6/28/2019

Bastiat on Story Telling and Other Rhetorical Devices

"I was struck by the same thing as I was editing Economic Harmonies and decided to count the stories: I counted 55, which I think is surprisingly large -- and see how he compares to other economists, such as Adam Smith, J.B. Say, and John Stuart Mill.[56] Did they tell economic stories in the same way, or were they more "expositional" in their analyses? One might further ask, does economic storytelling have a place in modern economic theory, or is this approach now out of date and thus to be avoided? Previously, I had realized that storytelling was an important part of Bastiat's approach to "applied economics" in his journalism and described this as Bastiat's "rhetoric of liberty," which he used brilliantly in the Economic Sophisms."[57] But had not fully realized he also used this approach in his main work of theory."