A request for information in the prospect of the dictionnaire de l’économie politique (1853)

The Dictionnaire de l’Économie politique, which we have undertaken, will include short biographies of the people who have written on any branch of Political Economy, and consequently we kindly ask you to provide us with:
1° The date and place of your birth;
2° A summary of the positions you have held;
3° The list of the works you have published, indicating the number of volumes, the format and the date of publication.

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Two letters from Frédéric Bastiat to A. de Lamartine (1847)

Why would I hide this observation from you? The more France admires your imagination, the more she distrusts it. Poetry and business are believed to be mutually exclusive; one finds in your speeches noble thoughts, generous intentions, an inimitable eloquence, but one cannot find a program, namely what there is to do now. Tell us, tell us then: If I were a minister, these are the reforms I would make and the order in which I would make them! — And if that is clear, striking, practical, be sure that France will take you to the ministry.

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The business ethos of Guillaumin (1846)

The time is approaching, Mr. Guillaumin, when an all-out fight will be fought between Socialism and Political Economy; between prohibition and non-prohibition, between democracy and monarchy, etc. This battle must not use the cannon, but the press. If you want it, you are in a position to make your store the battleground of all ideas. Remain impartial, seize all opportunities, create them if necessary, and your part in the revolution which is brewing will be one of the best. You know what role the printer and bookseller Panckoucke played in the 18th century; you can surpass it by all the superiority that our century has over the previous one.

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The close monitoring of Joseph Garnier’s lessons on political economy (1846)

The Council is therefore of the opinion that the program written by Mr. Garnier can be accepted; provided, however, that the lessons to be given on the topics of this program will be developed with great caution, and in such a way that, in all controversial questions, the facts alone will be presented in an affirmative form, and that the arguments in favor of the various systems will be exposed impartially, to the exclusion of any formal conclusion which common opinion has not definitively sanctioned.

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French classical liberals and the issue of women’s rights

It is tempting for a liberty-minded historian to leave untouched the comforting presumption that French classical liberals, who championed freedom for the individual in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, must have upheld women’s rights too. Contemporary studies, while often obliterating the role of men in the development of feminist rhetoric, have found occasionally in the history of ideas some remarkable advocates well ahead of their times, and they have offered them as objects of uncritical admiration, in a sort of reconciliatory carnival. One easily concludes that feminism was burgeoning in every century, and that the rising tide was lifting up all boats. […]

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The United States through the eyes of French classical liberalism

In the 18th and 19th centuries, French classical liberals have often seen the United States as an example and a model. Yet, if some have loved this country in a sort of long-distance relationship, others have actually made the travel and have written detail accounts. In this article, Benoît Malbranque examines the praises and criticisms put forward by authors such as Volney, Tocqueville or Gustave de Molinari, regarding the social and economic situation of the United States.

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Molinari’s failed election of 1859, by Dries Van Thielen

Unlike some French economists who centered around the Journal des Economistes (notably Louis Wolowski and Frederic Bastiat), Gustave De Molinari never was a politician. However, this does not mean that he never ran for office. In this short overview, Dries van Thielen presents De Molinari’s failed attempt to join the ranks of the liberal party in 1859.

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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 […]

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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.

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