288 research outputs found

    An anarchist’s reflection on the political economy of everyday life

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    James Scott has written a detailed ethnography on the lives of the peoples of upland Southeast Asia who choose to escape oppressive government by living at the edge of their civilization. To the political economist the fascinating story told by Scott provides useful narratives in need of analytical exposition. There remains in this work a “plea for mechanism”; the mechanisms that enable social cooperation to emerge among individuals living outside the realm of state control. Social cooperation outside the formal rules of governance, nevertheless require “rules” of social intercourse, and techniques of “enforcement” to ensure the disciplining of opportunistic behavior.economic development; self-regulation; political economy; peasant economy

    Anarchism and Austrian economics

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    In the 2011 Franz Cuhel Memorial Lecture, I argue that the study of endogenous rule formation in economic life (what I term the positive political economy of anarchism) should be studied in-depth and that the economic analysis of the Austrian school of economics provides many of the key analytical insights necessary for such study.Rule formation; Enterprise of Law; Austrian Economics

    What happened to "efficient markets?"

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    The financial crisis of 2008 has challenged the reputation of the free-market economy in the public imagination in a way that it has not been challenged since the Great Depression. The intellectual consensus after World War II was that markets are unstable and exploitive and thus in need of government action on a variety of fronts to counteract these undesirable characteristics. In the United States, this intellectual consensus did not result in nationalization of industry, but in detailed regulation and heavy government involvement in economic life.Financial Crisis; History of Economic Thought; Market Process

    Quasimarket failure

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    The efficiency of “quasimarkets”—decentralized public goods provision subjected to Tiebout competition—is a staple of public choice conventional wisdom. Yet in the 1990s a countermovement in political economy called “neoconsolidationism” began to challenge this wisdom. The neoconsolidationists use the logic of government failure central to public choice economics to argue that quasimarkets fail and that jurisdictional consolidation is a superior way to supply public goods and services in metropolitan areas. Public choice scholars have largely ignored the neoconsolidationists’ challenge. This paper brings that challenge to public choice scholars’ attention with the hope of encouraging responses. It also offers some preliminary thoughts about the directions such responses might take.Public Goods; Quasimarkets

    Corridors, Coordination and the Entrepreneurial Theory of the Market Process

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    Daniel Klein (Klein 1997, Klein and Orsborn 2009 and Klein and Briggeman forthcoming) and Israel Kirzner (forthcoming) have been engaged in a debate concerning how economists should understand and use the terms “coordination” and “economic goodness”. Klein and Briggeman (forthcoming) contend that Kirzner suffers from excessive ambition scientifically. The authors claim Kirzner’s reliance and identification with “the Misesian image of science” threatens to discredit his more sensible contributions (e.g., market processes are driven towards progress by competitive entrepreneurial discovery). We offer a response to Klein and Briggeman’s claim that loose, vague and indeterminate forms of economic reasoning make for a more robust political economy. In doing so, we also explain the theoretical context surrounding Kirzner’s theory of the entrepreneurial market process. While we agree with Klein and Briggeman’s critique of scientism and formalism, we emphasize the nature of the debates over market theory and the price system that Kirzner was engaging in order to understand the reasons behind his methods and the theoretical insights they provide. Rather than the source of his failure, we view Kirzner’s “excessive ambitions” to provide a scientific foundation of the market process as the source of his great success as an economic theorist
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