Student Of Liberty

WHAT IS SEEN AND WHAT IS NOT SEEN, OR POLITICAL ECONOMY IN ONE LESSON.

Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are those that follow.

Frédéric Bastiat
What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

It is from the introduction of what may be the most famous series of short pamphlets from Frédéric Bastiat that I extract today’s quote. A dozen writings will follow in which Bastiat will develop his idea that a good economist is not the one who looks into the immediate effects of a decision but the one who takes into account the following consequences and their potential side effects in his analysis as well.

This theme is of utmost relevances to this day, given the short-sightedness with which politicians take their decisions, at best paying lip-service to second and third order consequences by following the principle uttered by Louis XV, “après moi, le déluge” – the flood may come once I am gone.

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