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

25 Pages Posted: 15 May 2017

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: May 13, 2017

Abstract

Most liberal constitutional theorizing, as exemplified by Buchanan (1975) and Rawls (1971), treats societies as closed systems of human interaction. This treatment is carried forward by emphasizing the similarity between choosing constitutional rules and choosing the rules for playing a parlor game such as poker. The menu of possible rules and the desires and values of the players are taken as data, and the players agree on the rules by which they will play. We don’t deny the heuristic value of this two-stage scheme of analysis; however, we also think that exploring constitutional thought from within a framework of open system also offers useful analytical insight, as we set forth here. In our 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 present 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

Suggested Citation

Salter, Alexander William and Wagner, Richard E., Constitutional Catallaxy: Friends and Enemies in an Open-Ended Social Order (May 13, 2017). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2967875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2967875

Alexander William Salter

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 (Contact Author)

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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