December, 2004

Brokers, Bureaucrats, and the Emergence of Financial Markets

  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Edward Stringham

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Read the article at Emerald Insight.

This article provides a critical analysis of Frye (2000) and existing theories of self-governance. Following up on the recent studies by Stringham (2002, 2003), this paper focuses attention on the emergence of financial markets for several reasons. The common perception is that complicated financial instruments require state sanction to emerge. It is widely argued that in the absence of state regulation of of financial markets, cheating will be common. This paper shows, in contrast, that the evidence does not support this pessimistic view. In fact, markets are capable of endogenously generating the rules that govern their operation and these rules discipline cheating severely. Finally, if we can persuasively make the case that self-governance in financial markets is effective - with the complicated nature of transactions that take place - then the argument for self- governance in economic life, we contend, is much stronger than even classical liberalism has led us to believe.