Any citizen who has created or acquired a product must have the option of either using it immediately or selling it to another person on the earth’s surface who is free to give him in exchange the object of his preference.
Part 2 of 7
Today’s quote is an excerpt of the statutes governing the French Free Trade Association of which Bastiat was an instigator, built on the British Free Trade League. It allows to underline the issue arising from protectionism on property rights. If property is defined as the ability to have a good at one’s disposal (usus, fructus and abusus), then any restriction to exchange this good is contesting property rights.
Once this has made been clear, he compares the positions of Adolphe Billault and Adolphe Thiers in order to show that when the former consistently ignores property rights, the latter refuses to ignore it when facing demands from the communists but accepts to ignore it when facing demands from the protectionists. Frédéric Bastiat is thus trying to make him see how inconsistent he is being in order to have him join the cause of free trade, of which he reminds us that it is more a philosophical issue than a commercial issue.