A Call to Embrace Jural Dualism

GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 21-16

Economic Affairs, forthcoming

26 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2021 Last revised: 23 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jonathon Diesel

Jonathon Diesel

Independent

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: May 29, 2021

Abstract

This paper explores concepts under a rubric termed “jural,” the meaning of which is differentiated from “legal.” Within the conceptualization of the modern nation-state, there are two categories of jural relationships. In the first, both parties have equal jural standing (equal-equal), as between neighbors. In the second jural relationship (superior-inferior), one party has standing as a special jural player, essentially, the governor. The jural superior wields the coercive powers of government. Human beings, we argue, are predisposed to folding this jural superior back into the equal-equal relationship, thus notionally collapsing two relationships back to one, or collapsing from jural dualism into jural monism. Two varieties of the tendency stand out, namely, collectivist thinking that sees government as a set of rules and arrangements arrived at voluntarily and Rothbardian libertarianism that sees government as a criminal organization and proposes its elimination. But, beyond those two varieties, we see traces and tinctures of the tendency toward jural monism. We call for a conscious embrace of jural dualism.

Keywords: Adam Smith, rights, duties, commutative justice, liberty, liberalism, suum

JEL Classification: A12, A13, B12, B2, B4, D63, K11

Suggested Citation

Diesel, Jonathon and Klein, Daniel B., A Call to Embrace Jural Dualism (May 29, 2021). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 21-16, Economic Affairs, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3855895 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3855895

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://economics.gmu.edu/people/dklein

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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