The Economist's Cookbook

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  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

Frédéric Bastiat - The Law

Posted by The_Chef On 3:42 PM 3 comments

From Wiki:
Bastiat maintained a deep distrust of all government, in any form, and worked all his life to demonstrate that government control of private individuals and regulation of private industry was inefficient, economically damaging, and morally wrong. Bastiat asserted that the only purpose of government is to defend the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property. From this definition, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty and property if it promotes socialist policies inherently opposed to these very things. In this way, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the thing it is supposed to defend.

I'm currently finishing up his short work The Law. It's very very poignant for the modern world.
Here is a bit from Bastiat's The Law :

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

We've built our modern system on this legal plunder. God help us.

You can read the entire text here in html.
You can order your own paper copy from FEE here.


3 Response for the "Frédéric Bastiat - The Law"

  1. Bobby says:

    Interesting. Thanks for posting this.

  2. The_Chef says:

    Sure thing! Please keep reading!

  3. VH says:

    Bastiat is one of my favorites.