Take from some to give to others! I know that this is the way things have been going for a long time.
After exploring various aspects of exchange, Frédéric Bastiat concludes his chapter by exploring the alternative.
With today’s quote, he notes in what situation France is finding itself at the time – no need to mention that the phenomenon has only been amplified since. Make not mistake, an economic system is free or is not (note of caution: I believe that the dynamic towards more freedom of more authority is more important than the degree of authoritarianism). Either individuals produce what they need and get even more through exchange, or they live from what they are given. When the government is the one who gives, it needs to take it from somebody who produced it.
Concerning the second part of the quote, it is important because it points at a major problem of politics, viz. the creation of vested interest (too often the very objective of a specific policy) mirrored by the injustices that are necessarily created at the same time. This phenomenon that had already been touched upon in The Free Trader’s Little Arsenal may be the reason why every new legislature (or President of the republic) is unable to find a true popular support that would be needed in order to proceed to the necessary reforms for the sustainability of a country under financial support from the Central Bank (and thus avoid a “Greek” scenario or the quagmire of running inflation).
Other quotes from Exchange:
Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Conclusion – Epilogue