The Candlemakers’ Petition. by Frédéric Bastiat (). A Petition from the Manufacturers of Candles, Wax-Lights, Lamps, Chandeliers, Reflectors, Snuffers, . 09/19/Claude Frédéric Bastiat. Petition of the Manufacturers of Candles, Waxlights, Lamps, Candlelights, Street Lamps, Snuffers, Extinguishers, and the. I’ve taken the liberty of channeling my “inner Bastiat” to revise and modernize “ The Candlemakers’ Petition” for today’s protectionist climate that.

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Do you desire for our country the benefit of gratuitous consumption or the pretended advantages of onerous production? Bastiay your choice, but be logical; for as long as you ban, as peittion do, foreign coal, iron, wheat, and textiles, in proportion as their price approaches zero, how inconsistent it would be to admit the light of the sun, whose price is zero all day long!

Contrariwise, if agriculture is prosperous, it will open markets for manufactured goods. In a word, you wish to secure the national market to national labor.

You have yourselves already answered the objection. If you confer upon us the monopoly of furnishing light during the day, first of all we shall purchase quantities of tallow, coals, oils, resinous substances, wax, alcohol — besides silver, iron, bronze, crystal — to carry on our manufactures; and then we, and those who furnish us with such commodities, having become rich will consume a great deal and impart prosperity to all the other branches of our national bastlat. We foresee your objections, gentlemen; but there is not one that you bwstiat oppose to us which you will not be obliged to gather from the works of the partisans of free trade.

If a Lisbon orange sells for half the price of a Paris orange, it is because natural, and consequently gratuitous, heat does baxtiat one what artificial, and therefore expensive, heat must do for the other.

You have done so in order to encourage industry and to increase employment. Tags Free Markets Interventionism. But you dislike doctrines, you abhor systems, and as for principles you deny that there are any in social economy. If an orange from Lisbon sells for half the price of an basttiat from Paris, it is because the natural heat of the sun, which is, of course, free of charge, does for the former what the latter owes to artificial heating, which bastixt has to be paid petitlon in the market.


The portion of Nature is always gratuitous; that of labor alone regulates the price. But you do not like doctrines; you hold systems in horror; and, as for principles, you declare that there are no such things in political economy. The part that Nature contributes is batiat free of charge; it is the part contributed by human labour that constitutes value and is paid for. We trust, gentlemen, that you will not regard this our request as a satire, or refuse it without at least first hearing the reasons which we have to urge in its support.

You say, How can national labor sustain competition with foreign labor, when the former has all the work to do, and the latter only does one-half, the sun supplying the remainder? For the same reason you should do so again. The same remark applies to navigation.

The Candlemakers’ Petition | Mises Institute

Our heaths will become covered with resinous trees. You desire to protect him from foreign competition and reserve the national market for national industry. You have done this to encourage labor bastia, to increase the demand for labor. There is ptition needy resin-collector on the heights of his sand dunes, no poor miner in the depths of his black pit, who will not receive higher wages and enjoy batiat prosperity.

If more oil be consumed, it will cause an increase in the cultivation of the olive-tree. Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift of Nature, and that to reject such gifts would be to reject wealth itself under the pretext of encouraging the means of acquiring it?

Thus, also, if the consumer is interested in the admission of light, we, the producers, pray for its interdiction.

Labor and Nature concur in different proportions, according to country and climate, in every article of production. We foresee your objections, gentlemen, but we know that you can oppose to us none but such as you have picked up from the effete works of the partisans of Free Trade. When a product — coal, iron, wheat, or textiles — comes to us from abroad, and when we can acquire it for less labour than if we produced it ourselves, the difference is a gratuitous gift that is conferred up on us.

Thousands of vessels will engage in whaling, and in a short time we shall have a fleet capable of upholding the honour of France and of gratifying the patriotic aspirations of the undersigned petitioners, chandlers, etc.


The Candlemakers’ Petition, by Frederic Bastiat

You have yourselves obviated this objection. The part nature executes is always gratuitous; it is the part executed by human labor that constitutes value and is paid for. Now it is petitionn on account of this demi-gratuity excuse the word that you argue in favor of exclusion. Petitipn repulse us, precisely for the reason that our case is a more complete one than any which have preceded it, would be to lay down the following equation: Once more, when products such as coal, iron, corn, or textile fabrics are sent us from abroad, and we can acquire them with less labor than if we made them ourselves, the difference is a free gift conferred upon us.

When an orange comes to us from Portugal, we may conclude that it is furnished in part gratuitously, in part for an onerous consideration; in other words, it comes to bastita at half price as compared with those of Paris.

They include fashion articles such as paste jewelry, purses, and household decorations. We are about to offer you an admirable opportunity of applying your — what shall we call it?

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Well, be it so; if consumers are interested in the free admission of natural light, the producers of artificial light are equally interested in its prohibition. Cast an eye upon the future and behold the gildings, the bronzes, the magnificent crystal chandeliers, lamps, reflectors and candelabras, which will glitter in the spacious stores, compared with which the splendor of the present day will appear trifling and insignificant.

It is as complete as it basyiat be when the petitoon, like the sun in providing us with light, asks nothing from us. In this belief we are confirmed by the fact that in all his transactions with this proud island, he is much more moderate and fandlemakers than with us.

The question is, and we put it formally, whether you wish for France the benefit of gratuitous consumption, or the supposed advantages of laborious production.

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