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Bastiat and the French School of Laissez-Faire


  • Liggio Leonard

    (George Mason University)


Federic Bastiat came on to the economic scene in 1844 and died in 1850. He filled the pages with his analyses of economic relations and the effects of government plunder, regulation and transfers. He fulfilled the first character of a scientist, he was unterrifed. Before his writings he had had a quarter century of study of economics. He immersed himself in the major economic writings of the discipline. The French economists, Cantillon, Quesnay, Turgot, Dupont, Condorcet, Condillac, Say, Destutt de Tracy, some of them precursors of Adam Smith, had been the leaders in the science of economics. The two leading disciples of Say, Charles Dunoyer and Charles Comte, had edited the major Liberal periodical, le Censeur europeen, from which Bastiat drew his thinking. Bastiat, like Say and Destutt de Tracy, was translated and published in the United States. Bastiat has had his greatest impact during the second half of the twentieth century on American public opinion.Frédéric Bastiat apparut sur la scène économique en 1844 et mourut en 1850. Parmi ses écrits figurent ses analyses des relations économiques et les effets du pillage, des régulations et des transferts étatiques. Il avait le tempérament essentiel dun scientifique, celui de ne pas avoir peur. Avant décrire, il avait étudié léconomie pendant un quart de siècle. Il simmergea dans les écrits des principaux auteurs de la théorie économique. Les économistes français, Cantillon, Quesnay, Turgot, Dupont, Condorcet, Condillac, Say, Destutt de Tracy, dont certains furent des précurseurs dAdam Smith, avaient été les chefs de file de la science économique. Les deux principaux disciples de Say, Charles Dunoyer et Charles Comte, avaient édité le principal périodique libéral, le Censeur Européen, qui inspira les écrits de Bastiat. Tout comme Say et Destutt de Tracy, Bastiat fut traduit en Americain. Limpact majeur de Bastiat se fit sentir sur lopinion publique aux Etats-Unis durant la seconde moitié du vingtième siècle.

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  • Liggio Leonard, 2001. "Bastiat and the French School of Laissez-Faire," 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:14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ekelund, Robert Jr. & Hebert, Robert F., 1973. "Public economics at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees: 1830-1850," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 241-256, July.
    2. Martin S. Staum, 1987. "The Institute Economists: From Physiocracy to Entrepreneurial Capitalism," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 525-550, Winter.
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