However much reasoning is made about the other effects of the reform, this one is at least certain: THE MASSES ARE BETTER FED.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 168 to 170 (in French)
January 1st, 1848

The reform in question here is the repeal of the corn laws in 1846. In two pages, Frédéric Bastiat reviews the assessments of La Presse newspaper found in the statistics published by the British Board of Trade, adds to it his own assessments and concludes with today’s quote.

The fact that wheat imports have increased in 1847 along a better harvest is the irrefutable proof that the needs of the country (i.e., the masses if we consider that the rich were able to buy as much bread as they needed anyway) were not satisfied before the reduction of tariffs and the following limitations on corn imports.

Frédéric Bastiat sees here an unquestionable success of free-trade, which allows everyone to define what their preferences are on the market. Being fed properly is a primary need and what he is telling us here is that, if politicians wish to discuss consumers’ priorities for the masses, it is certainly not legitimate that they hinder in whatever way the food consumption of those for whom it is the priority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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