Gustave de Molinari, 1819-1912
Short biography, list of major works and other resources
"Belgian-born Parisian journalist and radical laissez-faire ultra of the French Liberal School. In the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions, Molinari launched a journalist campaign against socialists of all stripes. In a controversial 1849 article, Molinari argued that police and even defense should be provided by private companies."
Life and Works of Gustave de Molinari
, by David M. Hart, 1 Jan 2001
Includes bibliography and works about Molinari
"Molinari became active in liberal circles when he moved to Paris from his native Belgium in the 1840s to pursue a career as a journalist and political economist and was active in promoting free trade, peace, and the abolition of slavery. His liberalism was based upon the theory of natural rights (especially the right to property and individual liberty) and he advocated complete laissez-faire in economic policy and the ultra-minimal state in politics."
Freedom Fighters » Gustave de Molinari
Quotation and links to selected online resources by and about Molinari
Gustave de Molinari - Online Library of Liberty
Includes photo, short biography and links to various editions of his writings and to selected quotations
"Gustave de Molinari was born in Liège on March 3, 1819 and died in Adinkerque on January 28, 1912. He was the leading representative of the laissez-faire school of classical liberalism in France in the second half of the 19 th century and was still campaigning against protectionism, statism, militarism, colonialism, and socialism into his 90s on the eve of the First World War. As he said shortly before his death, his classical liberal views had remained the same throughout his long life but the world around him had managed to turn full circle in the meantime."
Works by and about Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)
Includes links to several of Molinari's writings, both in the original French and in English, and reviews and other articles about Molinari and his works
Frederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace
, by Jim Powell
, The Freeman
, Jun 1997
Lengthy biographical essay, covering those who influenced Bastiat as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Félix Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
"[Bastiat] contributed two essays to the Dictionnaire de l'Economie politique (Dictionary of Political Economy), which Ambrose Clement, Charles Coquelin, Horace Say, Gustave de Molinari, and others developed as a means to popularize free-market ideas. ... The glorious French laissez-faire tradition passed into history with the death of Bastiat's friend Gustave de Molinari on January 28, 1912, although Molinari influenced American individualists like Benjamin Tucker, whose radical ideas persist to this day."
Related Topics: Claude Frédéric Bastiat
, Richard Cobden
, Foundation for Economic Education
, Benjamin Franklin
, Free Trade
, Henry Hazlitt
, Jean-Baptiste Say
, The State
Gustave de Molinari on States and Defense
, by Joseph R. Stromberg
, 25 Jul 2000
Examines Molinari's conception of the states, including democracies, and their role in defense, as well as his proposal for agencies to provide defense against external aggressors
"Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912) was born in Belgium but spent much of his life in France as a member of the French laissez faire liberal school of economists. ... In this radical school of economists Molinari stood out as the most radical. He appears to have been the first writer to draw the conclusion that government could, in effect, be replaced by competing companies or agencies offering to provide security and protection."
Here are 7 lesser-known classical liberal thinkers for your World Philosophy Day
, by Kelly Wright, 17 Nov 2016
Brief profiles of Spencer, Tucker, Spooner, Paterson, Molinari, Garrison and Herbert, together with a reading recommendation for each one of them
"Belgian Gustave de Molinari is the intellectual heir to the philosophy of free trade as espoused by Frederic Bastiat. Shortly before Bastiat’s death in 1850, Molinari published The Production of Security, one of the first works to lay out a theoretical framework for markets as a viable alternative to the coercive state. Murray Rothbard writes in the preface of the 1977 English translation that The Production of Security is the 'first presentation anywhere in human history of what is now called anarcho-capitalism.'"
Les Economistes Libertaires
, by Carl Watner, Reason
, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
"Gustave de Molinari was a true representative of this school. As a young man, Molinari came into contact with the early founders of the Society of Political Economy in Paris, and he remained faithful to their doctrines throughout his long life ... Molinari led a productive life until his last days. His literary output numbered many books on political science and economics, as well as innumerable articles contributed to scholarly journals. ... Molinari was a firm believer in the efficacy of natural laws, and it was his opinion that these natural laws of economics prevail in all phases of human action."
Remembering Gustave de Molinari
, by Gary M. Galles, 5 Mar 2005
Selection of quotes by Molinari on government and individual sovereignty, together with introductory and concluding remarks
"His role was such that Frederic Bastiat, from his deathbed in 1850, described Molinari as his successor. That conclusion was merited by two strong defenses of liberty he put out in 1849, after France's 1848 revolution (positions which, later, forced him into exile from Napoleon III in his native Belgium): Les Soirees de la rue Sainte-Lazare and "De la Production de la Securite" (The Production of Security) in the Journal des Economistes."
The Roots of Modern Libertarian Ideas
, by Brian Doherty, Cato Policy Report
, Mar 2007
Survey of the history of libertarian ideas, from ancient China and Greece to 20th century writers
"The most radical of the 19th-century European liberal economists was Gustave de Molinari. Molinari was the first, apparently, to explain how the principles and practices of the free competitive market could apply to military defense, thus potentially kicking the props out from under any need for government. He was a follower of French liberal economists Bastiat and Charles Dunoyer and published a paper in the Journal des Economistes in 1849 that shocked even them by reasoning that if free competition works in other fields, we ought not assume beforehand that it could not work in defense."
The Production of Security
, Journal des économistes
, Feb 1849
Questions whether the provision of security to citizens should be an exception to the economic principle of free competition, delving into arguments favoring monopolistic and communistic government and concluding with a hypothetical free market example
"Hence also the creation of establishments whose object is to guarantee to everyone the peaceful possession of his person and his goods. These establishments were called governments. Everywhere, even among the least enlightened tribes, one encounters a government, so universal and urgent is the need for security provided by government. Everywhere, men resign themselves to the most extreme sacrifices rather than do without government and hence security, without realizing that in so doing, they misjudge their alternatives."
The Society of To-morrow: A Forecast of Its Political and Economic Organisation
Partial contents: Formation of Primitive Communities and the Conditions Necessary to Their Existence - Competition Between Primitive Communities and Its Results - Competition Between States in Process of Civilisation - Decline of Destructive Competition