Hence, a prohibitive regime is a permanent source of war; I would even say that, nowadays, it is almost the only one.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 1, pages 334 to 386 (in French)
October 1844

Frédéric Bastiat had not anticipated the contemporary wars in Ukraine or Israël, which are not directly linked to protectionism, although a fair number of his arguments apply, notably when he mentions: “one cannot conquer others’ territory without triggering hatred”.

The conclusion that appears in today’s quote follows a logical reasoning in which he describes the necessary trait resulting from protectionism and colonialism, which was directly linked to this doctrine (as far as foreign markets were excluded, the only way to develop one’s own market was to extend it geographically).

He quotes Montaigne to show that, at the source of protectionism, there is the erroneous belief according to which the economy is a zero-sum game (which unfortunately, a lot of people still believe nowadays). He then quotes extensively Napoléon Bonaparte to show on the one hand how absurd the protectionist reasoning is and to show its consequences that have been demonstrated empirically through the catastrophe that the First French Empire was. The need for supremacy that a people can have (or at least its government) over other peoples is intrinsically bellicose and has never brought, as it never will bring, anything good.

Page 343 – Page 358 – Page 365 – Page 377 – Page 382

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