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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But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice — your practice without theory and without petitioh.

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 industry.

Nature and human labor cooperate in various proportions depending on countries and climates in the production of commodities. If candlemaksrs manufacturer gains by protection, he will make the agriculturist also a gainer; and if agriculture prospers, it will open a vent to manufactures.


You have only half as good a reason for complying with the demands of other monopolists as you have for cqndlemakers our petition, which is in complete accord with your established policy; and to reject our demands precisely because they are better founded than anyone else’s would be tantamount to accepting the equation: Either you are not consistent, or you should, after excluding what is half free of charge as harmful to our domestic industry, exclude pwtition is totally gratuitous with petitkon the more reason and with twice the zeal.

Skip to main content. Will you tell us that, though basiat may gain by this protection, France will not gain at all, because the consumer will bear the expense? No poor resinier from his heights on the seacoast, no coal miner from the depth of his sable gallery, but will rejoice in higher wages and increased prosperity. This rival, who is none other than the sun, wages war mercilessly against us, and we suspect that he has been raised up by perfidious Albion good policy nowadaysinasmuch as he displays toward that haughty island a circumspection with which he dispenses in our case.

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. Numerous swarms of bees will, on the mountains, gather perfumed treasures, now wasting their fragrance on the desert air, like the flowers from which they emanate. The size of this gift is proportionate to the extent of this difference. The part nature executes is always gratuitous; it is the part executed by human labor that constitutes value and is paid for.


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. If more tallow be consumed, there will arise a necessity for an increase of cattle and sheep. You have done so in order to encourage industry and to increase employment.

If more oil is consumed, then we shall have an extended cultivation of the poppy, of the olive, and of rape.

When canldemakers 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. Unknown translator maybe someone from the FEE.

If then candleamkers demi-gratuity can determine you to check competition, on what principle can the entire gratuity be alleged as a reason for admitting it? We anticipate your objections, gentlemen; but there is not a single one of them that you have not picked up from the musty old books of the advocates of free trade. You have ceased to have any right to invoke the interest of the consumer; for, whenever his interest is found opposed to that of the producer, you sacrifice the former.

If the manufacturer profits by protection, he will make the farmer prosperous. It is as perfect and complete as it can be when the donor like the sun in furnishing us with light asks us for nothing. Numerous swarms of petirion will gather upon our mountains the perfumed treasures, which are now cast upon the winds, useless as the blossoms from which they emanate.

Contrariwise, bwstiat agriculture is prosperous, it will open markets for manufactured goods. These rich and soil-exhausting plants will come at the right time to enable us bastlat avail ourselves of the increased fertility that the rearing of additional cattle will impart to our lands. You have no longer any right to cite the interest of the consumer.

You have, in obeying the wishes of other monopolists, acted only from a half-motive ; to grant our petition there is a much fuller inducement. We are subjected to the intolerable competition of a foreign rival, who enjoys, it would seem, such superior facilities for the production of light, that he is enabled to inundate our national market at so exceedingly reduced a price, that, the moment caandlemakers makes his appearance, he draws off all custom from us; and thus an important branch of French industry, with all its innumerable ramifications, is suddenly reduced to a state of complete stagnation.

It is a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value of the product if the foreigner asks of us candlemakets three-quarters, one-half, or one-quarter as high a price. 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?

It is as complete as possible when the producer offers, batiat the sun does candlemakera light, the whole in free gift.


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View the discussion thread. There is no 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 increased prosperity. You are on the right road. Henceforth you will behold gilding, bronze, and crystal in candlesticks, in lamps, in chandeliers, in candelabra sparkling in spacious emporia compared with which those of today peetition but stalls.

Remember that hitherto you have always repulsed foreign produce, because it was an approach to a gratuitous gift, and the more in proportion as this approach was more close.

The Candlemakers’ Petition | Mises Institute

Thus, there is no branch of agriculture that shall not greatly develop. Cast an eye upon the future and behold the gildings, the bronzes, the magnificent crystal candkemakers, 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. Yes, but the producer is interested in their exclusion. You have done so for the purpose of encouraging labor and increasing employment.

You desire to protect him from foreign competition and reserve the national market for national industry.

Candlemakers’ Petition

In a bastiag, you wish to secure the national market to national labor. We shall say, then, your practice — your practice without theory and without principle.

Thus, also, if the consumer is interested in the admission of light, we, the producers, pray for its interdiction. You have also said, the producer and the consumer are one. Now, it is precisely this semigratuity pardon the word that we contend should be excluded. If more tallow is consumed, then there must be more oxen and sheep; and, consequently, we shall behold the multiplication of meadows, meat, wool, hides, and above all, manure, which is the basis and foundation of all agricultural wealth.

If more oil be consumed, it will cause an increase in the cultivation of the olive-tree. You have done this to encourage laborto increase the demand for labor.

The Candlemakers’ Petition, by Frederic Bastiat

But what words can express the magnificence which Paris will then exhibit! We defy you to utter a single word against us which will not instantly rebound against yourselves and your entire policy. 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. Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift of Nature, and petiion to reject such gifts would be to reject wealth itself under the pretext of encouraging the means of acquiring it?