Selected Essays on Political Economy

This stirring collection of Bastiat's speeches and pamphlets presents an unalloyed defense of capitalism. A leader of the 19th century free-trade movement, Bastiat eloquently discusses such timeless controversies as labor unions, welfare, government subsidies to the arts and foreign trade. He angrily attacks those who attempt to justify freedom on pragmatic grounds. "There is power only in principles," he insists. Man's ljfe requires production, and "to use force is not to produce, but to destroy." Bastiat, who was a member of the French parliament, offers us the rare sight of a politician committed to rational principles as a practical need of man's life. He was intolerant of compromise. In fact he devotes an essay to condemning his era's waffiing conservatives, naming mealy-mouthed "anti-communists" as the real cause of communism. In articulating such crucial principles, Bastiat has provided a vigorous polemic for liberty. (352 pages)

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Claude Frédéric Bastiat

Claude Frédéric Bastiat