Wars no longer have vested interest as their cause or even their pretext, since they are always contrary to the real interests of the masses.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works
Letter dated August 17th, 1850

In this letter, Frédéric Bastiat apologises for not being able to attend the Peace Congress that was held in Frankfurt am Main in 1850 because of his poor health (six months before he passed away). In it, he clearly supports the cause and shows once more his optimism, being convinced that liberalism and the associate peoples’ enrichment crushes the reasons to go to war.

Indeed, he notes that in the past, “men made war to acquire loot, land, or slaves”. The economic situation as early as 1850 could not explain this type of wars, even less with the advent of free-trade that makes it easier to enrich oneself in producing what one has a comparative advantage for in order to exchange it against what one needs.

Unfortunately, his optimism was premature and there was a need for three Franco-german wars (1870,1914 and 1939) before Europe starts implementing a real free-trade zone (the European Union) that to this day excludes a large part of the world. Up to now, the success (in terms of peace within the European Union) agrees with what he saw as inevitable but on a global scale, there remain wars for which the reasons are blurry (the ego of the governing politicians is surely one of them) and certainly “against the interest of the masses”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *