The French Candlemakers' Petition
From a Petition From the French Manufacturers of Candles:
"We (French candlemakers) are suffering from the ruinous competition of a foreign rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun.
We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat."
~French economist Frédéric Bastiat writing in 1845. Bastiast was born today in 1801.
Just like we shouldn't complain about a foreign rival like the sun "dumping" light on us for free or below cost, we also shouldn't complain about foreign countries "dumping" goods in the U.S. below cost, and we shouldn't complain about currency "manipulation" that makes goods cheaper to U.S. consumers and companies, and we shouldn't complain about free gifts or foreign aid from other countries.
In addition to highlighting the economic fallacies of protectionism and promoting the economic benefits of free trade, Bastiat also facetiously proposed laws forbidding the use of everybody's right hand, based on the false assumptions that more difficulty means more work and more jobs, and more work produces more wealth.