Sunday, May 4, 2008

The More Things Stay the Same

When a business is not successful in the marketplace, it may try its hand at politics. Tariffs, quotas, taxes, and other laws will enrich a politically successful firm, but only at the expense of competitors, customers and taxpayers, and against their will.

This is nothing new. On May 6, 1850, Bastiat heard this plea for such abusive laws in France from the General Council of Manufacturers, Agriculture, and Commerce, asking:

"That science no longer be taught exclusively from the point of view of free trade (of liberty, of property, and of justice) as has been the case until now, but also, in the future, science is to be especially taught from the viewpoint of the facts and laws that regulate French industry (facts and laws which are contrary to liberty, to property, and to justice). That, in government-endowed teaching positions, the professor rigorously refrain from endangering in the slightest degree the respect due to the laws now in force." (The Law)

In other words, stop teaching free trade and start teaching students to obey the laws that favor French industry.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

No comments: