These people do not want any competition for their changing wool into cloth because it is their trade, but they are all too willing to accept competition for the converting of cloth into suits because it is yours.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms Second Series

Well before public choice theory was founded by James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, we have here a taste of the issue. In this pamphlet, which is relatively long, Bastiat sits along the Wretched of the World and explain to them how fallacious the arguments that served to justify protectionism are.

I also note that this text addressed to a different public than usual (invitation to publish in the Courrier Français) clearly shows the political position from Frédéric Bastiat when he exposes the deeds of the “capitalists”, not in their quality of capitalists but because of their lobbying actions and their consequences. As he says himself in his conclusion, he is interested in “the principle of JUSTICE which […] is combined with the principle of FREEDOM”.

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