Anarchy, State and Public Choice

Anarchy, State and Public Choice

New Thinking in Political Economy series

Edited by Edward Stringham

The book reprints the main articles from the 1972 volume Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, and contains a response to each chapter, as well as new comments by Gordon Tullock, James Buchanan, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Peter Boettke. The younger economists are notably less pessimistic about markets and more pessimistic about government than their predecessors. Much of the new analysis suggests that private property rights and contracts can exist without government, and that even though problems exist, government does not seem to offer a solution. Might anarchy be the best choice after all? This provocative volume explores this issue in-depth and provides some interesting answers.

Chapter 10: Cases in Anarchy

Thomas Hogarty

Subjects: economics and finance, public choice theory, politics and public policy, public choice


* Thomas Hogarty I. INTRODUCTION Anarchy, customarily regarded as an exotic state of society possessing only ‘academic’ interest, has recently attracted widespread attention as a focal point for discussion of public institutions, social mores, the state of the economy and government itself. Most of the discussion has, not surprisingly, been concerned with the desirability or otherwise of (relatively) anarchic states; however, to be useful as even a mere focal point for discussion, the state of society we call anarchy must be subjected to positive analysis. The most direct approach to this goal is theoretical analysis [2, 3, 13]; an alternative approach – and the one taken here – is an examination of isolated instances of anarchy. A typical model of anarchy would consider one or a few issues, such as an equilibrium distribution of income, the impact of time related factors (e.g., continuous dealing), etc. The objective of such a model would be definitive conclusions (predictions) about specific aspects of behavior. In contrast, we hope to examine a wider range of behavioral issues, including those relating to the origin and termination of anarchy. At the same time, however, available evidence is sufficient neither to conclusively confirm nor refute our hypotheses or those of others. At best we can only hope to: (1) illustrate behavior patterns analyzed in more formal models; (2) suggest useful hypotheses (assumptions) for future models; and (3) provide points of reference as a general aid to future discussion. In what follows, we first present a short conceptual framework (set of...

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