The Laws of Lawlessness
According to conventional wisdom, self-governance cannot facilitate order between the members of different social groups. This is considered particularly true for the members of social groups who are avowed enemies of one another. This paper argues that self-governance can do this. To investigate my hypothesis, I examine the Anglo-Scottish borderlands in the sixteenth century. The border people belonged to two social groups at constant war with one another. These people pillaged and plundered one another as a way of life they called "reiving." To regulate this system of intergroup banditry and prevent it from degenerating into chaos, border inhabitants developed a decentralized system of cross-border criminal law called the Leges Marchiarum. These laws of lawlessness governed all aspects of cross-border interaction and spawned novel institutions of their enforcement. The Leges Marchiarum and its institutions of enforcement created a decentralized legal order that governed intergroup relations between hostiles along the border. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Umbeck, John, 1981. "Might Makes Rights: A Theory of the Formation and Initial Distribution of Property Rights," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 38-59, January.
- Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (II): Distribution," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 2, number mill1848-2.
- Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
- Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992.
"Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-739, September.
- Skaperdas, S., 1991. "Cooperation, Conflict And Power In The Absence Of Property Rights," Papers 90-91-06a, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- Bush, Winston C. & Mayer, Lawrence S., 1974. "Some implications of anarchy for the distribution of property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 401-412, August.
- Zerbe, Richard O. & Anderson, C. Leigh, 2001. "Culture And Fairness In The Development Of Institutions In The California Gold Fields," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 114-143, March.
- Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
- Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (III): Exchange," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 3, number mill1848-3.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1992. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," UCLA Economics Working Papers 674, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Bernstein, Lisa, 1992. "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 115-157, January.
- Clay, Karen, 1997. "Trade without Law: Private-Order Institutions in Mexican California," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 202-231, April.
- 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.
- Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (I): Production," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number mill1848-1. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:38:y:2009:i:2:p:471-503. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.