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Freedom of trade
Human rights
Freedom of the press
Freedom of religion
Progress and utility
Courage and modesty

Anders Chydenius
- foundation
P.O. Box 567
FIN-67700 Kokkola
Tel. +358 (0)6 829 4111
E-mail: asiamies@chydenius.net

About freedom of trade


Cast off all thy preconceptions; imagine not liberty in one Trade or Industry alone, for this will not take thee far, afore thou stumblest against opposition and confusion. Set in thy mind, once and for all, the State free from every one of its fettering bonds and statutes...

The Source of the Weakness of the Kingdom, 1765.


Against all this, Sweden has believed that finance and trade secrets, exclusive privilege, premiums, limitations and interdictions of all kinds will make our happiness. We have now for a long time implemented all of this, and finally reached a point where our land has become empty of People through neither plague nor war, inhabited by mere Commissioners to the Foreigner by default of commercial liberty, starving although no blight occurs, and bare of money while holding the largest mines.

The Source of the Weakness of the Kingdom, 1765.


This is not to be understood in such a manner, that each individual would not in Nature have his own will, which well may be in conflict with that of the State; but the Balance that will be reached among the various Trades, upon
their liberation, will prevent the Tradesmen from damaging others and their Country to the extent of what commonly occurs. Humanity can in this respect fully be compared to the Sea, where one Column of Water with tremendous pressure affects Another, but is countered by an equal Countre-pressure, resulting in a surface which is even and horizontal - all this without any Barriers or Hindrances for the separate Columns, nor any complex Arraignments.

In Reply to Critiques Applying to The Source of the Weakness of the Kingdom, 1765.


Commodities are never produced without being wanted and demanded. Wants show themselves; they are manifold, and thus they spontaneously call into existence trade and products, which latter will later be sold to those who need them. If anyone who needs a commodity is prevented from buying it, this commodity will remain on the producer's hands, will be a burden to him and get a black stamp on it, on which the words may be read: "Wasted expenditure of energy".

The National Gain, 1765.


It was punishment for fallen man to support himself in the sweat of his brow; but this punishment was such that Nature itself measured it out, when man was forced to work because of his wants, when he had nothing but his own hands to rely on for his needs; and toil was made lighter by the desire for his own benefit, when he saw that he could thereby get what he needed.

If either is lacking, the fault should be sought in the laws of the Nation, hardly, however, in any want of laws, but in the impediments that are put in the way of Nature.


Now, if this is incontrovertible, I intend to found thereon the following proposition, i.e. that every individual spontaneously tries to find the place and the trade in which he can best increase National gain, if laws do not prevent him from doing so.

Every man seeks his own gain. This inclination is so natural and necessary that all Communities in the world are founded upon it. Otherwise Laws, punishments and rewards would not exist and mankind would soon perish
altogether. The work that has the greatest value is always best paid, and what is best paid is most sought after.

The National Gain, 1765.


I base my theory on two basic truths in trade. The first of these is that the more purchasers there are on a market, the better the payment the seller receives for his goods and vice versa. The second is that the goods never cost so much when I am compelled to offer them for sale as when the buyer must seek them.

The Source of the Weakness of the Kingdom, 1765


One thus sees sensible people who improve in their simplicity by, in devious ways, laying snares around their own and others’ necks and smothering in the happiest of countries.

Response to a price query from the Royal Economic Society concerning assistance to Finnish agriculture, 1799.


As far as trade is concerned, it is particularly remarkable that it requires the greatest speed, and therefore does not tolerate the very smallest obstacle or force, when it collects money and possessions in all directions for someone who, with care and diligence, initiates trading, and it also spreads prosperity to the most remote districts and thereby creates living conditions for thousands of new individuals in places where once ghosts and wild beasts dwelt, and here it is only the own profit that sets the largest wheels in motion without applying any other measures.

Response to a price query from the Royal Economic Society concerning assistance to Finnish agriculture, 1799.


One single Statute, i.e. the one to reduce the number of our Statutes, has ever since been a pleasant subject of work to me, which I want to recommend highly as the very first and the most important before any new Statutes are invented.

The National Gain, 1765.


When a stream is allowed to flow smoothly, every drop of water is in motion. When there are no hindrances, every workman strives for his daily bread and thereby increases the gain of the Nation. But by Statutes the people are collected into certain groups, the possibilities of trade become limited, and in each group a small number keeps at the top above the great body of the people whose opulence is used as a reason for assuming the prosperity of the whole Nation.

The National Gain, 1765.


Man thrives when he enjoys his needs and comforts, which, according to our ordinary way of speaking, are called goods. Nature produces them, but they can never be of use to us without labour.

Our wants are various, and nobody has been found able to acquire even the necessaries without the aid of other people, and there is scarcely any Nation that has not stood in need of others. The Almighty himself has made our
race such that we should help one another. Should this mutual aid be checked within or without the Nation, it is contrary to Nature.

The National Gain, 1765.


This conception of the National gain, however hard it may seem to be on our new enterprises, is nevertheless the simplest and easiest in itself.

It gives liberty to all lawful trades, though not at the expense of the others. It protects the poorest business and encourages diligence and free trade.

It weighs everybody in the same scales, and gain is the right measure that shows who should have the preference.

It relieves the Government from thousands of uneasy worries, Statutes and supervisions, when private and National gain merge into one interest, and the harmful selfishness, which always tries to cloak itself beneath the Statutes, can then most surely be controlled by mutual competition.

It allows a Swede to exercise the dearest and greatest right in Nature the Almighty has given him as man, i.e. to support himself in the sweat of his brow in whatever way he thinks best.

It snatches away the pillow of laziness from the arms of those who, thanks to their Privileges, can now safely sleep away two-thirds of their time. All expedients to live without work will be removed and none but the diligent
can become well-off.

It makes a desirable reduction in our Lawsuits. The numerous Statutes, their explanations, exceptions and applications, which fetter trades in one way or another, will then be unnecessary and grow silent, and when the Law is annulled, its breach will amount to nothing.

The National Gain, 1765.


It would appear that they would like to believe that the Almighty was not in a position to equip people on Earth with a way whereby they could survive, propagate their kin and live on Earth, unless they should maintain our kin
through privileges, trade guilds, incentives, inspectors and executors within their respective trades and professions.

Thoughts on the Natural Rights of Servants and Peasants, 1778.


One’s own happiness and one’s own benefits make up the right and vital driving force in the actions of all free people, since corporal punishment is really associated with thralls. It is a wise ruler who is understanding enough
to liberate the lust for profit from the aristocratic constraints in which the self-interest of some people has confined them, but he is a great ruler if he has the ability to do so.

Thoughts on the Natural Rights of Servants and Peasants, 1778.


Trade is too sensitive a factor for a country, which must be looked after with extreme care, but trade is nowhere near as strange as people make it. It does not consist mainly of secrets and not at all of many strange regulations and conditions nor of many edicts and prohibitions. Nature is always natural and simple. When blood is allowed to flow freely in all the veins according to their size and functions, then the body is at its best, but if too much blood is forced into the heart and lungs in order to make them stronger, then they suffer from their blood, other limbs wither away and the body is in danger of fatal stings and an incurable issue of blood.

Counter-arguments to Those Who Would Attempt to Oppose Free Navigation between the Towns of Ostrobothnia, Västerbotten and Norland (1765).


The Creator only put people to work, but did not stipulate the type of work each of them should do. Stealing was the only thing that the Almighty prohibited, but no target was set for diligence, how far it was allowed to go or
what sort of things such diligence produced. He did not tie anyone to the plough nor did He tie anyone to trade guilds but merely when and where each one perceived how best to make a living where he could better himself.

Response to a price query from the Royal Economic Society concerning assistance to Finnish agriculture, 1799.