind. He wanted to follow up the success of his Economic Sophisms (published in January 1846) with another work to be called "Social Harmonies." Whereas the former took a "negative" perspective in that it "demolishes" false economic arguments, the latter would take a "positive" point of view in that it would "build" a new theory of how societies functioned as a whole.388

It appears that Bastiat's head was full of new economic ideas even before he went to Paris in May 1845 and began to mix with the economists who were part of the Paris School of Political Economy around the Guillaumin publishing firm.389 He had written his breakthrough article on tariffs over the summer of 1844 and this was printed after several months' delay in the October issue of the JDE.390 He had also spent 1844 working on his first book, Cobden and the League,391 which was a combination of a history of the Anti-Corn Law League, an analysis of the strategy it had adopted to challenge the power of the landowners who benefited from agricultural protection, and a translation of key speeches and articles used by the League in their ultimately successful campaign to repeal the Corn Laws in January 1846. His book was meant to be a plan and model for a similar free trade campaign in France, in which Bastiat would play a major role in 1846-47. The book was published in July 1845 and established Bastiat's reputation as a political and economic thinker.

His October article was followed shortly afterwards by another article written in January 1845 which appeared in the February issue of JDE, and an unpublished review of Dunoyer's latest book, De la liberté du travail (On the Liberty of Working) which was written about the same time.392 The "open letter" to Lamartine is remarkable for three reasons. Firstly, Bastiat chastises a leading liberal politician, Lamartine, for straying from liberal orthodoxy by supporting government funding of employment, the so-called "le droit au travail" (the right to a job) which was a key platform of the growing socialist movement and the refutation of which was a key feature or Dunoyer's book. Secondly, he does so as "an Economist" writing in the leading journal of the Parisian economists, the JDE, presumably on their behalf, even though he had only recently emerged from the obscurity of Les Landes. This suggests how rapidly his star was rising among the ranks of the economists at this time. He would even be offered the position of editor of the JDE in June (which he turned down because of the low pay and because he wanted to start a free trade movement in France), there was also talk that the economists would lobby the government on his behalf to get a new chair in political economy at the University,393 and then he got elected a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (4th section "Political Economy and Statistics") (admittedly as a more junior "corresponding"member) in January 1846 for his book on Cobden and his first collection of Economic Sophisms.

The third and most interesting and remarkable thing about this open letter to Lamartine was that it was a tour de force of original economic insights which seem to come flooding out of his mind all at once. He would use these insights and the special terminology he used to express them in what would become his economic treatise, Economic Harmonies. For some reason, the editors of the JDE chose Bastiat to explain to Lamartine that he was being inconsistent in his support for economic liberty (he supported free trade but not "the liberty of working") and that he did not fully understand the deep differences between the two main schools of economic thought, "l'école économiste ou libérale" (the economist's or liberal school) and the "l'école arbitraire" (the school based on arbitrary government power). It was quite extraordinary for a newcomer like him to be given this job and not some more senior economist like Michel Chevalier who had held the Chair of Economics at the Collège de France since 1840.394 Furthermore, many of the ideas Bastiat presented were unique to him and not part of the common parlance of French classical political economy of the period, such as "the law of individual responsibility" and "the law of human solidarity," the idea of harmony, the pairing of "disturbing forces" and "repairing or restorative forces," the theory of "displacement" of labour and capital, and the idea of "human action."

Of the 20 or so key terms Bastiat would eventually use in his original and unique social and economic theory (of which Economic Harmonies was to have been only the first volume) 14 appeared in these two articles written between January and March 1845 (12 alone in the Letter to Lamartine, of which nine were explicit references and three implied or merely hinted at). This suggests that Bastiat had come to Paris with a large part of his original and unique theory already in his head waiting to be released.

The explicit references were to the following ideas:

1. society as a "mechanism" (un mécanique sociale) and socialist organizers as "mechanics" who try to design it or run it.

2. the distinction between "volontaire" (voluntary) and "légale" (coerced), here specifically to "la charité volontaire" (voluntary charity) and "la charité légale" (coerced or government charity).

3. a couple of very early uses of the idea of harmony, namely "l'harmonie du monde social" (the harmony of the social world). However, not yet paired with "la dissonance" or "la discordance" (disharmony) which will come later in his "Second Letter to Lamartine" (JDE, Oct. 1846) in CW6 (forthcoming).

4. the pairing of the two laws: "la loi de la responsabilité" (the law of individual responsibility) and "la loi de la solidarité" (the law of human solidarity)

5. his first pairing of the idea of "les forces perturbatrices" (disturbing forces) which upset the harmony of the free market and the self-correcting mechanisms of the free market, or what he called "les forces réparatrices" (repairing or restorative forces)

6. the first use of the term "l'organisation artificielle" (artificial organisation) which would become important in his later critique of socialism and would be paired later with "l'organisation naturelle" (natural organisation) [These were first paired in "Other Questions submitted to the General Councils of Agriculture, Manufactures, and Commerce, in 1845", in CW6 (forthcoming).]

7. an early use of the idea of the indefinite "perfectibility of man"

8. the idea of labour and capital being "déplacé" (displaced or distorted) by government interventions in the economy thus causing harm until a new equilibrium can be established.

9. idea of "human action"

The indirect references or hints were to these terms or concepts:

1. that producers and consumers are intimately connected to each other, and that production is geared to satisfying the needs of consumers

2. that there is "la masse commune" (a common pool or fund) into which individuals contribute and then later can withdraw an "equivalent" amount. This will later become his idea of "la communauté" or what we have also called "the commons"

3. he hints at the idea of opportunity cost or what he will later expand into his idea of "the seen" and "the unseen." Here he talks about trying to fill a barrel by talking water from one side and pouring it into the other, or a doctor taking blood out of one arm of a patient and putting it into the other arm.

Concerning the latter, it is worth quoting this earlier use of "the seen" and "the unseen" in full given its later importance to his thinking, even though it is still in an embryonic form:395

Je vois que ce sont là des maux, des souffrances; je le vois et je le déplore. Mais ce que je ne vois pas, c'est que la société puisse éviter ces maux en proclamant le droit au travail, en décrétant que l'État prendra sur les capitaux insuffisants de quoi fournir du travail à ceux qui en manquent ; car il me semble que c'est faire le plein d'une part en faisant le vide de l'autre. C'est agir comme cet homme simple qui, voulant remplir un tonneau, puisait par-dessous de quoi verser par-dessus ; ou comme un médecin qui, pour donner des forces au malade, introduirait dans le bras droit le sang qu'il aurait tiré au bras gauche.

I see that these are harms and sufferings, and I both see and deplore them. But what I do not see is that society can avoid these harms by proclaiming a right to work [i.e. to a job], by decreeing that the State will take from an inadequate capital stock the means of providing employment for those who lack it, for I consider this filling one glass by emptying another. It is to act like that simple man who, wishing to fill a cask, drew from underneath what he put in from above or like a doctor who, to give strength to a sick man, injected into his right arm the blood he had taken from the left.

There are another eight key ideas which he will develop over the coming five years, two of these however will occur in an unpublished review of Dunoyer's most recent book, De la liberté du travail which appeared in March 1845, so very close in time to when the Letter to Lamartine was written. These are:

1. the pairing of "la dissonance" (disharmony) with the idea of harmony (in his review of Dunoyer's book)

2. the idea of exchange as "service pour service" (the mutual exchange of services) (also in the review of Dunoyer's book)

3. the idea of "l'appareil" (apparatus or structure), that there was a complex structure of commerce and trade which involved people, institutions, ideas, and practices.

4. that society was a "bazar" or "grand marché", i.e. a giant bizarre or one great market

5. the "ricochet" or flow on effect of government interventions

6. the idea of ceteris paribus, or "other things being equal"

7. the relationship between "private property" and "community," or what might also be translated as "the commons"

8. his theory of plunder ("spoliation") and the class conflict which this creates

 

First Steps: Lectures and Articles 1846-1847

After a brief stint in Paris between May and July 1845 getting to know the Parisian-based economists and seeing his first book into print, Bastiat returned to Mugron where he wrote many short essays debunking protectionist ideas which would eventually become the first collection of his Economic Sophisms which he finished in November and which appeared in print in January 1846. His next step in building a free trade movement was to open a branch of the French Free Trade Association in Bordeaux in February 1846, which was followed by the launch of the national organization in May and its journal Libre-Échange, which Bastiat edited, in November. Thus, in the period between September 1846 and the close of the French Free Trade Association in early 1848 Bastiat was largely preoccupied with the issue of free trade and had much less time to devote to theoretical matters.

Nevertheless, he still found time during 1846 to write two long articles which would appear as chapters in Economic Harmonies. Both appeared first as articles in an encyclopedia and then as articles in JDE: "On Competition" (JDE, May 1846) and "On Population" (JDE, October 1846).396 Of the two, the one on population was the most controversial as it broke with traditional pessimistic Malthusianism which offended most of his colleagues. He would not publish this in EH1 (January 1850) but would continue to revise it until his death. It would appear in the posthumous edition published in July 1851.

He did not return to working on his treatise until the summer of 1847. It is not clear why he did this - perhaps it was clear by then that the possibility of tariff reform had disappeared for the time being with the defeat of the free traders in the committee of inquiry which had been set up by Adolphe Theirs in early 1847. We know from his correspondence that he gave a lecture on free trade to some students from the law and medical faculties of the University on 3 July 1847 at the Taranne Hall in Paris.397 In this lecture he tries to show some of the deeper ideas which lay behind the policy of free trade and provided all the attending students with copies of his book Economic Sophisms as a kind of textbook. At this time (July 1847) the plan he had in his head was to write "a small work" to set out what he considered to be "la vrai théorie sociale" (the true social theory) which would consist of 12 chapters on "Needs," "Production," "Property," "Competition," "Population," "Liberty," "Equality," "Responsibility," "Solidarity," "Fraternity," "Unity," and "The Role of Public Opinion."398

It is probably with this plan in mind that he followed this initial lecture with a series of lectures also given at Taranne Hall beginning in November 1847 which continued into February 1848 before he was forced to cancel them because of the outbreak of the February Revolution.399 It was also at this time (late 1847) that Bastiat wrote a touching "draft preface" to this planned book on "The Harmonies" in the form of an ironic letter to himself. In this letter he chastises himself for being too preoccupied with only one aspect of freedom, namely free trade or what he disparagingly called this "single crust of dry bread as food," and having neglected the broader picture. In several letters he confesses that he would very much like to turn his lectures into a book, or what he called "my Social Harmonies.400

At this stage in his planning he still is not sure what to call the book. Sometimes he refers to it as the "Economic Harmonies,' while at other times he calls it the "Social Harmonies," or even a work of "social economy" on the "Harmonie des lois sociales" (Harmony of the Social Laws, or the Laws of Society).401

The project would eventually turn into a multi-volume study of "social harmonies" broadly understood, which would include a social, legal, and historical aspect, in addition to the economic.402 This would require one volume to examine the basic theory of social harmony broadly understood,403 before devoting another volume to one aspect of this larger whole, namely the economic dimension,404 and then there would be at least one volume devoted to the "disturbing factors" which disrupted social harmony.405 The latter volume would be a study of the "disharmonies" which resulted from the upsetting of the natural harmony of voluntary and non-violent human interaction by "disturbing factors" (les causes perturbatrices) such as war, slavery, and legal plunder. In other words, this volume would be "The History of Plunder" he had also planned to write.406

Before the February Revolution interrupted his theoretical work, he had written two long articles on population and competition (in May and October, 1846), given a lecture on the principles behind free trade (July, 1847), began a series of lectures on economics (November 1847), and published what would become the introductory chapter on "Natural and Artificial Organisations" in the JDE (Jan. 1848). As he confessed to Félix Coudroy on 5 January, 1848 he already had a publishable book in mind:407

However, I would much more like to publish the course I am giving to young students in the schools. Unfortunately, I have the time only to jot a few notes down on paper. This infuriates me, since I can tell you, and you know this already, that we see political economy from a slightly new angle. Something tells me that it can be simplified and more closely linked to politics and moral values.

And a week later:408

I am continuing to give my course to law students. My audience is not very numerous but its members come regularly and take notes; the grain is falling on fertile ground. I would have liked to have been able to write up this course, but I will probably leave only confused notes.

Writing the First Volume

When Revolution broke out on February 22-24 the July Monarchy was overthrown and the Second Republic was created. The leadership of the French Free Trade Association decided to disband the organization (much to Bastiat's shock and disappointment) and focus on the new threat of organized socialism. Bastiat, along with several other economists, decided to stand for election to the Constituent Assembly, won a seat in April, and began working within the Chamber. He was not only elected vice-president of the Chamber's Finance Committee but also began a project writing a series of a dozen anti-socialist pamphlets for the Guillaumin publishing firm as part of their campaign against socialism.409

Bastiat only found time to return intermittently to his treatise which he did in the summer and fall of 1848. In July he gave some lectures to members of the National Guard (a volunteer force in which the members pay for their own uniforms and equipment)410 and was able to secure funding to some more lectures.411 Sometime in the fall he began writing up his lectures and publishing them as articles in the JDE, the first four parts of which appeared in September and December.412

Yet at the same time as he was writing these quite theoretical chapters on human needs and the effort that is necessary to satisfy these needs, he was also still yearning to write another more popular "pared-down version of political economy" which might "cure" "our sick society" of its economic ignorance. As he asked Hortense Cheuvreux in November:413

If you have to hand the name of the learned pharmacist who has discovered the art of making cod-liver oil palatable, please send it to me. I would also love it if this valued alchemist could teach me the secret of producing a pared-down version of political economy; this is a remedy that our sick society is very much in need of, but it refuses to take the smallest teaspoonful, so repulsive does it find the stuff.

This "paired-down version of political economy" would become his pamphlet "economics in one lesson", or as it is better known today What is Seen and What is Not Seen which was the last thing he ever he wrote over the summer of 1850. This classic work may not have been written if he had stuck to plan to continue working on the second volume of Economic Harmonies.

By the end of 1848 he admitted to his friend Félix Coudroy "They (the rest of the book's chapters) are in my head but I am very much afraid that they will never come out."414 In the first half of 1849, in additional to his parliamentary duties, Bastiat found time to write several pieces on money and capital which was a new area of interest for him. He wrote Capital and Rent in Feb. 1849, Damned Money! in April 1849, and "Capital" in mid-1849. He followed this up with a six month long debate with Proudhon on "Free Credit" between Oct. 1849 and March 1850.415 Perhaps realizing that time was running our with his rapidly failing health, he took a leave of absence from the Chamber in the early summer in oder to spend as much time as possible on his treatise. With the help of his wealthy friends and benefactors Hortense and Casimir Cheuvreux, it was arranged for him to rent over the summer Louis XIV's old hunting lodge Butard in the woods west of Versailles so he could have some peace and quiet. He told an old friend back in Mugron what his typical day at Mugron consisted of:416

Near the center, in the middle of a thick forest, isolated like an eagle's nest, there is the lodge of Le Butard … Here I am then, all alone, and I am enjoying this way of life so much that when my leave of absence is over I am proposing to go to the Chamber and return here every day. I read, go for walks, play the cello, write, and in the evening I go down one of the avenues which leads me to a friend.

In a burst of intense activity he was able to finish the first part of Economic Harmonies which would contain ten chapters and which was published in January 1850. Since he had already written five of these chapters before the summer of 1849 this meant that he was able to write five more during this brief period. The five he had written before that summer were articles he had written for the JDE, namely "On Competition" (JDE, May 1846), "On Population" (JDE, Oct. 1846), "Natural and Artificial Organisation" (JDE, Jan., 1848), and four-part series "Economic Harmonies: I, II, and III. The Needs of Man" (JDE, Sept., 1848) and "Economic Harmonies IV" (JDE, Dec. 1848) which he rearranged for the book version.417 This meant that he probably wrote another five chapters over the summer of 1849 while staying at the Butard hunting lodge, namely chapters 4 "Exchange," 5 "On Value," 6 "Wealth," 7 "Capital," 8 "Property and Community," and 9 "Property in Land." Possibly the last things he wrote before the book was published were the dedication "To the Youth of France" and the Conclusion.

The first volume of the book was printed in late 1849 and was publicly available in January 1850. In December 1849 Bastiat began giving another series of lectures to law and medical students at Taranne Hall418 and began to plan for volume two even though, as he confessed to Félix in a letter written in January 1850, that he hadn't started work on volume two in earnest and that it would take him at least a year to finish it.419

Plans for the Second and Subsequent Volumes

Because he was so pressed for time as his health rapidly failed during 1849-50 he decided to focus on only one aspect of his work on "the harmonies," namely the "economic harmonies," and leave the discussion of the broader "social harmonies" and his history of plunder and "the disharmonies" to another time. He seemed to be torn between three different approaches to writing his book, as he explained in a letter and also in a fragment Paillottet dated from early 1850, so after EH1 had been published. One source of tension was between the broader social theory and the narrower economics theory. Which one should come first? As he stated in the fragment:420

I had originally thought to begin with an exposition of the Economic Harmonies and as a result to treat only purely economic subjects, such as value, property, wealth, competition, wages, population, money, credit, etc. Later, if I had had the time and the energy, I would have called the reader's attention to a much larger subject, the Social Harmonies. It is here that I would have talked about human nature, the driving force of society, responsibility, solidarity, etc. … Having conceived the project in this fashion I had commenced work on it when I realised that it would have been better to merge rather than to separate these two different kinds of approaches. But then logic demands that the study of mankind should precede that of economics. However, there was not enough time: how I wish I could correct this error in another edition!…

A second source of tension was between writing on "pure theory" or on current economic and policy matters, a subject with which he had considerable success with his series of Economic Sophisms. This indecision might explain why he took time off writing more on the theoretical aspects of his treatise over the summer of 1850 in order to write one his most brilliant and popular works WSWNS which is an extended application of his idea of opportunity cost to 10 specific economic case studies. This proved to be a hard book to write as he couldn't settle on the right "tone" (serious or amusing, theoretical or journalistic) and ended up writing three different versions of it before he was satisfied.

He wrote to Félix Coudroy in January 1850 soon after volume one had appeared, saying:421

Now I would ask the heavens to grant me one year to write the second volume, which has not even been started, after which I will sing the "Nunc dimittis."

He also continued to be (or allowed himself to be) distracted with other projects during his final year such as the pamphlet Plunder and Law (May 1850), The Law (June 1850), and What is Seen and What is Not Seen (July 1850).422 One reason he might have allowed himself to be distracted was his disappointment at the reaction of his colleagues to his book, or what he called "my poor Harmonies."423 First of all, they were uncharacteristically slow to review the book in the JDE, perhaps being reluctant to offend him with a negative review while he was so ill. Ambroise Clément would eventually review it in the June issue of JDE424 some six months after it was published. He correctly suspected that his colleagues, whom he called these "middle aged men"425 who were all members of "our small church"426 and who wouldn't "abandon well-entrenched and long-held ideas, and would accuse him of heterodoxy for challenging the accepted ideas about rent (Ricardo), population (Malthus), and value (Smith). By May, when a review of his book still had not appeared, he was convinced the old guard of economists was not interested in his ideas and that he could only hope that "the youth of France," the next generation of economists, would better understand his new ways of thinking.427

There was also pressure being applied by the Guillaumin firm for him to complete the project, perhaps with the unstated and rather grim concern that he would die before he could finish it. He mentioned in a letter that there was talk again of him renting the Butard hunting lodge over the coming summer so he could work on it. But nothing came of the plan.428 However, he chose to return to Mugron to work on what are now regarded as two of his most important works, the pamphlet on The Law (June 1850) and What is Seen and What is Not Seen (July 1850).

By the end of the summer of 1850 Paillottet tells us that Bastiat's health had deteriorated to the point where he could no long talk at all.429 When his doctor told him he could not survive another winter in Paris and should move to a warmer clime (i.e. Rome) Bastiat said farewell to his colleagues in the Political Economy Society and left Paris for the last time in September 1850.

In his correspondence in his final months we can read that Bastiat bemoaned the lack of the teaching of economics in French universities and colleges compared to the more advanced approach taken in Italian university where it was taught more widely in the Faculties of Law,430 and his regret perhaps of not getting a new chair in Economics in a French university because of ministerial inertia or incompetence.431 Some of his last correspondence deals with his response to the accusation made by the American economist Carey that he had plagiarized Carey's work on economic harmony432 (a charge later retracted by Carey). He must have been cheered up to learn that the first edition of EH had sold out and he expressed the hope that his long-time benefactor and supporter Casimir Cheuvreux would help raise the funds required to get volume 1 reprinted.433

After his death on Christmas Eve 1850 his friends Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay put together a second, expanded edition of EH which was published in July 1851. It stated on the title page that it was published by "la Société des amis de Bastiat" who are not identified but presumably consisted of Paillottett (Bastiat's literary executor) and Fontenay, and probably Casimir Cheuvreux who put up the money to have the book published. They assembled from Bastiat's papers a more complete edition of the Economic Harmonies with 15 additional chapters, five of which were substantial and nearly finished and ten 'chapters" which consisted of drafts, fragments, and notes. The five largely finished chapters were between 20-45 pages each and became chapters XI "Producer and Consumer," XIV "On Wages," XVI "On Population," XVII "Private and Public Services," and XX "Responsibility." The remaining 10 "chapters" were incomplete fragments and notes which Paillottet and Fontenay cobbled together following the outline they had also found among Bastiat's papers. The editors also included in the EH2 several empty placeholders where unwritten chapters should have gone (such as "On Money," "On Credit," and the "Relationships between Political Economy and Moral Theory, Politics, and Law."

The "List of Chapters intended to complete the Economic Harmonies"434 is interesting because it provides another insight into Bastiat's larger plan for a multi-volume work on "harmonies" and "disharmonies." This list is reproduced below.

In another fragment discovered by Paillottet and probably written soon after EH1 appeared in January 1850 Bastiat expresses frustration with the order in which he had originally planned to arrange the chapters and hopes he can rectify this problem in a future edition. He says:435

I had originally thought to begin with an exposition of the Economic Harmonies and as a result to treat only purely economic subjects, such as value, property, wealth, competition, wages, population, money, credit, etc. Later, if I had had the time and the energy, I would have called the reader's attention to a much larger subject, the Social Harmonies. It is here that I would have talked about human nature, the driving force of society, responsibility, solidarity, etc. … Having conceived the project in this fashion I had commenced work on it when I realised that it would have been better to merge rather than to separate these two different kinds of approaches. But then logic demands that the study of mankind should precede that of economics. However, there was not enough time: how I wish I could correct this error in another edition!…

List of Planned Chapters

In the second expanded edition of EH the editors inserted at the end of part one a list of chapters Bastiat had wanted to write for the complete version of his treatise. The editors divide them into four parts the meaning of which is not always clear (my interpretation is in brackets): normal phenomena (economic theory or economic harmonies), corollaries (economic policy or "applied" economics), disrupting phenomena (the theory of disharmony or his history of plunder), and general views (social harmonies). This is reproduced here:

Key:

- [place in EH1 or EH2]

- * = Note by PP: "The asterisks designate the subjects on which we have not found any work started."

- (where else he wrote on this topic which might provide clues about his approach in the proposed book)

NORMAL PHENOMENA

1. Producer - Consumer [EH2 XI]

2. The two mottoes/sayings [EH2 XII] - one for all (the principle of fellow feeling) and everyone for themselves (the principle of individualism)

3. The theory of Rent [EH2 XIII]

4. * On money [Damned Money pamphlet]

5. * On credit [Free Credit debate with Proudhon]

6. On wages [EH2 XIV]

7. On savings [EH2 XV]

8. On population [EH2 XVI]

9. Private services, public services [EH2 XVII]

10. * On taxes [WSWNS 3 Taxes]

 

COROLLARIES

11. * On machines [WSWNS 8 Machines]

12. * Freedom of exchange - (lecture given at Taranne Hall to students in July 1847)

13. * On intermediaries [WSWNS 6 The Middlemen]

14. * Raw materials - finished products [ ES1 21 "Raw Materials" (c. 1845)]

15. * On luxury [WSWNS 11 Thrift and Luxury]

 

DISRUPTING PHENOMENA

16. Plunder [sketch in EH2 XVIII] (conclusion ES1, ES2 1 and 2)

17. War [sketch in EH2 XIX]

18. * Slavery [ES2 1]

19. * Theocracy [ES2 1]

20. * Monopoly [ES2 1]

21. * Governmental exploitation

22. * False fraternity or Communism [his anti-socialist pamphlets]

 

GENERAL VIEWS

23. Responsibility - solidarity [EH2 XX and XXI]

24. Personal interest or the social drive [EH2 XXII]

25. Perfectibility [sketch EH2 XXIV]

26. * Public opinion [EH2 XXI Solidarity]

27. * The relationship between political economy and morality [sketch EH2 XXV]

28. * and politics

29. * and legislation

30. * and religion. [sketch EH2 XXIII Evil]

 

There are several topics which are not listed here but which had chapters in EH2 or were unpublished drafts:

1. organisation [EH2 I]

2. needs, efforts, satisfactions [EH2 II and III]

3. exchange [EH2 IV]

4. value [EH2 V]

5. wealth [EH2 VI]

6. capital [EH2 VII]

7. private property [EH2 VIII]

8. communal property (the Commons) [EH2 VIII]

9. property in land [EH2 IX]

10. competition [EH2 X]

11. liberty and equality [draft]

 

A Reconstruction of what might have been

I have tried to reorganize these lists into something more coherent which follows his plan for a three volume work which dealt with "Social Harmonies," "Economic Harmonies," and "The Disharmonies" or "A History of Plunder."

Volume 1: Social Harmonies:

1. The two mottoes/sayings [EH2 XII] - one for all (the principle of fellow feeling) and everyone for themselves (the principle of individualism)

2. Responsibility - solidarity [EH2 XX and XXI]

3. Personal/Self interest or the social drive [EH2 XXII]

4. Perfectibility [sketch EH2 XXIV]

5. Public opinion (in chap. XXI "On Solidarity")

6. liberty and equality [draft chap.]

7. The relationship between political economy and morality [sketch EH2 XXV]

8. The relationship between political economy and politics

9. The relationship between political economy and legislation

10. The relationship between political economy and religion. [sketch EH2 XXIII Evil]

 

Volume 2: Economic Harmonies:

1. theoretical matters

1. organisation [EH2 I]

2. needs efforts, satisfactions [EH2 II and III]

3. exchange [EH2 IV]

4. value [EH2 V]

5. wealth [EH2 VI]

6. capital [EH2 VII]

7. private property [EH2 VIII]

8. communal property (the Commons) [EH2 VIII]

9. property in land [EH2 IX]

10. competition [EH2 X]

11. Producer - Consumer [EH2 XI]

12. The theory of Rent [EH2 XIII]

 

2. policy/applied matters

1. On money [Damned Money pamphlet]

2. On credit [Free Credit debate with P]

3. On wages [EH2 XIV]

4. On savings [EH2 XV]

5. On population [EH2 XVI]

6. Private services, public services [EH2 XVII]

7. On taxes [WSWNS 3 Taxes]

8. On machines [WSWNS 8 Machines]

9. Freedom of exchange - (lecture given at Taranne Hall to students in 1847??)

10. On intermediaries [WSWNS 6 The Middlemen]

11. Raw materials - finished products [ ES1 21 "Raw Materials" (c. 1845)]

12. On luxury [WSWNS 11 Thrift and Luxury]

Volume 3: Disharmonies, or The History of Plunder:

1. Plunder [sketch in EH2 XVIII] (conclusion ES1, ES2 1 and 2)

2. War [sketch in EH2 XIX]

3. Slavery [ES2 1]

4. Theocracy [ES2 1]

5. Monopoly [ES2 1]

6. Governmental exploitation ["functionaryism"]

7. False fraternity or Communism [his anti-socialist pamphlets]

 

It should be noted that the volume on "The History of Plunder" was especially dear to him even though it is in the most disorganized and incomplete state. In a note at the end of the "Conclusion" to ES1 his French editor Paillottet tells us that:436

The influence of plunder on the destiny of the human race preoccupied him greatly. After having covered this subject several times in the Sophisms and the Pamphlets,437 he planned a more ample place for it in the second part of the Harmonies, among the disturbing factors. Lastly, as the final evidence of the interest he took in it, he said on the eve of his death: "A very important task to be done for political economy is to write the history of plunder. It is a long history in which, from the outset, there appeared conquests, the migrations of peoples, invasions, and all the disastrous excesses of force in conflict with justice. Living traces of all this still remain today and cause great difficulty for the solution of the questions raised in our century. We will not reach this solution as long as we have not clearly noted in what and how injustice, when making a place for itself amongst us, has gained a foothold in our customs and our laws."

See "Bastiat's Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1 for more details on this aspect of Bastiat's social theory.

 


 

Endnotes

1 See the more detailed discussion in "Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1.

2 Chap. VIII "Property and Community". p. abc

3 Bastiat believed that the free market caused another kind of levelling which was a "levelling up" which was a result of economic progress. See "Perfectibility and Progress," in Appendix 1.

4 See "Mechanics and Organizers," in Appendix 1.

5 See Bastiat's Anti-Socialist Pamphlets," in Appendix 1 in CW4 (forthcoming).

6 See his debate with the journal L'Atelier in June and September 1847 in ("On Communism" (LE, June 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming) and "Reply to the journal L'Atelier" (LE, Sept., 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming)); "Property and Law" (JDE, May 1848) (CW2, pp. 58-59); the section on "Communists" in the Fourth Letter of "Property and Plunder" (JDD, July 1848) (CW2, pp. 169-70); Protectionism and Communism (Jan. 1849) (CW2, pp. 235—65); "Baccalaureate and Socialism" (early 1850) (CW2, pp. 185-234); and The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107-46).

7 "Protectionism and Communism" (January 1849) (CW2, pp. 243-44).

8 "Protectionism and Communism" (January 1849) (CW2, p. 244).

9 Chap. V "Value", p. abc.

10 "Cinquième discours à Lyon" (August 1847 (in CW6 (forthcoming).

11 Chap. VIII "Property and Community," p. abc.

12 Conclusion to EH1, p. abc.

13 "The Canal beside the Adour" (18 June 1837) in CW4 (forthcoming).

14 "On the Impact of the Protectionist Regime on Agriculture" (JDE, December 1846) in CW6 (forthcoming).

15 His colleague Charles Coquelin had a more sophisticated understanding about the role of the central banks and the over-issue of paper money in causing periodic recessions. See Coquelin, Du Crédit et des Banques (1848).

16 "To the Youth of France," p. 63.

17 For his critique of Malthus see chap. XVI "On Population" and also "Disturbing and Restorative Factors," in Appendix 1 CW4, (forthcoming).

18 Chap. IV "Exchange," p. 179.

19 See "Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1.

20 "To the Members of the Free Trade Association" (Mémorial bordelais, June 1846) in CW6 (forthcoming).

21 Protectionism and Communism (January 1849) (CW2, p. 248). It was translated there as "an abusive hijacking of public compulsion".

22 Chap. XVII "Private and Public Services," p. 696. "the population and labour being displaced by law"

23 See "Rule by Functionaries," in Appendix 1.

24 "On Questions submitted to the General Councils of Agriculture, Manufactures, and Commerce" (JDE, December, 1845) in CW6 (forthcoming).

25 The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107-46).

26 See chap. XX "On Responsibility" and "The Law of Individual Responsibility," in Appendix 1.

27 Chap. XVII "Private and Public Services," p. 678.

28 See "Bastiat's Rhetoric of Liberty: Satire and the 'Sting of Ridicule'," in the Introduction (CW3, pp. lviii-lxiv).

29 "Disastrous Illusions" (JDE, March 1848) (ES3 24 in CW, p. 384).

30 CW3, pp. lx-lxi.

31 Bastiat agonized over the proper "tone" he should adopt in his writings. He was very sensitive to the accusation that economics was too "dry and dull" (accusée de sécheresse et de prosaïsme). He tried to remedy that by using amusing stories, witty puns and lays on words, satire, and mockery in his Economic Sophisms. However, he also worried that he would not be taken seriously by other economists. He was never able to satisfactory resolve this quandary. As late as the summer of 1850 he was working on the third version of WSWNS because he had thrown the second version he had written into the fire because he was unhappy with its balance of humour and seriousness. See ES2 2, "Two Moral Philosophies" (CW3, p. 135).

32 See "Bastiat's Invention of 'Crusoe Economics'," in the Introduction (CW3, pp. lxiv-lxvii).

33 The exception to this lack of humour is S38 which is an amusing story of a "bizarre transaction" in reverse which is classic Bastiat using the reductio ad absurdum argument to make his point.

34 check this??? See Maas, Harro, et Mary S. Morgan. "Timing History: The Introduction of Graphical Analysis in 19th century British Economics," Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines, vol. no 7, no. 2, 2002, pp. 97–127.

35 See Donald N. McCloskey, The Rhetoric of Economics (Madison, Wisconsin : University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

36 In "To the Youth of France," p. abc.

37 p. abc "Is the body, this rag, of any importance?"

38 p. abc

39 See "History of Plunder," in Appendix 1; and "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 473-85).

40 See "Theocratic Plunder," in Appendix 1.

41 See "Functionaryism," in Appendix 1.

42 See The Law (CW2, p. 117).

43 This is Bastiat's famous definition of the state: "L'Etat, c'est la grande fiction à travers laquelle tout le monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de tout le monde" (The State is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else) "The State" (JDD, 25 Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 97).

44 See the discussion of the distinction between "extra-legal" and "legal plunder" in The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 115 ff.).

45 In ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 125).

46 In chap. XVII "Private and Public Services," p. abc.

47 This is mentioned in his list of future planned chapters for the expanded, second volume of EH. See p. abc below.

48 In the last paragraph of his pamphlet on The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 146).

49 In the phrase "le domaine du fonctionnarisme" (the domain of rule by state bureaucrats) in chap. XVII "Private and Public Services," p. abc.

50 "Taking Five and Returning Four is not Giving" (Jacques Bonhomme, 15 to 18 June 1848) in CW4 (forthcoming).

51 "The Mayor of Énios" (Libre-Échange, 6 February 1848) (CW3, ES3 18, p.357).

52 La République française, 29 February 1848 (CW1, p. 444).

53 "Statement of Electoral Principles. To the Electors of Les Landes" (22 March, 1848) (CW1, p. 387).

54 "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, June 1848) (CW2, p. 68).

55 "Speech on the Tax on Wines and Spirits" (CW2, p. 335).

56 Conclusion EH1, p. abc.

57 See "Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1.

58 In the phrase "la classe si nombreuse des fonctionnaires" in "Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget" (February 1849) (CW2, p. 307).

59 In the "Conclusion" to EH1, p. abc.

60 "Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget" (February 1849) (CW2, p. 285).

61 "Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget" (February 1849) (CW2, p. 293).

62 In chap. XXIV "Perfectibility," p. abc.

63 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, p. 254).

64 "Taking Five and Returning Four is not Giving" (Jacques Bonhomme, 15 to 18 June 1848) in CW4 (forthcoming).

65 Chap. XVII "Public and Private Services," p. abc.

66 The article is "On Parliamentary Reform" (1846) (CW1, p. 369).

67 The pamphlet is "Parliamentary Conflicts of Interest" (March 1849) (CW2, p. 373) and the summary of his remarks in the Chamber are "Speech in the Assembly on Amending the Electoral Law (Third Reading)" (10 and 13 March 1849) in CW4 (forthcoming). See also chap. XVII "Public and Private Services" where he goes into this in more detail.

68 "Conclusion" to EH1, p. abc.

69 "(Q)u'en France vous ne voyez pas une bureaucratie devenue aristocratie dévorer le pays? L'industrie périt, le peuple souffre." In "Speech on the Tax on Wines and Spirits" (CW2, p. 335).

70 A number of scholars have noticed this. See for example James A. Dorn, Bastiat: A Pioneer in Constitutional Political Economy, Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Vol. 11 (2001), No. 2, Art. 11. Available at: http://www.bepress.com/jeeh/vol11/iss2/art11; Caplan, Bryan; Stringham, Edward (2005). "Mises, Bastiat, Public Opinion, and Public Choice". Review of Political Economy 17: 79–105 http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/pdfs/misesbastiat.pdf; and Michael C. Munger, "Did Bastiat Anticipate Public Choice?" in Liberty Matters: Robert Leroux, "Bastiat and Political Economy" (July 1, 2013) https://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/bastiat-and-political-economy#conversation3.

71 "A Curious Economic Phenomenon. Financial Reform in England" (Libre-Échange, 21 February 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming).

72 "The State" (JDD, Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 97).

73 In ES3 24 "Disastrous Illusions" (JDE, March 1848) (CW3, p. 390) and also in "The Scramble for Office" (Rep. fr., 5 March, 1848) (CW1, pp. 431–32).

74 Article with no title (La République française, 29 February 1848) (CW1, p. 444).

75 See the entry "Malthusianism" in the glossary.

76 "Speech on the Tax on Wines and Spirits" (12 December 1849) (CW2, p. 340). The figure of "800 million" refers to the size of the French state's budget, which in 1849 spent a total of 1,572 million francs, of which 882 million francs was spent on "ministerial services" in which most functionaries worked. See Table 2. Summary of Expenditure in Appendix 4. French Government's Budgets for Fiscal Years 1848 and 1849 (CW3, p. 510).

77 See the Introductions to "Speaks in a Discussion in the Assembly on Amending the Electoral Law" (26 Feb. 1849) and "Speech in the Assembly on Amending the Electoral Law (Third Reading)" (10 and 13 March 1849) both in CW4 (forthcoming).

78 "Parliamentary Conflicts of Interest" (1843) (CW1, p. 452).

79 "Parliamentary Conflicts of Interest" (March, 1849) (CW2, pp. 368–69).

80 See "Theory of Displacement," in Appendix 1.

81 He uses the phrase "une déperdition absolue" in this sense in chap. XIX "War": "Le caractère de la spoliation est de ne pouvoir conférer une satisfaction sans qu'une privation égale y corresponde; car elle ne crée pas, elle déplace ce que le travail a créé. Elle entraîne après elle, comme déperdition absolue, tout l'effort qu'elle-même coûte aux deux parties intéressées. Loin donc d'ajouter aux jouissances de l'humanité, elle les diminue, et, en outre, elle les attribue à qui ne les a pas méritées." (The nature of plunder is such that it cannot confer a given satisfaction (to one person) without imposing a corresponding privation (on another person), for it does not create but displaces what labor has (already) created. It brings in its wake, as a dead loss, all the effort that it itself has cost the two parties concerned. Far from adding to the benefits of society, therefore, it decreases them and in addition, allocates these benefits to those who do not deserve them.)

82 ES3 24 "Disastrous Illusions" (JDE, March 1848) (CW3, pp. 323–33).

83 In WSWNS 3 Taxes (CW3, pp. 410–13). Other chapters in the book also deal with state funded employees who work in the armed forces (chap. 2) or public works programs (chap. 5).

84 See for example the statement "Je connais beaucoup de fonctionnaires, presque tous mes amis le sont (car qui ne l'est aujourd'hui?), je le suis moi-même" (I know a lot of state functionaries, practically all my friends are (who isn't one today?), and I am one myself.) "To the Electors of the Arrondissement of Saint-Séver (July 1, 1846) (CW1, p. 358).

85 "Speech on the Tax on Wines and Spirits" (12 December 1849) (CW2, pp. 335–36).

86 Ambroise Clément, "De la spoliation légale," Journal des économistes, 1e juillet 1848, Tome 20, no. 83, pp. 363–74.

87 Clément, "Fonctionnaires," in DEP (1852), vol. 1, pp. 787–89. Translated as "Functionaries," in Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States. ed. Joseph Lalor (1899), vol. 2, pp. 317–19.

88 Molinari, Gustave de. Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériel (1852), p. 134.

89 In "Le XXe siècle", Journal des Èconomistes, S. 5, T. 49, N° 1, janvier 1902, pp. 5–14. Quote p. 8.

90 Molinari, L'évolution politique et la révolution (Paris: C. Reinwald, 1884), CHAPITRE VII. "La politique intérieure des États modernes."

91 This book has been translated and will be published by Liberty Fund.

92 Gustave de Molinari, Les Lois naturelles de l'économie politique (1887), Première partie: Les lois naturelles, pp. 1-31; La Morale économique (1888), Livre I chap. IV "Les lois naturelles qui régissent les phénomènes économiques de la production, de la distribution et de la consommation," pp. 10-19. See also Notions fondamentales économie politique et programme économique. (1891), Introduction Section I, pp. 2-11; Section I, chap. 1 "Les lois naturelles," pp. 55-70; Esquisse de l'organisation politique et économique de la Société future (1899), Introduction-Les lois naturelles, pp. i-xxvii.

93 See "The Natural Laws of Political Economy," in Appendix 1, Les Soirées (forthcoming).

94 As Bastiat said to Proudhon in his Letter of 7 March, 1850 "Il ne s'agit donc pas de changer les lois naturelles, mais de les connaître pour nous y conformer" (So it is not a question of changing the natural laws (of economics) but of understanding them so we can adapt to/comply with them) in Free Credit, 4th letter, in CW4 (forthcoming).

95 See "Disturbing and Restorative Factors," in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

96 See, Physiocrates: Quesnay, Dupont de Nemours, Mercier de la Rivière, l'abbé Baudeau, Le Trosne, avec une introduction sur la doctrine des Physiocrates, des commentaires et des notices historiques, par Eugène Daire, 2 vols. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1846). Volume 2 of Collection des principaux économistes. Quesnay, "Le droit naturel" , chap. III. "De l'inégalité du droit naturel des hommes," Vol. 1, p.46. Originally published in the Journal d'agriculture, September 1765.

97 See "The Social Mechanism and its Driving Force," in Appendix 1 CW4, (forthcoming), and "The Law of (Individual) Responsibility and the Law of (Human) Solidarity" in Appendix 1.

98 Bastiat also thought there were two great laws which applied specifically to population growth - "les deux grandes lois de multiplication et de limitation" (the two great laws (governing) the multiplication and limitation of population) - which he discussion at length in chap. XIV "On Population."

99 See "The Sophism Bastiat never wrote: The Sophism of the Ricochet Effect" in Further Aspects of Bastiat's Thought, in CW3, pp. 457-61.

100 See "Perfectibility and Progress,' in Appendix 1.

101 See, "Perfectibility and Progress," in Appendix 1. This final quotation is a combination of statements he made in the Conclusion to EH1 and in XI "Producer and Consumer."

102 On the importance of Say, Comte, and Dunoyer for the development of Bastiat's ideas, see "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Further Aspects of Bastiat's Thought (CW3, pp. 473-85).

103 "Draft Preface for the Harmonies (1847)," p. abc.

104 Letter 107 to Richard Cobden, Paris, 18 August 1848, (CW, pp. 160–61) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_head_133>.

105 Letter 184 to M. Cheuvreux, Mugron, 14 July 1850 (CW1, p.260–62) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_head_210>. See also, his Letter 39 to Félix Coudroy, Paris, 6 June 1845 (CW1, pp. 62–65) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_head_065>; and Letter 108 to Félix Coudroy, Paris, 26 August 1848 (CW1, pp. 161–63) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_head_134>.

106 Quoted by Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay in the "Foreword" to the second enlarged edition of Economic Harmonies (July 1851), p. vi.

107 In ES1 "Conclusion" (CW3, p. 110) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#lf1573-03_label_386>.

108 Conclusion to EH1, p. abc.

109 On the terminology Bastiat used for his theory of plunder, see "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Further Aspects of Bastiat's Thought (CW3, pp. 473-85). Online <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#lf1573-03_head_235>.

110 ES1 Conclusion (2 nov. 1945) (CW3, p. 109 `<https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1003`>.

111 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 125) <`https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1104`>.

112 In the Conclusion of EH1, p. abc and <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/79#Bastiat_0187_1551>.

113 Franz Oppenheimer, Der Staat (Frankfurt am Main: Rütten & Loening, 1907), p. 14; and Franz Oppenheimer, The State: Its History and Development viewed Sociologically, authorized translation by John M. Gitterman (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1922), pp. 24-25.

114 David M. Hart, Class Analysis, Slavery and the Industrialist Theory of History in French Liberal Thought, 1814-1830: The Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer (Cambridge, unpublished PhD, 1994); and Robert Leroux, Aux fondements de l'industrialisme: Comte, Dunoyer et la pensé libérale en France (Paris: Hermann, 2015).

115 Speech on Free Trade at the Taranne Hall (July 1847), above p. abc.

116 Chapter XIX "War,"p. abc.

117 Cobden and the League in CW6 (forthcoming).

118 "176. Letter to Mme. Cheuvreux," (23 June, 1850) (CW1, pp. 251-52).

119 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder (late 1847) (CW2, p. 114). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1023>

120 ES2 2 "Two Moral Philosophies" (CW2, p. 133). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/79#lf0187_head_074>

121 "Property and Plunder" 5th Letter (*JDD* June 1848) (CW2, pp. 172-76).

122 Chap. XVI "On Population," p. abc.

123 "L'Etat, c'est la grande fiction à travers laquelle tout le monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de tout le monde" (The State is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else), in "The State" (JDD, 25 Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 97).

124 Between May 1848 and July 1850 Bastiat wrote a series of 12 anti-socialist pamphlets, or what the Guillaumin publishing firm marketed in their Catalog as the "Petits pamphlets de M. Bastiat" (Mister Bastiat's Little Pamphlets), which included several for which Bastiat has become justly famous such as "The State" (Sept. 1848), "The Law" (July 1850), and "What is Seen and What is Not Seen" (July 1850). See "Bastiat's Anti-Socialist Pamphlets," in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

125 See "Theocratic Plunder, " in Appendix 1.

126 See "Rule by Functionaries," in Appendix 1.

127 Chap. XIX "War," p. abc.

128 The Law (CW2, p. 133).

129 "Freedom" Jacques Bonhomme (11-15 June 1848) (CW1, pp. 433-34).

130 See "Mechanics and Organizers," in Appendix 1.

131 Above, p. abc.

132 He discusses these types of organizations at length in chap. I "Natural and Artificial Organization."

133 See "The Social Mechanism" and "The Apparatus of Exchange," in Appendix 1.

134 In chap. VIII "Property and Community," p. 337.

135 Chap. VIII "Property and Community," p. 338.

136 WSWNS 11 "Thrift and Luxury" (CW3, p. 445).

137 He does this twice, firstly in chap. XI "Producer and Consumer," p. 521 with "les entrepreneurs d'organisations sociales" (entrepreneurs of socialist organizations); and then in chap. XVIII "Disturbing Factors" with "inventeurs, entrepreneurs de sociétés" (inventors and entrepreneurs of (entire) societies), p. 710.

138 Chap. XXI "Solidarity," pp. 769-70.

139 See "The Law" (CW2, pp. 122-23).

140 See for example, ES2 2 "Two Moral Philosophies" (CW2, pp. 131-32), The Law (CW2, pp. 139-40), chap. XX "Responsibility," p. 757 ("So here we have a flock and a shepherd"), and chap. XXII "The Driving Force of Society," p. 785.

141 On "notre grand instituteur" (our big or great teacher) see "On Parliamanetary Reform. To M. de Larnac, Deputy of Les Landes" (1846), (CW1, p. 373); chap. I "Natural and Artificial Organization," p. 85; and The Law (CW2, pp.122-23).

142 For example, see "On the Redistribution of Wealth by M. Vidal," (JDE, June 1846) in CW4 (forthcoming); Baccalaureate and Socialism (early 1850) (CW2, pp. 192-93); The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 123); and chap. XXII "The Driving Force of Society," p. 785.

143 The Law (CW2, pp. 122-23).

144 In a lengthy attack on the ideas of Mably, whom he believed got them from his reading of the ancient Greek and Roman classics, Bastiat criticizes him

145 "Baccalaureate and Socialism" (CW2, p. 206).

146 He refers to "l'instrument gouvernemental" (the instrument, tool or machine which is government), chap. XVIII "Disturbing Factors," p. 710.

147 He also talks about "le mécanisme gouvernemental" (the mechanism of government) and "l'appareil gouvernemental" (the apparatus of government). See "The 'Apparatus' or Structure of Exchange," in Appendix 1.

148 See chap. XXII"The Driving Force of Society," p. 785.

149 All these articles can be found in CW4 (forthcoming).

150 In XVI "On Population" , p. 642 "Man is perfectible, he is capable of improvement or becoming worse"

151 In XVI "On Population" , p. 656. "perfectibility is the distinctive characteristic of man"

152 See "progressif" (improving or increasing) as in "un niveau commun et toujours progressif" (a common or shared and always improving/increasing standard of living) in chap. XIV "Population", p. 653 "a standard of living that is common and constantly increasing"; and "l'avancement" (progress) as in "l'avancement de l'homme et de la société" (the progress of man and of society) in chap. III "On the Needs of Man".

153 See "The Law of Individual Responsibility and the Law of Human Solidarity," in Appendix 1; and "The Social Mechanism and its Driving Force," in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

154 See "Human Action," in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

155 In chap XIV "On Population," p. abc.

156 "L'homme est naturellement progressif" (man is naturally progressive, naturally liable to progress) in "Parliamentary Conflicts of Interest" (March 1849) (CW2, 387).

157 See"Disturbing and Restorative Factors," in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

158 See "The Great Laws of Economics," in Appendix 1.

159 WSWNS 7 "Trade Restrictions" (CW3, p. 428).

160 See "The Law of Individual Responsibility and the Law of Human Solidarity," in Appendix 1.

161 In Free Credit, "6th Letter Bastiat to Proudhon" (10 Dec. 1849) in CW4 (forthcoming).

162 See the opening paragraph to chap. XI "Producer and Consumer," p. abc.

163 In "To the Youth of France", chap. II "On the Needs of Man," V "On Value," VIII "Property and Community," X "Competition," the "Conclusion" to EH1, XI "Producer and Consumer,"XVI "On Population," XVIII "Disturbing Factors," XX "On Responsibility," XXI "On Solidarity," and XXIV "Perfectibility." References to "cette grande loi" (this great law) are indicated in the footnotes.

164 He repeated this several times in EH, for example: "Je ne crains pas de dire que le résultat de cette exposition peut s'exprimer d'avance en ces termes : Approximation constante de tous les hommes vers un niveau qui s'élève toujours, — en d'autres termes : Perfectionnement et égalisation, — en un seul mot : Harmonie." (I am not afraid to say that the result of this survey may be expressed in advance in these words: there is a steady approach by all men and women towards a standard of living which is always increasing, in other words, improvement and equalization, or in a single word, HARMONY.) in the Conclusion to EH1; and "cette grande loi que je prétends être celle des sociétés humaines : l'égalisation graduelle des individus et des classes combinée avec le progrès général" (the great law that I maintain is the one that governs human society: the gradual equalization of individuals and classes combined with general progress.) in chap. XI "Producer and Consumer."

165 Other words he used to express the same idea were "la rapprochement" (drawing closer together), "l'approximation" (approximating), and "l'égalisation" (equalization).

166 See his discussion of the distinction between "natural" and "artificial" in chap. I "Natural and Artificial Organization."

167 ES1 4 "Equalising the Conditions of Production" (JDE, July 1845) (CW3, p. 28).

168 "Property and Plunder" (JDD, July 1848) 5th Letter (CW2, p. 171).

169 Free Credit, 6th Letter to Proudhon (10 Dec. 1849) (CW4, forthcoming).

170 "Property and Law" (JDE, May, 1848) (CW2, p. 59).

171 "Property and Law" (JDE, May, 1848) (CW2, p. 58).

172 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, p. 244).

173 See"The Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1.

174 Sophisms of the Protective Policy, trans. Mrs. D.J. McCord, with an introductory letter by Dr. Francis Lieber (New York, George P. Putnam; Charleston, S.C., John Russell, 1848).

175 The Chicago group of free traders published Essays on Political Economy by the Late M. Frédéric Bastiat. Translated from the Paris Edition of 1863. Preface by "H.W.," pp. iii-xvi. (Chicago: The Western News Company, 1869). The NYC group published What is free trade? An adaptation of Frederick Bastiat's "Sophismes économiques." Designed for the American reader. By Emile Walter, a worker [Alexander Del Mar] (New York: G. P. Putnam & son, 1867) and Sophisms of the protectionists. By the late M. Frederic Bastiat. Part I. Sophisms of protection–First series. Part II. Sophisms of protection–Second series. Part III. Spoliation and law. Part IV. Capital and interest, Trans. from the Paris ed. of 1863 by Horace White and Mrs. L. S. McCord (New-York: American Free Trade League, 1870).

176 The first ten chapters were published in 1850 while Bastiat was still alive: Bastiat, Harmonies économiques (Economic Harmonies) (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850). A second, larger edition was completed by "the Society of the Friends of Bastiat" (namely, Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay): Bastiat, Harmonies économiques. 2me Édition augmentées des manuscrits laissés par l'auteur. Publiée par la Société des amis de Bastiat (Paris: Guillaumin, 1851). Introduction by Prosper Paillottet and Roger de Fontenay.

177 Bastiat, Harmonies of Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat. Translated from the French, with a Notice of the Life and Writings of the Author by Patrick James Stirling (London: John Murray, 1860). The second half of the 2nd French edition of 1851 (chapters 11–25) was published as: Harmonies of Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat. Part II., Comprising Additions published posthumously, from Manuscripts left by the Author. Translated from the Third Edition of the French, with Notes and an Index to both Parts, by Patrick James Stirling (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1870). And the complete volume as it appeared in the 3rd French edition of 1855: Harmonies of Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat. Translated from the Third Edition of the French, with a Notice of the Life and Writings of the Author, by Patrick James Stirling. Second Edition (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1880).

178 Rothbard mentions two other minor figures who also promoted Bastiat's approach to economic thinking in the late 19th century, namely Rev. John Bascom (1827–1911) and Charles Holt Carroll (1799–1890). See, Murray N. Rothbard, Classical Economics: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006). Vol. 2, chap. 14 "After Mill: Bastiat and the French laissez-faire tradition," pp. 439–75. Section 14.9 "Bastiat and laissez-faire in America," pp. 466–70.

179 Jasay wrote a two part article called "The Seen and the Unseen" which appeared in December 2004 and January 2005 where he applies Bastiat idea and borrows the name for his own title. See http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2004/Jasayunseen.html. He makes explicit reference to the greatness of Bastiat as an economist in the second article he wrote for Econlib, "Thirty-five Hours" [July 15, 2002] http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/Jasaywork.html and credits him for inventing the idea of "opportunity cost": "he anticipated the concept of opportunity cost and was, to my knowledge, the first economist ever to use and explain it."

180 "Speech on Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement" (22 Aug. 1849), in CW4 (forthcoming).

181 Francis Amasa Walker wrote a widely used textbook, Political Economy (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1883) in which he also quotes Bastiat many times, though less favourably than his father did.

182 Amasa Walker, The Science of Wealth: A Manual of Political Economy. Embracing the Laws of Trade, Currency, and Finance (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown & Co., 1866).

183 The Science of Wealth, p. viii.

184 Arthur Latham Perry, Elements of Political Economy (New York: Charles Scriber and Co., 1866); Introduction to Political Economy (New York: Charles Scriber and Co., 1877); Political Economy (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1883. 18th ed.); Principles of Political Economy (New York: Charles Scriber and Co., 1891).

185 Perry, Political Economy (1883), p. ix.

186 Perry, Political Economy (1883), p. 102–3.

187 Economic Tracts, No. II. Series of 1880–81, Political economy and political science, a priced and classified list of books recommended for general reading and as an introduction to special study, on the following topics … Compiled by W.G. Sumner, David A. Wells, W.E. Foster, R.L. Dugdale and G.H. Putnam (New York: The Society for Political Education, 1881), p. 4.

188 William Graham Sumner, Lectures on the History of Protection in the United States. Delivered before the International Free-Trade Alliance (New York: Published for the New York Free Trade Club by G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1883).

189 David A. Wells, "Free Trade," Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States (1899), vol. 2, pp. 289-312.

190Gustave de Molinari, "Protection. Restrictions Upon Freedom Of Exchange," Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States (1899), vol. 3, pp. 413-23; David H. Mason, "Protection in the United States," vol. 3, pp. 423-40.

191 Social Fallacies by Frederic Bastiat, translated from the 5th ed. of the French by Patrick James Stirling, with a foreword by Rose Wilder Lane (Santa Ana, Calif.: Register Publishing Co., 1944). Lane's introduction can be found at my website http://davidmhart.com/liberty/AmericanIndividualists/RoseWilderLane/RWLane_BastiatIntro.html.

192 Lane, "Introduction," Social Fallacies, p. 3.

193 Harmonies of Political Economy, trans. Patrick James Stirling (Santa Ana, Calif.: Register Pub., 1944–1945). 2 vols: vol. 1. The Original version of Economic Harmonies translated from the French, with a notice of the life and writings of the author, by Patrick James Stirling. Vol. 2. Comprising additions published posthumously, from manuscripts left by the author, translated from the third edition of the French with notes and an index to both parts by Patrick James Stirling; also, The Law, one of Bastiat's masterpieces published before his death. Inside the front cover the three volumes of Bastiat were advertised for the price of $2.50 per volume or $6 for the set of three. Also for sale was Leonard Read's Pattern for Revolt which was a 44 page pamphlet for 25 Cents. The latter was strongly influenced by Bastiat's Sophism "The Utopian" and his style of composing fictional speeches in order to make his points more effectively. Hoiles left out chaps. XI and XII of the original ES2 translation (XI. "The Utopian" and XII. "Salt, the Mail, and the Customs Service") in his edition for some reason but he and Read must have known about them from Stirling's translation.

194 Hoiles, "Publisher's Statement," p. 1.

195 Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1946). Hazlitt also wrote the Introduction to the FEE edition of Bastiat's Economic Sophisms, trans. Arthur Goddard, introduction by Henry Hazlitt (Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996).

196 Frédéric Bastiat, Protection and Communism. Translated by Arthur Brooks Baker, with foreword by Leonard E. Read (Los Angeles, 1944).

197 Bastiat, The Law (Los Angeles, Pamphleteers, 1944). It was probably also reprinted in the first issue of The Freeman, v. 1, no. 1.

198 Samplings of Important Books No. 4. The Law by Frederic Bastiat. "Law is organized justice." (The Foundation for Economic Education, Incorporated. Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., n.d.). http://www.fee.org/library/books/from-the-archives-the-law-illustrated-sample/. My discussion of the images: http://davidmhart.com/blog/C20111228141034/E20120629082046/index.html.

199 Bastiat, The Law, trans. Dean Russell (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1950). The printing history shows that the 1st printing of 1950 was of 58,675 copiers, and over the next 25 years (1950–74) 211,675 copies were printed.

200 Dean Russell, Frédéric Bastiat and the Free Trade Movement in France and England, 1840–1850 (PhD thesis, 1959). Russell, Dean. Frédéric Bastiat: Ideas and Influence (Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education, 1969). 1st edition 1965.

201 Economic Sophisms (First and Second Series), trans from the French and Edited by Arthur Goddard (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1968) (1st edition D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 1964. Copyright William Volker Fund) /titles/276; Selected Essays on Political Economy, translated from the French by Seymour Cain. Edited by George B. de Huszar (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1968) (1st edition D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 1964. Copyright William Volker Fund). /titles/956; Economic Harmonies, translated from the French by W. Hayden Boyers. Edited by George B. de Huszar (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1964) (1st edition D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 1964. Copyright William Volker Fund). /titles/79.

202 Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1946), p. 9.

203 The details of Mises' arrival in New York and the impact his seminar had on the libertarian movement of the late 1940s and 1950s can be found in Jörg Guido Hülsmann, Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007), Part VI "Mises in America," "18. Émigré in New York" pp. 789–835 and "19. Birth of a Movement" pp. 837 ff.

204 Ludwig von Mises, "Second Lecture: Socialism. Freedom in Society" in Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow, Edited and with an Introduction by Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010). /titles/2395#Mises_EconomicPolicy1540_115.

205 See, Israel M. Kirzner, The Economic Point of View: An Essay in the History of Economic Thought, ed. with an Introduction by Laurence S. Moss (Kansas City: Sheed Andrews McMeel, 1976), pp. 82–84, /titles/304#Kirzner_0723_259.

206 Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, with Power and Market: Government and the Economy. Second Edition. Scholar's Edition (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2009).

207 See "Bastiat's Invention of 'Crusoe Economics'," in the Introduction to CW3, pp. lxiv-lxvii.

208 Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1982).

209 Leonard P. Liggio wrote his thesis on Dunoyer which was never completed and not submitted. See, "Dunoyer and the Bourbon Restoration of 1814." (Date unknown, probably done while he was at Fordham University in New York City). It is now online http://davidmhart.com/liberty/LPL/LPL-PhD.pdf. Liggio did go on to publish a pioneering article on Dunoyer, "Charles Dunoyer and French Classical Liberalism," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 1977, pp. 153–78 http://davidmhart.com/liberty/LPL/JLS/Dunoyer_1_3_1.pdf and another on Bastiat, "Bastiat and the French School of Laissez-Faire" in Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines, vol. 11, no. 2/3 (June 2001). See also, Liggio's also account of the early libertarian movement at this time in Liggio Living Legacy Project http://leonardliggio.org/; and Ralph Raico's talk, "Memoirs of Hayek in Chicago and Rothbard in New York," by Ralph Raico, 1 Aug 2005 http://media.mises.org/mp3/MU2005/MisesCircle-Raico.mp3.

210 Raico's 1970 PhD has been republished as Ralph Raico, The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton (1970), A Dissertation Submitted to the University of Chicago's Faculty of the Division of the Social Sciences in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy for the Committee on Social Thought, Chaired by F. A. Hayek (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010). See also his essay "The Centrality of French liberalism" in Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School, Foreword by Jörg Guido Hülsmann. Preface by David Gordon (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2012), pp. 219–53. And Ralph Raico, "Classical Liberal Exploitation Theory: A Comment on Professor Liggio's Paper," Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1979, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 179–183.

211 Thomas W. Evans, "The GE Years: What Made Reagan Reagan" History News Network (1–8–07). He talks about his book The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of his Conversion to Conservatism (Columbia University Press, 2006) http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/32681.

212 Manuel Klausner, "Inside Ronald Reagan: A Reason Interview," Reason, July 1975. http://reason.com/archives/1975/07/01/inside-ronald-reagan.

213 Rothbard, Classical Economics: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought. Volume II (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), p. 444. Rothbard pays his debt to the French economists in his own intellectual development in this volume in which the references to Say, Comte, Dunoyer, Bastiat, and Molinari are too many to mention. See, especially chap. 14 "After Mill: Bastiat and the French laissez-faire tradition," pp. 439–75; especially 14.2 "Frédéric Bastiat: the central figure," p. 444.

214 The Bastiat Collection (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises institute,2007, 2011). introduction by Mark Thornton. http://mises.org/library/bastiat-collection.

215 Frédéric Bastiat, Oeuvres complètes. Édition en 7 volumes, sous la direction de Jacques de Guenin. Volume 1: L'homme, Introduction de Jacques de Guenin, Éloge funèbre par Gustave de Molinari, Notes, Chronologie et Glossaire de Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean (Paris: Institut Charles Coquelin, 2009).

216 The antagonistic pairings are harmony vs. disharmony; disturbing vs. restorative factors; natural vs. artificial organisations; production (industry) vs. plunder; free trade vs. protection; voluntary vs. coercive (légale) acts; private vs. public services; and more generally, good vs. evil. See relevant glossaries.

217 The complementary pairings are responsibility and solidarity, private property and community (communal or shared property), and producers and consumers. See relevant glossaries.

218 On Bastiat's use of the term "Apparatus" see "The 'Apparatus' or Structure of Exchange" in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming). Concerning responsibility and solidarity Bastiat used the terms "le merveilleux appareil réactif de la Solidarité" (this marvellous and responsive apparatus known as solidarity) in EH1 "To the Youth of France;" and "cet appareil à la fois correctif et progressif, à la fois rémunérateur et vengeur" (this apparatus which is at once correcting and improving, both paymaster / benefactor and avenger / righter of wrongs) in chap. XX "On Responsibility."

219 Some of the expressions Bastiat used include "la loi de (la) responsabilité," "la loi de la responsabilité naturelle," "le principe de la responsabilité"; " la loi de (la) solidarité," "le principe de la solidarité humaine," "la solidarité naturelle," "la solidarité artificielle."

220 "Sur l'ouvrage de M. Dunoyer. De la Liberté du travail" (Ébauche inédite) (On a work by Mr. Dunoyer on De la Liberté du travail (unpublished c. March, 1845)," and "Un économiste à M. de Lamartine. A l'occasion de son écrit intitulé: Du Droit au travail" (Letter from an Economist to M. de Lamartine. On the occasion of his article entitled: The Right to Work), (JDE, February 1845) both in CW4 (forthcoming).

221 Some of the key ideas of his social and economic theory which were introduced here (in the Lamartine article) include pairing of the two laws: "la loi de la responsabilité" and "la loi de la solidarité"; the idea of society as a mechanism "(un mécanique sociale) with its own internal "driving force" (moteur) which was self-interest; the distinction between "la charité volontaire" (voluntary charity) and "la charité légale ou forcée" (coerced or government charity); his first pairing of the concepts of "l'harmonie" (harmony) and its opposite "la dissonance" (disharmony); his first use of the idea of "les forces perturbatrices" (disturbing forces) which upset the harmony of the free market; his first use of the idea of the self-correcting mechanisms of the free market, or what he called "les forces réparatrices" (repairing or restorative forces) whereby the market attempts to restore equilibrium after it has been upset by "les forces perturbatrices" (disturbing forces); the first use of the term "l'organisation artificielle" (artificial organisation) which would become important in his later critique of socialism and would have, along with its opposite "l'organisation naturelle" (natural organisation"; an early use of the idea of the indefinite "perfectibility of man;" and the idea of labour and capital being "déplacé" (displaced or distorted) by government interventions in the economy thus causing harm until a new equilibrium can be established. In the contemporaneous review of Dunoyer's book Bastiat introduced the additional key idea that exchange is the exchange of "service pour service" (one service for another).

222 Chap. XXI "On Solidarity," pp. abc.

223 The phrase is "la Responsabilité n'est pas exclusivement personnelle, elle se partage" (responsibility is not exclusively personal/individual, it is shared) in chap. XXI "On Solidarity," pp. abc.

224 "La responsabilité répercutée" in chap. XXI "On Solidarity," pp. abc.

225 On his proto-Austrian notion of human action see, "Human Action" in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

226 This phrase appears in both chap. XXI "On Responsibility," pp. abc, and XXI "On Solidarity," pp. abc.

227 Chap. XVIII "Disturbing Factors," pp. abc.

228 See "Mechanics and Organizers," in Appendix 1.

229 "Barataria" (Barataria). An unpublished fragment of what was intended as a short pamphlet. 1847 or early 1848 (internal evidence suggests 1848) in CW4 (forthcoming).

230 See "The Sophism Bastiat never wrote: The Sophism of the Ricochet Effect" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 457-61).

231 In chap. XIV "On Wages," pp. abc.

232 In chap. XIV "On Wages," pp. abc.

233 See "On Malthus and Malthusian Limits to the Growth of the State" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 461-64).

234 In chap. XXI "On Solidarity," pp. abc.

235 In chap. XXI "On Responsibility," pp. abc.

236 See "The 'Apparatus' or Structure of Exchange," "Disturbing and Restorative Factors," and "Harmony and Disharmony," all in Appendix 1 in CW4 (forthcoming).

237 The phrase "le ressort de la solidarité" (the spring of solidarity) is used in his review of Dunoyer's book CW4 (forthcoming). On his distinctive analogy of society and the mechanism of a clock see chap. XXII "The Driving Force of Society" and "The Social Mechanism and its Driving Force" in Appendix 1 in CW4 (forthcoming).

238 In "Organisation and Liberty" (JDE, Jan. 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming).

239 In "Property and Law" (JDE, May 1848) (CW2, p. 55).

240 See "Service for Service" in Appendix 1, CW4 (forthcoming).

241 In chap. XXI "On Solidarity," p. abc.

242 In "Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget" (February 1849) (CW2, p. 316).

243 Tracy believed that "society is nothing but a succession of exchanges." A. L. C. comte Destutt de Tracy, Traité d'économie politique (Paris; Bouguet et Lévi, 1823), Chap. 1 "De la société." p. abd.

244 Chap. XXI "On Solidarity," p. abc.

245 "Fifth (Free Trade) Speech given in Lyon" (Aug. 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming).

246 See the opening chapter of EH1 "Natural and Artificial Organizations" where he lays out the differences between the two in some detail. He thought the socialist idea of state imposed solidarity was just another example of an "artificial" or coercive form of association, e.g. "une solidarité factice, officielle, légale, contrainte, détournée de son sens naturel" (artificial, official, legal, coerced solidarity) in chap. XX "On Responsibility," p. abc. See also his collection of 12 anti-socialist pamphlets which he wrote for the Guillaumin publishing form between June 1868 and July 1850, "Bastiat's Anti-socialist Pamphlets, or "Mister Bastiat's Little Pamphlets," Appendix 1 in CW4 (forthcoming), two of which dealt with "fraternity" which was a related term to "solidarity."

247 In the final Fourteenth Letter to Proudhon (7 March 1850) in their discussion of "Free Credit" in CW4 (forthcoming).

248 His distinction between "centripetal competition" (good) and ""centrifugal competition" (bad) between workers.

249 In EH1 X Concurrence. See also See EH1 chap. 10 Competition where Bastiat attempts to show that far from being "anarchic" and harmful, competition is both necessary for the improvement and well being of both individuals as well as what he termed "la Communauté" (the Community).

250 One of his "great laws" of economics.

251 Chap. XXI "On Solidarity," p. abc.

252 Such as "la classe des fonctionnaires" (the class of state functionaries). See "Rule by Functionaries," in Appendix 1.

253 Chap. XX "On Responsibility," p. abc.

254 Chap. XX "On Responsibility," p. abc.

255 See "Theory of Plunder," in Appendix 1.

256 Letter 8 to Victor Calmètes (Bayonne, 8 Dec. 1821) (CW1, p. 16).

257 "On a New Secondary School to Be Founded in Bayonne" (c. 1834) (CW1, p. 417).

258 "The Scramble for Position" (La République française, 5 March 1848) (CW1, p. 431).

259 (CW2, pp. 206-8).

260 Baccalaureate and Socialism (early 1850) (CW2, p. 208).

261 (CW2, p. 215).

262 In CW3, pp. 401-52.

263 The original editor Paillottet states that Bastiat had been working on the WSWNS pamphlet for over a year (so beginning work on it perhaps in early 1849 when he was also working on EH) but was delayed for a couple of reasons. One was that he lost the almost completed manuscript when he was moving house. He began again from scratch using some of the speeches he had given in the Chamber as source material. The second reason for the delay was that he then decided that the version based on his speeches was "trop sérieux" (too serious) and so threw it into the fire and burnt it. The version we today is the third version of the piece.

264 CW3, p. 403.

265 Hayek impies that, given what he had written up until his death, Bastiat was yet to make any "real contribution to (economic) science." Hayek, Introduction," Selected Essays (FEE, 1975), p. ix. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, p. 500.

266 Jasay wrote a two part article called "The Seen and the Unseen" which appeared in December 2004 and January 2005 where he applies Bastiat idea and borrows the name for his own title. See <http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2004/Jasayunseen.html>. He makes explicit reference to the greatness of Bastiat as an economist in the second article he wrote for Econlib, "Thirty-five Hours" [July 15, 2002] <http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/Jasaywork.html> and credits him for inventing the idea of "opportunity cost": "he anticipated the concept of opportunity cost and was, to my knowledge, the first economist ever to use and explain it."

267 CW3, p. 90.

268 See p. abc.

269 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, pp. 250-51).

270 The Law (CW2, p. 107).

271 See "Limited Government," in Appendix 1.

272 This phrase appears in "Protectionism and Communism" (January 1849) (CW2, p. 247).

273 "To the Youth of France," p. abc.

274 "Plunder and Law" (JDE, May 1850) (CW2, pp. 275-76).

275 See p. abc.

276 See "The Use of Economic Stories to explain Economic Ideas," in Appendix 1 and chap. V. "On Value" ("A certain number of people land on an inhospitable beach").

277 See, p. abc.

278 On Bastiat's idea of the "Malthusian" limits to the growth in the size of the state, see the entry on "Malthusianism" in the glossary. See also "Rule by Functionaries," in Appendix 1.

279 Roederer had been influenced by Adam Smith whose ideas he popularised in France teaching a course on political economy at the Athénée in Paris in 1800. See, Discours sur le droit de propriété, lus au Lycée les 9 décembre 1800 et 18 janvier 1801 (Paris: Didot frères, 1801); De la propriété considérée dans ses rapports avec les droits politiques (Paris: Porthmann, 1819).

280 Cousin was a philosopher who taught some very popular courses at the Sorbonne. He also developed a theory of the self in Justice et Charité (1848) which influenced some of the political economists.

281 Cousin, Justice et Charité (1848), pp. 31-32.

282 Leclerc, "A Simple Observation on the Right to Property" (JDE, Oct. 1848), p. 304.

283 Adolphe Thiers, De la propriété (Paris: Paulin, Lheureux et Cie, 1848).

284 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, pp. 235-65).

285 Molinari, review of Thiers' "De la propriété" (JDE, Jan. 1849), pp. 166-67.

286 Faucher, "Propriété," DEP, vol. 2, pp. 460-73.

287 Wolowski and Levasseur, "Propriété', Dictionnaire générale de la politique par Maurice Block ave la collaboration d'hommes d'état, de publicistes et d'écrivains de tous les pays. Nouvelle édition refondue et mises à jour (Paris: O. Lorenz. 1st ed. 1863-64, 2nd revised ed. 1873), 1st. ed., vol. 2, pp. 682-93. For an English translation see "Louis Wolowski and Émile Levasseur on "Property" (1863)" in French Liberalism in the 19th Century: An Anthology, ed. Robert Leroux and David M. Hart (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 243-54.

288 See "Human Action," in Appendis 1.

289 See "The Social Mechanism" in Appendix 1.

290 "Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848) (CW2, 91).

291 "Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848) (CW2, 87).

292 First expressed in the article "Harmonies Économiques 4" (JDE, Dec. 1848) which became chap. III "The Needs of Man," in EH.

293 "La liberté n'est donc autre chose que la propriété de soi-même, de ses facultés, de ses œuvres" (Liberty is noting more than property in oneself, one's faculties, and one's work) in "Seventh Speech given in Paris in the Montesquieu Hall" ( 7 Jan. 1848) in CW6 (forthcoming).

294 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, p. 250.

295 "Protectionism and Communism" (Jan. 1849) (CW2, p. 260).

296 "The People and the Bourgeoisie" (LE, 22 May 1847 (CW3, pp. 286-87).

297 "Property and Plunder" (CW2, pp. 163, 172). See also in chap. VIII "Property and Community" where he states "Mais n'y a-t-il pas la Propriété des bras, celle des facultés, celle des idées, n'y a-t-il pas, en un mot, la Propriété des services?" (But, is there not also the property one has in oneself, one's faculties, or one's ideas; is there not, in a word, the property one has in one's services?).

298 Title, in CW4 (forthcoming).

299 "Property and Law" (JDE, 15 May 1848) (CW2, pp. 44-45).

300 He would refer to these rights several times in his pamphlet The Law (June 1850). On "la Personne, la Liberté, la Propriété" see pp. 108-9, 115; on "la Personnalité, la Liberté, la Propriété" see pp. 107, 110, 119-20.

301 The Law (CW2, p. 110).

302 See "History of Plunder," in Appendix 1; and "Bastiat's Theory of Class: The Plunderers vs. the Plundered" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 473-85).

303 See "Functionaryism," in Appendix 1.

304 See The Law (CW2, p. 117).

305 On "la spoliation universelle" (universal plunder) see The Law (CW2, p. 117); on "la spoliation légale" (legal plunder) see "Plunder and the law" (JDE, May 1850) CW2, p. 272; and many references in The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107-23). There are earlier uses of a similar phrase "la spoliation légalement exercée" (plunder carried out legally) in "Introduction" to Cobden and the League (July 1845) in CW6 (forthcoming). See also "Legal Plunder," in Appendix 1.

306 This is Bastiat's famous definition of the state: "L'Etat, c'est la grande fiction à travers laquelle tout le monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de tout le monde" (The State is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else) "The State" (JDD, 25 Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 97).

307 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (c. 1847) (CW3, pp. 113-30).

308 See "Bastiat on Enlightening the 'Dupes' about the Nature of Plunder," in the Introduction (CW3, pp. lv-lviii).

309 "Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848) (CW2, pp. 84-85).

310 "Introduction," Cobden and the League (July,1845) in CW6 (forthcoming).

311 "The State" (Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 96).

312 ES1 12 "Does Protection increase the Rate of Pay" (CW3 p. 65).

313 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW2, p. 121).

314 On "les impostures théocratiques" (theocratic deception) see for example EHXVI "On Population", p. abc.

315 Conclusion to EH1 which was written in late 1849 and published in January 1850. p. abc.

316 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW2, p. 121).

317 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 114).

318 "Property and Plunder" 5th Letter (JDD June 1848) (CW2, p. 172).

319 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 115) <`https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1035`>) and <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1041>.

320 "Bastiat on Enlightening the "Dupes" about the Nature of Plunder" in the Introduction, (CW3, pp. lv-lviii).

321 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 122).

322 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 122) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1085>.

323 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 123) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1089>.

324 "Individualism and Fraternity" (June 1848) (CW2, pp. 84-85).

325 Bastiat thought there was a "Malthusian limit" to the growth in the size and power of the state, and hence of plunder as well. See "On Malthus and Malthusian Limits to the Growth of the State" in Further Aspects of Bastiat's Thought (CW3, pp. 461-64).

326 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW2, pp. 116 and 121). On the power of public opinion see "The Law of Individual Responsibility and the Law of Human Solidarity," in Appendix 1 (CW5).

327 Exodus 20:15.

328 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW2, p. 118).

329 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW2, p. 120).

330 "On Religion" (mid 1848??) (CW1, p. 466).

331 Ambroise Clément, Essai sur la Science sociale. Économie politique - morale expérimentale - politique théorique (Paris: Guillaumain, 1867), especially in chapter III. "Liberté des cultes."

332 Molinari, La Morale économique (Paris: Guillaumin, 1888), pp. 159ff., esp. 167 ff. where he discusses how corrupt the church has become as a result of its monopoly and had become dangerously "gangrenous"; and his discussion of the church's monopoly and rule by "une classe sacerdotale et gouvernante" (a priestly and governing class) in Religion (Paris: Guillaumin et Cie, 1892).

333 Molinari, "La liberté et l'intervention gouvernementale en matière de cultes. — Système français et système américain", Économiste belge, 1 juin, 1857, reprinted in Questions d'économie politique et de droit public (Paris: Guillaumin; Brussels: Lacroix, 1861), vol. 1, pp. 351-61.

334 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 117). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1048>.

335 "Property and Plunder" (JDD, 24 July 1848) 5th Letter (CW2, p. 171).

336 "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, June 1848) (CW2, p. 76). He also refers to it three times in "The Law" (June 1850). Similarly, in WSWNS III "Taxation" (CW3, p. 411) state functionaries who provide no useful service to a taxpayer are compared to a highway robber, the latter is "le parasite extra-légal" (an extra-legal parasite) while the former is "le parasite légal" (a legal parasite). In EH XXIV "Perfectibility" Bastiat refers to "le parasitisme des fonctions publiques" (the parasitism of public functions, the parasitic nature of government activity) (p. abc).

337 See "Theocratic Plunder," in Appendix 1.

338 "Sixth Speech given in Marseilles" (Aug. 1847) in CW6 (forthcoming). See also "la spoliation partielle par l'institution des douanes" (partial plunder by means of the system of customs) in "Plunder and Law" (JDE, May 1850) (CW2, p. 275).

339 See "Public Choice," in Appendix 1.

340 The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 146).

341 See "Functionaryism," in Appendix 1.

342 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (c. Nov. 1847) (CW3, p. 128) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1119>.

343 "Protectionism and Communism" (January 1849) (CW2, p. 243).

344 Bastiat first used this pairing of phrases "la spoliation partielle" (partial plunder) vs. "la spoliation universelle" (universal plunder) in "Plunder and Law" (JDE, May 1850) (CW2, p. 275) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2450#Bastiat_1573-02_1767>. And then in more detail in The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 117) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2450#Bastiat_1573-02_831>.

345 The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 117).

346 The conclusion of "The State" (JDD, Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 104).

347 "The State" (JDD, 25 Sept. 1848) (CW2, p. 97).

348 The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 117). On Bastiat's ideal form of government see "Limited Government" in Appendix 1 CW4, (forthcoming).

349 "Justice and Fraternity" (JDE, June 1848) (CW2,p. 72).

350 Introduction to Cobden and the League (1845), in CW6 (forthcoming).

351 "The State" (JDD, Sept. 1848) (CW2, 96).

352 ES2 1 "Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 118).

353 "Property and Plunder" 5th Letter (CW2, p. 172). See also "Self-ownership," in Appendix 1.

354 Below in "Liberty Equality," p. abc.

355 See for example, "la spoliation, enveloppée dans les sophismes qui la voilent" (plunder clad in the sophismes which conceal it), ES1 12 "Does Protection increase the Rate of Pay" (CW3 p. 65).

356 He called the idea that those who paid taxes to pay for government functionaries's salaries or paid high tariffs to protected industries would benefit from a "trickle down" effect as those functionaries and manufacturers spent their money in the wider economy the "ricochet effect" (par ricochet). See "The Sophism Bastiat never wrote: The Sophism of the Ricochet Effect" in Appendix 1 (CW3, pp. 457-61).

357 ES2 1 "Physiology" (CW3, p. 124).

358 "Plunder and Law" (JDE, May 1850) (CW2, p. 270).

359 See "Theocratic Plunder" and "History of Plunder" in Appendix 1; and "Bastiat on Enlightening the 'Dupes' about the Nature of Plunder," in the Introduction to CW3, pp. lv-lviii.

360 Mancur Olson, Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

361 Bastiat first used this pairing of phrases "la spoliation transitoire" (transitory or temporary plunder) vs. "la spoliation permanente" (permanent or institutionalised plunder) in the 5th Letter of "Property and Plunder) (JDD, 24 July 1848) (CW2, p. 172) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2450#Bastiat_1573-02_1200>.

362 In the phrase "le domaine du fonctionnarisme" (the domain of rule by state bureaucrats) in chap. XVII "Private and Public Services," p. abc.

363 In the last paragraph of his pamphlet on The Law (June 1850) (CW2, p. 146).

364 See "Legal Plunder," in Appendix 1.

365 Franz Oppenheimer, The State: Its History and Development viewed Sociologically, authorized translation by John M. Gitterman (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1922). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1662#Oppenheimer_0315_234>.

366 ES3 6 "The People and the Bourgeoisie" (LE, 23 May 1847) (CW3, pp. 281-87).

367 Bastiat's first use of the terms "la classe spoliatrice" and "les classes spoliées" occurred in The Law (July 1850) and then in EH 17 "Private and Public Services," CW5 (forthcoming) which was published in July 1851 but probably written in 1849 or 1850.

368 On the rich but not well known French liberal theory of class see the work of Leonard P. Liggio, Ralph Raico, and David M. Hart: Liggio, Leonard P., "Charles Dunoyer and French Classical Liberalism," Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1977, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 153-78; Ralph Raico, "Classical Liberal Exploitation Theory: A Comment on Professor Liggio's Paper," Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1979, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 179–183; "Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of Classes." in Requiem for Marx, edited by Yuri N. Maltsev (Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1992), pp. 189-220; "The Centrality of French liberalism" in Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School, Foreword by Jörg Guido Hülsmann. Preface by David Gordon (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2012), pp. 219–53; David M. Hart, Class Analysis, Slavery and the Industrialist Theory of History in French Liberal Thought, 1814-1830: The Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer (unpublished PhD, King's College Cambridge, 1994). <davidmhart.com/liberty/Papers/ComteDunoyer/CCCD-PhD/HTML-version/index.html>.

369 This phrase "la spoliation permanente et légale" (permanent and legal plunder) was first used in "To the Editor" (Courrier français, 11 avril 1846) in CW6 (forthcoming).

370 ES1 "Conclusion" (CW3, p. 110). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1006>.

371 ES2 1 "The Physiology of Plunder" (CW3, p. 114) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1021>.

372 This list of types of sophisms can be found in ES1 "Conclusion" (CW3, p. 110). <`https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#Bastiat_1573-03_1006`>.

373 Bastiat wrote at least three series of books on Economic Sophisms which are collected in CW3.

374 See "Electoral Sophisms" (c. 1847) (CW1, pp. 397-404) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_label_762>; "The Elections" (c. 1847) (CW1, pp. 404-9) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2393#lf1573-01_label_775>; ES2 10 "The Tax Collector" (ca. 1847) (CW3, pp. 179-87) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#lf1573-03_label_501> ES2 11 "The Utopian" (January 1847) (CW3, pp. 187-98) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#lf1573-03_label_530>; and the various versions of "The State" (Jacques Bonhomme, 11–15 June 1848) (CW2, pp.105-6) <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2450#lf1573-02_label_195>, and JDD, September 1848 (CW2, pp. 93-104). <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2450#lf1573-02_label_183>. See also "Bastiat's Political Sophisms," in the Introduction (CW3, pp. lxvii-lxviii) for more information <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2731#`lf1573-03_head_040>.

375 See Capital and Rent (Feb. 1849), Damned Money! (JDE, April 1849), "Capital" (mid-1849, Almanac rép.), and Free Credit (Voix de peuple, Oct. 1849 - March 1850), all in CW4 (forthcoming).

376 See chap. VIII "Property and Community, " p. abc ("The division of labor has led to the state of affairs"); chap. XI "Producer and Consumer," p. abc ("The intensity of various national desires"); and chap. XX "On Responsibility," p. abc ("In the case of theft, murder, or the majority of misdemeanors and crimes").

377 See Letter 39 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 5 June 1845) (CW1, p. 64).

378 Letter 13 to Félix Coudroy (Bordeaux, 9 April 1827) (CW1, pp. 21-22). In particular Dunoyer, "Esquisse historique des doctrines auxquelles on a donné le nom d'Industrialisme, c'est-à-dire, des doctrines qui fondent la société sur l'Industrie," Revue encyclopédique, February 1827, no. 90, pp. 368-94.

379 David M. Hart, Class Analysis, Slavery and the Industrialist Theory of History in French Liberal Thought, 1814-1830: The Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer (unpublished PhD, King's College Cambridge, 1994). And Robert Leroux, Aux fondements de l'industrialisme: Comte, Dunoyer et la pensée libérale en France (Paris: Hermann, 2015).

380 He uses the phrase "toutes les libertés" in the "Draft Preface" to EH and many other places as well.

381 He tells Richard Cobden about "the economic synthesis I have in my head … which will never leave it." Letter 96 to Richard Cobden (Mugron, 5 April, 1848) (CW1, p. 146).

382 A phrase used in "A Note on Economic and Social Harmonies" (c. early 1850) in CW4 (forthcoming).

383 Letter 107 to Richard Cobden (Paris, 18 August 184) (CW1, pp. 160-61).

384 Letter 184 to M. Cheuvreux (Mugron, 14 July 1850) (CW1, p. 261).

385 "A Draft Preface to the Economic Harmonies" (Fall 1847) (CW1, p. 320).

386 In a letter to Félix the month before he died Bastiat talked of dedicating the next edition of the Harmonies to him in the hope that he might be able to complete it: "If my health returns and I am able to write the second volume of the Harmonies, I will dedicate it to you. If not, I will insert a short dedication in the second edition of the first volume. In the second of these cases, which will imply the end of my career, I will be able to set out my plan to you and bequeath to you the mission of completing it." Letter 203 to Félix Coudroy (Rome, 11 November 1850) (CW1, pp. 288-89).

387 Letter 39 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 5 June 1845) (CW1, p. 64).

388 Letter 65 to Richard Cobden (Mugron, 25 June 1846) (CW1, pp. 105–6); and Letter 80 to Richard Cobden (Paris, 5 July 1847) (CW1, p. 131).

389 David M. Hart, "The Paris School of Liberal Political Economy, 1803-1853," in The Cambridge History of French Thought, ed. Jeremy Jennings (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

390 "De l'influence des tarifs français et anglais sur l'avenir des deux peuples" (On the Influence of French and English Tariffs on the Future of the Two People) (JDE, Oct. 1844).

391 Cobden et la ligue, ou l'Agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (Paris: Guillaumin, 1845). Bastiat's long Introduction to this book will be translated and appear in CW6 (forthcoming).

392 "Letter from an Economist to M. de Lamartine. On the occasion of his article entitled: The Right to a Job" (JDE, Feb. 1845). And "On the Book by M. Dunoyer. On The Liberty of Working" (Unpublished draft). Both is CW4 (forthcoming).

393 Letter 39 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 5 June 1845) (CW1, p. p. 63), Letter 40 to Félix Coudroy (16 June 1845) (CW1, p. 66), and Letter 42 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 3 July 1845) (CW1, p. 68).

394 Or Adolphe Blanqui who held the chair at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, or Pellegrino Rossi who had held the chair at the Collège de France.

395 In "Letter from an Economist to M. de Lamartine" (JDE, Feb. 1845), in CW4 (forthcoming).

396 The article versions are translated in CW4 (forthcoming) with changes and additions between the versions indicated.

397 We include this lecture in this volume.

398 See Letter 80 to Richard Cobden (Paris, 5 July, 1847) (CW1, p. 131).

399 He was still giving lectures on 13 February a week before the Revolution broke out. See Letter 89 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 13 Feb. 1848) (CW1, p. 139).

400 In addition to the ones mentioned above, see also Letter 108 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 26 August 1848) (CW1, pp. 161–63)

401 Letter 81 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, Aug. 1847) (CW1, p. 131).

402 See in particular the list of planned chapters following the conclusion in EH1 which was included in Economic Harmonies (1851), p. 335, FEE ed. pp. 554-55; or below, p. abc.

403 The chapters would cover responsibility, solidarity, self interest or the "social motor or driving force," perfectibility, public opinion, and the relationship between political economy and morality, politics, legislation, and religion.

404 This volume would have chapters on producers and consumers, individualism and sociability, the theory of rent, money, credit, wages, savings, population, private services, public services, taxation, on machines, free trade, on middlemen, raw materials and finished products, and on luxury.

405 The chapters would cover plunder, war, slavery, theocracy, monopoly, governmental exploitation, false fraternity or communism.

406 Refs???

407 Letter 85 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 5 Jan. 1848) (CW1, p. 137).

408 Letter 89 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 13 Feb. 1848) (CW1, p. 139).

409 The size of the Guillaumin catalog in 1850 it was 50 pages long. While the 1848 Revolution was underway it issued a special catalog of 40 anti-socialist writings featuring the work of Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Joseph Garnier, as well as Michel Chevalier, Léon Faucher, Antoine-Elisée Cherbuliez, Ambroise Clément, and others, many of which were collections of speeches in the Chamber or journal and magazine articles which were rushed into print for the occasion. See "Bastiat's Anti-socialist Pamphlets, or 'Mister Bastiat's Little Pamphlets'," in Appendix 1.

410 He says he "consulted widely" with them. Letter 105 to Mr. Schwabe (Paris, 1 July, 1848) (CW1, p. 158).

411 He says "a few friends gave me the means of expounding it in public" without saying who they were. They were probably Hortense and Casimir Cheuvreux or perhaps Horace Say who gave money to the free market cause and may have also put up money for Bastiat's books to get published by Guillaumin.

412 "Economic Harmonies: I., II., and III. The Needs of Man" (JDE, Sept. 1848) and "Economic Harmonies IV" (JDE, Dec. 1848).

413 Letter 113 to Mme Cheuvreux (Paris, Nov. 1848) (CW1, p. 167).

414 Letter 115 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 26 November 1848) (CW1, p. 169).

415 Capital et Rente (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849), "Damned Money!" (Maudit argent!) (JDE, Apr. 1849), "Capital" (Le capital) in Almanach Républicain pour 1849 (Paris: Pagnerre, 1849), L'État. Maudit argent! (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849), Gratuité du crédit : discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850).

416 Letter 140 to Bernard Domenger (Paris, Tuesday, 13 . . . (Summer 1849)) (CW1, pp. 205-6.

417 The following chapter numbers refer to EH1 (which differs slightly from EH2): the introductory chapter which had no number, "Natural and Artificial Organisations," chapters 1 "Economic Harmonies," 2 "Needs, Efforts, and Satisfaction," 3 "The Needs of Man," and 10 "Competition."

418 Letter 155 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, 13 December 1849) (CW1, p. 224).

419 Letter 158 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, January 1850) (CW1, p. 229).

420 See "A Note on Economic and Social Harmonies" (c. early 1850), in CW4 (forthcoming).

421 "Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine" (Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord). In Letter 158 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, January 1850) (CW1, p. 229).

422 The Law (June 1850) (CW2, pp. 107-46 and What is Sen and What is Not Seen (July 1850) (CW3, pp. 401-52).

423 Letter 167 to Prosper Paillottet (Mugron, 19 May 1850) (CW1, p. 239).

424 Clément, Ambroise. *Harmonies économiques*, par M. Frédéric Bastiat. (Compte-rendu par M.A. Clément), (JDE, June 1850). Joseph Garnier would review the second expanded edition in August 1851: "La deuxième édition des Harmonies économiques de Frédéric Bastiat," par M. Joseph Garnier, (JDE*, August 1851).

425 Letter 180 to M. de Fontenay (Les Eaux-Bonnes, 3 July 1850) (CW1, p. 255).

426 Letter 158 to Félix Coudroy (Paris, January 1850) (CW1, p. 229).

427 Among several examples, see Letter 167 to Prosper Paillottet (Mugron, 19 May 1850) (CW1, p. 239).

428 Letter 174 to Mme Cheuvreux (Les Eaux-Bonnes, 15 June 1850) (CW1, p. 250).

429 Paillottet, "Avertisement," EH2 (1851), p. ix.

430 Letter 196 to Bernard Domenger (Pisa, 8 October 1850) (CW1, p. 278).

431 Letter 200 to Horace Say (Pisa, 20 October 1850) (CW1, p. 284).

432 See for example Letter 206 to Prosper Paillottet (Rome, 8 Dec. 1850) (CW1, p. 293) and the posthumous letter to the JDE, Letter 209 (CW1, pp. 297-302).

433 Letter 207 to Mme Cheuvreux (Rome, 14, 15, and 16 December 1850) (CW1, p. 294).

434 It was inserted after the Conclusion to EH1 and the editors state that they found it written in Bastiat's own hand writing. See p. 335 EH2 (1851).

435 "A Note on Economic and Social Harmonies" (c. early 1850) in CW4 (forthcoming).

436 Paillottet's footnote in "Conclusion" to ES1 (CW3, p. 110).

437 See in particular Property and Plunder (July 1848) (CW2, pp. 147-84) and Plunder and Law (May 1850) (CW2, pp. 266-76).

Last modified April 16, 2019