Gustave de Molinari, The Free constitution of Nationality (1899)

Gustave de Molinari, The Society of Tomorrow: A Forecast of its Political and Economic Organization, New York, 1904. French version : Esquisse de l’organisation politique et économique de la société future, Paris, 1899 Chapter II The Free Constitution of Nationality The first, and by no means least, advance which will follow the establishment of a State of Peace will be free constitution of nationality. All history attests that it was force, and in no sense a voluntary agreement of both parties, which erected the associations called political States; and at this point it may be useful to recapitulate what we […]

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

Yves Guyot, The Impotence of Socialism (1908)

The Socialist party cannot balance up a governmental majority without destroying government itself, for it cannot admit that government fulfils the minimum of its duties. When a strike breaks out, the intention of the strikers is that security of person and of property shall not be guaranteed; and they have been preceded, supported and followed in this by certain Radicals who, when put to the test, have been obliged to commit acts such as they have violently laid to the charge of preceding governments. Socialist policy represents contempt for law, and all men, whether rich or poor, have an interest in liberty, security and justice, for the private interest of each individual is bound up with these common blessings. Socialists despise them all.

Continue Reading

Jean-Baptiste Say, Introduction to the Treatise on Political Economy (1803)

A SCIENCE only advances with certainty, when the plan of inquiry and the object of our researches have been clearly defined; otherwise a small number of truths are loosely laid hold of, without their connexion being perceived, and numerous errors, without being enabled to detect their fallacy.

For a long time the science of politics, in strictness limited to the investigation of the principles which lay the foundation of the social order, was confounded with political economy, which unfolds the manner in which wealth is produced, distributed, and consumed. Wealth, nevertheless, is essentially independent of political organization. Under every form of government, a state, whose affairs are well administered, may prosper. Nations have risen to opulence under absolute monarchs, and have been ruined by popular councils. If political liberty is more favourable to the development of wealth, it is indirectly, in the same manner that it is more favourable to general education.

Continue Reading

Turgot, In Praise of Gournay (1759)

M. de Gournay found it equally strange that, in a kingdom in which the order of succession was determined simply by custom, and in which the question of applying the death sentence to certain crimes was still left to the discretion of the courts, the government should have deigned to regulate by special legislation the length and breadth of each piece of cloth, the number of threads it was to contain, and to hallow with the seal of the legislature four volumes in quarto filled with these important details, and in addition innumerable statutes, dictated by the spirit of monopoly, the whole purpose of which were to discourage industry, to concentrate trade within the hands of a few people by multiplying formalities and charges, by subjecting industry to apprenticeships and journeymanships (compagnonnages) often years in some trades which can be learned in ten days, by excluding those who were not sons of masters, or those born outside a certain class, and by prohibiting the employment of women in the manufacture of cloth, etc., etc.

Continue Reading

Gustave de Molinari, The Production of Security (1849)

If there is one well-established truth in political economy, it is this:

That in all cases, for all commodities that serve to provide for the tangible or intangible needs of the consumer, it is in the consumer’s best interest that labor and trade remain free, because the freedom of labor and of trade have as their necessary and permanent result the maximum reduction of price.

And this:

That the interests of the consumer of any commodity whatsoever should always prevail over the interests of the producer.

Now in pursuing these principles, one arrives at this rigorous conclusion:

That the production of security should, in the interests of the consumers of this intangible commodity, remain subject to the law of free competition.

Continue Reading

Frédéric Bastiat, That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen (1850)

In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference – the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, – at the risk of a small present evil.

Continue Reading

François Quesnay, On Natural Rights (1765)

The natural right of man in its primitive and most comprehensive sense is, the right which man has to whatever is advantageous to him; or, as the author, some of whose works I now publish, says, ‘the right which man has to whatever is necessary to his enjoyment.’

This right is subject, even by nature, to relations which vary its use so much, that we are obliged to define it in a very general manner, so as to embrace all the different states in which man can exist.

Continue Reading

Material on the French school of political economy

Pierre de Boisguilbert (1646-1714) Hazel Van Dyke Roberts, Boisguilbert: economist of the reign of Louis XIV, New York, Columbia University Press, 1935 “Boisguilbert: An Early French Economist“, 1873, Westminster Review Vauban (1633-1707) A Project for a Royal Tythe, or General Tax, which by suppressing all the ancient funds and later projects for raising the public revenues, and for ever abolishing all exemptions, unequal assessments, and all rigours and oppressive distraining of people, will furnish the government a fixt and certain revenue, sufficient for all its exigencies and occasions, without oppressing the subjects, London, 1708 (see also the 1710 edition)  Richard […]

Continue Reading