Demonstration in Four. He himself so regarded them: "the one," he says, "pulls down, the other builds up. Whatever difference of opinion may exist among economists as to the soundness of this theory, all must admire the irresistible logic of the Sophismes , and "the sallies of wit and humour," which, as Mr Cobden has said, make that work as "amusing as a novel. The system of Bastiat having thus a destructive as well as a constructive object, a negative as well as a positive design, it is perhaps only doing justice to his great reputation as an economist to put the English reader in a position to judge of that system as a whole.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Arthur Goddard Translator. Henry Hazlitt Introduction.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published September 1st by Foundation for Economic Education first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Economic Sophisms , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Economic Sophisms. Mar 21, Todd rated it it was amazing Shelves: economics , liberalism.
Absolutely brilliant, proving economic theory need not be dry or boring, and also showing how very relevant to daily living it remains. Perhaps if more people had been more conversant with Bastiat, Lord Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes never would have gotten off the ground.
Bastiat explodes so many myths prevalent in his day, and sadly, still prevalent today. Chiefly he contrasts abundance with scarcity and shows how protectionism, luddite opposition to technology and automation, and efforts Absolutely brilliant, proving economic theory need not be dry or boring, and also showing how very relevant to daily living it remains.
Chiefly he contrasts abundance with scarcity and shows how protectionism, luddite opposition to technology and automation, and efforts to increase labor all lead to scarcity, while their opposites lead to abundance.
So while the former methods may lead to higher cash incomes, they lead to less wealth to be had for all, while the latter method, though it may include dislocation from time to time, leads to abundance and greater wealth for all, even the cash-poor.
Bastiat reveals the open secret to his method: "Protection concentrates on one point the good which it produces, while the evils which it inflicts are spread over the masses.
The one is visible to the naked eye; the other only to the eye of the mind. In the case of liberty, it is just the reverse. He is at once producer and consumer. This reasoning, extended to all consumers, leads to the theory of plenty. Bastiat turns old ideas about trade on their heads--so many people favor a balance of exports over imports, yet that is the same as wishing to spend more money for the same articles in a store than less. After all, a nation cannot import unless another nation will accept its goods and services in exchange, either directly or through cash exchanges.
He spends a lot of time focusing on sophisms about labor, as if labor were a means to itself, rather than a means to an outcome, namely, removing obstacles in the way of human wants. It never remains unemployed. 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.
His writing is brief, clear, and often amusing. His dialogue between the wine-maker and the tax collector is classic Bastiat and entertaining to boot, worth reading in its entirety. It certainly underscores David Friedman 's caution about limited governments generally not remaining so, but Bastiat has his own answer: educate and persuade the masses as to the importance and the benefits of liberty over every other system.
To this end, he wrote this work and you really ought to read it! There is a sense of sadness that a reader has about a book like this one. Let us make no mistake, this is a great book, but it is a great book that exists under a bit of a shadow. For one, the author died in the prime of life from tuberculosis during a period of time when he could have had a great influence on the practical politics of France and instead of being able to serve his country loyally and faithfully for more decades he instead left a group of texts of which this is one in which h There is a sense of sadness that a reader has about a book like this one.
For one, the author died in the prime of life from tuberculosis during a period of time when he could have had a great influence on the practical politics of France and instead of being able to serve his country loyally and faithfully for more decades he instead left a group of texts of which this is one in which he bemoans himself as a visionary and utopian thinker .
It is doubtful given the course of 19th century history that Bastiat's eloquence and sound thinking alone could have prevented France from ruinous arms races and destructive wars and inflicting the horrors of imperialism on other areas, all of which are evils that Bastiat presciently condemns here, but at least a longer life would have meant more texts from this great thinker to read. As it is, this book is one of those writings that was conducted more or less under a death sentence, and it is melancholy to think of Bastiat on his deathbed still trying to refute the selfishness of politicians and special interests even as he was nearing his end.
As a book this volume of about pages is divided into two sections and numerous smaller essays. In these smaller essays Bastiat shows a relentless and consistent worldview of defending the interests of the consumer and the larger population at large from the protectionist arguments of industrialists and their crony capitalist politician allies. Sometimes Bastiat does this using statistics, sometimes using humorous polemical language, sometimes using imaginary dialogues that show the French taxpayer of the midth century what his taxes were going towards, and sometimes through responding politely to letters written to him by his readers.
Throughout the writings Bastiat maintains a sense of humility and a moral imagination for showing the distortions of labor that are required to deal with the artificial obstructions governments so often place in the way of people who simply want to live their lives and get things done.
Some may find Bastiat's consistency of tone, despite his varied approach to tackling the problem of protectionist logic, a bit shrill, but those who agree with Bastiat will think that contemporary writings like this would still be enjoyable for someone to write, albeit focused on our own concerns. Whether or not you like these books as a reader depends on a few matters. For one, this book is probably not best tackled in one swoop, but rather as sardonically amusing reading taken one or two essays at a time.
This book is really the 19th century equivalent of a blog that has been made into a book, and the topics of the smaller essays in the book, some of them as short as a single page, and none of them extending particularly long, tend to repeat themselves over and over again as Bastiat bangs his head into the wall of argumentation and wholly thinking regarding protectionism.
I, for one, found this book to be powerful if a bit repetitive, and all the more eloquent because of the melancholy conditions in which the book was written. That said, this book is only part of Bastiat's achievement as a writer, and it is the negative part of tearing down fallacious arguments that have served to threaten the well-being of many of Europe's socialist havens, and so this book is unquestionably relevant to today's political economy even though it was written more than years ago.
View 2 comments. Oct 11, Shaun rated it it was amazing. A friend told me I should read Bastiat, because so many of my arguments sounded like him.
For a 19th century French guy, I think he sounds very modern. I like his style, very straight-forward, but also almost comical and tongue-in-cheek.
I was surprised how many of the arguments he refuted sounded exactly like ones made today. I was also libertarian and capitalist before reading him, but I wasn't sold on free trade, in fact I was leaning slightly more toward protectionism, because I thought it h A friend told me I should read Bastiat, because so many of my arguments sounded like him.
I was also libertarian and capitalist before reading him, but I wasn't sold on free trade, in fact I was leaning slightly more toward protectionism, because I thought it helped this economy more. Bastiat's arguments were very logical and common sense, so he was quickly able to turn me into a free trade supporter.
I think Bastiat is now probably among my top 5 for ideological inspirations. I need to read "The Law", his most famous work. Jun 21, Doc Opp rated it it was amazing. A must read for every fledgling libertarian or full grown libertarian who hasn't read it yet. A brilliant series of essays on the perils of tariffs, subsidies, protectionism, and otherwise government restrictions on free markets. The arguments I believe also apply to as a critique of the anti-globalization movement, although Bastiat was writing before such a movement existed, so its not explicitly addressed.
Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to pulling out some choice zingers next time I debate A must read for every fledgling libertarian or full grown libertarian who hasn't read it yet. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to pulling out some choice zingers next time I debate such things.
Feb 15, Trey Smith rated it it was amazing. Bastiat masterfully destroys the economic fallacies of protectionism and tariffs with simple logic, wit, and analogies in this great book. So many great quotes from Bastiat are also found herein, making it a fun and enjoyable read. I highly recommend. Bastiat destroys protectionist ideologies in minute detail with thorough, compelling arguments. Unlike protectionism, which approaches economic theory from the standpoint of the producer, Bastiat instructs from the standpoint of the consumer.
The book is entertaining - not dry - and deals with the very issues we argue today. My only concern is that Bastiat gives too much credit to the human sense of morality, or at least to a commitment to live morally, and ends up espousing globalis Bastiat destroys protectionist ideologies in minute detail with thorough, compelling arguments.
My only concern is that Bastiat gives too much credit to the human sense of morality, or at least to a commitment to live morally, and ends up espousing globalism as a ground for peace, goodwill and wealth for all.
How have I not read this book until now? I loved Bastiat's witty writing style and timeless pro-liberty and free trade arguments. Even his arguments about the competition of labor between people and machines are relevant today!
It really is a shame that mainstream economics omit the works of Bastiat when teaching economics. I wish I read Bastiat as an undergrad or even as senior in high school. I read this on my tablet and used the public domain version available in Google Books.
He himself so regarded them: "the one," he says, "pulls down, the other builds up. Whatever difference of opinion may exist among economists as to the soundness of this theory, all must admire the irresistible logic of the Sophismes , and "the sallies of wit and humour," which, as Mr. Cobden has said, make that work as "amusing as a novel. Hence the present translation of the Sophismes is intended as a companion volume to the translation of the Harmonies.
He was the leader of the free-trade movement in France from its inception in until his untimely death in The first 45 years of his life were spent in preparation for five tremendously productive years writing in favor of freedom. Most of his writing was done in the years directly before and after the Revolution of —a time when France was rapidly embracing socialism. As a deputy in the Legislative Assembly, Bastiat fought valiantly for the private property order, but unfortunately the majority of his colleagues chose to ignore him. Ever since the advent of representative government placed the ultimate power to direct the administration of public affairs in the hands of the people, the primary instrument by which the few have managed to plunder the many has been the sophistry that persuades the victims that they are being robbed for their own benefit. The public has been despoiled of a great part of its wealth and has been induced to give up more and more of its freedom of choice because it is unable to detect the error in the delusive sophisms by which protectionist demagogues, national socialists, and proponents of government planning exploit its gullibility and its ignorance of economics.
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