By Bastiat F.
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Additional info for Bastiat Collection: Harmonies of political economy
They dissect it, they put it in the crucible, they interrogate it, they remount to its causes, they pursue it to its consequences; and, as by reason of our native imperfection there is nothing in which Evil is not present, they asperse and disparage everything. They exhibit to us Property, Family, Capital, Labor, Competition, Liberty, Personal Interest, only in one of their aspects, and always on the dark side, the side that injures or destroys. Their lectures on the natural history of man are, if I may use the expression, clinical lectures—the subject is always on his deathbed.
The true merit is to explain accurately the facts, their causes, and their consequences. qxd 7/6/2007 11:34 AM Page 51 Harmonies of Political Economy—Book One 51 is impossible—but rationally, the order of the facts we propose to study. I say this in order that it may not be supposed that I intend to criticize my predecessors in giving to Political Economy limits somewhat different from those they have assigned to that science. Economists have of late been reproached with addicting themselves too much to the study of Wealth.
Is it quite certain that any thinker, whatever genius we may attribute to him, whatever power we may suppose him to possess, could imagine and introduce an organization superior to that of which I have just sketched some of the results? But what would be thought of it if I described its machinery, its springs, and its motive powers? qxd 7/6/2007 11:34 AM Page 27 Harmonies of Political Economy—Book One 27 The machinery consists of men, that is to say, of beings capable of learning, reflecting, reasoning, of being deceived and undeceived, and consequently of contributing to the amelioration or deterioration of the mechanism itself.