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At the race track, if one of the horses wins the prize, the other loses it; but when two horses work to produce something useful, each will produce an amount in proportion to his strength; and although the stronger will render the greater service, it does not follow that the weaker will render none at all.
As Bastiat said about these limits of otherwise universal economic harmonies: "However much we love reconciliation, there are two principles that cannot be reconciled: liberty and coercion."4 Thus the free market can satisfy all interests except for the interests of those who, for whatever reason, seek to invade the property of others.
As a consequence it is not necessary to call for institutionalized intervention.
And a creditor himself has an interest in the well-being of his debtor because only a healthy debtor can pay interest.
Bastiat discussed countless similar relationships, such as those between consumers and producers, proletarians and owners, workers and capitalists, rural and urban population, citizens and foreigners, landowners and residents, the people and the bourgeoisie, etc.
The most important economic justifications for government intervention stressed the existence of business cycles, monopoly, public goods, and unemployment.
In each of these cases, the perceived problem was claimed to be a market failure, which is nothing else but the claim that the problem under consideration springs from the very nature of the market.
He also refuted Malthus's population theory, according to which population growth must bring about food shortages and, hence, end up in conflicts of interest between the members of society.
Virtually all of the arguments he made in regard to these specific issues penetrate to the heart of the matter.
The market cannot possibly solve it, at any rate, it cannot solve it as well as the government, the great , which is therefore necessary to bring relief.
True to Bastiat's spirit, many Austrian and a few mainstream economists have again and again rebutted these twentieth-century allegations of market failure case by case.