Perfection excludes perfectibility.
While explaining how wages, that are a source of stability for the worker, are desirable in comparison to other alternatives, Frédéric Bastiat recognises that this is not sufficient to create paradise on earth and that one can always imagine some improvements to the current situation. This does not mean that the situation is desperate or unjust.
Today’s quote has a much broader scope than economy only and it is wise to keep it in mind in all circumstances. Perfectibility and improvement are part of the essence of life while perfection implies a static position, which is similar to death. Let’s try and reach perfection but let’s rejoice in not finding it.
What I find particularly interesting here is that it underlines the importance of dynamics. I am convinced that a movement towards more liberty or more socialism is way more important for a country than the level of liberty that is enjoyed (the liberal movement in China between 1980 and 2012 was a major factor of growth while France, which enjoys more freedom but was moving towards more socialism has shown particularly disappointing growth). It may well be due to a movement towards perfection (liberty) or imperfection (oppression) embodied in these dynamics.