It’s a great word. It has panache and motion. It is much better than corruption which is the word I use in Categories Explained. But I think I’ll switch to plunder, as Bastiat uses it in the way I do, and he got there first.

In the second series of Economic Sophisms, he devotes the first chapter to “The Physiology of Plunder.” Here he states that “Plunder consists in banishing by force or fraud the freedom to negotiate in order to receive a service without offering one in return.” But I am most interested in the plunder of a fraudulant nature, the theft that occurs when moving resources from one sphere to the other.

He has a lot to say about the extraction of services by the church in return for a designated spot in heaven. He acknowledges that the priest who is the instrument of religion will be “gentle, tolerant, humble, charitable…” And yet some priests are “turned in many ways so as to draw the greatest benefit for themselves.” Representatives of the public good are privately pilfering from group resources, so it would seem.

There is plunder in the commercial sector when flawed products are sold, or measures shortened. Lawyers and doctors can skim off the public goodwill by offering “disastrous advice.” And he spends a lot of time navigating the ins and outs of plunder in the name of the government.

I look forward to reading further to see how he parses all these transactions out into a structure.