The intrepid David Hart has just discovered an early 20th-century free-trade league in France. If my French were better, I’d read this 1918 collection immediately – a collection about which David writes to me by e-mail:
In 1911 the remnant of the French free traders formed a new Free Trade Association modelled on Bastiat’s of 1846. Yves Guyot, the editor of the Journal des Économistes, was the President and their Manifesto was published there in 1911. A second Manifesto was published during WW1 in 1916 and a conference organised in January 1918 in order to assess the prospects for free trade as the war came to a conclusion. Guyot was not optimistic as he observed that when businessmen and financiers advise and cooperate with governments in the conduct of the war they become more interventionist than the careeer bureaucrats. He noted the existence of a stark antithesis between the interventionist and militarist oligarchies which controlled the governments on both sides and the supporters of free trade who wanted to destroy the power of these oligarchies by introducing a policy of international free trade (pp. 34-35).
Scroll down to item no. 13 <http://davidmhart.com/liberty/#recent>
Some of this stuff needs to be translated for posterity. So much work to do and so little people to help do it! It is at times like this that I wish I had stayed in academia. Perhaps I could be getting my grad students to work on this.