Basically, what we are all aspiring to is that each of our efforts should achieve the greatest possible level of well-being.

Frédéric Bastiat

Frédéric Bastiat attempts in eight short pages to sum up what Political Economy is. This article that was written shortly before he passed away recaps a few interesting concepts that can explain the interest he found in this “science”.

As an introduction, in reminds us that studying economy is to try and understand how society works but he also warns us that this being research on human beings and that these having free will, understanding behaviours does not authorise anybody to correct them. The best an economist can aspire to is to explain, not to impose his own “solutions”.

The other major point on which he dwells is the opposition between abundance and scarcity. These two results being opposite to one another, any policy that is not a policy towards abundance is necessarily a policy favouring scarcity. And how are they numerous! He exposes these policies as “the theory of scarcity” of which secret is: “as revealed in restrictions, monopoly, and privileges. It does nothing more than translate and shroud in scientific language the selfish feeling that we all have deep in our hearts: competitors get in our way.”

It is the role of each one of us to identify how this feeling is expressed within ourselves if we wish to fight against it.

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