Tag: Bastiat

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Frederic Bastiat (circa 1850) showed that it is silly to worry about trade deficits by humorously refuting proposals in the French parliament to legislate positive balances of trade. He describes himself as making the following transactions. • I was at Bordeaux. I had a cask of wine which was worth 50 francs; I sent it […]

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Quote of the Day: Bastiat on Socialism


“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” – Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

In addition to our member , Frédéric Bastiat is a well-known author here on Ricochet, also used by our Editor Jon Gabriel for a Quote of the Day. Like many, I wasn’t exposed to Bastiat until the last 25 years or so, after New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani introduced the “broken windows” theory of government, which led me to Bastiat’s “broken windows fallacy.” Like many brilliant writers such as Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman, Bastiat can explain important ideas in plain language. The quote above seems so obvious, yet many on the left they continue to argue against it, saying that the right kind of Socialism hasn’t been tried yet.

The Broken Windows of Harvey and Irma


Every time a big natural disaster strikes, progressive economists predict an economic boom. Between Harvey and Irma, the LA Times, CNBC, and Goldman Sachs expected a bump in the GDP once the recovery efforts got rolling.

Perhaps the best known fan of mass destruction is NY Times columnist Paul Krugman. While he has yet to weigh in on the storms of the past few weeks, I’m sure it’s coming. After all, he found economic growth in Fukushima…

I guess we have to talk about the economic impact of the Fukushima nightmare … Japan will clearly have to spend hundreds of billions on damage control and recovery, even as revenue falls thanks to the direct economic impact … And yes, this does mean that the nuclear catastrophe could end up being expansionary, if not for Japan then at least for the world as a whole.