Frédéric Bastiat

There is perhaps no writer better at articulating the economic way of thinking and exposing the myths that plague political debate than the Frenchman Frédéric Bastiat. During his short life (1801-1850), Bastiat wrote such classics as “The Law” and “What is Seen and What Is Not Seen” He possessed a remarkable ability to pierce the sophistry of protectionism, socialism, and other ideologies of big government. And Bastiat did this with astounding clarity and wit.


Freedom From Plunder: Frédéric Bastiat

by Jim Powell on Jul 4, 2000

The French satirist, agitator, writer, and politician Frédéric Bastiat was France’s foremost champion of liberty in the 19th century.


That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850

Bastiat shows how economic thinking bgoes wrong by focusing on immediate and obvious effects and ignoring effects that are harder to notice or quantify.


The Candle Makers’ Petition

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1845

In this satirical essay, Bastiat petitions on behalf of candle makers for the protection from foreign competition, the sun.


A Negative Railroad

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1845

In this short excerpt from Economic Sophisms, Bastiat demonstrates the absurdity of supposed economic benefits from inefficiency.


The Tax Collector

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1848

In this parable, Bastiat conceives a conversation between a wine maker and a tax collector.


High Prices and Low Prices

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1845

In this excerpt from Economic Sophisms, Bastiat dispels the notion that policymakers should attempt to attain “high” or “low” prices.


Tariffs and Reciprocity

by Frédéric Bastiat on Mar 1, 1978

The mythical villages of Stulta and Puera explore the possibilities of free competition and trade.


Bastiat, Frédéric (1801-1850)

by Guido Hülsmann on Aug 15, 2008

Frederic Bastiat was a 19th century economist whose writings have been foundational to the individualism & free trade economics movements.


Free Trade

by Daniel T. Griswold on Aug 15, 2008

Free trade allows for goods and services to move freely across borders. It is the best way to distribute resources to those that value them most.


Libertarian Theory: A Reading List

by Aaron Ross Powell on Nov 3, 2011

A selection of books to take readers beyond the basics of libertarianism and into the philosophy and economics that provide its foundations.


Comte, Charles (1782-1887)

by David Hart on Aug 15, 2008

Charles Comte, politician and prominent writer, was a principle figure in promoting classical liberalism in France in the early 19th century.


Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1809-1865)

by Aaron Steelman on Aug 15, 2008

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, self-described both as an anarchist and as a socialist, contributed several rebukes of government and defenses of individualism.


Liberalism, Classical

by David Conway on Aug 15, 2008

Classical liberalism typically refers to liberal philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries, but whose ideas are carried on by libertarians today.