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Frédéric Bastiat as an Austrian Economist


  • Thornton Mark

    (Columbus State University)


Bastiat is widely acknowledged as the most effective advocate of free markets, but his status as an economist is widely denied even by prominent Austrian economists who share his literary style and support for liberty. In particular, his theories of value and exchange have been attacked as a labor theory of value. Bastiat is exonerated here from these charges and is shown to fully oppose objective theories of value and to fully endorse the gains from free exchange. In addition, Bastiat viewed economics as a science based on deductive reasoning and he vehemently opposed the use of mathematics. He thus was an important precursor of the Austrian school of economics.Bastiat est très reconnu comme étant le défenseur le plus éloquent du libre marché. Cependant, son statut en tant quéconomiste est amplement nié, et ce, même par les économistes Autrichiens éminents qui sont en accord avec son style littéraire et sa défense de la liberté. En particulier, ses théories de la valeur et de léchange, considérées comme participant de la théorie de la valeur-travail, ont fait lobjet de critiques. Cet article exonère Bastiat de ces critiques et démontre que ses théories sopposent radicalement aux théories objectives de la valeur : Bastiat avait une compréhension parfaite des gains découlant des échanges libres. De plus, Bastiat envisageait léconomie comme une science reposant sur un raisonnement déductif et sopposait résolument à lemploi des mathématiques. En ce sens, il était un précurseur important de lécole Autrichienne déconomie.

Suggested Citation

  • Thornton Mark, 2001. "Frédéric Bastiat as an Austrian Economist," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-14, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:2:n:10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lowell Gallaway & Richard Vedder, 1989. "The Tullock-Bastiat hypothesis and Rawlsian distribution strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 177-181, May.
    2. Frank H. Knight, 1967. "Laissez Faire: Pro and Con," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 782-782.
    3. Thornton Mark, 1998. "Richard Cantillon and the Origin of Economic Theory," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, March.
    4. Goodwin, Craufurd D W, 1972. "Economic Theory and Society: A Plea for Process Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(2), pages 409-415, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bramoullé Gérard, 2001. "Frédéric Bastiat: Praxeologist Theoretician," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-14, June.

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