Frederic Bastiat

DEFINITION of 'Frederic Bastiat'

A 19th-century philosopher and economist famous for his ideas about the role of the state in economic development. Frederic Bastiat was known for pointing out flaws in protectionism, as well as other political and economic principles, through satire. He wrote "Economic Sophisms" while living in England during the Industrial Revolution, and "The Law", a work outlining how a free society can develop through a just legal system. Bastiat died in 1850.

BREAKING DOWN 'Frederic Bastiat'

One of Bastiat's witty contributions within "Economic Sophisms" was known as the "Candlemaker's Petition", a satire of the role of protectionism in economics. In the story, candlemakers across France join forces and protest against the unfair competition they face from the sun, in this case considered a "foreign competitor". They petition the government that there are many advantages to blocking the sun.