The Law

by Frédéric Bastiat

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Politics and Economics

[Now let us return to a subject that was briefly discussed in the opening pages of this thesis: the relationship of economics and of politics -- political economy.*]

*Translator's note: Mr. Bastiat has devoted three other books and several articles to the development of the ideas contained in the three sentences of the following paragraph.

A science of economics must be developed before a science of politics can be logically formulated. Essentially, economics is the science of determining whether the interests of human beings are harmonious or antagonistic. This must be known before a science of politics can be formulated to determine the proper functions of government.

Immediately following the development of a science of economics, and at the very beginning of the formulation of a science of politics, this all-important question must be answered: What is law? What ought it to be? What is its scope; its limits? Logically, at what point do the just powers of the legislator stop?

I do not hesitate to answer: Law is the common force organized to act as an obstacle to injustice. In short, law is justice.

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