Student Of Liberty

13. – THE FEAR OF A WORD.

That proves that the people still have a lot to learn, and while they are learning it there is no lack of persons like your Mr. Big ready to take advantage of their credulity.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms Third Series

Nowadays, you only need to pronounce the word “inequalities” and you will cause an outcry to oppose them but if you say “diversity”, the same people will come and support you for all you are doing in their favour. Similarly, free-trade was a swearword in 1847 but if you mentioned “trade which is free” to describe it, you would be able to gain an audience.

Thus, we can observe this major conversation between an economist and a shoemaker that explains how competition woks and why it is beneficial. Bastiat also shows in passing that merchants are not “parasites [who] have the nerve to make people pay for their services” and that trade is the only way that man has found in order to reach a decent standard of living (as Thomas Thwaites making a toaster could assess). He concludes with a profound truth : “to favor the sales of one person is of necessity to burden the purchases of another.”

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