EXCHANGE is a natural right, as is PROPERTY.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 1 to 4 (in French)
May  10th, 1846

I opened volume 2 of the Complete Works three years ago in the last pages (page 358) with, as called by David Hart, the Third Series of Economic Sophisms. I shall now proceed to the other writings of this volume called “Free Trade” by Guillaumin, opening with the declaration written on May 10th 1846 creating the Association for the Freedom of Trade, inspired by Richard Cobden’s Free Trade League that had met with enormous success across the Channel. I am not sure if the English translation is available online (I cannot find it for this first text) so please accept my apologies if my links refer to the French version of the Complete Works.

Today’s quote expounds the principle that is constantly at the back of the mind of Frédéric Bastiat in his search for freedom. He is convinced that property rights are essential to human flourishing and that it is primarily under attack through the numerous restrictions made to exchange. I also note that this quote will allow Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek to highlight the importance of catallactics when touching upon economic science.

Indeed, it will be difficult to agree with those who deny the principle of property rights despite their hypocrisy in accepting it for themselves in general.

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