Title page from Les Soirées de la Rue Saint-Lazare (1849)

Les Soirées de la Rue Saint-Lazare (1849)

Following the rise of socialism in France during the 1840s and the 1848 Revolution, Molinari wrote this fictitious “dialogue” between an economist, a conservative, and a socialist, to expose the folly of socialism, demonstrate how economic laws operated, and defend the right of property. Les Soirées is also famous for the 11th conversation in which Molinari argues for the first time that many public goods, even police and defense services, might be provided voluntarily by the free market.

Key Quotes

Property Rights

Society, according to the Economists of the eighteenth century, is organized on the basis of natural laws, whose essence is Justice and Utility. When these laws are misunderstood, society suffers. When they are fully respected, society enjoys the greatest possible abundance and justice reigns in…

Rhetoric of Liberty

Liberty! That was the cry of the captives of Egypt, the slaves of Spartacus, the peasants of the Middle Ages, and more recently of the bourgeoisie oppressed by the nobility and religious corporations, of the workers oppressed by masters and guilds. Liberty! That was the cry of all those who found…