Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Anarcho-Capitalism, But Were Afraid to Ask
The most intellectually serious proponents and fellow travellers of anarchism are, paradoxically, a bunch of stodgy economists. That’s one of the lessons of Ed Stringham‘s new 700-page anthology, Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice. This volume brings together:
- The classic anarcho-capitalist writings, beginning with Murray Rothbard and David Friedman
- The great debates, including Nozick versus his critics, Roy Childs’ critique of Ayn Rand, and Tyler Cowen vs. David Friedman (added bonus: Cowen and Sutter versus Caplan and Stringham)
- The history of anarcho-capitalist thought, including Gustave de Molinari and Lysander Spooner
- Historical case studies – Ireland, Iceland, and the not so wild, wild West
Most economists who invest the time to study the anarcho-capitalist literature ultimately aren’t convinced. But I’ve yet to met an economist who made the investment who didn’t end up taking it a lot more seriously than he expected.
Personally, my favorite short-cut to credibility on this “crazy” topic is to start with the “minimal” state, then point out all the ways that it could do even less. (See here, here, and here).
Feb 2 2007 at 11:56pm
I started with Bob Poole’s (of Reason Foundation) explanation of competing air traffic control companies. They wouldn’t want crashes, so they would both compete and cooperate. From that, private policy and courts are one small step away.
Feb 4 2007 at 3:03pm
I am someone who is not ideologically much a fan of anarcho-capitalism, indeed, some regular readers of this blog might view a recommendation by me as reason to stay away from something. That said, I do recommend the Stringham volume for being very well done.
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