No, economists do not think that we are in the best of all worlds, as they are reproached for doing.
This fifth letter concluded the theme Property and Plunder is without doubts the most important. Frédéric Bastiat shows us how both plunder and property were born “naturally” out of personal interest. However, far from concluding that personal interest needs therefore to be destroyed (or forbidden?), he reminds us that property is “a genius for good” and therefore, the fight must focus against plunder, the “genius for evil”.
It is the opportunity to review different forms of plunder, from war to religious fraud through slavery in between. Echoing what was in the previous letters, he reminds us that justice is to exchange service against service, which implies “enlightened judgment and freedom of transaction”. He also exposes the mother of all plunders, namely the one that is created by law and shows two major intrinsic aspects that are an injustice imposed on everyone and the consequent amplitude that makes it the largest possible plunder, however unwelcome it is.
Today’s quote is the introductory sentence of the fifth letter. I chose if because too often, I see individuals deducting that someone is ill-intentioned further to some disagreement. As much as a lot of my detractors, I am against misery and in favour of peace – our disagreements often stem from a different approach and a different understanding of what the real problems are.
Other quotes from Property and Plunder:
Part 1 of 5 – Part 2 of 5 – Part 3 of 5 – Part 4 of 5