The whole structure of monopoly will collapse, including the Colonial System.
Complete Works volume I, page 137 (in French)
Letter dated July 21st, 1846
It is less than a month after the repeal of the Corn Laws that Frédéric Bastiat writes this letter to Cobden in which he grants him the success of this immense victory in favour of free-trade.
Today’s quote is key in building a parallel between monopoly and colonialism. It underlines that liberals are not in favour of neither the former (unrestrained competition is one of the key concepts of liberalism) nor the latter (how could one be in favour of freedom and approve the implementation of supervision of a people as a whole, which is a characteristic of colonialism?). Whoever still doubts about it can refer to the pamphlet on monopoly or about Algeria (which became a French colony in Bastiat’s time).
Once again, we can read the refreshing optimism of Frédéric Bastiat who, recognising the importance of this step towards free-trade, sees in it the inevitability of the victory of truth over errors. Unfortunately, we know with hindsight the sad history this episode. There will need a century more before colonialism becomes a relic of history books and monopoly, which has somewhat receded in the following two centuries, is still among us (not least through the power of central banks, which are at the heart of the economy).