Yves Gayot actually denounced economic ignorance 110 years ago

Posted on May 27, 2022



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Yves Gayot speaks during an extraordinary ceremony at the Sorbonne in honor of Frédéric Passy. At the end of May 1912, the Society for Political Economy celebrated its seventieth anniversary. So 2022 marks the 180th anniversary of this esteemed educated community, the home of the French Liberal School.

In these times of electoral demagoguery and the era of terrifying economists, Keynesians or Marxists, Yves Guyot’s rhetoric remains surprisingly thematic.

Here are some important excerpts.

The danger comes from economic ignorance

Sharpe’s men said that socialism was a product of political economy: but Plato, Thomas Morros, Campanella, and Morelli predate Quesnai and Adam Smith.
no. The danger comes from economic ignorance. The common man who wears it merrily without realizing it is like a sailor who sails without a compass.

Centuries ago, Aristotle showed us the dangers of a democracy in which citizens believed that power should be a tool for distributing wealth. In this sense the law becomes an instrument of expropriation, and taxes are only the application of this concept: Take from some to give to others.

It is the politics of spoils which took various forms in the Greek cities, in Rome and Byzantium, and in the Italian republics, and in governments of various kinds, and which was practiced in the United States in the nineteenth century many times. It was not known in France. »

Political competition according to Yves Guette

“It has a greater chance of engaging a part of the nation when it intends to vehemently denounce economic competition; but whoever wants to suppress it does not suppress competition but rather replaces it with political competition. And then, in elective assemblies, in parliamentary speeches, and in daily newspaper articles, the electorate knows that government It can create artificial prices to the advantage of a few producers and at the expense of the mass of consumers ; that the government can intervene to regulate the working time of adults, their rate of wages, and thus fixing the cost-price of products and services; that public authorities can convert individual pensions into social pensions; They can hide Under vague terms such as solidarity, a policy of privilege for some, and oppression for others.

[…] Governments continued to squander and drown in debt. And where would they have found the resources for their taxes and for their loans, if the great majority of individuals, instead of imitating them, had not produced and saved?

[…] Any state intervention results in tax and coercion. There is only one way to compress expenditures, and that is to define powers narrowly, and to keep the old saying: the state should do nothing of what ordinary individuals can do. »…

Nothing is free, everything is paid

“The political, administrative and social malaise currently prevailing in all nations is the result of the increase in the powers of the state and the municipalities. As civil servants and civil servants multiply, they intend not to become simple executive agents, but by their electoral power, to subordinate their functions to their convenience.… »

Idealistic socialists around 1848 denounced economists as representing selfishness while their hearts were moved, full of sympathy and pity. Contrast continues. influencers, with other people’s resources, denouncing them today as representing the “hard school” opposing the “soft school”; They appear to economists in the “closed fist” position while representing themselves in the “outstretched hand” position of human misery; And why?

Economics cannot accept these moral qualifications for good or evil; It aspires to only one, i.e. to be true, and is based on this statement of universal experience: Nothing is free, everything is paid. »

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