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Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice (Independent Studies in Political Economy)

5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1412805797
ISBN-10: 1412805791
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Finally, a fit rejoinder to people who begin sentences with There ought to be a law' ..."
P. J. O'Rourke, author, Parliament of Whores and On the Wealth of Nations

"Scholars interested in scrutinizing the links between political and legal institutions will find Anarchy and the Law an invaluable resource."
Tom W. Bell, Professor of Law, Chapman University

"The dynamics of government growth has proven that no matter how benign the original intent and no matter how limited their scope, government programs will eventuate in abuse and malignancy. Anarchy and the Law assembles key essays that embrace this view."
Ronald Hamowy, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Alberta, Canada

"Anarchy and the Law is a breakthrough work, one which anyone interested in politics will find intellectually exciting."
Ralph Raico, Professor of History, Buffalo State College

"Anarchy and the Law is a must read' for anyone open to ideas and interested in the preservation of liberty."
Thomas J. Nechyba, Professor of Economics, Duke University

"Anarchy and the Law is an essential book on the theory and history of non-state' legal systems in which law enforcement is privatized, including essays by both proponents and skeptics."
Lawrence H. White, Friedrich A. Hayek Professor of Economic History, University of Missouri, St. Louis

About the Author

Edward P. Stringham is professor of economics at San Jose State University and a research fellow at The Independent Institute. He is president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise, and the editor of Anarchy, State, and Public Choice.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 698 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers/ Independent Institute (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412805791
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412805797
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This nearly 700-page book is quite simply THE definitive collection on free-market anarchism. Its forty chapters include contributions from Randy Barnett, Bruce Benson, Bryan Caplan, Roy Childs, Anthony de Jasay, David Friedman, John Hasnas, Hans Hoppe, Jeff Hummel, Don Lavoie, Murray Rothbard, the Tannehills, and many more. (Full disclosure: it also contains a chapter by me.) In addition, it features historical classics by Voltairine de Cleyre, Gustave de Molinari, Lysander Spooner, and Benjamin Tucker, among others. It covers both moral arguments and economic ones; it ranges over both abstract theory and historical examples. It even includes important criticisms of market anarchism, like Tyler Cowen's and Robert Nozick's, along with anarchist replies.

Are there any regrettable omissions? Well, of course. Any self-respecting anarchist geek could easily cite another thousand pages' worth of "absolutely essential" additional material, additional authors, additional perspectives. But never mind: this, here and now, is it. Wonder no more what is the market anarchist book to recommend to the anarcho-curious or wave menacingly at the statist heathen; it's this one.
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Stringham's compilation of articles and book chapters provides scholarly answers to virtually every question that can be asked about the theory, history, and practice of private property anarchism.

If a thorough reading fails to persuade the cynical reader, it at least will impel the greatest skeptic to respect the anarchic alternative as a serious challenge to the universal orthodoxy that humans are unable to function in civil society without a state. From Murray Rothbard's logic-tight, block-by-block construction of a competing legal system to Robert Ellickson's descripton of anarchic law in present-day Shasta County, CA, Anarchy and the Law delivers paradigm-shifting insights previously unavailable in any other single source. --Dr. Michael R. Edelstein, author, Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, [...]
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This is a collection of some of the most important papers to come from the anarcho-capitalistic scholars.
It's a large and thorough volume, exceeding 700 pages, 650 or so of which is actual content.

Almost all the authors are either economists, professors of business, or law professors as noted on pages 680-682 titled "About the Contributors".

A little about the editor, clippings from "About the Editor", page 680:

"Edward P. Stringham holds the the Hackley Endowed Chair for Capitalism and Free Enterprise Studies at Fayetteville State University and is a research fellow at the Independent Institute. He is president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education...author of many articles written in scholarly journals...Journal of Institutional & Theoretical Economics...Journal of Labor Research..Journal of Libertarian Studies.. Stringham earned his Ph.D from George Mason University in 2002...won...Distinguished Young Scholar award from the Liberalni Institut and the Prague School of Economics"

As for thorough, the book is divided into four parts: The Theory of Private Property of Anarchism, The Debate, History of Anarchist Thought, and Historical Case Studies of Non-Government Law Enforcement.

I've always felt that the privatization of police was a "no-brainer", however, I wasn't so sure about the idea of private courts and private law.
After reading many of the articles, some of my skepticism has been washed away. As a principled libertarian, I prefer the Rothbardian approach, but I believe David Friedman illustrates the true nature of possibilities. I do believe that anarcho-capitalism will only work if the people are ready, and I don't know if that time will ever come. However, I'm an anarcho-capitalist on principle.
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This is a collection of essays and exerts from books that specifically details ways in which order can be provided without a government monopoly. It provides an intensely detailed discussion (including works from both minarchists and anarchists) about the feasibility of a stateless system. Finally it contains a history of anarchist thought, and historical examples of anarchy in action.

This is a must have for any minarchist curious about the functionality of a completely voluntary society, and anarcho-capitalists that are interested in details of function or in powerful arguments for their case. However, I would not recommend this book to people who are not already complete libertarians. It assumes (rather than debating the subject) that government is inefficient and uninterested in truly pursuing the common good--an assumption only libertarians seem to have).

My only criticism is that it does not contain Bob Murphy's articles in Chaos Theory (a wonderful book describing a completely alternative--and in my mind superior--form of contract enforcement and military protection). If you have read Anarchy and the Law, I would suggest reading Chaos Theory as well.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very well-rounded and interesting collection of anarchist thought. I've long thought about the public goods problem as a serious obstacle to anarchism and the chapter on that helped clear my thoughts a bit. Recommended even though the expense is a little deterring.
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