In the same way, abolish capital and you would have equality in poverty. Leave capital free and you will have the greatest possible number of opportunities for equality in well-being.
Letter No. 14
F. Bastiat to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
History shows that Frédéric Bastiat was right concerning the first part of this proposition. From the USSR to Venezuela through North Korea, abolishing private property has strongly limited capital and lead to a poverty that only the Nomenklatura can escape from thanks to plunder.
Concerning the second term of the proposition, one can note the subtlety well understood about equality – it is not equality of outcome (diversity is a desirable characteristic of humanity) but equality of opportunities, in the greatest possible number (blind people do not have the same opportunities as non-blind, what is key is that this inequality is not created by institutions).
This last letter from the exchange with Proudhon follows the insults from the latter and closes the debate. Frédéric Bastiat sums up the frame fo the exchange that took place from October 22nd 1849 to March 7th 1850, trying to shed light to the arguments, or at least the assertions of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and to remind us of his own position consisting in showing that interest is legitimate, thus justifying why abolishing it would not be legitimate. It is a convincing conclusion and I here refer to a previous post to recall that the fact that some governments managed to impose a policy of negative or suppressed interest after the 2008 financial crisis is no proof that Bastiat was wrong on this.
Other quotes from Free Credit:
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