on the Rue Saint-Lazare:
Conversations on Economic Laws
and Defense of Property

(Les Soirιes de la Rue Saint-Lazare:
Entretiens sur les lois ιconomiques
et dιfense de la propriιtι
- 1849)

by Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)

Member of the Paris Society of Political Economy.

Translation by Roderick T. Long

This online edition of Gustave de Molinari’s Soirιes is a work in progress.
Please email me with comments or corrections.

Click here for the French version
Cliquez ici pour la version franηaise


First Evening

The social problem stated. – That society is governed by natural, absolute, and immutable laws. – That property is the foundation of the natural organisation of society. – Definition of property. – List of current assaults on the principle of property.
Second Evening
Assaults on interior property. – Literary and artistic property. – Intellectual piracy. – Property in inventions.
Third Evening
Assaults on exterior property, continued. – The law of expropriation for the sake of public utility. – Mining legislation. – Public domain, property of the State, of departments, and of communes. – Forests. – Roads. – Canals. – Rivers. – Mineral waters.
Fourth Evening
The right of bequest. – Legislation regulating inheritance. – The right of inheritance. – Its moral results. – Its material results. – Comparison of French agriculture with British agriculture. – Entail and its utility. – Natural organisation of farm management under a system of free property.
Fifth Evening
The right to lend. – Legislation regulating loans with interest. – Definition of capital. – Motives impelling man to form capital. – Credit. – Interest. – The elements of which it is composed. – Labour. – Privation. – Risk. – How these elements can be reduced. – That they cannot be so by laws. – Disastrous results of legislation restricting the interest rate.
Sixth Evening
The right of exchange. – Exchange of labour. – Laws regarding unions. – Articles 414 and 415 of the Penal Code. – Union of Parisian carpenters in 1843. – Demonstration of the law which makes the price of things gravitate toward the sum of their costs of production. – Its application to labour. – That the worker can sometimes dictate to the employer. – Example of the English Antilles. – Natural organisation of the sale of labour.
Seventh Evening
The right of exchange, continued. – International exchange. – The protectionist system. – Its aim. – Aphorisms of M. de Bourrienne. – Origin of the protectionist system. – The mercantile system. – Arguments in favour of protectionism. – Depletion of specie. – Independence from abroad. – Increase in domestic production. – That the protectionist system has decreased overall production. – That it has made production precarious and distribution iniquitous.
Eighth Evening
Assaults on interior property. – Industries monopolised or subsidised by the State. – Manufacture of currency. – The nature and use of currency. – Why a country’s specie cannot be depleted. – Transportation routes. – Managed expensively and badly by the State. – Mail delivery. – Postmasters. – That the intervention of government in protectionism is always necessarily harmful. – Subsidies and privileges of theatres. – Public libraries. – Subsidy of worship. – Monopoly of education. – Its fatal results.
Ninth Evening
Assaults on interior property, continued. – The right of association. – Legislation regulating commercial companies in France. – The limited company and its advantages. – The monopoly of banks. – The function of banks. – Result of government intervention in the business of banks. – The discount rate. – Legal bankruptcies. – Other privileged or regulated industries. – Bakers. – Butchers. – Printers. – Notaries. – Stockbrokers. – Prostitution. – Morticians. – Cemeteries. – The bar. – Medicine. – Professors. – Article 3 of the Law of 7-9 July 1833.
Tenth Evening
Legal charity and its influence on population. – Malthus’ Law. – Defense of Malthus. – Population in Ireland. – Means of putting an end to the poverty of Ireland. – Why legal charity gives rise to an artificial increase in population. – Its moral influence on the working classes. – That legal charity discourages private charity. – QUALITY of population. – Means of improving population. – Crossing of races. – Marriages. – Sympathetic unions. – Ill-matched unions. – Their influence on the race. – In which situation, under which system the population would most easily maintain itself at the level of its means of existence.
Eleventh Evening
Government and its function. – Monopoly governments and communist governments. – Freedom of government. – Divine right. – That divine right is identical with the right to work. – Vices of monopoly government. – War is the inevitable consequence of this system. – Sovereignty of the people. – How sovereignty is lost. – How it is recovered. – The liberal solution. – The communist solution. – Communist governments. – Their vices. – Centralisation and decentralisation. – The administration of justice. – Its former organisation. – Its present organisation. – The inadequacy of the jury system. – How the administration of security and that of justice might be rendered free. – Advantages of free governments. – What is meant by nationality.

See also David M. Hart’s translation of this chapter.
Twelfth and Final Evening
Rent. – Its nature and origin. – Summary and conclusion.

Editors of the Collection of Principal Economists, the Journal des
, the Dictionary of Commerce and Commodities, etc.

GUSTAVE GRATIOT, Printer, 11 Rue de la Monnaie.

Back to online library