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Book review of Economic Sophisms, by Frdric Bastiat - Essay Example

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Book review of Economic Sophisms, by Frederic Bastiat French author, Frederic Bastiat, was an economist and a writer. He was born in Bayonne, France in 1801. He read political economy more and read principally Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say. He led the free trade movement in 19th century France and founded the French news paper Le Libre Echange…
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Book review of Economic Sophisms, by Frdric Bastiat
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Download file to see previous pages In this book Economic Sophisms Bastiat tries to combat the problems of protectionism through many arguments. His famous satirical work known as the ‘Candle makers’ petition’, which is reproduced in many economic textbooks all over the world, is also included in this book. (Hart, 4-7; Hazlitt, 5) The collection consists of three parts. The first part contains the popular essays; the second is his sophisms, consisting of 35 articles on protectionism. The third part was written in a short period of time before his death and consists of the thought that society and the economy are in harmony and government intervention was unnecessary - ‘The world is not sufficiently aware of the influence that sophistry exerts over it.’(Bastiat, 93) The author’s thesis is that one should have the freedom to buy anything from anyplace as that is in one’s best economic interest. The most important argument present in the whole book is how a few men have been able to loot others by making them believe that they are getting looted for their own benefit. Many still lack the basic understanding of such economics and that kind of looting is prevalent even now. Since, the not so intelligent common man, might not be able to decipher the intricacies of an economic policy, the ones forming the rules are in a position to loot the poor off their wealth. Bastiat not only uses wit and satire but also uses the words of the policy makers to point out the fallacies to the general public (Spencer). The book consists of a number of styles of writing. Keeping in mind the general public as the reader Bastiat includes a number of different yet simple styles which they can understand. His book consisted of essays in conversational prose, written informally, and this is the dominant type. They have a very conversational tone and quotes from individuals having the opposite view have often been incorporated in these. This style reflects the fact that they might have been used in speeches before and contains reactions or exclamations from the writer (Hart, 8). The second type of essay format he uses is essays written in dialog form where Bastiat created characters to build up a conversation where ultimately the free market supporter would win the debate. The characters would often be in professions such as petitioning, economist, woodcutters, ironmasters and artisans (Hart, 9). Thirdly, he would write essays consisting of economic tales, which shows his love for literature. These economic tales point out important economic aspects to the layman in an easy manner, and included funny remarks. Important stories include ‘Reciprocity’, ‘Stupidville’ and ‘Childishtown’. These tales make the work of economics less boring and ignites the enthusiasm of the reader (Hart, 10). The fourth type of essays was fictional letter to government officials. These were similar to the economic tales and were considered funny and satirical. These fake letters were written to many fake government officials such as Council of Ministers, various Cabinet Ministers and to the Chamber of Deputies, sometimes even the King, and contained requests for easy solutions of economic complexities. The writer uses a ‘reductio ad absurdum’ method to push his point usually taking up a topic used by his opponents. Sometimes ridiculous demands made by the opponents were used to show ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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