Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement” (1849)

Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement”, in Report of the proceedings of the second general Peace Congress, held in Paris on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of august 1849, London, 1849, p. 49-52 M. Frederic Bastiat, member of the French National Assembly, spoke as follows:— Gentlemen, our excellent and learned colleague, M. Coquerel, spoke to us a little while since, of a cruel malady with which French society is afflicted, namely, skepticism. This malady is the fruit of our long dissensions, of our revolutions which have failed to bring about […]

Continue Reading

Gustave de Molinari, The Economic and Socialist Conceptions of the Society of the Future (1899)

The political and economic organisation of society has, hitherto, varied according to the mental equipment of the individual, the risks of destruction threatening each society, the comparative development of production—the conditions of existence, in fine. These conditions have been profoundly modified, particularly during the last century, by the progress which has transformed the arts of production and destruction, until a political and economic organisation suitable to the past is no longer adapted to modern needs. This lack of adaptability may be considered as the first cause of modern socialist propaganda, since it has precipitated a crisis whose effects have chiefly fallen on the class which subsists on the product of its daily toil.

Continue Reading

Frédéric Bastiat, A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles (1845)

A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles, inserted in the Sophismes économiques (1845). A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting. To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Open letter to the French Parliament, originally published in 1845. Gentlemen: You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and have little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, […]

Continue Reading

Turgot, Why the inequality in the division of property is inevitable (1766)

A man of greater strength, more laborious, more attentive about the future, would occupy more than a man of a contrary character. He, whose family is the most numerous having greater wants and more hands, extends his possessions further; this is a first cause of inequality.—Every piece of ground is not equally fertile; two men with the same extent of land, may reap a very different harvest; this is a second source of inequality. Property in descending from fathers to their children, divides into greater or less portions, according as the descendants are more or less numerous, and as one generation succeeds another, sometimes the inheritances again subdivide, and sometimes re-unite again by the extinction of some of the branches; this is a third source of inequality. The difference of knowledge, of activity, and, above all, the oeconomy of some, contrasted with the indolence, inaction, and dissipation of others, is a fourth principle of inequality, and the most powerful of all: the negligent and inattentive proprietor, who cultivates badly, who in a fruitful year consumes in frivolous things the whole of his superfluity, finds himself reduced on the least accident to request assistance from his more provident neighbour, and to live by borrowing.

Continue Reading

Richard Cantillon, On the utility of a National Bank (1755)

A national Bank in the Capital of a great Kingdom or State must, it seems, contribute less to the utility of circulation because of the distance of its Provinces, than in a small State. And when money circulates there in greater abundance than among its neighbours a national Bank does more harm than good. An abundance of fictitious and imaginary money causes the same disadvantages as an increase of real money in circulation, by raising the price of Land and Labour, or by making works and manufactures more expensive at the risk of subsequent loss. But this furtive abundance vanishes at the first gust of discreet and precipitates disorder.

Continue Reading

Joseph Garnier, Laissez-faire, laissez-passer (1853)

French version published in the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, 2 vols., 1852-1853 ; english version published in Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States (1881). LAISSEZ FAIRE—LAISSEZ PASSER. These two formulas, which are frequently met with in economic, political, social and socialistic discussions, were invented by the physiocrates. By laissez faire they mean simply let work, and by laissez passer, allow exchange; in other words, the physiocrates demand, by these phrases, the liberty of labor, and the liberty of commerce. These two phrases have never been used by economists in any other sense; […]

Continue Reading

Marquis d’Argenson, Letter to the author of the Journal, concerning the Dissertation upon commerce (1751)

A Letter to the author of the Journal, concerning the Dissertation upon commerce, by the Marquis Belloni   In Selected essays on Commerce, agriculture, mines, fisheries, and other useful subjects, London, 1754, p228-335 SIR, In your journal for March, 1751, you have inserted a Dissertation upon trade, by the Marquis Belloni, which I have read several times, as an excellent piece; the substance of all the best remarks which have been made by our modern politicians on that subject, containing advice to sovereigns touching the direction of commerce, manufactures and the circulation of money. But ought not he first to […]

Continue Reading

Benoît Malbranque, Notice on Frédéric Passy

Frédéric Passy was a pacifist, but not of the naïve kind. He was neither an anti-patriot nor an anti-militarist. He only thought that conflicts could often be avoided, provided that the settlement of international and internal disputes by peaceful means was at least tried. This is the reason why he founded several international organizations, such as the Ligue internationale et permanente de la paix (created in 1867), and the Société d’arbitrage entre les Nations (1870).

Continue Reading

Yves Guyot, Protectionist postulates and economic realities (1905)

Every protective tariff means increased taxation. A country’s wealth cannot be increased by increased taxation. (W. Smart.)

2. A protective tariff ought to bring in as little as possible to the Treasury, since its object is to prevent the importation of goods.

It ought to bring in as much as possible to those who produce the protected goods.
3. The effect of a protective duty on any commodity is to raise the price, not only of the amount imported, but of the whole quantity sold in the country; it is a private tax placed upon consumers for the benefit of producers.
4. A protective duty increases the price at which the protected article can be purchased, and diminishes the purchasing power of the buyer to the same extent.

Continue Reading