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Is Voluntary Government Possible? A Critique of Constitutional Economics

Listed author(s):
  • Walter Block
  • Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Registered author(s):

    A social contract theory of government can be used to place a stamp of approval on all, or most, of the actions of the existing government (for example, Rousseau). Thus, the theory of the divine right of kings began as a check on government, as an order to the King to stay within divinely-commanded laws; it was transformed, by the State, into a divine stamp of approval for anything the King might decide to do. (Murray Rothbard) According to public choice theory, the market and the state are both devices through which cooperation is organized and made possible. This theme of voluntary government is most prevalent in the subset of public choice known as constitutional economics. We believe that the analogy between politics and markets made by constitutional economists is theoretically weak and clouds rather than enhances our understanding of political economy. Politics has very little in common with non-coercive, voluntary exchange in the marketplace.

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    Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

    Volume (Year): 156 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 567-567

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    Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200012)156:4_567:ivgpac_2.0.tx_2-s
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