Frédéric Bastiat Quotes You Can Legally Plunder

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Before you read Frédéric Bastiat quotes, you might wonder: Who is Frédéric Bastiat?

Before the Austrian School arose to extol the virtues of the free market, there was Claude-Frédéric Bastiat (1801–1850). The prominent French economist and member of the Optimist School advocated for laissez-faire economics, developed the opportunity cost theory of microeconomics, and wrote Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That which is seen, and that which is not seen), in which he introduced the parable of the broken window.

This parable (which Henry Hazlitt also spends good time illustrating in the second chapter of Economics in One Lesson) explains how destruction and reconstruction do not provide a net benefit to society. In short, suppose that a shopkeeper’s window is smashed by a vandal. People might suppose this ultimately helps the economy, as they will see the replacement the shopkeeper must buy from the glazier. But what they will not see is the shopkeeper’s new suit, as it will never come into existence once the shopkeeper can no longer afford to pay the tailor. Whereas a window would have existed in either event, it is only thanks to the vandal that the suit can not come into creation as well.

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