June, 2018

Anarchy, State and Public Choice

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Although most people believe that some form of government is necessary, the necessity of government was an assumption in political economy that had never been analyzed from an economic point of view. This changed in the 1970s when economists at the Center for the Study of Public Choice engaged in a systematic exploration of the issue. Anarchy, State and Public Choice, the first book-length treatment on the public choice theory of government, continues and extends the research program begun more than three decades ago. It reprints the main articles from the 1972 volume Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, and it contains a response to each chapter by a new generation of economists, as well as new comments by Gordon Tullock, James Buchanan, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, and Peter J. Boettke. The new generation is notably less pessimistic about markets and more pessimistic about government than previous generations. Much of the new analysis suggests that private property rights and contracts can exist without government.

Might anarchy be the best choice after all? This provocative volume explores this question in depth and provides some interesting answers. Economists, political scientists, philosophers and lawyers interested in public choice, political economy, and spontaneous order will find this series of essays illuminating.

About the Editor

Edward Stringham is the president of the American Institute for Economic Research, the Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College (Connecticut), and editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise. He is the editor of two books and author of more than seventy journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies. His work has been discussed on major broadcast networks, including CBS, CNBC, CNN, NPR, and MTV.

Contributors

INTRODUCTION
Edward Stringham, Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation, Trinity College; President, American Institute for Economic Research

INDIVIDUAL WELFARE IN ANARCHY
Winston Bush, formerly Professor of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

JUNGLE OR JUST BUSH? ANARCHY AND THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION
Jason Osborne, Chief Operating Officer, Credit Adjustments, Inc.

THE EDGE OF THE JUNGLE
Gordon Tullock, formerly Professor Emeritus of Law and Economics, George Mason University

SOCIAL INTERACTION WITHOUT THE STATE
Christopher J. Coyne, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University; Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

TOWARDS A THEORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF GOVERNMENT
J. Patrick Gunning, formerly Professor of Economics, Feng Chia University

DO CONTRACTS REQUIRE FORMAL ENFORCEMENT?
Peter T. Leeson, Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law, George Mason University; Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

BEFORE PUBLIC CHOICE
James M. Buchanan, formerly Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Mason University; formerly General Director, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University

PUBLIC CHOICE AND LEVIATHAN
Benjamin Powell, Professor of Economics, Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University; Director, Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University

CASES IN ANARCHY
Thomas Hogarty, formerly Professor of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

DEFINING ANARCHY AS ROCK 'N' ROLL: RETHINKING HOGARTY'S THREE CASES
Virgil Henry Storr, Research Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University; Don C. Lavoie Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

PRIVATE PROPERTY ANARCHISM: AN AMERICAN VARIANT
Laurence Moss, formerly Professor of Economics and Law, Babson College

ANARCHISM AND THE THEORY OF POWER
Warren Samuels, formerly Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

POLYCENTRISM AND POWER: A REPLY TO WARREN SAMUELS
Scott Beaulier, Dean, College of Business, North Dakota State University

REFLECTIONS AFTER THREE DECADES
James M. Buchanan, formerly Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Mason University; formerly General Director, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University

ANARCHY
Gordon Tullock, formerly Professor Emeritus of Law and Economics, George Mason University

TULLCK ON ANARCHY
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Professor of Economics, San Jose State University

ANARCHISM AS A PROGRESSIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM IN POLITICAL ECONOMY
Peter J. Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University; Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Endorsements

“Serious academic work on anarchism is relatively sparse. Anarchy, State and Public Choice is a sign of life. A new generation of academic researchers is once again attacking questions of anarchism.”
—Michael S. Rozeff, University of Buffalo (Emeritus)

“The collection is well-rounded, including both purely theoretical analyses, as well as contributions with a strong historical and empirical focus…. This is an excellent collection not only for all those interested in the question of whether anarchy constitutes a feasible option that is superior to statist societies, but also for those interested in understanding how many real-world interactions do take place in the absence of effective third-party enforcement.”
—Ralf M. Bader, in Economic Affairs

“An excellent book that collects a set of helpful essays exploring the economics of bottom-up social organization—of anarchy. . . . Many contributors have gone on to venture more substantial discussions of state failure and non-state social organization like Coyne’s After War, Stringham’s Private Governance, and Leeson’s Anarchy Unbound. But this remains a valuable source of crisp, accessible discussions of anarchic social order.”
—Gary Chartier, in Review of Austrian Economics