Frederic Bastiat

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Libertarians like Bastiat because he criticized some government practices as foolish or thievery. However, he consider taxation for many government services justified, work programs in times of crisis, infrastructure, etc. He was a modern liberal.


An important class of exceptions to the broken window fallacy.
Frederic Bastiat's Broken Window Fallacy claims to show that claims of benefits to destruction are wrong. But there are plenty of reasons why there can be strong benefits to destruction: so strong that rational economic actors destroy things all the time.
Bastiat's Broken Window Error [More...]
The broken window analogy fails to explain real world examples, such as how Europe has become so much more prosperous after innumerable wars.
Frederic Bastiat as a Modern Liberal [More...]
"Frederic Bastiat is a liberal in the modern sense–concerned with positive as much as negative liberty, as eager to use government to boost people’s power to accomplish their purposes (when it can effectively do so) as to preserve individuals’ freedom of action from pointless regulatory meddling."
On the Relevance of Hayek and Bastiat [More...]
Hayek's essay "would have been greatly strengthened if he’d acknowledged the limits of markets in coordinating dispersed knowledge". "Bastiat is right within the confines of his own examples, but really the real world throws up so many confounding factors that there is no need to invoke him in contemporary debate."
The Law (book, online)
(1850) Frederic Bastiat's ancient essay that suffers badly from being pre-marginalist, pre-institutionalist and based on natural rights.
The Real Problem with the Broken Window Fallacy [More...]
"The BWF may or may not be useful for demonstrating a certain point, but it is not a model of the economy and it is not always and everywhere applicable to economic problems."


There were some -- Frédéric Bastiat and Jean-Baptiste Say come to mind -- who believed that government should put the unemployed to work building infrastructure when markets or production were temporarily disrupted.
Brad DeLong, "American Conservatism’s Crisis of Ideas"