Byzantine Political Economy: Property Rights as a Knowledge Commons

20 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 22 Aug 2019

See all articles by Chris Berg

Chris Berg

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University

Jason Potts

RMIT University

Date Written: August 22, 2019

Abstract

Knowledge about property rights is a common pool resource necessary for economic exchange. But how is it governed? This chapter explores a shift in the technology of governance of property rights. Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, is a new form of social infrastructure that securely decentralises property ledgers. The chapter draws parallels between the governance mechanisms that have managed agreement of shared facts in two distinct fields. This paper examines the close relationship between what the study of distributed systems describes as Byzantine consensus and what the study of institutional economics describes as robust political economy. We conclude that for decades computer science and economics have been working on the same questions in parallel.

Keywords: blockchains, byzantine generals problem, robust political economy, institutional economics

JEL Classification: A12, H11, H41, P11

Suggested Citation

Berg, Chris and Davidson, Sinclair and Potts, Jason, Byzantine Political Economy: Property Rights as a Knowledge Commons (August 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344110 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3344110

Chris Berg (Contact Author)

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing ( email )

Level 12, 239 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Australia

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Jason Potts

RMIT University ( email )

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