The confidence of my fellow citizens has invested me with the title of legislator.
What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen 1 In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects.
Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them. There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa.
Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil. The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.
This explains man's necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see. It is only after a long time that he learns to take Edition: Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally.
It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns. I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, contrasting those that are seen with those that are not seen.
If you have been present at this spectacle, certainly you must also have observed that the onlookers, even if there are as many as thirty of them, seem with one accord to offer the unfortunate owner the selfsame consolation: Such accidents keep industry going.
Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window? Suppose that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. If you mean that the accident gives six francs' worth of encouragement to the aforesaid industry, I agree. I do not contest it in any way; your reasoning is correct.
The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen. But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do!
Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen. It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library.
In brief, he would have put his six francs to some use or other for which he will not now have them. Let us next consider industry in general.
The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is seen.
If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry or some other would have received six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen. And if we were to take into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative factor, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive factor, we should understand that there is no benefit to industry in general or to national employment as a whole, whether windows are broken or not broken.Selected Essays on Political Economy.
Selected Essays on Political Economy This is the classic Bastiat — all the stuff that made him famous, and in the best translation there is (so far). Political economy is the study of production and trade and their relations with law, custom and government; and with the distribution of national income and ashio-midori.com a discipline, political economy originated in moral philosophy, in the 18th century, to explore the administration of states' wealth, with "political" signifying the Greek word polity and "economy" signifying the Greek word.
+ free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day? Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. Selected Essays on Political Economy by Frederic Bastiat See more like this. The Bastiat Collection (2 Volume set) Frederic Bastiat, Frédéric Bastiat Hardco.
Selected Essays in Political Economy, Frederic Bastiat, Good Book See more like this. Bastiat Volumes - Economic Harmonies,Economic Sophisms, Selected Essays. Pre-Owned. $ Claude Frédéric Bastiat (–) was a French classical liberal, political economist, and member of the French assembly. Bastiat was the author of many works on economics and political economy, generally characterized by their clear organization, forceful argumentation, and acerbic wit.
About the Author. Frédéric Bastiat () was a French economist, statesman, and author. He was the leader of the free-trade movement in France from its inception in .