Government | Frederic Bastiat

Government
by Frederic Bastiat

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Quick Review

Government | Frederic Bastiat

Bastiat begins this 1848 essay by writing, “I wish someone would offer a prize for a good, simple, and intelligent definition of the word ‘Government.'” In his classic style, Bastiat then attempts to answer his own question, noting the many things that the government claims to be and the things that people ask it to do. Although considering the difficulties present in nineteenth century France, Bastiat offers a definition of government that is also true in our day: “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Had there been an actual prize for a good, simple, and intelligent definition of the word ‘Government,’ Bastiat most certainly would have won it.

Praise for Government

“(Bastiat’s) reasoning remains as relevant today as it was then. In fact…Government may be the most insightful critique of America’s government available today.” – Gary Galles, professor of economics, Pepperdine University

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Topics

Political Philosophy

Notes

This essay is included in this collection of Bastiat’s writing.