There are only two ways of acquiring the things that are necessary for the preservation, improvement, and betterment of life: PRODUCTION and PLUNDER.
Economic Sophisms Second Series
Plunder is then defined – it hides beneath the mask of war, slavery, theocracy and monopoly, the latter being found in the form of sinecure, privilege and restriction. Once again, war appears as one of the scourges that liberalism claims to fight. Maybe more of a surprise to some, it is clear that slavery is considered by Bastiat as a plague that has nothing to do within humanity. Looking at the confusion between slavery and capitalism in the United States nowadays, one can only conclude that keeping on with educating the masses is necessary.
An interesting point is that Bastiat believes that plunder is self-destructive – while some may find that as optimistic and that history shows that when it has been in place, eras of plunder tend to last longer than an earthly life, it is positive and deserves some thoughts.
This pamphlet is particularly long because Bastiat wanted to develop his ideas on plunder, this theme being at the heart of men’s woes. He also insists on the importance of free speech and the danger of government power (the former being the only way to fight the latter when it becomes too powerful).