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Natural Right, Providence, and Order: Frédéric Bastiat's Laissez-Faire


  • Cubeddu Raimondo

    (University of Pisa)

  • Masala Antonio

    (University of Pisa)


The paper suggests that Bastiats theory of interests, harmony, and the State is rooted in a particular conception of Natural Right, in which the Lockeans and thomistic streams of thought meet. But it also suggests that Bastiats interpretation of the role that Providence plays in human events is not able to give a sustainable theory of liberal order. The paper also considers the criticisms to Bastiats economic and political theory coming from exponents of classical liberalism, from the Austrians, and from Catholic thinkers of that time, such as L. Taparelli dAzeglio and M. Liberatore.The conclusion is that although the economic theory of Bastiat is by now obsolete from the conceptual point of view, his political theory and his criticism of the state do remain extraordinarily topical.Cet article suggère que les théories des intérêts, de lharmonie et de lEtat de Bastiat sont ancrées dans une conception particulière du droit naturel au confluent des pensées lockéenne et thomiste. Cependant, il suggère aussi que linterprétation que donne Bastiat du rôle de la Providence dans les affaires humaines ne débouche pas sur une théorie recevable de lordre libéral. Larticle examine aussi les critiques quadressent les partisans du libéralisme classique-tels que les économistes autrichiens, les penseurs catholiques de lépoque comme L. Taparelli dAzeglio et M. Liberatore-à légard des théories économiques et politiques de Bastiat. Larticle conclut que le caractère obsolète des théories de Bastiat dun point de vue conceptuel ne remet pas en cause la singulière actualité de sa théorie politique et de sa critique de lEtat.

Suggested Citation

  • Cubeddu Raimondo & Masala Antonio, 2001. "Natural Right, Providence, and Order: Frédéric Bastiat's Laissez-Faire," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-28, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:2:n:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Solal Philippe & Zouache Abdallah, 2000. "Ordre naturel, raison et catallactique : l'approche de F. Bastiat," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2-3), pages 1-12, June.
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