Student Of Liberty

II. – OBSTACLE AND CAUSE.

It is thus very true that each occupation has an immediate interest in the continuation or even the extension of the particular obstacle that is the object of its efforts.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms First Series.

This is a disturbing assertion. We all like the idea that the aim of our work is to serve society (which is the case, fortunately) but we loathe the idea that it could be thanks to existing obstacles that society needs us. The altruistic motivations of the physician are noble when the greedy motivations of the banker are ignoble. Yet both serve society and the physician finds some motivation in being paid for the healing he offers and the banker finds some satisfaction in improving the economy (hence improving the wealth of the population) thanks to the financial transactions that he makes possible.

To ignore this truth leads to numeous errors concerning the purpose of work and the imaginary risk for the whole society to be unemployed.

Reading this pamphlet makes me ponder the regulatory logorrhoea that has swamped the western economies in the 21st century and that is akin to placing obstacles across almost all professions, creating jobs without creating wealth.

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