The process of how man’s wants are satisfied as described by Bastiat in chapter two of Economic Harmonies may seem a little dry and methodical to some, but chapter three goes deeper into the depths of a mans essence and being on top of elucidating on some causal relationships.
There have always been deep seated fears that automation emerging in the market via innovative capital investments would make people lazy and create many idle hands. Coupled with this fear is the claim that unfettered capitalism and the full unleashing of free market forces would give rise to immorality and a societal degradation, so to speak.
Chapter three highlights that although suffering is inevitable in our world, it also can and often does act in a manner that tends to rid itself of its own causes.
The study of the natural laws of society will reveal that the role of suffering is gradually to destroy its own causes, to restrict itself to narrower and narrower limits, and, finally, to guarantee us, by making us earn and deserve it, a preponderance of the good and the beautiful over the evil. 
Part of the reason that people seem to fear that capital investment and wealth creation will eventually lead us to become lazy and idle is that they tend to assume that mans wants and desires are a fixed quantity beyond which people will just consume leisure. They forget that self-interest is the mainspring force that drives humanity and that the well of desires in man is endless.
On the subject of human wants I have an observation to make that is important, even fundamental, for political economy: they are not a fixed, immutable quantity. By nature they are not static, but progressive.
This characteristic is to be noted even in the most material of our wants; it becomes more marked as we advance to those intellectual tastes and yearnings that distinguish man from beast. 
Also, there is much to be learned from one of the most poignant statements concerning the problems that arise when people believe that wants are a fixed quantity to be desired:
It is impossible to find a good solution to the problem of the machine, foreign competition, and luxury, as long as wants are considered as an invariable quantity, or their capacity for indefinite multiplication is not taken into account.
But if man’s wants are not fixed quantities, but progressive, capable of growth like the inexhaustible desires on which they constantly feed, we must conclude, granting that a balance between the means and the end is the first law of all harmony, that Nature has placed in man and about him unlimited and constantly increasing means of satisfaction. This is what we shall now examine. 
Not everyone desires solely economic and monetary gains as their most valuable ends, as the essence of one’s being often desires to enjoy more nobler goals, such as the continual learning and expanding of knowledge, the cultivation of ones intelligence and sensibilities to become more learned and refined, the charitable giving to their less fortunate brethren, close relationships with family, friends, community and extended ranges of society beyond the individual are high on the lists of many.
But we must not forget that enjoying these said desires of a higher order can only be realized after we can provide for our own basic needs. Continue reading “Economic Harmonies: Chapter Three Review – The Inexhaustible Nature Of Wants and What Keeps Them In Check”