|Economic Sophisms by [[Author:Frédéric Bastiat|Frédéric Bastiat]]
|Source text at Wikisource: Economic Sophisms|
PATRICK JAMES STIRLING, LL.D., F.R.S.E.,
OLIVER AND BOYD, TWEEDDALE COURT.
BASTIAT'S two great works on Political Economy—the Sophismes Économiques, and the Harmonies Économiques—may be regarded as counterparts of each other. He himself so regarded them: "the one," he says, "pulls down, the other builds up." His object in the Sophismes was to refute the fallacies of the Protectionist school, then predominant in France, and so to clear the way for the establishment of what he maintained to be the true system of economic science, which he desired to found on a new and peculiar theory of value, afterwards fully developed by him in the Harmonies. Whatever difference of opinion may exist among economists as to the soundness of this theory, all must admire the irresistible logic of the Sophismes, and "the sallies of wit and humour," which, as Mr. Cobden has said, make that work as "amusing as a novel."
The system of Bastiat having thus a destructive as well as a constructive object, a negative as well as a positive design, it is perhaps only doing justice to his great reputation as an economist to put the English reader in a position to judge of that system as a whole. Hence the present translation of the Sophismes is intended as a companion volume to the translation of the Harmonies.
It is unnecessary for me to say more here by way of preface, the gifted author having himself explained the design of the work in a short but lucid introduction.