Municipal Corporations, Economic Calculation, and Political Pricing: Exploring a Theoretical Antimony
Richard E. Wagner
George Mason University - Department of Economics
February 1, 2011
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 11-04
This paper explores a possible path toward dissolving an antinomy within political economy: market order is treated as emergent and spontaneous while political order is treated as planned. This paper pursues a path that seeks to locate the entire social order as emergent and spontaneous. Where a market is a congeries of business corporations, a polity is a congeries of municipal corporations. Like business corporations, municipal corporations operate within a setting wherein those who manage those corporations are largely separate from those who supply the capital with which those corporations operate. A system of municipal corporations, however, cannot generate the market prices necessary for economic calculation because ownership is inalienable. What arises is a system of political prices that arise parasitically within a system of market prices. This paper explores some features pertinent to the articulation of a theory of political economy grounded in spontaneous ordering throughout the ecology of enterprises that constitutes a society.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: municipal corporations, agency theory, competition among governments, political pricing, emergence, scale-free models
JEL Classification: D23, D72, D78, H70working papers series
Date posted: February 2, 2011
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