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The Bastiat Collection (2 Volume set) Hardcover – August 22, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Michael Beitler, Ph.D.
Author of Rational Individualism: A Moral Argument for Limited Government & Capitalism Rational Individualism: A Moral Argument for Limited Government & Capitalism
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Bible is the most important. That said, after the Bible, you must read Bastiat. He, along with Grotius, Locke, Burlamqui, and Milton Friedman should be required reading.Published on December 22, 2013 by Ret Miles
This is a fantastic read. It's the book that taught me right and wrong when it comes to the role of the government. Read morePublished on July 8, 2011 by Brannon
Excellent! Wonderfully excellent. From page one Bastiat puts you in the position as an economist. I've only read the first 20 pages as I'm writing this review and I'm expecting to... Read morePublished on May 10, 2011 by Substantia Erus
As other reviewers have noted, Bastiat writes in a fluid, witty and lucid style, a godsend when it comes to economics. Read morePublished on April 25, 2011 by MarkK
With much wit and wisdom, Bastiat cuts through the rainbows and unicorns of totalitarian collectivist thought and expounds the principles of liberty with a depth of reason and... Read morePublished on June 27, 2010 by Doghouse
Bastiat deserves to be considered the greatest economic writer in history. His writing is so lively, so energetic that it grabs you instantly. Read morePublished on June 2, 2010 by Daniel Krawisz