September 3, 2014

Parasitical Political Calculation

Draft of Chapter 6 of 'Politics as a Peculiar Business'
  • Richard Wagner

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
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This is a preliminary draft of the sixth of what will be eight chapters in a book titled Politics as a Peculiar Business: Public Choice in a System of Entangled Political Economy. This chapter explains that the generally orderly quality of politically sponsored activities within a society necessarily bears a parasitical relationship to market activity. Within societies of even modest complexity, reasonable orderliness requires alienable ownership and the resulting generation of market prices which renders economic calculation possible. Politically sponsored enterprises likewise require market prices even if their operating logic requires them to modify and degrade some of those prices. The quality of the resulting parasitical interaction among differently constituted entities is the prime topic explored here.