An Exploratory Essay
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 5: The Economic Organization of Political Enterprises
Political enterprises are established in the public square with legislative approval.1 To speak of legislative approval, however, is not to speak of some acting person making a choice, but rather to speak of the outcome of a polycentric process that involves a transitory set of participants whose actions are structured by parliamentary rules. While the various members of a legislative assembly typically diﬀer in details concerning the structure of enterprises they would prefer to see operate in the public square, it is also reasonable to presume that those members are in general agreement that a robust public square is better than an anemic one. While there can be intense controversy among members of a legislative assembly over which particular enterprises to support and how fully, underlying this disagreement will reside a general desire to be part of an expanding rather than a contracting legislature. There is no genuine option to be part of a static legislature. A failure to attempt to expand is a choice to contract by losing out to competitors who are seeking to expand. Someone who wants to see the legislature do less business in general is unlikely to be attracted to seek a legislative seat in the ﬁrst place, is unlikely to ﬁnd investors and other supporters in the eﬀort to seek such a seat in the second place, and thirdly, is unlikely to be successful within the legislature even if elected to it. All enterprises entail team production. The eﬀectiveness of any...
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