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Introduction: Anarchy, State, and Public Choice

Edward Peter Stringham

Trinity College


Anarchy, State, and Public Choice, E. P. Stringham, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005

Most people do not even consider the idea that society can be organized without a state. Anarchism is simply too idealistic or too different from the current world. But does that prove that a stateless society is unworkable or that it should not be pursued? Or does that prove that most social order depends on the state? Throughout history, political structures have varied vastly over time, and just because a system was uncommon at one point in time does not mean that it can never come about. Tribalism, monarchism, socialism and democracy have all been tried. Why not anarchism? Could it be the case that cooperation does not depend on government? Could it be the case that more cooperation would occur without a state? Although most people agree with Hobbes that some form of government is necessary, until recently the issue was merely an assumption that had never been analyzed from an economic point of view. This changed in the early 1970s when members of the Center for the Study of Public Choice became the first group of economists to engage in a systematic study of these questions. Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy and Further Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, published in 1972 and 1974 (Tullock, 1972 and 1974a).

This volume contains seven responses to the essays in Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, as well as reprints of seven original articles and new rejoinders by James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Peter Boettke. The younger generation has noticeably less faith in government than their predecessors. They question whether markets are as fragile as the public choice economists believed and question whether government can be relied on as a solution.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: public choice, James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, anarchism, anarcho-capitalism

JEL Classification: K19, H11, H41

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Date posted: March 6, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Stringham, Edward Peter, Introduction: Anarchy, State, and Public Choice (2005). Anarchy, State, and Public Choice, E. P. Stringham, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228946

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Edward Peter Stringham (Contact Author)
Trinity College ( email )
United States
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