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The Bastiat-Proudhon Debate
on Interest (1849-1850)

Preface to Letter 2



[by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)]



[La Voix du Peuple, 12 November 1849; translated by Benjamin R. Tucker,
in The Irish World and American Industrial Liberator, 12 July 1879.]



PARIS, November 12, 1849.
DOI-IV-2a.1 We publish to-day a first article by M. Frederic Bastiat, a representative of the people, and one of the most distinguished economists of our country, upon the great question of the day, Interest or Rent of capital. We do for M. Bastiat, we will do for any serious economist who will honor us with his criticisms, a thing hitherto unknown in the annals of journalism. We open our columns to our opponent, we publish his article entire, we make no comment upon it, in order not to influence the judgment of our readers, and to equalize the advantages of the controversy between our antagonist and ourselves. It will not be our fault if the question if Interest, which, in the economic order, constitutes the whole object of the socialistic protest of the nineteenth century, is not discussed seriously before the country and before Europe, and probably ere long decided. When the writer’s pen is able to effect or avert a revolution, what need of paving stones and bayonets?
DOI-IV-2a.2 “The abundance and multiplicity of our tasks not permitting us to reply to M. Bastiat to-morrow, we postpone our answer till next Monday, November 19, thus leaving our readers for a week under the influence of the arguments of our adversary.

“P. J. PROUDHON. ”
M. L. B.           



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