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Frederic BASTIAT

Frederic BASTIAT, French economist. Leading founder of Associations pour la liberté des échanges; Secretary, Paris Association; Member, Constituent Assembly, 1848, subsequently Legislative Assembly.

Background

  • BASTIAT, Frederic was born in 1801 in Bayonne, France.

  • Career

    • Inspired by the successes of the British Anti-Corn Law League, he became a lifetime campaigner for free trade. His brilliant first article in this vein in the Journal des Economistes (1844) was succeeded by his popular series of Sophismes économiques (1845). These included the famous ‘Petition of the candlemakers’, a satirical attack on protectionism using the analogy of candlemakers who petition for the suppression of unfair competition from sunlight.

      He also directed controversial writings at Proudhon and the socialist writers. His Harmonies économiques, of which a first volume appeared before his death, was an attempt at a systematic exposition of his economic ideas. His analysis is considerably inferior to his satirical powers, and his theory of value, rejecting the Ricardian emphasis on costs and sacrifices for a system based on the exchange of services, is perhaps the most interesting contribution.

    Major achievements

    • Leading founder of Associations pour la liberté des échanges. Secretary, Paris Association. Member, Constituent Assembly, 1848, subsequently Legislative Assembly.

    Works

    • Economic Sophisms Vol II
    • Why should I go on tormenting myself with this dry and dreary science of Political Economy? Why? The question is reasonable.
    • Economic Harmonies
    • An inspiring exposition of the natural harmony that results when people are free to pursue their individual interests.
    • Economic Sophisms
    • My design in this little volume is to refute some of the arguments which are urged against the Freedom of Trade.
    • Economic Sophisms Vol I
    • My design in this little volume is to refute some of the arguments which are urged against the Freedom of Trade.
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    Died 1850
    (aged 49)
    Nationality