Frederic Bastiat

RTR-author-1024x1024_0000_Frederic Bastiat

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.”
– Bastiat

b. 1801 CE – d. 1850 CE

French economist Frederic Bastiat was the son of a merchant. He published his first pamphlet in 1834, and between 1841 and 1844 three others all on questions of taxation affecting local interests. Later, he wrote in rapid succession a series of brilliant and effective pamphlets and essays, showing how socialism was connected with protection, and exposing the delusions on which it rested.

Overall, the life-work of Bastiat requires to be considered in three aspects:

1. He was an advocate of free-trade, the opponent of protection. The general principles of free-trade had been clearly stated and solidly established before he was born, but he did more than merely restate them. He showed, as no one before him had done, how they were practically applicable to French agriculture, trade and commerce.

2. He was the opponent of socialism. In this respect, he had no equal among the economists of France. He alone fought socialism by not denouncing or criticizing it under its name as an abstract theory, but taking it as actually presented by its most popular representatives, considering patiently their proposals and arguments, and proving conclusively that they proceeded on false principles, reasoned badly and sought to realize generous aims by foolish and harmful means.

3. And lastly, he attempted to expound in an original and independent manner political economy as science.