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The Law, by Bastiat
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"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

--- Thomas Jefferson


Lesson 111 - The Industrial Revolution - Wealth of Nations Print E-mail

 

There also emerged at about the same time a burst of new information, and new theories relating to economic activity.

Adam Smith's iconic and monumental work on The Wealth of Nations stimulated such thought. 

So did the writings of the gloomy Scot, Thomas Malthus, who theorized that the increased birth and survival rate would increase the population more rapidly than food could be produced, and that consequently there would always be a number of persons being born who would starve to death.

Giving weight to the arguments of such thinkers and theorizers were countless scores of persons who sought to idealize society and to offer plans and programs whereby humanity might be organized on what they considered would be more beneficial terms.

It was out of this matrix of industrial development and enlightened thinking that the contrasting ideas of both socialism and individualism spewed.

Men did not know yet quite how to live with the new-found ability to produce in abundance.  The limping remnants of the old mercantile system of economy could not adequately keep pace with the new private capitalism springing up everywhere one looked.  Production quickly tripled, quadrupled, and multiplied again and again, almost inexplicably.

Those who would not or could not adapt to the change began to form into ranks of dissenters and nay-sayers.

The discontented, with or without reason, are always apt to be more vocal with their discontent, than are those who find the state of affairs to be to their liking.

Disorders began to occur; working men banded together, driving themselves into each other's arms by the pervading and self-feeding sense that they were somehow at the mercy of their employers.

Many books and plays were subsequently written depicting the general unrest, and the development of a belief that capitalists and industrialists are, as a class, narrow, selfish, and cruel.

 


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Fundamentals of Liberty