By Bastiat F.
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If want is a pain, effort is a pain also, and there is therefore no reason why he should not seek to diminish the latter, when he can do so without diminishing the satisfaction, which is his ultimate object. This is the reason of his success when he comes to replace onerous by gratuitous Utility, which is the perpetual object of his search. qxd 7/6/2007 11:34 AM Page 49 Harmonies of Political Economy—Book One 49 It follows from the interested nature of the human heart, that we constantly seek to increase the proportion that our Satisfactions bear to our Efforts; and it results from the intelligent nature of our mind that we manage at each step to augment the proportion that gratuitous bears to onerous Utility.
The Economic phenomena would then manifest themselves in an isolated individual. There might be a juxtaposition of persons, but there could be no society; there might be a Personal, but not a Political, Economy. qxd 52 7/6/2007 11:34 AM Page 52 The Bastiat Collection But it is not so. It is very possible, and very often happens, that the wants of one owe their satisfaction to the efforts of another. This is a fact. If any one of us were to pass in review all the satisfactions he enjoys, he would acknowledge that he owes them chiefly to efforts which he has not himself made; and in the same way, the labor which we undergo, each in his own profession, goes almost always to satisfy the desires of others.
All things that are unnatural (it is society he is speaking of) are inconvenient, and civil society more so than all the rest. There are unfortunate situations in which one man cannot maintain his liberty but at the expense of another, and where the citizen cannot be entirely free unless the rigors of slavery are extreme. As for you, modern people, you have no slavery, but you are yourselves slaves. You purchase other men’s liberties with your own. ” I ask, does not this mean: Modern people, you would do infinitely better not to be slaves, but to possess slaves?
Bastiat Collection: Harmonies of political economy by Bastiat F.