- Marie de France
- Hans Kinck
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Official bodies will be found to express the following resolution to the government:. That in the chairs in public universities whose salaries are paid for by the Treasury, 25 the professor should rigorously refrain from undermining in the slightest the respect due to the laws in force , etc.
So that if there is a law that sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression, or plunder in any form, it cannot even be mentioned, since how can it be discussed without this undermining the respect it inspires? What is more, it will be mandatory to teach moral theory and political economy from the point of view of this law, that is to say on the premise that it is just merely because it is the law. Another effect of this deplorable perversion of the law is that it gives an exaggerated importance to political passions and conflicts and to politics itself in general.
I could prove this proposition in a thousand ways. I will limit myself to comparing it, as an example, with a subject that has recently been in minds of all, that is universal suffrage. Whatever the disciples of the Rousseau school think, those who say that they are very advanced and whom I believe to be backward by twenty centuries, universal suffrage taking this word in its strictest sense is not one of those sacred dogmas the examination or even doubting of which are crimes. First of all, the word universal hides a crude sophism.
In order for the right of suffrage to be universal it would have to be recognized for thirty-six million voters. The most generous account recognizes only nine million. Three out of four people are therefore excluded, and what is more, they are excluded by the fourth. On what basis is this exclusion founded? On the principle of incapacity. Universal suffrage means the universal suffrage of those who are capable. There remains this practical question: who is capable? Are age, sex, and criminal record the only signs from which we can recognize incapacity?
If we look closely, we quickly see the reason the right to vote rests on the presumption of capacity, since the widest system differs in this respect from the most restricted system only by the appreciation of the signs from which this capacity can be recognized, which does not constitute a difference of principle but of degree. If, as republicans of a Greek and Roman bent claim, the right to vote was granted to us with life, it would be unjust for adults to prevent women and children from voting.
Why should they be prevented from doing so? Because they are deemed to be incapable. And why is incapacity a reason for exclusion? Because the voter is not alone when given responsibility for his vote; because each vote commits and affects the entire community; because the community has the perfect right to demand a few guarantees with regard to the acts on which their well-being and existence depend.
I know what a possible answer might be. I also know what a possible reply to it might be. This is not the place to settle a controversy of this nature. What I want to draw attention to is that this controversy as well as most political questions , one that so agitates whole nations, inflaming them and causing such distress, would lose almost all its importance if the law had always been what it ought to have been. In fact, if the law limited itself to ensuring that all persons, freedoms, and properties were respected, if it were merely the organization of the individual right of legitimate self defense, the obstacle, check, and punishment that opposed all forms of oppression and plunder, would you believe that we would argue much, as citizens, as to whether suffrage was more or less universal?
Do you believe that it would call into question the greatest of our benefits, public peace? Do you believe that the excluded classes would not wait patiently for their turn? Do you believe that the classes allowed to vote would guard their privilege jealously? And is it not clear that, since self-interest is identical and common to all , some would take action without very much inconvenience on behalf of the others? But if this fatal principle were to be introduced, if, on the pretext of providing organization, regulation, protection, and support, the law were able to take from some to give to others , to take some of the wealth acquired by all classes and to increase the wealth of one class, which at one time might be the farmers, or at another time manufacturers, traders, ship owners, artists, or actors, then, to be sure, in this case, there is no class that will not claim with reason that it too should get control of the law, that will not vehemently demand the right to vote and the right to stand for election, and that will not overthrow society rather than not obtain it.
Beggars and vagabonds themselves will prove to you that they have incontestable rights to it. They will say to you:. Others use the law to raise the price of bread, meat, iron, and cloth artificially. Since each one exploits the law to his advantage, we want to exploit it too. We want it to enact the right to public assistance , which is the share of plunder for the poor. To do this, we have to be voters and legislators in order to organize widespread alms for our class , just as you have organized widespread protectionism for yours. Do not tell us that you will provide our share and that, in accordance with M.
Mimerel's proposal, 30 you will throw us the sum of , francs to keep us quiet and as a bone to gnaw. We have other claims, and in any case we wish to decide for ourselves, just as the other classes have decided for themselves! What can we say in reply to this argument? Yes, as long as the accepted principle is that the law can be diverted from its proper mission, that it can violate property instead of protecting it, each class will want to make the law, either to defend itself against plunder or to organize it for its own benefit.
The political question will always be harmful, predominating, and all-absorbing, in a word, people will be beating on the door of the Legislative Palace. To be convinced of this it is scarcely necessary to look at what is going on in the debating Chambers in France and England; all you need to know is how the question is being put. Is there any need to prove that this odious perversion of the law is a constant source of hatred and discord, which may go so far as to cause social disorganisation?
This is the one country in the world in which the law most faithfully fulfills its role to uphold the freedom and property of each person. It is therefore the one country in the world in which social order appears to be based on the most stable foundations. However, within the United States itself there are two questions, and only two questions, which have threatened political order from the outset.
What are these two questions? Slavery and tariffs, 33 that is to say, precisely the only two questions in which, contrary to the general spirit of that republic, the law has taken on the character of a plunderer. Slavery is a violation, sanctioned by the law, of the rights of the person. Protectionism is a violation, perpetrated by the law, of the right of property, and certainly it is very remarkable that, in the middle of so many other discussions, this twin legal scourge , a sorry inheritance from the old world, is the only one that may lead and perhaps will lead to the break up of the Union.
Indeed, no more significant fact can be imagined within society than this: The law has become an instrument of injustice. And if this fact leads to such momentous consequences in the United States, where it is just an exception, what will it lead to in this Europe of ours, where it is a principle, a system of government? Carlier, said "We must make war on socialism. Charles Dupin, 36 we have to understand that he meant plunder.
But what form of plunder does he mean? There is extra-legal plunder 37 and legal plunder. As for extra-legal plunder, which we call theft or fraud and which is defined, provided for, and punished by the Penal Code, I really do not think this extra-legal plunder can be adorned with the name of socialism. It is not this that systematically threatens the very foundations of society.
Besides, the war against this sort of plunder has not waited for a signal from M. It has been waged since the beginning of time. France had been waging this war a long time before the February revolution, long before the appearance of socialism, by a whole apparatus 39 of magistrates, police, gendarmes, prisons, convict settlements, and scaffolds.
It is the law itself that wages this war, and what we should be hoping for, in my opinion, is that the law will always retain this attitude with regard to plunder. But this is not the case. Sometimes the law takes the side of plunder. Sometimes it carries it out with its own hands, in order to spare the blushes of, the risks to, and the scruples of its beneficiary. In a word, there is legal plunder and it is doubtless to this that M. This plunder may be just an exceptional stain on the legislation of a nation and, in this case, the best thing to do, without undue oratory and lamentation, is to remove it as quickly as possible, in spite of the outcry from the interested parties.
How do we recognize it? This gives rise to an infinite number of plans for organizing it, through tariffs, protectionism, privileges, subsidies, incentives, progressive taxation, free education, the right to work a job , 42 the right to a guaranteed profit, the right to a wage, the right to public assistance, the right to be given tools for work, free credit, 43 etc. Now, what kind of war do you wish to wage against socialism, thus defined as forming a body of ideas, if not a war of ideas? Refute it.
This will be all the easier the more erroneous, absurd, or revolting the idea is. Above all, if you wish to be strong, start by rooting out from your legislation everything relating to socialism that has managed to creep into it — no small task. But can't M. Do you want to oppose socialism by means of the law? But it is precisely socialism that calls upon the law. It does not aim to carry out extra-legal plunder, but legal plunder. It is the law that it intends to make it into a tool, like monopolists of all kinds, and once it has the law on its side, how do you hope to turn the law against it?
How do you hope to bring it under the control of your courts, your gendarmes, or your prisons? So what do you do? You want to prevent socialists from having any say in making laws. I dare to predict that you will never succeed in this, while laws are being passed inside it based on the principle of legal plunder. It is too unjust and too absurd. It is absolutely necessary for this question of legal plunder to be settled and there are just three alternatives:. Partial plunder — this is the system that prevailed for as long as the electorate was partial 51 and is the system to which people return to avoid the invasion of socialism.
Universal plunder — this is the system that threatened us when the electorate became universal 52 with the masses having conceived the idea of making laws along the same lines as their legislative predecessors. And in all sincerity, can anything else be asked of the law? Can the law, with force as its necessary sanction, be reasonably employed for anything other than ensuring everyone their right? I challenge anyone to cause it to step outside this sphere without turning it upside down it and consequently without turning the use of force against what is right.
As this would be the most disastrous, the most illogical social disturbance imaginable, 54 we really have to acknowledge that the true solution of the social problem, so long sought after, is encapsulated in these simple words: Law is organized Justice. Well, we should note this clearly: to organize justice by means of the law, that is to say, by the use of coercive force, excludes the idea of organizing by law or by the use of force any expression of human activity: such as labor, charity, agriculture, trade, industry, education, the fine arts, or religion, for it is impossible for any of these secondary organizations organised by force in this way not to destroy the primary and essential organization which is society itself.
In effect, how can we imagine the use of force impinging on the freedom of citizens without undermining justice or acting against its own purpose? Here I am coming up against the most popular preconception of our age. Not only do we want the law to be just, we also want it to be philanthropic. We are not content for it to guarantee each citizen the free and harmless exercise of his faculties as they apply to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; we require it to spread well-being, education, and morality directly across the nation.
This is the seductive side of socialism. However, I repeat, these two tasks of the law are contradictory. A choice has to be made. A citizen cannot simultaneously be free and not free. You have stopped at freedom, I have reached fraternity. It is impossible for me to conceive of a fraternity that is coerced by law without freedom being destroyed by law, and justice trampled underfoot by law.
Legal plunder is rooted in two things; the first, we have seen, is in human selfishness, the other in false philanthropy. I do not take it to mean, as is only too often the case, something that is vague, undetermined, approximate, or metaphorical; I am using it in its properly scientific meaning, and as expressing the opposite idea to that of the right to property.
It is unfortunate that this word has offensive overtones. For this reason, whether you believe it or not, I declare that I do not intend to question either the intentions or the morality of anyone whomsoever. I am attacking an idea that I consider to be false and a practice that appears to me to be unjust, and all this is so far beyond our intentions that each of us takes advantage of it unwittingly and suffers from it unknowingly. One would have to write under the influence of party spirit or out of fear, to cast doubt on the sincerity of those who defend protectionism, socialism, or even communism which are only one and the same plant at three different stages of its development.
From this it follows that of the three systems socialism is still the most vague, indecisive, and consequently the most sincere. Be that as it may, agreeing that legal plunder has one of its roots in false philanthropy is obviously to exonerate its intentions. This being understood, let us examine the value, the origin, and the end result of this popular yearning which wants to achieve the general good by means of general plunder. Socialists tell us, "Since the law organizes justice, why should it not also organize labor, education, or religion?
Note therefore that law is the use of force, and that consequently the domain of the law cannot legitimately exceed the legitimate domain of the use of force. When the law and the use of force hold a man in accordance with justice, they impose on him nothing other than pure negation. They impose only an abstention from causing harm. They do not interfere with his person, his freedom, or his property. All they do is safeguard the person, freedom, and property of others.
They remain on the defensive; they defend the equal rights of all. They carry out a function whose harmlessness is obvious, whose usefulness is palpable, and whose legitimacy is uncontested. This is so true that, as one of my friends brought to my notice, to say that the aim of the law is to ensure the reign of justice is to use an expression that is not strictly true.
What should be said is: The aim of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In reality it is not justice that has its own existence, it is injustice. The one results from the absence of the other. But when the law, through the offices of its necessary agent, the use of force, imposes a way of working, a method of teaching or the contents of the latter , a faith or a creed, it is no longer acting negatively but positively on men.
It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own will. Their role is no longer to discuss among themselves, to make choices, or to plan for the future; the law does all that for them. Their minds become a useless thing; they cease to be men and lose their personhood, their freedom, and their property. Try to imagine a form of labor imposed by force that is not a violation of liberty; or a transfer of wealth imposed by force which is not a violation of property.
If you do not succeed, then you must agree that the law cannot organize work and industry without organizing injustice. When, from the confines of his study, a political writer surveys society, he is struck by the spectacle of inequality that greets him. He weeps over the sufferings that are the lot of so many of our brothers, sufferings that appear even more saddening when contrasted with luxury and opulence.
Perhaps he should ask himself whether such a state of society has not been caused by former acts of plunder carried out by acts of conquest, and by present acts of plunder carried out by means of the law. He does not even give this a thought. His thoughts go to schemes, arrangements, and organizations that are either legal or artificial.
He seeks a remedy in perpetuating or exaggerating that which has produced the harm. The fact is, outside justice which, as we have seen, is only a genuine negation, is there a single one of these legal arrangements that does not include the principle of plunder? You say, "Here are men who lack wealth" and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills by itself or whose milk-bearing ducts draw from elsewhere than in society.
Nothing enters the public treasury in favor of a citizen or a class other than that which other citizens and other classes have been forced to put in. If each person draws out only the equivalent of what he has put in, it is true that your law is not plunderous, but it does nothing for those men that lack wealth , it does nothing for equality. It can be a tool for equality only to the extent that it takes from some to give to others, and in this case it becomes a tool of plunder.
You say, "Here are men who lack enlightenment" and you turn to the law. But the law is not a torch that spreads its own light far and wide. It hovers over a society in which there are men with knowledge and others without, citizens who need to learn and others who are willing to teach. It can do only one of two things; either it allows this type of transaction to operate freely and permits this type of need to be freely satisfied, or it can coerce the wills of those involved and take from some to pay teachers who will be responsible for educating the others free of charge.
But in the second case it cannot do this without violating their freedom and property, signifying therefore legal plunder.
Marie de France
You say, "Here are men who lack morality or religion" and you turn to the law. But the law is force and do I need to say what a violent and mad enterprise it is to have coercion interfere in matters like these? For all its theories about systems and all its efforts it appears that socialism, however indulgent it is toward itself, cannot avoid catching a glimpse of the monster which is legal plunder. But what does it do? It cleverly shrouds it from all eyes, even its own, under the seductive names of fraternity, solidarity, organization, and association. It ought to know, therefore, that what we are rejecting is not natural organization, but coerced organization.
It is not providential solidarity, but artificial solidarity, which is only an unjust displacement of responsibility. Socialism, like the old politics from which it stems, confuses government with society. For this reason, each time we do not want something to be done by the government, it concludes that we do not want this thing to be done at all. We reject education by the state; therefore we do not want education. We reject a state established religion; therefore we do not want religion. We reject equality established by the state; therefore we do not want equality, etc. It is as though it was accusing us of not wanting men to eat because we reject the growing of wheat by the state.
How has the bizarre idea become prevalent in the world of politics that one can make things flow from the law which are not there: such as "the good" in the broad sense of the term , wealth, science, and religion? In effect, they begin with the premise that men do not have within themselves either a principle of action 67 or any means of making judgements, that they lack initiative, that they are made of inert matter, are passive molecules and atoms deprived of spontaneity, and that they are at most a form of plant life that is indifferent to its own mode of existence, 68 and which is willing to accept an infinite number of more or less symmetrical, artistic, and perfected ways of living?
Each of them then quite simply supposes that he himself, by wearing the hats of organizer, prophet, legislator, teacher, or founder, is this will and this hand, this universal driving force and this creative power whose sublime mission is to gather together in society the scattered stuff of humanity.
From this given starting point, just as each gardener according to his whim prunes his trees into pyramids, umbrellas, cubes, cones, vases, fruit-tree shapes, rushes, or fans, each socialist, according to his vision, prunes poor humanity into groups, series, centers, sub-centers, honeycombs, and social, harmonious, or various other kinds of workshops, etc. And just as the gardener needs axes, saws, sickles, and shears in order to prune his trees, the political writer needs coercive forces that he can find only in the laws in order to arrange his society, namely customs laws, tax laws, laws governing public assistance, or education.
It is quite true that the socialists consider humanity to be material that can be modeled to fit social arrangements that if, by chance they are not certain of the success of these arrangements, they claim at least a part of humanity as material for experimentation. We know just how popular the idea of trying out all their systems is among them, and we have already seen one of their leaders come in all seriousness to ask the Constituent Assembly to give them a commune 71 with all its inhabitants in order for them to carry out tests. In this way, every inventor makes a small scale model of his machine before making it full scale.
In this way, chemists sacrifice a few chemicals and farmers a little seed and a corner of a field in order to test an idea. But what an unmeasurable distance there is between a gardener and his trees, the inventor and his machine, the chemist and his chemicals, and the farmer and his seed! This is the same distance that the socialist quite sincerely believes separates him from humanity. We should not be surprised that nineteenth century political writers consider society to be an artificial creation resulting from the genius of the legislator. This idea, the fruit of a classical education, has dominated all the thinkers and great writers of our country.
All have seen the same relationship between humanity and the legislator as there is between clay and the potter. What is more, while they have agreed to acknowledge that there is a principle of action in the hearts of men and a principle of discernment in their minds, they have thought that this was a fatal gift from God and that humanity, under the influence of these two driving forces, was progressing inexorably toward its downfall. They have assumed that left to its own devices, humanity would concern itself with religion only to end up with atheism, with education only to achieve ignorance, and with work and trade only to end up in poverty.
Fortunately, according to these same writers, there are a few men known as rulers and legislators who have received contrary tendencies from heaven not only for themselves but also on behalf of all the others. While human propensity is toward evil, their propensity is toward good, while humanity marches on toward darkness, they aspire to the light, and while humanity is drawn to vice, they are attracted to virtue.
And assuming this, they lay claim to the use of force to enable them to substitute their own inclinations for those of the human race. All you have to do is to open at random a book on philosophy, politics, or history to see how deeply rooted in our country is the idea that humanity is mere inert matter which receives life, organization, morality, and wealth from government, an idea born of the study of the classics and having socialism for its offspring. Or, what is worse, that humanity itself is drawn toward degradation and is saved from this slippery slope only by the mysterious hand of the legislator.
Classically inspired conventional thinking shows us everywhere that behind a passive society there is an occult power that, going by the names of the law and the legislator, or under the cloak of the more convenient, vaguer word one , 76 moves humanity, brings it to life, enriches it, and infuses it with morality.
No one could have two employments nor change his own one … but there was one obligatory communal activity, namely the study of the laws and conventional wisdom. Ignorance of the religion and policies of the country was not excused under any circumstances. Besides, each occupation had its own coinage assigned to it by whom? Their traveling traders filled Egypt with marvelous inventions and saw to it that they were aware of almost everything that might make life easier and more peaceful.
According to Bossuet therefore, men draw nothing from themselves whether it be patriotism, wealth, activity, wisdom, inventions, agriculture, or science; all these they received by way of the laws or from their kings. All they had to do was to allow themselves to be pushed around by others. Bossuet takes his argument to such a pitch that he corrects Diodorus for having accused the Egyptians of rejecting wrestling and music. How could that be possible, he says, since these arts had been invented by Trismegistus?
Although the Greeks had highly developed minds, they were no less powerless as to their lot in life, to the point that, if left to their own devices, they would not have risen, as do dogs or horses, to the heights of the simplest games. The agreed classical tradition is that everything comes from outside the people. It is from them that they learnt to exercise their bodies, run races on foot , on horseback, or in chariots … The best thing the Egyptians taught them was to be docile and to let themselves be formed by laws enacted for the public good.
Thus, in his utopian city of Salente , 84 he subjects men with all their personal interests, faculties, desires, and goods to the absolute discretion of the legislator. Whatever the circumstances, they never judge for themselves, it is the prince who judges for them.
The nation is just a formless entity of which the prince is the soul. In him are united the thought, the foresight, the very principles of all forms of organization and progress, and consequently, all responsibility. I refer the reader to this and am content to quote a few passages taken at random from this famous poem, the quality of which, in every other respect, I am the first to acknowledge. Happy are the people , said Mentor, who are led by a wise king. Mentor then pointed out to me the joy and abundance that extended over the entire country of Egypt in which up to twenty-two thousand towns could be counted, the justice exercised in favor of the poor against the rich, the proper education of children who were made accustomed to obedience, work, sobriety and to love the arts and letters, the exact observance of all religious ceremonies, disinterestedness, a desire for honor, fidelity to men and fear of the gods that every father inculcated into his children.
He never tired of admiring such fine order. Happy are the people , he said to me, whom a wise king leads thus. Then he adds, through the words of Mentor:. The education whose provision he ordered for children makes the body healthy and strong. ONE makes them accustomed first of all to a life that is simple, frugal and physically taxing. One assumes that all sensual pleasure makes body and mind soft. One never offers them any other pleasure than that of being invincible through virtue and gaining a great deal of glory. Here, One punishes three vices that go unpunished in other peoples, ingratitude, hypocrisy, and greed.
One never needs to repress ostentation and dissipation since these are unknown in Crete … One does not allow valuable furniture, magnificent clothes, delicious feasts, nor gilded palaces. This is how Mentor prepares his pupil to grind down and manipulate the people of Ithaca, doubtless with the most philanthropic of intentions and just to make sure, he gives him the example of the city of Salente. This is how we are given our first notions of politics.
We are taught to treat men almost in the way Olivier de Serres 88 teaches farmers to treat and mix their soil. It is sufficient that ONE establishes a quota that reduces or sets the differences at a certain level. After this, it is up to particular laws to equalize inequality, so to speak, through the charges they impose on the rich and the relief they give to the poor. One form was military, exemplified by Sparta; the other was commercial, exemplified by Athens. In one, one wanted its citizens to be idle; in the other, one sought to instill a love of work. I would ask people to give some attention to the extent of the genius these legislators needed to see that by upsetting all the accepted customs, by confusing all the virtues, they would be demonstrating their wisdom to the universe.
Lycurgus, combining robbery with a spirit of justice, the most severe slavery with the heights of freedom, the most atrocious sentiments with the greatest moderation, gave his town stability. He appeared to remove from it all resources, arts, trade, money, and city walls. There was ambition with no hope of being better off, they had natural sentiments and they were neither child, husband, nor father. Even modesty was removed from chastity. It is along this route that Sparta was led to greatness and glory.
We have also seen this extraordinary situation that was observed in the institutions in Greece in the dregs and corruption of modern times. An honest legislator has formed a people in which probity appears to be as natural as bravery was in the Spartans. Penn 92 is a genuine Lycurgus and, while Mr. Penn's object was peace in the same way as Lycurgus's was war, they resemble one another in the singular route in which they set their people, in the influence they had on free men, in the preconceptions they overcame and in the passions they subdued.
Another example is Paraguay. Those who wish to establish similar institutions will set up the common ownership of goods of Plato's Republic , the respect for the gods that he demanded, the separation from foreigners in order to preserve customs, with the city and not the citizens carrying out trade. They will give us our arts without our luxury and our needs without our desires. However much popular enthusiasm cries, "It is by Montesquieu, so it is marvelous! It is sublime! You have the nerve to find that beautiful? But it is dreadful! And these quotations that I could increase in number show that in Montesquieu's view people, freedom, property, and the entire human race are just materials suited to the exercise of the legislator's wisdom.
Although this political writer, the supreme authority for democrats, bases the social edifice on the general will , no one has accepted as completely as he does the hypothesis of the total passivity of the human race in the presence of the legislator. The former has only to follow the model that the latter has to put forward. The latter is the mechanic who invents the machine , while the former is the worker who climbs abord and makes it go.
And what is the role of men in all this? The machine that you climb abord and make go, or rather the raw material out of which the machine is made! Thus, between the legislator and the prince and between the prince and his subjects there is the same relationship as between the agronomist and the farmer and the farmer and the soil. At what height above humanity, therefore, do we place the political writer who governs the legislators themselves and teaches them their job in these imperative terms?
Reduce the distance between the extreme levels as far as is possible. Do not allow either wealthy people or paupers. Is the soil hard to till or infertile, or the country too small to hold its inhabitants? Turn towards industry and the arts whose productions you can trade for the goods you lack … Do you lack inhabitants where the land is good? Concentrate on farming which increases the number of men and turn away from the arts, which will only succeed in reducing the population of the country. Cover the sea with ships and you will have a brilliant and short existence.
Does the sea wash upon only inaccessible rocks on your shoreline? Remain savages and eaters of fish, your life will more peaceful, perhaps better and certainly happier. In a word, apart from the maxims common to all, each people carries within it a cause that orders it in a particular way and makes its legislation proper to it alone. This is why in former times the Hebrews and more recently the Arabs have had religion as their principal object, the Athenians letters, Carthage and Tyre trade, Rhodes naval matters, Sparta war, and Rome virtue.
The author of the Spirit of the Laws 98 has shown with what art the legislator directs the system of institutions toward these objects. But if the legislator makes a mistake and takes a principle other than that which arises from the nature of things and one tends toward slavery while the other tends toward freedom, one toward wealth and the other toward population, one to peace and the other to conquests, the laws will be seen to become imperceptibly weaker, the constitution will be changed and the state will not cease to suffer agitation until it is either destroyed or changed and invincible nature has regained its empire.
But if nature is sufficiently invincible to regain its empire, why does Rousseau not admit that it did not need such a legislator to take this empire from the outset? Why does he not admit that by acting on their own initiative men will of their own accord turn toward trade on broad and accessible shorelines without a Lycurgus, a Solon, or a Rousseau interfering at the risk of making a mistake?
Be that as it may, we can understand the awesome responsibility that Rousseau places on inventors, teachers, leaders, legislators, and the manipulators of societies. This is why he is very demanding with regard to them. In a word, he needs to remove from man his own forces in order to give him some that are foreign to him. Hart needs to be shortened. In the meantime, this version contains all the scholarly apparutus of footnotes, glossaries, and appendices which are designed to make Molinari's world a bit more understandable to readers in the early 21st century. The page numbers of the original edition are indicated with square brackets, e.
He was the leading representative of the laissez-faire school of classical liberalism in France in the second half of the 19th century and was still campaigning against protectionism, statism, militarism, colonialism, and socialism into his 90s on the eve of the First World War. As he said shortly before his death, his classical liberal views had remained the same throughout his long life but the world around him had managed to turn full circle in the meantime.
Molinari became active in liberal circles when he moved to Paris from his native Belgium in the s to pursue a career as a journalist and political economist and was active in promoting free trade, peace, and the abolition of slavery. His liberalism was based upon the theory of natural rights especially the right to property and individual liberty and he advocated complete laissez-faire in economic policy and the ultra-minimal state in politics. During the revolution he vigorously opposed the rise of socialism and published shortly thereafter two rigorous defenses of individual liberty in which he pushed to its ultimate limits his opposition to all state intervention in the economy, including the state's monopoly of security.
In the s Molinari returned to Paris to work on the Journal des Debats , becoming editor from to Between Molinari published two of his most significant historical works in the Journal des Economistes in serial and then in book form. Here he continued his crusade against all forms of economic interventionism, publishing numerous articles on natural law, moral theory, religion and current economic policy. At the end of the century he published his prognosis of the direction in which society was heading. In The Society of the Future he still defended the free market in all its forms, with the only concession to his critics the admission that the private protection companies he had advocated 50 years previously might not be viable.
Nevertheless, the old defender of laissez-faire still maintained that privatised, local geographic monopolies might still be preferable to nation-wide, state-run monopolies.
Fortunately perhaps, he died just before the First World War broke out thus sparing himself from seeing just how destructive such national monopolies of coercion could be. In the twenty or so years before his death Molinari published numerous works attacking the resurgence of protectionism, imperialism, militarism and socialism which he believed would hamper economic development, severely restrict individual liberty and ultimately would lead to war and revolution. Molinari's death in severely weakened the classical liberal movement in France. The academic posts and editorships of the major journals were held by "new liberals" or by socialists who spurned the laissez-faire liberalism of the 19th century.
The coming to power of politicians like Louis Blanc in the provisional Government between February and May suddenly gave the socialists an opportunity to create the new forms of labour organization which they had been promoting for nearly 10 years and this clearly shocked the economists. What had previously been an intellectual challenge to key aspects of classical liberal political economy was now a pressing and immediate political challenge which required a different reaction. In the chaos following the collapse of the July Monarchy both the political economists and the socialists took advantage of the absence of censorship to launch new magazines, to set up political clubs, and to take to the streets to make their views known.
Citizens make the State thrive. The State cannot make the citizens thrive , which appeared in the 15 March edition.
Both collections of essays were quickly reissued in book form. Once the Constituent Assembly began sitting on May 4 a committee was formed to discuss the creation of a new constitution. Between June and November, when the constitution was finally approved, economists like Faucher, Bastiat, and Parieu, and sympathizers like Thiers and Tocqueville, took on Blanc and Proudhon in endless speeches and submissions to the committee. All these were reported on closely by the JDE as they took place and were later edited into a book by Joseph Garnier and published by Guillaumin in December Molinari and Bastiat again took to the streets in June with a second revolutionary magazine, Jacques Bonhomme , which appeared for only four issues 11 June - 13 July before the violence of the June Days uprising forced it to close.
This was filled with numerous anti-socialist articles which tried to appeal to ordinary Parisians to stop supporting the socialists on the streets and in the Chamber and to rethink their attitudes towards tax-payer funded relief schemes like the National Workshops. As part of this campaign, in mid-June Molinari, in an anonymous article in the JDE, appealed to the socialists to join forces with the economists as they shared many goals, such as peace, justice, and prosperity for the working class. In the third issue which was dated June Bastiat wrote a fiery article calling for the dissolution of the National Workshops.
Wisely, Bastiat and Molinari decided to close their magazine with the fourth issue. The Jacques Bonhomme magazine was their last attempt at revolutionary street agitation. Molinari in particular thought the book was a very poor defense of the right to property because it defended much of the status quo. Whereas Thiers argued that all the reforms which France required had been introduced in the first Revolution of , Molinari angrily drew up a long list of reforms which he thought were needed in and which were being ignored by both the conservatives and the socialists in the Assembly.
Thiers' book was taken up by two groups who reissued it under their own banners as part of their efforts to oppose socialism. Nevertheless the economists continued to produce a steady stream of anti-socialist writings. Michel Chevalier had been reappointed to his teaching position and began the year with a speech to open his new course of lectures on 28 February the first anniversary of the February Revolution in which he continued to expose the errors of socialism.
Cherbuliez remarked that the inspiration for the book came from conversations he had with a builder he had employed to do some renovations to his apartment. Another important inspiration was the work of Harriet Martineau whose works on the popularization of economic ideas had been translated into French and was much admired by Molinari who reviewed them for the JDE in April Bastiat also took time away from parliamentary duties to continue to produce a series of anti-socialist pamphlets in the first half of As he was writing it, one of the last spasms of the socialist movement was taking place before the harsh crackdown on press freedom and the right of assembly which took place in June and July.
Elections to the National Assembly on May 13 saw the Party of Order win a convincing majority of compared with the radical socialists and republicans who were reduced to A violent protest by the far left Montagnard faction in Paris on June 13 was dealt with harshly by the army and it provided an opportunity for the Party of Order to initiate a political crackdown which severely limited freedom of the press and the right of assembly with the political clubs being practically disbanded.
Their form of socialism was not the revolutionary version of a Louis Blanc but an institutional version, whereby they planned to use the existing government bureaucracies like the department of public works and the central Bank to use the power of the state to regulate the French economy and thereby reform society. They were just as much influenced by socialist ideas as were Blanc and Considerant but were more dangerous because they actually had their hands on the levers of power. Beginning in , the next stage in the battle against socialist ideas would be over the minds of the politicians in the Chamber, the intellectuals in the magazines and newspapers, and the bureaucrats in the state bureaucracies.
In spite of the fact that there was little evidence that his attempts to popularize complex economic ideas were effective, he kept attempting to do so repeatedly over the short term between and in a variety of formats and more intermittently over a period spanning nearly four decades. Throughout the s the economists had responded to socialist criticisms of key aspects of the free market, namely profit, interest, rent, private property, the right to work, wage labour in shops and factories, and the standard of living of ordinary working people.
This response was largely an academic one which had taken place in the books published by the Guillaumin and other serious publishing firms or in the pages of journals like the JDE. It had also taken second place behind what they thought was the more pressing problem of fighting protectionism which had occupied most of their time up until the defeat of the free traders in mid when the Chamber reviewed French tariff policy. When the February Revolution broke out the economists were shocked at how deeply socialist ideas had penetrated both ordinary people on the street and in the political clubs as well as apparently moderate politicians in the Constituent Assembly.
The consensus among the economists in the early days of the Revolution was that the movement for free trade had to be temporarily suspended and that in the short term their focus had to be on opposing the newly empowered and confident socialist movement on the streets and in the Chamber. Fonteyraud argued that the actions of the socialists in , whether by the intellectuals at their desks or on the rostrums of the political clubs, or the workers rioting in the streets, or the politicians arguing and voting in the Chamber were all determined by the ideas about economics which they held in their heads.
The economists had unfortunately lost the battle of ideas as the events of February had clearly shown. He argued that since ideas were such powerful things, that if the minds of the people could be swayed toward economic and political liberty as envisaged by the economists, then the economic and political problems which beset France could be ameliorated and events like could be avoided in the future:.
They events like February would no longer occur if one busied oneself a little more with the intellectual regeneration of the working classes, and if one were to bring the light which one finds at the pinnacle of our society step by step down to its darkest depths. Indeed, even if society has done its duty on the street there still remains a higher and more delicate task which needs to be accomplished, that of the pacification and disarmament of the minds esprits of the people.
We have consolidated the material foundations of our political edifice but we must strengthen the moral foundations which were shaken even more. That is where one finds both the fulcrum and the lever. The most ingenious political technicians can do nothing to stop these necessities of the social organism.
Thus it is necessary for us to condemn definitively close for good this concealed door through which the misled masses are pouring through. In order to do this we must place at the doorstep not only the police with their swards but some thinkers with their books. Molinari would spend considerable time and effort over the coming six years in pursuing the educational strategy outlined by Fonteyraud. Since Molinari wrote three books of conversations intended to reach a more popular audience than the journal articles, encyclopedia articles, and academic treatises he also wrote, it is worth examining these in more detail in order to understand what he was trying to achieve, why he was doing this, and whether or not he succeeded in achieving his aims.
In a brief introduction Molinari describes in a quite somber and muted fashion why he is reprinting the work. He notes that the opposition to free trade seems to be universal and independent of specific time and place and circumstance, existing both in a time of shortages and high food prices, as well as in a time of abundance and low food prices.
In the former situation the consumers demand protection from high prices; in the latter the producers of food demand protection from abundant and low priced imported food. One can sense his frustration that no matter what the Economist might say there will always be those who want tariffs and protection.
The differences between the three books of conversations are quite instructive. The location is not specified exactly and there is no mention of food or drink. As the JDE reviewer Coquelin noted, Molinari makes the mistake of allowing the Economist to win the arguments too easily sometimes, when in fact both the committed Conservative and Socialist in would have stuck to their intellectual guns to the very end, as Molinari must have known from his participation in the political clubs of We are told that the location is an estaminet bar in Brussels the interior of which is described in detail as are the local beers in which Molinari seems to take some local pride.
Molinari takes an Indian story about a wedding being conducted in a country inhabited by rats. By the time one comes to the final set of Conversations Molinari has become very pessimistic about the future possibilities for liberal reform. The focus in these conversations is still confined to the protection of agriculture but there is now more discussion of the political reasons behind protectionist policies and why there is such resistance to free market ideas. The last twelve pages are quite sad and rather hopeless about the future.
The aging and greying Economist Molinari was 67 when he wrote this is confronted by the Collectivist who says that he rejects the ideas of the free market completely. The Protectionist, as an elected politician, admits that it would be electoral and political suicide to admit the error of their views and embrace free trade even if it were true. The protectionist politician tells Molinari that if he became a free trader he could not be re-elected, he would be ostracised by his party thus ending his career, he would not be able to get his relatives jobs in the government bureaucracy, and so on.
In these concluding pages Molinari subjects himself to some harsh criticism by putting in his opponents' mouths accusations that his life has been wasted writing books no one read and whose ideas no one believed. This probably reflected the doubts and fears he was experiencing in the early s as tariffs were being reintroduced into France after a period of relative free trade following the Cobden-Chevalier trade treaty of He concludes this rather sad section by doggedly insisting that he persist in his struggle for economic liberty in spite of the set backs:. The question which needs to be asked of course is why did Molinari keep coming back to the conversational form of popularizing economic ideas?
He must have thought that they would have some positive result in convincing people outside the academy and the government of the folly of government intervention in general and tariff protection in particular. The rise of protectionism in France in the s and s must have shown him that his previous efforts had been in vain, and his pessimistic conclusions to the book seem to confirm this. Yet Molinari never gave up, which surely says something about the character of the man and his extraordinary persistence over a long lifetime in defending economic liberty.
One has to wonder whether he thought France would ever emerge from the Saint-Gothard tunnel of government interventionism. A closer examination of the economic policies adopted by the state showed in fact that the opposite of laissez-faire had been the policy for hundreds of years.
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At no time in French history had this ever been the case. Like the other economists, Molinari argued that it was the persistence of state sanctioned monopolies, restrictions on foreign trade, taxes on basic necessities, and regulation of the economy in general which was the cause of the misery of French workers. The timing of this appeal to the socialists was unfortunate because it was published a week before the violent riots of the June Days June which led to a crackdown on dissent by the National Guard and the Army under General Cavaignac and the declaration of martial law.
None of his colleagues came to his defense on the issue of the production of security and he was left alone to work on this topic for the rest of his long life. The third kind of dreamer was the free market economist who wanted to have his voice heard by both those on the right who were in favour of tariff protection and subsidies for industry and agriculture, and by the left who wanted to create a form of welfare state in France with government guaranteed jobs, unemployment relief, and other measures.
Finally, one should also note that Bastiat had his moments of wishful dreaming. After gleefully listing in some detail what he planned to do in order to drastically deregulate and privatise the French economy and state he steps back at the last minute and refuses to carry out his program. He suddenly realises that reform imposed from the top down on an unwilling and poorly informed people was a utopian dream and was doomed to failure.
Without widespread understanding of free market economic ideas such reforms would be counterproductive. These entrepreneurs would compete in an open market for business by providing the highest quality good or service at the lowest price in order to attract consumers and make profits. In his understanding of the important role the entrepreneur has in the economy Molinari is building upon the earlier work of Richard Cantillon, Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, and Charles Dunoyer.
It has now of course entered into the English language and requires no translation. Charles Dunoyer had his own take on the important role played by the entrepreneur in industrial activity. In S1 he provides a list of the occupations he would like to see opened up to competition:. The Economist: I am certain. Let property owners freely go about their business. Let property circulate and everything will work out for the best. In fact, property owners have never been left to go freely about their business and property has never been allowed to circulate freely.
Is it a matter of the property rights of the individual man; of the right he has to use his abilities freely, insofar as he causes no damage to the property of others? In the present society, the highest posts and the most lucrative professions are not open; one cannot practice freely as a solicitor, a priest, a judge, bailiff, money-changer, broker, doctor, lawyer or professor. Nor can one straightforwardly be a printer, a butcher, baker or entrepreneur in the funeral business. We are not free to set up a commercial organization, a bank, an insurance company, or a large transport company, nor free to build a road or establish a charity, nor to sell tobacco or gunpowder, or saltpeter, nor to carry [p.
The property a man holds in himself, his internal property , is in every detail shackled. What is a bit more unusual is his idea that the small family farm would eventually have to give way to larger farms run on a more commercial basis. Even more unusual was his call for the complete deregulation of prostitution, which he also regarded as a business, and the right of women to set up their own brothels whenever and however they wished without government regulation or supervision.
The new entrepreneurs would not all come from the wealthier and and better educated classes but also from the ranks of the working class. We will now turn briefly to two areas mentioned at the beginning of this section where Molinari made original contributions with the application of economic ideas and especially the role of the entrepreneur to the study of the provision of security and the operation of the family.
This only went to show that even organizations based upon coercion like slave plantations and governments could sometimes benefit by operating like entrepreneurs in order to keep their costs down and maximise economic returns, but this of course was not something Molinari advocated. Quite the contrary. He wanted parents to be aware of the real costs of having children and caring for them so they could become free, responsible, and useful human beings in the future.
In addition to these economic failings of government there was always the political problem of the state being captured by powerful vested interest groups and being turned to satisfying their needs rather than the needs of ordinary people.
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Molinari took a great interest in labour matters when he was a young journalist in the mids. He thought the legal persecution of workers who tried to set up their own labour unions was unjust and he was inspired by the example of Stock Exchanges which he thought could be applied to the creation of Labour Exchanges to help workers find the best paying jobs.
Both were banned under the Civil Code but punishments were heavier and more often enforced against labour unions than employer associations. French workers were regulated in two main areas. If they were found without the workbooks in their possession, workers could be imprisoned for vagrancy. The workbooks were introduced in , were abolished during the Revolution, and then reinstated under Napoleon in Although they were often ignored in practice they were a significant regulation of labor and were not abolished until The ban on forming labour unions dates back to the Chapelier Law of which became the basis for articles and of the Penal Code.
The Assembly had abolished the privileged corporations of masters and occupations of the old regime in March and the Le Chapelier Law was designed to do the same thing to organizations of both entrepreneurs and their workers. The law effectively banned guilds and trade unions as well as the right to strike until the law was altered in Any coalition between those who give the workers employment, which is aimed at forcing down wages, unjustly and improperly, followed by an attempt at carrying this out or actually beginning to do so, will be punished by an imprisonment of from six days to a month, and a fine ranging from two hundred to three thousand francs.
Any coalition, either attempted or initiated, on the part of the workers, which is aimed at bringing all work to a halt simultaneously, forbidding activity in a workshop, preventing people going there or staying there before or after certain hours, and in general, stopping, preventing or making production more expensive, will be punished by an imprisonment of at least one month and no more than three months.
The ringleaders or instigators will be punished with an imprisonment of two to five years. The law, based upon the Le Chapelier Law of June and Articles and of the French Penal Code, turned a blind eye to business owners associating in order to improve their economic situation but cracked down severely on workers who did the same thing. Molinari, on the other hand, saw unions as just another example of a voluntary association between free individuals to achieve common goals see S6. This view was also shared by Bastiat who gave a speech in the Chamber of Deputies on 17 November, defending unions on these very grounds and that they should be protected under the law.
He tells us some 52 years later that he had assisted the Parisian Carpenters Union in their trial in He sadly notes that the crack down by the government on the workers and their unions provoked a reaction against the government and the principle of individual liberty:. The electric telegraph had been introduced in France in for government and military use only and in it was opened up for public use but the possibilities it might open up for business were obvious. In his arguments to the workers he wanted them to see that there were many parallels between them and their employers.
One of course was the need for quick and accurate information about prices which would be satisfied by their respectives Bourses. His physical strength and intelligence are his capital. Work is a product of physical force and intelligence. Among the criticisms which are made of the school of the Economists, to which we have the honour of belonging and whose doctrines we promote, the gravest is the criticism of being uncaring towards the working classes.
It is even claimed that the application of the doctrines of this school would harm the mass of the workers; it is claimed that there is in liberty who knows what kind of fatal seed of inequality and privilege; it is claimed that if the reign of unlimited liberty should ever come one day it will be marked by the enslavement of the class who lives by the labour of its mind and its hands, by the class who lives from the product of its land holdings or its accumulated capital; to be honest, it is claimed that this noble reign of liberty would inevitably create an unbearable oppression and terrifying anarchy.
During the Revolution there were some attempts to set up a version of the Labour Exchanges. There was strong opposition by labour groups who saw the bureaux as an opportunity for lower priced competitors from outside to undercut their place in the labour market was brought to bear and the police arrested many who were involved in the formation of the bureaux.
The plan thus never went any further. A second attempt was made by the National Assembly in February when it proposed a law to create a "Bourse des Travailleurs", but this too went no further than the planning stages. It is not known if Molinari had any personal involvement in these schemes or not. It was aimed primarily at ordinary workers but the employers and workers they approached were indifferent or hostile to the scheme and so the magazine soon folded.
They also reminded the legislators that:. Neither the magazine, the fledgling Bourse, nor their political lobbying efforts had any long lasting impact and they eventually disappeared from sight. However, twenty years later the French government again showed some interest in setting up Labour Exchanges. In the Third Republic steps were taken to create a government Office of Labour with associated exchanges throughout France. Discussions began in but it was not until February that one was formally launched, in spite of organized opposition by unions.
Union opposition had been successful in but in the more conservative Third Republic their opposition was ignored. A central Bourse was created in Paris in May and many others throughout France appeared shortly afterwards. Molinari received some attention in the late s for his early work in promoting the idea of labour exchanges and he wrote a book summarizing his ideas and efforts in , Les Bourses du Travail Labour Exchanges. I said that population, when unchecked, increased in a geometrical ratio; and subsistence for man in an arithmetical ratio This ratio of increase, though short of the utmost power of population, yet as the result of actual experience, we will take as our rule; and say, That population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty-five years or increases in a geometrical ratio… It may be fairly said, therefore, that the means of subsistence increase in an arithmetical ratio.
Let us now bring the effects of these two ratios together… No limits whatever are placed to the productions of the earth; they may increase for ever and be greater than any assignable quantity; yet still the power of population being a power of a superior order, the increase of the human species can only be kept commensurate to the increase of the means of subsistence, by the constant operation of the strong law of necessity acting as a check upon the greater power.
A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature's mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him.
She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders, if he does not work upon the compassion of some of her guests. This infamous passage from Malthus is mentioned by the Socialist in S10 [p. The most outspoken defender of orthodox Malthusianism in France was Joseph Garnier who was editor of the JDE from to He edited and annotated the Guillaumin edition of Malthus's book which appeared in as well as a second edition in with a long Foreword defending Malthus against his critics.
He also published a condensed version of Malthus' On the Principle of Population in with copious commentaries and many appendices. Perhaps under the influence of Bastiat who rejected orthodox Malthusianism, Molinari realised that Malthus had underestimated the ability of the free market, free trade, and industrialization to increase output at a faster pace than population growth.
Bastiat came to believe that, unlike plants and animals, humans were thinking and reasoning creatures who could change their behavior according to circumstances:. Thus, for both plants and animals, the limiting force seems to take only one form, that of destruction. But man is endowed with reason, with foresight; and this new factor alters the manner in which this force affects him.
Under the influence of Bastiat and Dunoyer Molinari gradually came around to this way of thinking. In the same spirit with which he approached the economic analysis of the production of security in Molinari rethought the problem of population growth in the Cours in in a way which seems to anticipate some of the work on the economics of families done by the Nobel Prize winning Chicago economist Gary Becker. This investment included such things such as looking after the foetus in the womb, the activity of doctors and nurses at the birth, the costs of rearing and educating the child, the costs of training the child for productive work, and so on.
The economic aspects of investing in human capital was most obvious Molinari thought in an earlier stage of society when coercion was more prevalent, such as in the activities of the slave owner who rationally planned the size and composition of his slave work force, but the same principles also applied to the way men and women went about planning the size of their own families in a fully free society.
One of the most important restrictions which Molinari had in mind was a legal system which would enforce the obligation of parents to look after any children they brought into the world. After having laid out his economic theory of the family and its reproduction, Molinari then turned to a thorough critique of Malthus. Although he still paid homage to his essential humanity and his economic insights, the effect of his critique was to largely demolish the whole body of Malthusian doctrine.
His first major criticism was that Malthus had focused on only one of the three factors which influenced the size of population, the reproductive capacity of human beings, while ignoring the factors of labour and capital. The historical example he thought was definitive in this respect was the previous 60 years of population growth in the United States.
Moral restraint combined with a proper understanding of the productive power of free economies was all that was necessary to ensure, not a fixed population size, but a steadily growing and wealthier population. Some of the more extreme Malthusians went so far as to suggest that population could only be limited by measures such as abortion, infanticide asphyxiation, exposure of new borns , sterilization castration, hysterectomies , prostitution, or polygamy. One should note that a young John Stuart Mill very much influenced by the Benthamite school was arrested and spent three nights in jail in for handing out leaflets on the street with information about contraceptive methods.
Some more liberal minded Malthusians like John Stuart Mill some 36 years after his arrest even contemplated state regulation of marriage to ensure that couples could not marry unless they had the means to support their children:. And in a country either overpeopled, or threatened with being so, to produce children, beyond a very small number, with the effect of reducing the reward of labour by their competition, is a serious offence against all who live by the remuneration of their labour.
The laws which, in many countries on the Continent, forbid marriage unless the parties can show that they have the means of supporting a family, do not exceed the legitimate powers of the State… However, these more radical ideas were rejected by the mainstream Malthusians like J. They probably didn't know that the Church had already put the collected works of Proudhon on the Index in These laws operate independently of human will and if they are ignored or violated by government policies the laws will still continue to operate and will produce bad consequences for those who attempt to do this.
The Economists of the s were very conscious of their intellectual roots in the Physiocratic movement of the 18th century. These volumes were appearing just as Molinari was entering the Guillaumin network of free market economists and he was soon enlisted to assist Daire with the final two volumes of the series which appeared in and , also on 18th century authors. Thus the work of the Physiocrats was very much in the air as Molinari was forming his economic views. These governed the operation of inanimate, unthinking matter and could be observed and described with great precision.
The second set governed the economic world which consisted of large numbers of producers and consumers whose economic activity gave rise to patterns of behavior which could be observed in an empirical fashion by economists who could gather economic statistics and study economic history. From this study they concluded that the regularities of behavior they observed were akin to physical laws. For some of the economists, such as the orthodox Malthusians, they were regarded as being as absolute as any physical law such as gravitation.
These are laws or principles which enabled individuals to cooperate together peacefully, to pursue their goals, and to flourish in society. These included things like property rights, the respect for laws such as contracts , and the absence of coercion or violence in the relationships between individuals. Molinari came to believe that the latter had not been as well developed by the Economists as they should have been, and had not been incorporated into the very foundations of economic theory. They were:.
In his concluding remarks at the end of S12 the Economist argues that governments today, as they were during the Old Regime and the Revolution, are faced with a stark policy choice depending upon whether they do or do not accept the existence of natural laws which govern the operation of the economy. No one before him had argued using standard classical economic thinking and property rights theory that private firms operating in a free market could satisfy the strong need of consumers for protection and security services at an affordable price, while at the same time avoiding the problems inherent in any monopolized industry.
In the past, the few political theorists who advocated a society without a state had little idea about how such a society would go about solving its problems, other than to piously assert that some kind of moral change would take place in the hearts of men which would cause violence against others to gradually disappear. All forms of monopoly had deleterious consequences such as high prices, poor service, lack of innovation, and that it produced higher profits than normal to a small group of people who enjoyed the monopoly privilege at the expense of other consumers.
It is important to note that he uses modern commercial terms to describe the operation of the English state:. The ability to control the exercise of coercion had enormous importance because from it flowed the power to create all the other kinds of monopolies which were common under the old regime, such as trading and manufacturing rights, access to certain professions, and so on. A similar situation existed in the July Monarchy in France. They controlled the army and the police as well as the votes required to introduce tariff protection and subsidies for the industries from which they made their livelihoods.
Molinari thought this was unfair because the vast bulk of the French taxpayers were excluded from any say in how much taxation could be imposed upon them or how this money would be spent. One of the arguments he used in arguing for an expansion of the franchise in France was the idea that the main reason for having a government in the first place was to provide all citizens with a guarantee of security of their persons and property.
The problem was to find a system which would avoid the weakness of both systems. This was to prevent a democratic majority of voters voting for confiscatory taxes on the property and income of the rich, which Molinari thought was a major weakness in the American system of government. The leap he made was to stop thinking of this similarity as purely a metaphor and to see it as an actual possibility that real insurance companies could sell premiums to willing customers for specific services which could be agreed upon contractually in advance and provided competitively on the free market.
Having laid out this mini-treatise on political economy, Molinari then proceeds to make his case that the provision of security was just another government monopoly which should be liberalized. He turns the counter-argument on its head by challenging the economists who want to de-monopolize nearly everything the government does to justify why they have made this important exception to the general principle.
Why should there be a government monopoly in this case when the theory of political economy shows conclusively that monopolies lead to higher prices, lack of innovation, and high profits for a privileged minority? How the latter might work he sketched out briefly in Section 10 of the article and added some interesting twists to this in S This was in fact exactly how the market operated for everything else.
Molinari would take up many of the same issues in S11 but it should be remembered that the discussion of the private provision of security takes place in a much broader context developed throughout the book concerning the private and competitive provision of many other public goods as well, such as mineral resources, state owned forests, canals, rivers, city water supplies, the post office, public theatres, libraries; and the ending of private monopolies protected by government licences and heavily regulated professions such as bakeries, butchers, printing, lawyers, brokers, funeral parlors, cemeteries, medicine, teaching, and even brothels.
A twist which he adds in S11 is that he introduces the radically new idea that an actual insurance company might be the type of private company best suited to providing security services for person and property. The only things an economist needed to know is whether or not there is a demand for a good or service, whether or not there are people willing to supply this good or service at a given price, and if there are no legal impediments to these two parties coming together to trade with each other; then the economist can say with some certainty that markets will evolve to satisfy this demand:.
This is of course a true statement about many if not most economic activities. As he was writing these very lines Molinari was witnessing the dramatic transformation of shopping in Paris with the emergence of the department store. No economist could have imagined how this new invention of the competitive market for the sale of consumer goods would transform cities like Paris. Just as this new phenomenon had emerged unplanned and unanticipated out of the competitive market place for consumer goods, so Molinari imagined a similar new market would emerge for the buying and selling of security services in ways unimagined by economists.
Whether such a market could arise was, of course untested, but Molinari was confident it would and, if fact was so confident, that he made a very bold prediction in S11 about how long a transition period was needed for this to occur, which only confirmed in his critics minds that he was a bold and daring utopian thinker:.
Rodet, and M. Molinari was notable for his absence, which is probably understandable. Bastiat followed Coquelin with a statement about his own views for a state which was strictly limited to guaranteeing justice and security. Since this required force to accomplish and since force could only be the attribute of a supreme power, he could not understand how a society could function if supreme power was split among numerous groups which were all equal to each other.
He concluded that therefore it would be better to leave the exercise of force where history had placed it, namely in the hands of the state. The result was that none of his friends or colleagues took up any of his ideas, leaving Molinari as the sole advocate of these ideas for the rest of the century. The important insight Molinari had, with interesting similarities to the Pubic Choice approach to understanding politics, was to treat the state in the same way he would treat a firm or a company, that the people who owned or ran the firm had goals which they wanted to achieve with limited resources, that they responded to changing relative costs and benefits, and that they had to adjust to technological and other systemic changes.
The terminology Molinari used to describe the state is quite instructive. What Molinari is doing here is similar to what Douglas C. North did in the s with his history of the emergence of political institutions from an economic perspective. As these things change over time, especially as technological change introduces new possibilities for economic activity, institutions change in order to take advantage of them.
Most importantly, he developed a list of reasons why the monopoly provision of security by the state was more costly and less efficient than private companies, all of which were based upon his theory of the natural laws of political economy and how the state violated them.
The first reason he gave was that government monopolies tended to overproduce goods or services beyond the needs of the consumers because, in the absence of prices and freely negotiated contracts, the government monopoly did not know how much production is optimal. Molinari thought that defence was an excellent example of this tendency to overproduce a good or service:. A second reason was that government had become too big and complex, and was active in too many fields to be expert in all of them. A final reason he gave was that firms had a natural size limit la loi des limites naturelles beyond which they could not operate effectively.
Molinari thought that the market should determine the optimal size of firms which would best be able to satisfy the needs of its consumers as well as make a profit for its owners:. He still talks about producers and consumers of security, about the greater economic efficiency and lower costs of free market alternatives to government, and the need for governments to obey the economic principles which govern all enterprises, especially living within its means and paying its debts.
Only then, Molinari thought, could governments avoid becoming what J. The integrity of states had already been challenged and some secessionist movements had succeeded like Latin America in the s and he thought this process was most likely to continue in the future. As new kinds of property emerged new means would be required to protect it from force, fraud, or loss.
In a very Spencerian way of arguing he observed:. So it seems that he had both components of the anarcho-capitalist position developed to some degree by , the idea that private companies operating in a free market could supply protection services more cheaply and efficiently than a state monopoly, and that law too could evolve in order to solve disputes about property and violence.
Galerie Champetier, Catalogues raisonnés, oeuvres complets, estampes
Molinari then proceeds to show how the villagers are mistaken, how free and open competition by grocers would lead to greater variety in the choice of food, lower prices, and even more work for people in the grocery business. When compared to the future which he thought lay in store if the current regime of protectionism, statism, and militarism continued to expand, or to the future proposed by the socialist parties of government planning and regulation of the economy and society in general, then his liberal utopia did not seem any more utopian than theirs did:.
It was at moments like this that Molinari liked to remind his readers of Adam Smith's pessimism in about the chances of free trade being introduced in Britain against the prejudices of the general public and the powerful self-interest of politically well connected lobby groups who benefited from protection. In spite of these obstacles the Corn Laws were repealed some 70 years later:.
To expect, indeed, that the freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should ever be established in it. Not only the prejudices of the public, but what is much more unconquerable, the private interests of many individuals, irresistibly oppose it.
Were the officers of the army to oppose with the same zeal and unanimity any reduction in the number of forces, with which master manufacturers set themselves against every law that is likely to increase the number of their rivals in the home market; were the former to animate their soldiers, in the same manner as the latter enflame their workmen, to attack with violence and outrage the proposers of any such regulation; to attempt to reduce the army would be as dangerous as it has now become to attempt to diminish in any respect the monopoly which our manufacturers have obtained against us.
This monopoly has so much increased the number of some particular tribes of them, that, like an overgrown standing army, they have become formidable to the government, and upon many  occasions intimidate the legislature. The member of parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly, is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance. If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more if he has authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services, can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detraction, from personal insults, nor sometimes from real danger, arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists.
His calculations are obviously incorrect, but he was partly right in that it was in the late s and early s that a new generation of libertarians in the United States rediscovered his ideas and began to discuss them in earnest. This brought the work of Quesnay and the other Physiocrats to the attention of the younger economists, perhaps for the first time. He summed up his view of property in the following paragraph:.
These were:. A man who possesses things of value is endowed with the natural right to use and dispose of them as he sees fit. The things of value so possessed can be destroyed or preserved, transferred by means of exchange, gift, or bequest. To each of these modes of use, employment, or disposition of property, corresponds a particular kind of liberty. The liberty of directly using created or acquired things of value for the satisfaction of the needs of whomever possesses them, that is "the liberty of consumption.
The liberty of employing them things of value to produce other things of value, that is "the liberty of industry and the professions.
The liberty of combining them to the things of value belonging to another person in order to create a more efficient instrument of production, that is "the liberty of association. The liberty of lending them, that is to say to transmit pass on, hand over? The liberty of giving or bequeathing them, that is to say to transmit freely to another person the things of value which one possesses, that is "the liberty of gifting or bequesting. Perhaps as a result of his frustrations resulting from the failure of the liberals to develop a coherent and effective theory of limited government in the Restoration period, Dunoyer had given up the attempt to derive liberty from first principles.
The Foundation has selected collections whose owners expressed a particular desire for them to be left in total or partial perpetuity, in museums or elsewhere, in Belgium or abroad. The collector has always cared about our heritage. Indeed, from the 19th century, collectors were key actors in saving and handing down our heritage and many public collections were born out of a private donation.
Public bodies carried on the tradition, though mainly with an educational role in mind. From this point in time, the development of two types of collections could therefore be observed: These days, we can observe a certain rapprochement between these two types of collection as public collections turn increasingly to the private collector, sometimes temporarily, sometimes definitively, with a view to completing the story they wish to tell.
BRAFA and the King Baudouin Foundation would like to express their grateful thanks to the collectors who have agreed to participate in this project. Belgium is often described as a country of collectors and it is hoped that the presentation created by the King Baudouin Foundation at BRAFA will offer visitors to the fair a moment of special pleasure and perhaps also the inspiration to start their own collection. The museum is housed in a colonial building, now a protected heritage site, where it exhibits unique collections dedicated to the natural and social sciences.
On 1 December , the museum will close its doors to allow for extensive renovation works that will last about three years. The building dates back to and still exudes a very particular charm, but the permanent exhibition and the infrastructure need to be adapted to meet the needs and requirements of a modern museum. The Royal Museum for Central Africa is thrilled to offer Brafa visitors this special encounter with its collections, some of which were instrumental in forging the museum's reputation, while others — no less famous — helped develop images and representations of Africa.
A selection of themes directed the choice of collections. The chosen pieces are not necessarily the most famous, but each object or specimen is striking not only for its aesthetic qualities but also for its singularity, its rarity and, of course, its history. Guido Gryseels General Director. It is a sterling opportunity to show yet again the extent to which opera is an art form open to all and a direct link to the world.
It has moreover established itself as a major stage in the international opera circuit, as its productions usually elicit accolades in the specialised press. It therefore made sense for Brafa and La Monnaie to join forces: This public interested in both ancient and contemporary art is that encountered in large numbers at the Brafa; the quality and diversity of the offer are guaranteed as much at Brafa as at La Monnaie!
La Monnaie, the symbol of opera par excellence in Belgium, is therefore very proud to be present at this edition of the Brafa. On that occasion, you are cordially invited to discover, in the space reserved for La Monnaie, the chandalier of Charles Kaisin: This work of art, which draws inspiration from the large old chandelier hanging from the ceiling of La Monnaie, was made possible thanks to many hands in Saint Gilles Prison in Brussels, who folded these origamis. Whereas movement brings this impressive aerial installation to life, light turns it into an abstract, fragmented landscape that scintillates at the slightest breath of air.
Mari Vorgan , Al Liamm. Preview , Description et reviews. Theorizing failure to learn the language properly as creative post-vernacularity', Journal of Celtic Linguistics The example of Breton. Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of Celtic Studies. The degree of acceptability of modern literary Breton to native Breton speakers , Diploma of Linguistics dissertation, University of Cambridge.
Walter de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin, pdf. Michael Hornsby , site , Adam Mickiewicz University. Phonologie et morphosyntaxe du parler breton de Bothoa , Brest, Emglev Breizh. Its present position and historical background', Martin J. Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. University of Edinburgh Press. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Kennard, Holly Jane b. Ni a gomz brezhonek gwell pe well: Rencontre de jeunes chercheurs 18 juin , version pdf.