The reason is that in the making of this pair of socks the proportion of human services has been enormously reduced, thanks to capital, by the use of natural resources.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

After exposing the attacks against capital (which have not evolved that much since) and the legitimacy of interest in his days, Frédéric Bastiat goes on to explain how capital is a source of progress and thus a source of wealth not only for its owner but for humanity as a whole.

I noted today’s quote which is referring to economies of scale without specifying them because of the parallel that can be made with the famous quote from Joseph A. Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy: “The capitalist achievement does not typically consists in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within reach of factory girls”. Given the fact that Schumpeter is very critical of the Economic Harmonies in his History of Economic Analysis while still showing some respect for the man whom he recognises as the “most brilliant economic journalist”, I like the idea that Schumpeter may have been inspired by Bastiat for one of his own writings that may well endure posterity (the quote relates to “socks” but the French version from Bastiat mentions “stockings” indeed).

Other quotes from Capital:
Introduction – Part 1 Part 2 – Part 3 – Conclusion

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