The Elgar Companion to Public Choice
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The Elgar Companion to Public Choice

Edited by William F. Shughart II and Laura Razzolini

This authoritative and encyclopaedic reference work provides a thorough account of the public choice approach to economics and politics. The Companion breaks new ground by joining together the most important issues in the field in a single comprehensive volume. It contains state-of-the-art discussions of both old and contemporary problems, including new work by the founding fathers as well as contributions by a new generation of younger scholars.  
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Chapter 6: Monarchies, hereditary and non-hereditary

Gordon Tullock


Gordon Tullock 1 Introduction Most people in the history of the human race have lived under hereditary monarchies. It should be emphasized at the outset that hereditary monarchies are not regimes where the throne always passes from the beloved dying king to whichever of his children or near relatives is next in line under local law or custom. That does happen frequently, but it is also true that events like the Wars of the Roses happen too. We tend to exaggerate the difficulties of establishing a firm line of succession to the throne, probably because the English throne was the most contested one in Europe. Thus, Anglo-Saxon history has a good deal more in the way of violent overthrow than is found in the histories of most countries ruled by monarchs. Today there is one case – North Korea – in which a dictatorship has been made, at least for a time, hereditary. There was a period when the Somozas seemed to have a hereditary monarchy in Nicaragua, and it seems likely that the Trujillo family would have established one in the Dominican Republic had not the US government intervened by arranging not only to have the reigning dictator assassinated,1 but also by sending in the Navy to keep his family from perpetuating the regime. Note that such ceremonial figures as Elizabeth II are not really monarchs in the old-fashioned sense. The former European empires frequently maintained sort of semi-puppet kings along their borders, partly as a method of reducing...

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