The qualities needed to snatch capital violently from the hands of the men who create it are exactly the opposite of the qualities that are necessary for its creation.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

In two and a half pages, Frédéric Bastiat concludes his chapter on capital and he not only manages to praise it (while reminding us the reasons for which he is a fervent advocate of liberal capitalism) but also to explain why the opposite (socialism in its original definition of public ownership of production means) or its substitutes (crony capitalism) are not desirable and ethically challenging.

In today’s quote, it is possible to recognise immediately a criticism of the solutions offered by Karl Marx or Pierre-Joseph Proudhon but also a thorough criticism of crony capitalism. Free market legally accessible to everyone is the only way of ensuring a better allocation of capital and its constant formation. Political intervention at this level is necessarily unjust and inefficient, even when the society is not a communist one but merely “interventionist” as French governments have been thinking of themselves for a long time. Men in power in such systems do not have the required qualities in order to encourage fixed capital formation, which ultimately will lead to value destruction instead of value creation.

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

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