In a satirical petition on behalf of French candlemakers, Frederic Bastiat, a French economist, called attention to cheap competition from afar: sunlight. A law requiring the shuttering of windows during the day, he suggested, would benefit not only candlemakers but "everything connected with lighting" and the country as a whole. He explained: "As long as you exclude, as you do, iron, corn, foreign fabrics, in proportion as their prices approximate to zero, what inconsistency it would be to admit the light of the sun, the price of which is already at zero during the entire day!"
Is there a logical flaw in Bastiat's satirical argument?
No. Bastiat is precisely right. The objective of trade is to gain access to goods and services at lower quality-adjusted prices. The ultimate ...
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