After all, my intention is not exactly to lay the ground for deeply held convictions but to sow the seeds of doubt.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms First Series

This conclusion for the First Series of the Economic Sophisms sheds a light on the reasons why Bastiat wrote pamphlets rather than a treaty. He clearly expresses that a Treaty on Political Economy that would attempt to convince and understand the truth would be superior to a series of pamphlets that expose errors. However, he also shows that this latter objective is important due to the nature of social science, upon which each and everyone of us have an opinion – sophisms are powerful in misleading an opinion that lacks knowledge while a treaty cannot win over public opinion.

I am grateful to Bastiat for having the humility to develop his ideas through pamphlets despite thinking that only a treaty could lead to posterity. He did not have the time to conclude his Economic Harmonies (which is a noble treaty) but 170 years after his death, his Economic Sophisms remain extraordinarily contemporaneous and still deserve to be read, shared and understood now as then.

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