Frédéric Bastiat

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Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French economist who promoted free enterprise and opposed government regulation. The Austrian School of Economics often praises his writings and work. Bastiat is famously quoted, as in his statement of the Candlestick makers petition, a classical work of satire.


  • "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."
  • " 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."[1]
  • "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." [2]


  1. The Law
  2. Economic Sophisms, 1848

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