"The economics of anarchy is an important area of research in public choice."


I haven't had the chance to read the whole paper yet, but the abstract for Benjamin Powell and Edward Peter Stringham's "Public Choice and the Economic Analysis of Anarchy" sounds mighty interesting:

Following the lead of the early public choice economists, many current economists are researching and analyzing how individuals interact without government. From their non-public-interested explanations of the creation of government law enforcement to their historical studies of attempts to internalize externalities under anarchy, public choice scholars are arriving at a more realistic perspective on government and how people interact when government law enforcement is lacking. Although the economics of politics often receives more attention, the economics of anarchy is an important area of research in public choice.

Whole thing here. Reason on the anarchist response to Hurricane Katrina here and on Anarchy, State, and Utopia author Robert Nozick here. talks to Against the State author Crispin Sartwell here.

(Via Todd Zywicki)

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  1. Say, Damon, this is mighty interesting. You should try Somalia. They’d love your hair.

  2. Damn. You beat me to it.

  3. I don’t get the hair reference.

  4. Does anybody have a list of the porn movies Damon Root has stared in?

  5. I don’t even think they’re related.

  6. Afghanistan has the highest number of guns per person of any country on the planet. It must be really safe because everybody knows everybody else is packing a piece. Way to go, Afghanistan!

  7. My bad! So what is it about morons and the last name Root?

  8. An interesting area of study, but man…tough to move into the realm of scientific (rather than scholarly)study.

  9. Neu Mijican

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  10. Afghanistan has the highest number of guns per person of any country on the planet.

    BZZT! Wrong, the correct answer is: the USA. 9 guns for every 10 people, according to the last UN study on the arms trade. And I can come up with some methodological flaws in their approach that indicate undercounting. We’re number one! USA! USA!

    IIRC, Yemen is number 2 at around 6 per 10.

  11. Because Yemen is number two, it tries harder! Go Yemen. Kill, kill, kill!

  12. Lefiti | January 21, 2009, 7:48pm | #
    Neu Mijican

    What the fuck are you talking about?


  13. So, Damon, lots of interest in this important area of of research, huh? Idiot.

  14. Damon,
    Thanks for posting this.
    I’m thinking even Joe Sixpack has heard about folks being liberal in their youth but conservative as they mature.
    Libertarians and Reasonoids need to begin now to get it through their heads down there in their parents’ basements, that they will someday be anarchists.

    Excuse me, but times being what they are, I feel I must always add: PEACEFUL anarchists. Violent anarchy is a oxymoron, but I still feel I must be clear.

  15. Violent anarchy is a oxymoron

    Not really.

    For it to be so requires a very specific meaning of anarchy. The term “anarchy”, however, also has many acceptable uses that would make “Peaceful Anarchist” the oxymoron.

    It is best to use those modifiers. Languages developed them for a reason.

  16. Woot! Lefiti’s been busy. But so have I. Here’s his latest adventures!

  17. Neu Mejican,
    We’ve scanned your posts for some time now and have become convinced your occupation is “phono-morpho-syntactic socio-environmental engineering.” If so, we would like to recruit you for work on the new race of human beings we are developing.

  18. Bizarro comments. From the moment Lefiti beat Lefiti to the punch, everything went downhill.

    Yes, Baked Penguin, woot, indeed.

  19. That bibliography is huge. I remember that there was a flurry of interest in this subject at VPI in the seventies (the late Winston Bush was one of the inspirers here) — and it looks like there has been a resurgence in the last ten years or so.

  20. This is part of the wierdness of how many leftists react to behavioral economics. They tend to respond by exclaiming “Look humans aren’t perfectly rational self-interested economic actors!”, while managing to be completely oblivious to the fact that it explains how people spontaneously generate social order without the aid of a central authority (i.e. without government).

  21. Atlantan,

    phonology bores me.

  22. Damn, I guess they’re going to be a boring new race of humans then.

  23. The Mayflower Compact was written aboard ship, before the first passenger set foot on land. The Pilgrims understood the critical implementation of a government, of law and order, if they were to survive. They were not “peaceful anarchists.”

    Travelers in the great western migrations always set up a government to keep order and settle disputes along the way. Everyone voted and elected representatives, whose judgement and decisions were binding. These temporary governments gave way to permanent ones once the settlers reached their respective destinations. The settlers understood the need for order. They were not anarchists either.

    Even the most primitive tribes on earth have governments, chiefs, people in charge, laws. No sizeable group of people can exist (peacefully) for long without a governmment of some sort.

  24. Anarchy is only meta-stable.

    Much shorter than ed‘s version.

  25. ed, I suspect that you are using a very broad definition of government, and anarchists tend to use a more narrow definition of government, focussed more on a self-perpetuating and coercive (to some degree) “state” institution.

  26. @ed: Hans-Hermann Hoppe would disagree with you in that these “temporary governments” are not governments in the modern concept of the state, because they do not have a monopoly of justice, monopoly of territory, or a monopoly of violence. They are voluntary associations and contracts–social contracts in the actual sense of the word ‘contract’.

    In fact, I would say that these “temporary governments” are examples of why anarchy would work. People would form voluntary associations for mutual protection and dispute resolution.

  27. I’d like to add I didn’t throw Hoppe out there as some kind of appeal to authority, but as an example of somebody who clearly delineates what is a state/government and what is not.

  28. People would form voluntary associations for mutual protection and dispute resolution.

    i.e. governments.

  29. “People would form voluntary associations for mutual protection and dispute resolution.

    i.e. governments.”

    Your subservience to government monopoly is not voluntary.

    Just try to repudiate your citizenship, give up your Social Security number, or your Selective Service number. I doubt you’ll succeed, but even if your did, the IRS would still be at your door asking for protection money.

  30. For that matter, try to form a voluntary association for mutual protection and dispute resolution that is anything by subservient to the state.

    “I’m sorry, officer, but I disagree that I should pay a fine for going that fast. Please submit your claim to the Dean Voluntary Dispute Resolution Council.”

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the deceased was shot while forcibly detaining a subscriber to the Dean Voluntary Protection Organization at a so-called “traffic stop” by the defendant, an agent of the DVPO acting within the scope of the voluntary arrangement. We urge you to acquit.”

  31. Exactly R C Dean.

    There are several different kinds of justice: remunerative, restorative, retributive… but all of them involve a victim. When you are speeding… you’re committing a crime against whom exactly? Other drivers? What if all the other drivers are speeding? What if there is nobody else on the road? You are committing a crime against the state–and the state will punish.

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