Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Politician and Economist

I would have been very happy if the entire discussion of this semesters sweet scholars was around Bastiat, unlike some other thinkers, his works are much more readable and easily digestible I would like to bring attention to some of his most interesting quotes from various works that I have come across this fine evening.
According to that, if a country like the United States had at its disposal as much again of all these useful things, its people would be twice as rich, although the quantity of money remained the same; but it would not be the same if there were double the money, for in that case the amount of useful things would not increase.
It is to bad that our current chairman of the fed and others involved in monetary policy don't understand such a simple concept.   
 We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us [1].
We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.
 Clearly it should be illegal for the sun to compete with any domestic industry that provides light. 

Bastiat points out so many easily but often misunderstood concepts in a funny way that I can't but help admire. While I have not extensively studies his work the list appears to be long. He humorously proposes having every person cut off a hand so it will take twice as many people to do a job and thus reduce unemployment. He proposed that a tariff on a railroad between Spain and France can have the exact same economic impact as if the railroad is removed or broken, or in the satire hat the government should destroy the railroad rather than enact a tariff.

I would challenge other students in the group to come up with a concept that Bastiat was as wrong on as Adam Smith was on where prices come from, he thought they came as a result of input costs where as Basiat got it correct and argues value was subjective. If Adam Smith was the father of the schools of thought that took some of his incorrect teachings to heart, then I might suggest that Bastiat has as much claim to the title father of the correct school of economics, or Austrian Economics, or at any rate someone who helped popularize the ideas that let to the formation of that school of thought. To end tonight's thoughts, Bastiat was an Economist and Politician that I admire, and am going to be spending more time studying. How often do you see politicians getting economic thought correct?

No comments:

Post a Comment