Frédéric Bastiat

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Frédéric Bastiat (June 30, 1801December 24, 1850) was an early capitalist economist and classical liberal French author.


On political economy

  • "The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else."
    • The State in Selected Essays on Political Economy, par. 5.20
  • "By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."
    • Economic Harmonies, par. 4.110
  • "The profit of the one is the profit of the other."
    • Economic Harmonies, par. 4.118
  • "Competition is merely the absence of oppression"
    • Economic Harmonies, par. 10.4
  • "In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause - it is seen. The others unfold in succession - they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference - the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil"
    • That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen, the Introduction
  • "Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone."

On jurisprudence

  • "It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder."
  • "No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate)."


  • When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.

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