Non-Territorially Unbundling the Fiscal Commons

Posted: 31 Jul 2016

See all articles by Trent MacDonald

Trent MacDonald

RMIT University; RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub; ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

This paper conceptualises polities as commons and describes how changes to access rules and boundary rules serve to reallocate property rights within and across political commons. Fiscal processes typically transform private property into common property, with the state becoming the forum where rules for governing the commons are decided. In a political commons the fiscal capacity of the whole economy is the analogous exploitable resource. I outline how polities are constituted as fiscal commons, and describe how this often portends to exploitation and inefficiency. Next I present an analysis of political-jurisdictional systems as complex institutional structures of access rules and boundary rules, which either sustain or deplete social value. Citizens differentially contribute to and draw from political commons according to these rules, and as a result, changing access to and boundaries of political commons modifies the allocation of property rights in a polity. I argue that by generating viable exit options and membership externalities in multiple, overlapping majorities, non-territorial unbundling tempers the tragedy of the fiscal commons.

Keywords: non-territorial, unbundling, fiscal commons, decentralisation, exit

JEL Classification: H00, H11, P43, D00

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, Trent, Non-Territorially Unbundling the Fiscal Commons (May 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2815767

Trent MacDonald (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Australia

RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub ( email )

106-108 Victoria Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society ( email )

106-108 Victoria Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

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