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Letter to the Wall Street Journal

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04/07/2013

Romain Hatchuel summarizes life in socialist France very well ("What's French for 'Economic Nonsense'?," op-ed, March 29).

I wrote this letter to the editor in response to the article.

In “What’s French for ‘Economic Nonsense’” (March 29th) Romain Hatchuel laments France’s economic predicament of bloated government spending, very high national debt, and widespread economic privilege and protectionism. He sees little hope for solutions by the people or the elites. The same situation afflicts most of the major economies of the world.
However, there is a “French solution.” The great 19th century French economist and statesman, Frederic Bastiat, wrote extensively about the nature of public policy. He showed the free market was the true source of equality, harmony, and prosperity. Government was the source of privilege, protectionism, and disharmony. He is said to have defined the “state as the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” We could all learn a lesson from this great Frenchman.

Mark Thornton is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.

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