Sophisms are not false reasonings, they are incomplete reasonings.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 273 to 293 (in French)
August 29th, 1847

This second speech in Lyons not dated in the Complete Works seems to have been pronounced on August 10th and published on the 29th. It pertains to the macroeconomic consequences of protectionism on wages. Despite what the opponents of free-trade may think, it is not working to the benefit of capitalists but is in search of justice. Here, Frédéric Bastiat focuses on the issue of wages, which protectionnists claim are supported by their policies and show how this is non only unlikely (the protectionnists being those who write legislation would act altruistically in order to help workers at their own costs) but also why it is not true. If free-trade may seem to support capital, it is because “When two workers run after one master, wages go down. When two masters run after one worker, wages go up”. As a consequence, if the industrial environment favours the multiplication of capitalists, competition between them can only be beneficial to the rest of the population.

In this speech, Frédéric Bastiat is rather charitable towards his opponents when he writes: “I shall not say that hypocrisy is added to greed, but that mistakes upon mistakes are piling up”. I would love to be as optimistic and believe that the horrendous economic policies that keep on piling up nowadays are the consequences of mistakes rather than private interests counter to the public good. This is also what transpires in today’s quote, which presents the interests of announcing what will be the most popular writings to come of the author in What is seen and what is not seen.

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