Yes, through a faulty definition, political economy has put logic on the side of the socialists.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

The first principle of value that is exposed by Frédéric Bastiat is the “physical composition of value” (since value comes from the service, it is not applicable to material goods only).

Thus, he opposes the physiocrats who considered that service providers were “sterile”, Adam Smith who considered them “unproductive” or the communists who consider therm as parasites.

What today’s quote tells us is that if Marx had not elaborated his theory by following the mistake from Adam Smith, he could not have concluded logically that those who do not produce material goods directly are parasites. Although the word would be a bit controversial, Frédéric Bastiat recognises that in case value were in the materiality of things, it would be difficult to justify property right, which is at the foundation of the liberal economic system.

He takes this opportunity to mention Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and I would never recommend enough to read the correspondence between him and Frédéric Bastiat published under the title “Free Credit”.

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 10Part 7 of 10 – Part 8 of 10 – Part 9 of 10 – Part 10 of 10 – Conclusion – Epilogue

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