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The Bastiat Collection (2 Volume set) Hardcover – August 22, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

As Murray N. Rothbard noted: "Bastiat was indeed a lucid and superb writer, whose brilliant and witty essays and fables to this day are remarkable and devastating demolitions of protectionism and of all forms of government subsidy and control. He was a truly scintillating advocate of an untrammeled free market."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1000 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 1st edition (August 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933550074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933550077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Richards on October 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This set is incredible. Well, volume 1 is incredible. Volume 2 was slower for me, as it seemed to be more dry and covered a lot of the same material as volume 1. The set is a collection of most of the important writings of Frederic Bastiat, the great French classical liberal of the 19th century. There are five essays in the beginning, followed by two sets of "Economic Sophisms" in Volume 1. Volume 2 contains the "Harmonies of Political Economy." Bastiat's power of prose is unparalleled in this field. I doubt that anyone before or since can so clearly and persuasively explain problems of economics or politics so that they seem obvious to the average person.

Three of the first five essays, "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen", "The Law", and "Money", I would put as absolutely mandatory reading. In the first essay, Bastiat shows us how, in every economic situation, we must not only consider what is obvious and seen, but also what we can't see. He uses his famous example of the shopkeeper with a broken window. Everyone sees the broken window, as well as the work it provides for the window repairman. So "what is seen" is the advantage to the repairman. "What is not seen" is what would have happened if the window hadn't been broken: the shopkeeper would have used his money to buy a new pair of shoes, or a new suit of clothes, so that then he would have benefited the shoemaker or the tailor, and himself possessed the additional benefit of the new shoes or suit. This is a very important essay, and it is also what Henry Hazlitt based his "Economics in One Lesson" on.

"The Law" is the most important section of the book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By beeguy on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Bastiat through a friend. Once I read "The Law," I had to read more. The Bastiat Collection is a 2-book set of Bastiat's major essays. The books themselves feature a slick textbook-like binding and the typeface is easy to read. I would have preferred a higher-quality binding and a higher quality paper that would better reflect the value of the content.

Bastiat's essays were written in the 1840's but his ideas remain refreshingly pertinent to contemporary society. Addressing the shortcomings of socialism, he addresses the economy, the law and liberty, education and personal responsibility. His arguments are compelling. His references to other 19th century writers and politicians is slightly distracting, but points out the flaws of some of their philosophies, offering common-sense illustrations of alternative theories. The socialist ideas of his time are still present and it is easy to extend the writing to today's economic/political environment.

In The Law, Bastiat discusses the true role of the law and the ways that law becomes burdensome through the illegitimate plunder of wealth by government. Law is to protect private property and prevent damage. Beyond that role, the Law infringes on the liberty of the citizen when it legislates to provide for some at the expense of others. By extension, laws compelling unnatural fraternity, while seen by some as egalitarian, actually infringe on individual's rights. In What is Seen and What is Unseen, he discusses the difference between apparently good actions and short-term effects and the long-term ramifications of short-sighted policy based on the immediacy of a situation. His writing is to-the-point, honest and logical as he builds the case for his philosophy. There is too much material to offer a critique of each essay, but Bastiat should be required reading for every American.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Beitler on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bastiat is one of the intellectual fathers for all free-market advocates. If you still believe in individual rights, limited government, and capitalism, you should read this collection. Bastiat wrote 200 years ago, but his work is more timely than ever. He is insightful and a pleasure to read.

Michael Beitler, Ph.D.
Author of Rational Individualism: A Moral Argument for Limited Government & Capitalism Rational Individualism: A Moral Argument for Limited Government & Capitalism
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Rolly on January 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am 26 years old and am sorry to report that I had never even heard of Bastiat until recently. Never in high school or college did I read one of his wonderful essays. I have not heard him mentioned in talk radio as a wise man to look to for answers or by the general media who pretend to search for clues in the midst of our economic woes. To anyone already familiar with Bastiat's writings, I suppose it goes without saying that our politicians are not looking through his works for guidance.

I finally stumbled across Bastiat's broken glass essay in Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. I then listened to Bastiat's The Law on the Von Mises website. I was hooked. Common sense and logic are the basis of his books and essays, and these methods of thinking lead him to advocate liberty in all kinds of political areas. Reading Bastiat seems to me like being taught by a wise grandparent. He knows how to explain things in clear language and with simple examples. Bastiat takes on all sorts of issues like money, the rightful role of government, taxes and tariffs, as well as many others, and peels away all the layers of self interested lies that have piled up over the years into a mess I assumed was a more or less factual explanation of how things should work. I often find myself laughing out loud (yes, out loud) with pleasure at the end of a chapter upon having some issue explained with such elegance. These same issues spur endless debate in government and media, are analyzed in confusing terms by important looking people possessing fine suits and even finer degrees, and yet remain extremely confusing when these people are finished. With Bastiat's explanations, I finish a chapter and feel like I ought to have known what he teaches all along, since it is so consistent with common sense.
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