Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

Frédéric Bastiat’s Views on the Nature of Money

The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

Volume 5, No. 3 (Fall 2002)


I have re-examined Bastiat’s contributions to economic theory and have found the charges against him to be unsubstantiated. In terms of economic theory, Bastiat is widely knowledgeable, keenly discerning, highly competent,and very creative. Furthermore, I have concluded that the central criticisms of his detractors are unjustified, because they are based on an interpretation of Bastiat’s theories that is at odds with the large body of Bastiat’s views on economics. These critics place Bastiat in a camp that believes that people do not benefit from trade (zero sum theory of exchange) and that the value of a good actually resides within the good itself (intrinsic value). It is simply preposterous to believe that Bastiat held such beliefs and to interpret his theory in this mannerBastiat was arguably the most consistent economist of all time, an achievement that was nurtured by many years of serious study before embarking on his political and publishing career a few years before his death.



Thornton, Mark. Frédéric Bastiat’s Views on the Nature of Money. The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 5, No. 3 (Fall 2002): 81–86.

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