No, in all justice, you set a price on your services, and I set one on mine. I am not forcing you; why should you force me?

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

This third part of the chapter is dedicated to illustrate how, according to Bastiat, value finds its source in the services attached to a commercial object. He starts by using the diamond as an example thanks to its extraordinary features – apparently useless but of a very high price. It allows him to assess that the value of a service is not necessarily the one of a service provided but of a service saved.

I note today’s quote because it is deeper than it seems. Indeed, it is at the heart of the definition of the market price that is so much bashed nowadays although its only requirement is freedom (or absence of oppression). The right to say “no” to a transaction offer is essential in order to establish a market price, as much as considering that individuals have free will and that the latter is paramount over any government oppression, in any form. Unfortunately, we are constantly facing “opinions” of people who think that they know better what is good for others. They do not understand that creative destruction requires the acceptance that things change without them having agreed to it and that if two parties agree, this is sufficient for a transaction to be legitimate, unless the only objective is to harm others (and inversely, the transaction cannot be imposed on them in case of disagreement).

Other quotes from On Value:
Introduction – Part 1 of 10 – Part 2 of 10 – Part 3 of 10 – Part 4 of 10 – Part 5 of 10 – Part 6 of 10 – Part 7 of 10 – Part 8 of 10 – Part 9 of 10 – Part 10 of 10 – Conclusion – Epilogue

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