"By virtue of exchange,
one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."
by:
Frederic Bastiat
(1801-1850) French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before -- and immediately following -- the French Revolution of February 1848
Source:
his book, Economic Harmonies
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- J. Goolsby, Notre Dame, IN      
Most of Bastiat's 'The Law' was written from a perspective within the consequences of law. On occasion, Bastiat would address a brief glimpse of positive law. This comment is a bridge between the 2 perspectives. The here used exchange's depth of understanding is lost to the slave mentality of democracy, the collectivist, socialist, fascist, and all other mind sets of despotism and tyranny.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    You're right Mike. most people won't get this one. It is however, an intrinsic part of liberty and responsibility.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Oh, yeah, Rockefeller's millions or billions have made me extremely rich...
     -- Ann, Vancouver     
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    Ann, The Rockefellers, House of Morgan, the Fed Reserve are all stealing from us due to 'crony capitalism. Have you read any Bastiat, Mises, Rothbard? Capitalism has givenyou everything you love. Fascists, communists, socialists, colectivists in general steal from us! Life , liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness RULES!
     -- libertyjack, NC     
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     -- jim k, austin      
    Ann, when you convert your labors (positive law) in to debt (fed notes - the only medium available - a custom induced through threat and duress) you become a slave to the system. Such conversion (legal definition) constitutes a theft, not an exchange. If allodium (being a Law of Nature and of Nature's God - labor, land, vehicles, etc.), was held sacrosanct, as the rule of law, said larceny would be held as a crime. Under such allodim system, an exchange enriches prosperity and is beneficial to all. While larceny is the rule (income tax, funny money, availability of titled property only, eminent domain without the possibility of allodium, etc.), Bastiat's here expressed 'exchange', can not be recognized.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The robber barons of the Gilded Age prospered as did Al Capone, drug lords etcetera. Carnegie prospered by virtually enslaving Italian immigransts in Pittsburgh, recently many prospered from the use of illegal labor. Therefore Bastiat as usual is a little shallow here. I will give him a three for poetry but withhold two due to his shallowness.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, thanks for proving my point.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    By virtue of exchange...what virtue is he addressing here? The virtue here is that no one involved in the exchange goes away unhappy and for every transaction the value of both individuals labor is not lost in the exchange DURING the transaction when one pays the other with money. for example, If the prosperous man in this case is a business man, payer, the valueable product he produces is the result of his labor. The employee, payee, exerts his valueable labor (time and energy) for a share of the profit made by the business. If money was not used, a barter exchange would occur. The VALUE of the payee's time and effort EXCHANGED for the VALUE of the payer's product. No money, payee's product and property (labor), for the payers product and property. When money enters in, the above equation still holds true so the money given to the payee MUST somehow represent the value of the payers property or the payee loses. This is an example, less the losing part, of honest free enterprise in action. The product of the payer has intrinsic VALUE and so common sense that WHATEVER the payer PUTS into the payee's hands MUST have intinsic VALUE as well. One can argue against the gold/silver standard until they're blue in the face but in order to do so this natural honest process of value absolutely has to be ignored because one can't argue the common sense or self evident truth of it. FRN's or diigital transfers have no REAL value as they are but paper and ink. Only the value people THINK it has when using it is what gives it any value at all. But what happens when the purchasing power of paper fluctuates erratically? One day you can buy a loaf of bread fo a dollar but the next week you need 2 for the same loaf. Hey, if things are booming you might get 2 for 1 and that's when confidence rises in the paper. Now that the only thing our money represents is our debt to the monied powers and their corporate control, what we can or can't buy and sell is at the mercy of those who "ok" the loan or not. Right now our government can't survive without debt, our corporations can't survive without it so the question remains whether you the individual can or cannot, need or need not, WANT or WANT NOT, to surive without it. To an extent we have no choice at THIS time because of the debt money but, helping the system by living beyond our means with debt makes hypocrites out of people. If the system is to be fought and beaten lawfully it has to be fought on all and every front that can be discovered even if it means sacrifice. But hey, if one is ok with the idea the system sacrifices a part of one's life every second of every day for all ones' life to the fire that fuels its engines, giving in just a little bit might be ok for one. That, is one's choice as it should be. In this day though, it is essential to make well informed choices as information and truth are being wihheld from us and new truths are emerging every day. Use this knowledge and knowledge of your enemy, the system, to control as much of your life as possible, free from the system. Don't stop trying to use constitutional methods and word of mouth etc to bring the system under control, but the system has weak points too that should be searched out and taken advantage of to weaken it on both ends toward making it manageable again. Keep in mind this is exactly what the system does to one every day. Seek the weak points and take advantage of them. Disclaimer; I am in no way advising that any action should be taken that breaks the law. Now to me, that's a paradoxical statement, but, must be said.
     -- Anon     
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    There are only two possible economic systems; barter and slavery. God commanded a barter system with: "Thou shalt not steal." Our Constitution mandates a barter sysem of gold and silver coins, Art.1. Sec.10 but in the "public interest" the Constitution has beed set aside as well as God's commandments.
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis     
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    Absolutely. There really is no other way.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Anon the product owner will sell his intrinsic value property for money and then pay his worker, I assume some employers may be willing to give the worker the intrinsic property rather than currency if the employ so wishes and he may then do what he wishes to with it. Most people prefer "money", paper and coin, for the sole reason that it is "currency" in other words it is "current" like now, immediate, useful, tradeable etc. If the product is for example kitchen cabinets what would the worker due with them while his family and landlord are waiting to eat and get their rent. Can you just image the worker truckig his share of cabinets all over town.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    As ususal Waffler, whoosh, right over your head.
     -- Anon     
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    Anon what do you mean by whoosh, right over your head?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Only a free exchange is beneficial to everyone. A rich man who has only earned his wealth by free exchange has never done me any harm. In fact, by selling me what I want, I and he both have gained a benefit. That is, we have baked a larger pie. Just because his piece is bigger than mine doesn't mean that I don't enjoy my piece as well. Only envious people are bothered by that. Those rich men who lobby government to steal from me for their own benefit alone have done me harm. Whether by regulation, tax policy, or prohibition when government picks the winner, there must be a loser. The pie stays the same size, government steals my piece, and gives it to the lobbyist.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Waffler anything that has to do with economics or the constitution is always over your head. Any rating under 5 stars denotes a lack of understanding the free enterprise system. Our population is so poorly educated on this simple concept that we are in a very dangerous position with the thug we now have in the White House. As a matter of fact he wouldn't have got there if the public understood economics or the constitution.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    For that matter Waffler you usualy do not even understand the quote.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    I think it's great if people are rich, but I don't think it's great if people are getting rich at the expense of others' rights.
     -- Anonymous     
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    The concept is an alien one to anyone whose perception of Reality is delimited by envy.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    Well, that's how it should be but in this world beneficial to others is rarely seen.... as many who prosper forget only to soon a fair exchange.
     -- Robert, Somewhere in the USA     
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    Commonsense. How soon people forget " usury, oppression " upon your on children is a crime against God's nature and natural order. As also contrary to 13 biblical laws concerning the lender, his brother or sister and fellow neighbor. Tribute demanded upon hearth and home, is slavery ! Liberty taxed away, replaced with need, want and envy. Materialism takes hold through prosperity, as post WW II shows how soon Financial liberty is forgotten. Bankers will steal the pennies from a dead mans eyes and the beggar is taxed for a corner to die in.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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