It is marvelous that man is able to achieve leisure that harms no one and cannot be envied without injustice.

Frédéric Bastiat
Pamphlets II
Part 2 of 5, The Sack of Wheat

In three short pages and around a sack of wheat, Frédéric Bastiat introduces the notions of savings, working capital, interest and loan as explained for children. His strength is to show in such an accessible language on one hand why interest is not only legitimate but also beneficial to both parties (the borrower must indeed pay the interest but he would not borrow to an agreed interest rate if he would not benefit from it) and on the other hand that lent capital is perpetual, even when it is a sack of wheat that will be consumed over the length of the loan.

It is this characteristic of capital that is “marvelous” because it allows to offer “leisure” to its owner, in this case, a pension.

It is to be noted that neither Job nor Mathurin, who are the contracting parties, are rich. The law that respects justice is applicable to both rich and poor and it is just for everyone and anyone while the economic principles are applicable regardless of wealth (which is why the writings of Frédéric Bastiat are still relevant today despite the orders of magnitude of wealth we are surrounded with in comparison to himself in 1849).

Other quotes from Capital and Rent:
Introduction – Part 1 of 5 – The sack of wheat – The house – The plane – Part 5 of 5

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