While Proudhon had the anarchist insight that the state was unnecessary and oppressive, he lacked the economic insight that property was both natural and necessary. In effect, he looked at quasi-feudal property arrangements and threw the baby out with the bathwater, rejecting all property (at least in his early formulations.) However, there were contemporaries of Proudhon who were much wiser in this regard. They were the laissez faire economists, the intellectual descendants of the physiocrats Richard Cantillon, Francois Quesnay, and Jean-Baptiste Say. This group collaborated in the Paris Societe des Economistes, and included Frederick Bastiat, Charles Dunoyer, and Gustave de Molinari.
Probably all of these economistes except Molinari were minarchist rather than anarchist. They were, like Henry David Thoreau, evolutionary quasi-anarchists, in that they saw the need for government withering away as people and society advanced.
There can be no question about the implicit anarchism of Comte's and Dunoyer's liberalism. Dunoyer, for example, thought that in the future the state would merely be an appendage of the market and would gradually wither and die as the market expanded. Perfection would be reached when "everyone works and no one governs," and "the maintenance of public safety would no longer demand the intervention of a permanent, special force, the government to this extent disappears." A colleague and fellow liberal, Augustin Thierry, echoed Dunoyer's sentiments when he wrote that "it was in losing their powers that the actions of governments [have] ameliorate[d]" and that, if given a choice between an oppressive state apparatus and "anarchy," he believed that "the excesses of the police are far more fatal than the absence of the police." In Comte's words: "the less [government] makes itself felt, the more the people prosper."
The anarchism of Comte and Dunoyer was dependent on their view of the evolution of societies. Like Molinari, they believed that "as we become more civilized, there is less need for police and courts." - David M. Hart, Gustave de Molinari and the Anti-Statist Liberal Tradition