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 16: Anarchy

Gordon Tullock

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


Gordon Tullock Anarchy originally developed in Europe as a sort of offshoot of Christianity. Non-violence was regarded as morally good and European anarchists normally thought that by arguments they could convince everyone and hence end war. Anarchy was usually closely associated with socialism. This movement has almost entirely died out. There was another kind of anarchism essentially invented in the USA by Spooner. This, like the European brand, proposed to abolish the state, but thought that the market would carry out all the desirable functions of the state. Although they did not advocate war, these anarchists believed that force would be needed to defend both against ordinary criminals and possibly foreign countries. The force was to be provided privately rather than through the government. Although this brand of anarchism is mainly found in the USA, it has recently spread to Europe. On both continents, and in the few other parts of the world where it has at least a few disciples, it is a very much a minority point of view. There were a few experiments in anarchy in communities along the western border of white settlement in the USA in the nineteenth century. They all failed quickly or developed religiously based local governments. Some religiously based, and in practice although not in theory, autonomous local communities of this sort still exist in the West, in Canada and in Paraguay. The theoretical anarchists discussed in the previous paragraph do not seem interested in them. On a more unfortunate note, some...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information