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An anarchist’s reflection on the political economy of everyday life


  • Peter Boettke



James Scott has written a detailed ethnography on the lives of the peoples of upland Southeast Asia who choose to escape oppressive government by living at the edge of their civilization. To the political economist the fascinating story told by Scott provides useful narratives in need of analytical exposition. There remains in this work a “plea for mechanism”; the mechanisms that enable social cooperation to emerge among individuals living outside the realm of state control. Social cooperation outside the formal rules of governance, nevertheless require “rules” of social intercourse, and techniques of “enforcement” to ensure the disciplining of opportunistic behavior.
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Suggested Citation

  • Peter Boettke, 2012. "An anarchist’s reflection on the political economy of everyday life," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 1-7, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:25:y:2012:i:1:p:1-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s11138-011-0164-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "Trading with Bandits," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 303-321.
    2. Mancur Olson, 1996. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations Are Rich, and Others Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
    3. Edward Stringham, 2006. "Overlapping Jurisdictions, Proprietary Communities, and Competition in the Realm of Law," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(3), pages 516-534, September.
    4. Boettke, Peter, 2011. "Anarchism and Austrian economics," MPRA Paper 33069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Edward Stringham, 2002. "The Emergence of the London Stock Exchange as a Self-Policing Club," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 17(Spring 20), pages 1-19.
    6. Leeson, Peter T. & Boettke, Peter J., 2009. "Two-tiered entrepreneurship and economic development," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 252-259, September.
    7. Leeson Peter T. & Williamson Claudia R., 2009. "Anarchy and Development: An Application of the Theory of Second Best," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 77-96, July.
    8. Stringham, Edward, 2003. "The extralegal development of securities trading in seventeenth-century Amsterdam," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 321-344.
    9. Peter T. Leeson, 2003. "Contracts Without Government," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 18(Spring 20), pages 35-54.
    10. Claudia Williamson, 2009. "Informal institutions rule: institutional arrangements and economic performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 371-387, June.
    11. Peter Leeson, 2007. "Efficient anarchy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 41-53, January.
    12. Leeson, Peter T., 2007. "Better off stateless: Somalia before and after government collapse," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 689-710, December.
    13. Leeson, Peter T., 2005. "Self-enforcing arrangements in African political economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 241-244, June.
    14. Peter J. Boettke, 2005. "Anarchism as a Progressive Research Program in Political Economy," Chapters,in: Anarchy, State and Public Choice, chapter 18 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1049-1094, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel D’Amico, 2012. "Comparative political economy when anarchism is on the table," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 63-75, March.

    More about this item


    Economic development; Self-regulation; Political economy; Peasant economy; O17; P48;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies


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