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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 258 of Liberty Fund’s newly published, expanded English-language edition, expertly edited by David Hart, of Frédéric Bastiat’s ingenious Economic Sophisms and “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen”; specifically, this passage is from the new translation of Bastiat’s December 1846 essay “Recipes for Protectionism” (“Recettes protectionnistes”); Bastiat is here engaged in his familiar parodying of protectionists, who insist that people are somehow made poorer as their access to goods and services increases:

What holds up production?  Obviously existing products.  Destroy them and production will take on a new lease of life.  What constitutes our wealth?  Our needs, since without needs there is no wealth, without disease, no doctors, without wars, no soldiers, without court cases, no lawyers and judges.  If windows did not break, glaziers would be gloomy; if houses did not crumble, if furniture was indestructible, how many trades would be held up!  To destroy is to make it necessary for you to replace.  To increase the number of needs is to increase wealth.  Therefore spread fire, famine, war, pestilence, vice and ignorance, and you will see all occupations flourish, for all will have a vast field of activity.

DBx: It cannot be too often repeated that the essence of the protectionists’ creed is the mistaken belief that scarcity is abundance – that privation is prosperity.  Again, GMU Econ PhD candidate Jon Murphy is correct to want to rename protectionism “scarcityism.