It is not that I deny the sufferings of workers, but I say that they are on the wrong track when they attribute this suffering to infamous capital.

Frédéric Bastiat
Letter No. 8
F. Bastiat to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

In this eighth letter, Frédéric Bastiat defends his position in refusing to deny logic and blames his opponent for bringing “capital and interest before the court of public opinion, accusing them of injustice and plunder”. Unfortunately, it is not the first time, and certainly not the last, that politicians will count on the court of public opinion, which satisfies itself with emotions as proof and slogans as logic.

Besides, he responds to the “trap” set by Proudhon who tried to generalise isolated theoretical cases through his examples. In my previous post, I identified that his argument was not convincing because of the absence of competition in the illustrations. Bastiat goes further than that by qualifying the examples as totally unrealistic and mentioning that there is no reason to believe that men would act in such an uncharitable manner in such a situation. He also takes this opportunity to mention that, if these examples had any value whatsoever, they would imply that from free labour is a corollary to free credit (which Proudhon certainly does not claim).

I picked up today’s quote in his conclusion that reminds us how often false accusation have been intended at liberals. It is not because one analyses a situation independently and from an economics point of view that one approves of misery, nor should one approve of all the reasons that are asserted for such a misery if the analysis says otherwise.

Other quotes from Free Credit:
First letter – Second letter – Third letter – Fourth letter – Fifth letter – Sixth letter – Seventh letter – Eighth letter – Ninth letter – Tenth letter – Eleventh letter – Twelfth letter – Thirteenth letter – Fourteenth letter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *