Freedom of exchange will sooner or later be the rule in international transactions.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 3, pages 30 to 38

After exposing the colonial system, Frédéric Bastiat introduces in a few pages what the Anti-Corn League is, how it was born, what is its immediate aim (repealing the corn law) and what is its ultimate aim (“absolute freedom of exchange”).

Today’s quote marks optimism towards the inevitability of truth. Unfortunately, we can see that it will be later rather than sooner, freedom of exchanges being, still in our times, subject to extensive restrictions through tariffs or regulation. However, it is possible to see the glass half-full and notice that an immense zone was born at the heart of Europe where border restrictions have been totally abolished. Outside, we can note that the restrictions have been reduced drastically (the applicable rates of the remaining tariffs are the shadow of their former self in the 19th century and the volume of international trade is incommensurably more important than it was then).

Unfortunately, we can observe a resurgence of interest for protectionism among politicians, particularly since the arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene in 2016. Freedom makes people in power obsolete, therefore there will always be some of them fighting against it in order to feel valuable. 

Pages 1 to 6 – Pages 6 to 20 – Pages 20 to 30 – Pages 30 to 38 – Pages 38 to 56 – Pages 56 to 72 – Pages 72 to 80

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