Student Of Liberty

XIX. – NATIONAL INDEPENDANCE.

I am fully aware that I will be blamed (for this is the current fashion) for resting fraternity between nations on self-interest, vile and prosaic interest.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms First Series

The idea here is an extension of that of Adam Smith who wrote in his An Inquiriy into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (book 1, chapter 2, part II): “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” The difference is that Bastiat extends the concept of own interest to not going at war. The same people who are today criticising liberals to be “selfish” because he believes in self-interest as an engine of economic cooperation within society, were the people who were criticising Bastiat 170 years ago for believing in self-interest as an engine of fraternity between peoples.

Once again, my favourite quote, namely “If goods and services do not cross borders, soldiers will”, cannot be found here but the idea is clearly there in this pamphlet that criticises warmongers to oppose what is promoting peace.

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