The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won't Tell You

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Books The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won't Tell You Bastiat is one of economics’ great early thinkers, though sadly much less known than his contemporary Karl Marx. Diametrically opposed to Marx’ thinking, Bastiat was responsible for the concept of opportunity cost (though he didn’t call it that) and used the concept to argue strongly for the smallest possible role for government. Taxation, he argued, shifted money from citizens and the more productive private sector to the less efficient public sector and therefore had a detrimental effect on a nation’s wealth.The collection includes many of Bastiat’s works, including: “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” - his treatise on the hidden effects of economic actions (opportunity cost); “A Petition” - his mocking plea to government to abolish sunlight so as to increase economic production through increased consumption of tallow, charcoal, oil, resin, wax etc; “A Negative Railroad” in which he argues mockingly again, this time for unlimited stops on a proposed railroad so that every location on its route can benefit from trade and thereby increase economic output; and “The Balance of Trade” in which he tackles common misconceptions about the effects of trade surpluses and deficits. The latter work follows by 50 years Ricardo’s work on the comparative advantage of nations, and tackles the common misconceptions about trade deficits and surpluses held by Bastiat’s political contemporaries.The book is published jointly by the right wing Atlas Economic Foundation and Students for Liberty, and the concluding section by the Cato Institute’s Tom Palmer is calculated to “show the importance of Bastiat’s ideas and then update them to more contemporary issues;” more specifically to expose today’s “fallacious economic thought [that] is being used to justify the steady erosion of our freedoms.” Consuming about a third of the book, Palmer’s chapter is unfortunately just a right-wing polemic. Clearly written, logically structured and linked to Bastiat’s work, Palmer summarizes the political right wing’s small government / low taxation manifesto, but unfortunately his effort is mismatched with Bastiat’s groundbreaking works. Further, in applying Bastiat’s important concepts to modern political organisation, he takes them to illogical extremes - a simplistic leap of logic that hasn’t produced workable solutions on either the right or the left. The problem with the Palmer’s work - “follow us, folks, for ours is the true path” - is the same as that of many political parties. Specifically, as important as Bastiat’s (or Marx’s, or Keynes’, or Hayek’s, or Friedman’s), works have been in helping us understand our economies and guide us forward, they are not unassailable ‘truths’; rather they are well argued ideas that help guide us in a very complex and fluid political economy. The publishers should be commended for highlighting Bastiat’s important work, and for making it available for 99 cents in electronic form, but unfortunately their good efforts are tempered a bit by their dogmatism. Despite the inclusion of Palmer’s weaker and politicized work, the book is essential reading and a worthy introduction to Bastiat.. The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won't Tell You is Book A collection of essays by nineteenth century French political economist Fr d ric Bastiat.. Claude Fr d ric Bastiat 29 June 1801 24 December 1850 was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly.. Bestseller Book The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won't Tell You Bastiat is one of economics’ great early thinkers, though sadly much less known than his contemporary Karl Marx. Diametrically opposed to Marx’ thinking, Bastiat was responsible for the concept of opportunity cost (though he didn’t call it that) and used the concept to argue strongly for the smallest possible role for government. Taxation, he argued, shifted money from citizens and the more productive private sector to the less efficient public sector and therefore had a detrimental effect on a nation’s wealth.The collection includes many of Bastiat’s works, including: “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” - his treatise on the hidden effects of economic actions (opportunity cost); “A Petition” - his mocking plea to government to abolish sunlight so as to increase economic production through increased consumption of tallow, charcoal, oil, resin, wax etc; “A Negative Railroad” in which he argues mockingly again, this time for unlimited stops on a proposed railroad so that every location on its route can benefit from trade and thereby increase economic output; and “The Balance of Trade” in which he tackles common misconceptions about the effects of trade surpluses and deficits. The latter work follows by 50 years Ricardo’s work on the comparative advantage of nations, and tackles the common misconceptions about trade deficits and surpluses held by Bastiat’s political contemporaries.The book is published jointly by the right wing Atlas Economic Foundation and Students for Liberty, and the concluding section by the Cato Institute’s Tom Palmer is calculated to “show the importance of Bastiat’s ideas and then update them to more contemporary issues;” more specifically to expose today’s “fallacious economic thought [that] is being used to justify the steady erosion of our freedoms.” Consuming about a third of the book, Palmer’s chapter is unfortunately just a right-wing polemic. Clearly written, logically structured and linked to Bastiat’s work, Palmer summarizes the political right wing’s small government / low taxation manifesto, but unfortunately his effort is mismatched with Bastiat’s groundbreaking works. Further, in applying Bastiat’s important concepts to modern political organisation, he takes them to illogical extremes - a simplistic leap of logic that hasn’t produced workable solutions on either the right or the left. The problem with the Palmer’s work - “follow us, folks, for ours is the true path” - is the same as that of many political parties. Specifically, as important as Bastiat’s (or Marx’s, or Keynes’, or Hayek’s, or Friedman’s), works have been in helping us understand our economies and guide us forward, they are not unassailable ‘truths’; rather they are well argued ideas that help guide us in a very complex and fluid political economy. The publishers should be commended for highlighting Bastiat’s important work, and for making it available for 99 cents in electronic form, but unfortunately their good efforts are tempered a bit by their dogmatism. Despite the inclusion of Palmer’s weaker and politicized work, the book is essential reading and a worthy introduction to Bastiat.
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  1. Claude Fr d ric Bastiat 29 June 1801 24 December 1850 was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly.

296 Reply to “The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won't Tell You”

  1. Bastiat is one of economics great early thinkers, though sadly much less known than his contemporary Karl Marx Diametrically opposed to Marx thinking, Bastiat was responsible for the concept of opportunity cost though he didn t call it that and used the concept to argue strongly for the smallest possible role for government Taxation, he argued, shifted money from citizens and the productive private sector to the less efficient public sector and therefore had a detrimental effect on a nation s w [...]


  2. Excellent writing It is incredibly hard for me to believe that with writings this convincing being around since the early 1800 s, we can still have a world full of protectionists and socialists today Are they that ignorant, or just evil


  3. I wound up torn on this book The first half or so, the part that actually consisted of Bastiat s writing, was engaging and fun to read, if a little awkwardly translated at parts I felt that he relied a little too strongly on straw men and reductio ad absurdum, but I ll take the foreword s advice and chalk it up to historical difference Overall, it was a fun read for someone who tends to disagree the libertarian position often than not The second half or so, however, I found drearily dull, as it [...]


  4. It is popularly said, We re all Keyensians now The world has bought into the idea that the economy is fueled by spending rather than by saving In a time when savings has fallen by the wayside, Bastiat s economic arguments in favor of thrift are needed than ever This volume provides a useful explanation of how thrift grows the economy in the long run It also describes how protectionism harms the economy Concrete analogies are used, and Bastiat emphasizes the importance of what is unseen Most pro [...]


  5. I cannot recommend this collection of essays highly enough For over 160 years now a battle of ideas and sometimes, than ideas has been raging between competing political, social, and economic philosophies While you have no doubt heard of the likes of Karl Marx, it s not as likely that you have heard of the likes of Fr d ric Bastiat Both were publishing their ideas at roughly the same time, but their views were light years apart First, if you haven t done so already, read The Communist Manifesto [...]


  6. It boggles the mind that the so called intelligent economists of our time could be so un intelligent in their decision making, giving government and powers to intervene in a so called free market system Refreshing and simple arguments debunking complicated economic problems.




  7. A selection of articles that show how well hidden some of the modern fallacies are and we ve grown up to believe them so much that we don t even question them



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