Wednesday, May 02, 2007

(P)rofiting by the labors of others: government

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. Every one is, more or less, for profiting by the labors of others. No one would dare to express such a sentiment; he even hides it from himself. A medium is thought of; Government is applied to, and every class in its turn comes and says, "You, who can take justifiably and honestly, take from the public, and we will partake."

-- Frederic Bastiat, 1848


Bastiat is the relatively unknown French economist and champion of Freedom who destroyed many fallacies that still persist within most philosophic schools of economics. In particular, Bastiat showed that damage to physical capital does not spur the economy. He pointed out that in order to understand the true result of an action one must look beyond the obvious.

Yet, come the next natural disaster, you will here noted economist perform a pseudo analysis and state that the economy is going to benefit from the additional dollars spent cleaning up the damage. An absolute lie, though a lie that plays well with government spending; think FEMA.

Spend some time reading more from Bastiat at Mises.org.

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