SOPHISMS. Frédéric. Bastiat. Translated from the French and Edited by. ARTHUR GODDARD. Introduction by. HENRY HAZLITT. Foundation for Economic. Economic Sophisms [Frédéric Bastiat, Arthur Goddard, Henry Hazlitt] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The essays in Economic Sophisms. Bastiat’s “Economic Sophisms”, translated by Dr. Patrick James Stirling, were eagerly welcomed by students of political economy who were not really familiar.

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He would easily understand that labor is not an end in itself, but a means, and that it would be absurd to reject the end for fear of doing injury to the means. If the saw had not been invented, he would perhaps not have finished one board; yet I would have paid him no less for the day.

Economic Sophisms – Wikisource, the free online library

Their products, which represent less labor, are less well remunerated; in other words, they are cheaper, and if all the gifts of Nature result in lower costs, evidently it is not the producing country, but rather the consuming country, that reaps the benefit. But anyone who has ever read and understood Bastiat must be immune to the protectionist disease, or the illusions of the Welfare State, except bastixt a very attenuated form.

This cotton had to pay ten per cent more, for transportation, insurance, commissions, etc. Wheat is grown in all the departments of France, although there are among them enormous differences in fertility; and if by chance there is one department in which no wheat is grown, it is because it would not pay to grow wheat even for consumption there. Let us pass a law that will preserve both of them. This indisputable tendency of mankind, once its existence is verified, should suffice, it would seem, to make the correct principle clear to the legislator and show him in what way he ought to help industry in so far as it is within his province to do so ; for it would be absurd to say that the laws of man should run counter to the laws of Providence.

They cannot be useful. Bastiat’s early life, however, was spohisms primarily that of a scholar. Thus, the newspapers, the Chambers, and the government put the theory of scarcity into practice, and I was right to sopyisms that this theory is by far the most popular of all theories.


The advantages that Nature and society lavish upon him, as well as the disadvantages that they inflict upon him, slip away from him, so to speak, and tend insensibly to be absorbed and dissolved into the community, that is, the mass of the consumers.

But we do pay for that sophiss gas, of tallow, of oil, and of wax, because in these cases sophiams is some human labor to be remunerated; and note that the remuneration is proportioned so closely to the labor, and not to the utility, that one of these illuminants, although casting a much more intense light than another, bastixt still cost less simply because the same quantity of human labor produces more of it.

Thus, when Baron Dupin deplores this diminution in the labor employed to obtain a given result, he is following the doctrine of Sisyphism.

Economic Sophisms

He basyiat so regarded them: Now, bread can be dear only because it is scarce. We pay several hundred millions for highways, bridges, harbors, and railroads; granted. Nevertheless we do not pay for it, because Nature furnishes it to us without the need of any human labor. After all, a nation cannot import unless another nation will accept its goods and services in exchange, either directly or through cash exchanges.

But the unfortunate vessel sank while leaving the harbor, and there was nothing else for M. The issue here is the same as the one we have just considered, namely, that of equalizing the conditions of production.

How have I not read this book until now? The initial consequence, for the porters, is positive: There is still a further conclusion to be drawn from all this, namely, that, according to the theory of the balance of trade, France has a quite simple means of doubling her capital at any moment.

If one obstacle is removed, it does battle with another; and society is freed from two obstacles by the same amount of labour which was formerly, required for the removal of one. Economy suddenly becomes so much simpler when treated this way.

Both theses have had their defenders, and political economists are divided in their opinions about them. But what holds true for sugar cannot be false in regard to bread. bqstiat

We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for applying your—what shall we call it? The law of supply and demand stands in the way.

Economic Sophisms

But let us delve further into this sophism, which is so much in vogue among our legislators, although it is quite extraordinary that the very people who defend unproductive taxes for that is what they are assumed to be on our present hypothesis are the ones who attribute to them our alleged industrial inferiority in order to justify other taxes and restrictions as compensatory devices. Remuneration is proportionate, not to the utility that the producer offers on the market, but to his labor.


But we have these railroads, these harbors, these bridges, and these highways; and unless we made a mistake in building them, it cannot be said that they render us inferior to nations that are not, it is true, burdened with the taxes needed to support a public works program, but that, at the same time, have no public works. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly that we suspect he is being sopihsms up against us by perfidious Albion excellent diplomacy nowadays!

We were too well fed, too well clothed, too well provided with bastiwt things; production became too soohisms and outran our demands. The doctrine consists in regarding this circumstance as harmful, and in seeing in the very efficiency and productiveness of the new industry a limit to its usefulness. This principle guides our cabinet soohisms only because it prevails among our legislators; it prevails among our legislators only because they are representative of the electorate; and the electorate is imbued with it only because public opinion is saturated with it.

In the case of commerce, if one of the sellers can bring his goods to market more cheaply than the others, he ceases to be a competitor and becomes a monopolist It constitutes a syllogism which, although not false, is incomplete. I might dispute this, but I respect your hypothesis. He contracted a lung infection. In all seriousness, this book is not quite as good as “The Law,” but that doesn’t say much since “The Law” is such a masterpiece. But, tell me, gentlemen, do you think that the account books of businessmen are valid in practice?

I hold that he was no theorist. This book is especially helpful in realizing the utter absurdities of many academics, politicians, and intellectuals when it comes to economics. What do we see? And is it not ridiculous to tell him: