Services have value, not according to the labor they demand or have demanded, but according to the labor they save.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

This chapter on rent is only five pages long and clearly incomplete. However, it shows an interesting idea about capital depreciation that goes counter what we keep hearing about the ever increasing enrichment of the “rich” and its corollary, that those who are not “rich” yet are facing a dead-end.

Today’s quote which pertains to the fact that fixed capital formation gets cheaper and cheaper along the progress of society may also be read out of context. We then have some insight towards what value is that destroys completely the marxist thesis according to which value corresponds to the labour necessary for production. Moreover, if the definition from Jevons, Walras and Menger is not yet clearly stated, what Frédéric Bastiat understood about value is certainly not far from it because the “labor they save” introduces the consumer into the definition of value, which is therefore not exclusively a function of production anymore.

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