Student Of Liberty

5. PUBLIC WORKS.

As a temporary measure in times of crisis, or during a severe winter, this intervention by the taxpayers may have good results. 

Frédéric Bastiat
What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

A hundred years before John Maynard Keynes, Frédéric Bastiat herewith recognises that a Keynesian stimulus might be desirable. Unfortunately, most of those who advocate Keynesian stimuli each time they find a microphone is that they have read only half of what these two distinguished economists have written.

Both thought that this type of intervention should take into account the crisis to which it could be applicable. Keynes mentionned that it would be beneficial if the use of human ressources would replace their idleness (which is often not the case) and Bastiat warned that it would not be beneficial in case of a simple displacement of ressources. Stimulus policies that do not stimulate anything observed over at least the last 50 years do not take into account the reason for the crisis, therefore, these policies fail inexorably. I take note that Bastiat was already exposing Napoléon Bonaparte for conducting economic policies that would not be laughed at by the Sapeur Camembert (a vintage hole-digging French cartoon).

Once again, we can see that the complexity of an economy cannot be wrapped up in a simple equation, which, although being useful for our understanding of some phenomena, is usually useless as determining factor to define an economic policy.

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