Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'frederic bastiat'

The cramped morality of trade protectionism

“If a product is seen only as the opportunity for work, it is certain that the anxieties of protectionists are well founded.” –Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Sophisms Drawing inspiration from a 1847 essay by the inimitable Frédéric Bastiat, economist Donald Boudreaux tackles a popular argument from today’s trade protectionists: namely, “that protectionism is justified if enough consumers or voters are willing to pay higher prices in order to help workers.” The problem, of course, is that such a perspective debases the value of labor to the value of products and vice versa, ignoring the many other relationships and ripple-effects that production and trade are bound to inspire. Continue Reading...

Protectionism leads to turmoil, strife, and disorder

Proponents of protectionism often ground their support in a quasi-nationalism; trade should be restricted for the benefit of the nation. Economically, the argument holds little weight. The benefits of more trade, like more and cheaper goods, outweigh the costs, like some temporary unemployment that results from the closing of a factory that couldn’t compete with foreign companies. Continue Reading...

It’s All in Bastiat!

“It’s all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!” – Digory Kirke in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle The way Professor Kirk feels about Plato is how I feel about Frederick Bastiat. Continue Reading...

The Economics of Bedford Falls (Part III)

[Note: This is the final post in a series highlighting some of the financial aspects and broad economic lessons of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You can find part one here and part two here.] Economist Don Boudreaux recently outlined ten foundational lessons that should be learned in every well-taught principles of economics course. Continue Reading...

How a Study on Hurricanes Proved Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy

After 6,712 cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes the evidence is clear: Bastiat was right all along. In 1850, the economic journalist Frédéric Bastiat introduced the parable of the broken window to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is not actually a net benefit to society (see the video at the end of this post for an explanation of the broken window fallacy). Continue Reading...

Why Superman is Bad for the Economy

In the new movie Man of Steel, Superman engages in a fight with his fellow aliens from Krypton that causes significant damage to Metropolis. Disaster expert Charles Watson estimates the costs of the physical damage done to the city to be about $2 trillion. Continue Reading...