Charles Fourier (1772-1837)

“Critique of Economic Liberalism”

Source: The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier. Selected Texts on Work, Love, and Passionate Attraction. Translated, Edited and with an Introduction by Jonathan Beecher and Richard Bienvenu. Published by Jonathan Cape, 1972;
First Published: Manuscrits de Charles Fourier. Année 1851.
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

Despite all its vices, commerce is regarded as a perfect method of exchange because the contracting parties are free to come to terms or to decline to do so. This freedom is only a negative benefit. It has no value except by comparison with the methods of the barbarians, with requisitions, maximums, tariffs, etc. It is far from sufficient in itself to secure equity, fidelity, confidence or economy in exchanges. These and other benefits have no place in the commercial order, which establishes all the opposite vices. Commerce allows deceit and plunder to triumph; it creates a climate of mistrust which impedes the development of economic relations and necessitates expensive precautions. Finally it hinders and complicates the whole process of exchange.