The meaning of three or four words is altered, strained, and degraded, and this says it all.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms First Series

In this article, Bastiat is deploring the use of warfare vocabulary in order to describe trading relationships. Indeed, trade has nothing to do with war (trade war is an oxymoron) and the words “invasion”, “flood”, “tribute” and other bellicose metaphors have nothing to do here. The use of inappropriate metaphors allows to develop sophisms that need to be stripped down because it is thanks to the understanding of economic phenomena that fatal mistakes will be avoided. On this topic, Bastiat quotes Nicolas de Malebranche: “Error is the cause of human misery.”

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