Taking Protectionism to its Logical Conclusions

November 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

The Ludwig von Mises Institute has re-posted a classic bit of satire by nineteenth century French economist Frederic Bastiat entitled “The Candlemakers’ Petition”. In it, domestic candlemakers call for government protection of their industry against the unfair competition of sunlight. I strongly encourage everyone to take ten minutes out of their day to read this excellent piece, if only for the closing thought:

Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you exclude, as you do, coal, iron, corn, foreign fabrics, in proportion as their price approximates to zero, what inconsistency it would be to admit the light of the sun, the price of which is already at zero during the entire day!

Note: as I was writing this, I noticed that a modern update has been posted by D. W. MacKenzie entitled “A Petition from Producers of Everything Connected with Healthcare”. Check it out and have fun.

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