Some Friday Bastiat

There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal. Personally, I cannot imagine a more alarming situation. However that may be, one thing is certain, and that is that the economic results are the same...

Moral: To use force is not to produce, but to destroy.

.  I love how Bastiat writes, and 165 years has done absolutely nothing to harm his relevance.  Its amazing that we hare having the exact same economic battles today.


  1. Roy:

    Agreed. Bastiat's insights astound me both with their incisive clarity and with the astonishing manner in which they do not get cited in current discussions.

    But even that he anticipated (quoting from the opening paragraphs of Coyote's link):

    "There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

    Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil."

  2. pbft:

    Awesome. Thanks you

  3. jdgalt:

    People were having this same debate at the beginning of recorded history. Why would they stop now just because it's been proven wrong? Today's generation finds understanding unnecessary: they've got the boob tube.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    It’s actually not surprising at all – this is the lesson of collectivism, and the left never learns it.

    [Yes, the right can plunder as well, but far more of the leftist platform – income inequality, “green” energy, etc. – lends itself to this type of behavior.]

  5. J.s. Bridges:

    Well - to the generally-admitted limited extent to which it may be practiced as "science" at all*, it is clearly - for most - correctly referred to as "The Dismal Science". Why, one asks? Simple enough:

    1) When the results of all attempts to avoid the economically-unavoidable predictably occur, the practitioners of the attempts are made predictably dismal by those results.

    2) Meanwhile, those victimized by said practitioners' attempts - whether they are complicit, merely compliant or involuntarily - and often vocally - protestant with those practitioners' schemes - are made ever-increasingly dismal as the Gods Of The Copybook Headings are proven correct yet again and again.

    Just as God is not mocked - the economic "rules of the road" are never ultimately defied successfully - and ALL pay a price for the folly of such attempts.

    As quoted below: " almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa."

    In fact, given enough time, you can strike out that "almost" entirely...