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The Law (1850)

de Claude Frédéric Bastiat

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1,525259,649 (4.27)9
The Law was originally published as a pamphlet in French in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat. It is his most famous work and was written two years after the third French Revolution of 1848. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society. Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost. He was the author of many works on economics and political economy, generally characterized by their clear organization, forceful argumentation, and acerbic wit. Born in Bayonne, Aquitaine, France, Bastiat was orphaned at nine and became a ward of his paternal grandparents. At 17, he left school to work in his family's export business. Economist Thomas DiLorenzo suggests that this experience was crucial to Bastiat's later work since it allowed young Frederic to acquire first-hand knowledge of how regulation can affect markets. When Bastiat was 25, his grandfather died, leaving the young man the family estate, thereby providing him with the means to further his theoretical inquiries. After the middle-class Revolution of 1830, Bastiat became politically active and was elected justice of the peace in 1831 and to the Council General in 1832. He was elected to the national legislative assembly after the French Revolution of 1848. His public career as an economist began in 1844 and was cut short by his untimely death in 1850.… (més)
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» Mira també 9 mencions

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  The_Literary_Jedi | Jun 11, 2021 |
Although obviously dated (first published in 1849), this pamphlet mentions more key ideas of liberalism than I was expecting, and uses some terms that surprised me a bit.

For example, I wasn't expecting to read such a scathing critique of “socialism”. Or to find such a clear definition of the State and of State force as necessarily limited to protecting the (pre-existent, natural) rights of individuals (“personality, freedom, and property”) and to prevent injustice, rather than actively pursuing justice. It's a very clear defence of private property, individual projects of life and personal initiative, and an attack on redistribution, tariffs, subsidies, and an ever-expanding government that meddles with every aspect of life. Definitely, I was not expecting to find the word “communism” in the text!

I guess I had my historical timing wrong. For example, I had forgot that [b:The Communist Manifesto|30474|The Communist Manifesto|Karl Marx|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1565912767l/30474._SY75_.jpg|2205479] was published just months before (in 1848), so there is that. Also, and according to a very quick search on Wikipedia, terms such as “socialism” are much older than I thought.

Overall an interesting read, if nothing else because it is enlightening to learn how many of “modern” dilemmas in economics, political philosophy, and contingent politics, were current 170 years ago, or even before that. ( )
  tripu.info | Jan 5, 2021 |
A great argument from a French classical liberal (modern libertarian) philosopher of the early 1800s about which matters are proper for the law and state to speak on (defense of life, liberty, and property) and are improper (socialism and resource redistribution.) ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
An amazing book! Almost every sentence rings true, and you want to highlight the whole book.

At some points there are a lot of detail on specific persons and ideas in post revolutionary France, but in general the whole book is applicable for all people and all times.
A must read! ( )
  rendier | Dec 20, 2020 |
It's more of an attack on the positions of the author's contemporaries than a reasoned argument for principle. I was hoping for the reasoned argument, but it was full of denouncements and sensational phrasing. It made a few good points, and even made some of them well, but it did not live up to expectations. I hope [b:Harmonies of Political Economy|21462181|Harmonies of Political Economy (Illustrated)|Frédéric Bastiat|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1394828000l/21462181._SX50_.jpg|1681384] turns out to be better when I get around to it. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
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The law perverted!
La loi pervertie !
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Il faut le dire : il y a trop de grands hommes dans le monde ; il y a trop de législateurs, organisateurs, instituteurs de sociétés, conducteurs de peuples, pères des nations, etc. Trop de gens se placent au dessus de l'humanité pour la régenter, trop de gens font métier de s'occuper d'elle.
Life, faculties, production – in other words, individuality, liberty, property – this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)

The Law was originally published as a pamphlet in French in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat. It is his most famous work and was written two years after the third French Revolution of 1848. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society. Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost. He was the author of many works on economics and political economy, generally characterized by their clear organization, forceful argumentation, and acerbic wit. Born in Bayonne, Aquitaine, France, Bastiat was orphaned at nine and became a ward of his paternal grandparents. At 17, he left school to work in his family's export business. Economist Thomas DiLorenzo suggests that this experience was crucial to Bastiat's later work since it allowed young Frederic to acquire first-hand knowledge of how regulation can affect markets. When Bastiat was 25, his grandfather died, leaving the young man the family estate, thereby providing him with the means to further his theoretical inquiries. After the middle-class Revolution of 1830, Bastiat became politically active and was elected justice of the peace in 1831 and to the Council General in 1832. He was elected to the national legislative assembly after the French Revolution of 1848. His public career as an economist began in 1844 and was cut short by his untimely death in 1850.

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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)

340.1 — Social sciences Law Law Theory

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Mitjana: (4.27)
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