Constitutional Catallaxy: Friends and Enemies in an Open-Ended Social Order

Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming

26 Pages Posted: 9 May 2017 Last revised: 22 Jan 2018

See all articles by Alexander William Salter

Alexander William Salter

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business; American Institute for Economic Research

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 21, 2018

Abstract

Most liberal constitutional theorizing, as exemplified by Buchanan (1975) and Rawls (1971), Operates with a two-level scheme of analysis. The first level entails agreement on the rules through which a polity is constituted; the second level entails self-interested action inside that framework of rules. Within this framework a polity is constituted trough agreement on the rules that frame political action. In this paper, we explore how this scheme of analysis might be relaxed by recognizing that acquiescence is not agreement. Hence, people can acquiesce in some framework of governance without truly accepting it. In this alternative framework, agreement on rules is always incomplete, for two sets of reasons. One is the limited and divided quality of knowledge (Hayek 1937, 1945). The other is the persistent presence of antagonism within society, as conveyed by Carl Schmitt’s (1932) distinction between friends and enemies, and with that distinction present as well in William Riker’s (1962) theory of political coalitions.

Keywords: choice vs. emergence, constitutional control, friend-enemy distinction, open systems, paradox of power, political entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: D72, P16, P43, Z10

Suggested Citation

Salter, Alexander William and Wagner, Richard E., Constitutional Catallaxy: Friends and Enemies in an Open-Ended Social Order (January 21, 2018). Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2965513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2965513

Alexander William Salter (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

HOME PAGE: http://awsalter.com

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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