L&S: The Law and the State
Much like the way public choice gives students a framework for systematically understanding political activity, so does the Fuller insight give students a framework for thinking about the way in which rules, not just state-made law, serve to coordinate human choices. Tom is starting to use this insight to talk about"polycentric" law, or the idea that multiple forms of law can overlap within the same geographic area. Law need not be, and in fact is not, a monopoly within a specific geographic region.
comments powered by Disqus
Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005
I'm curious--is there any reason to use the term "polycentric" to describe what is basically anarcho-capitalism, other than the tactical reason of trying to avoid alerting mainstream people that what is being discussed is anarchy?
Roderick T. Long - 7/11/2005
Re Tom P.'s comment on "anarcho-capitalism," that's one reason I use "market anarchy," which at least eliminates one of the two ambiguous terms, and more comfortably includes both those market anarchists who've called themselves capitalists (e.g. Rothbard, Friedman) and those who've called themselves socialists (e.g., Tucker, Tandy). (I think "capitalism" is more confusing than "anarchism" because although both have negative connotations with many audiences, if you call yourself a capitalist many people will think they have a very precise understanding of what you favour -- basically, government favouritism toward big business -- whereas if you call yourself an anarchist people's preconceptions, while still negative, will at least be fairly vague, and you can disarm some of their expectations by talking about an "anarchist legal order.")
Roderick T. Long - 7/11/2005
I think polycentrism is a matter of degree while anarchy is more all-or-nothing. My anarcho-libertarian utopia is more polycentric than medieval Iceland (which still had a monopoly legislature, though no monopoly judiciary or executive), which was more polycentric than USA 1776, which was more polycentric than USA 2005, which is more polycentric than the average constitutional republic, which is more polycentric than the average dictatorship. Anarchy is polycentrism taken to the max.
Tom G Palmer - 7/10/2005
In addition to the tinniness of "anarcho-capitalism" (which takes two things that for many intellectuals have rather bad connotations to make a term even less likely to attract than the two separately), it's worth remembering that poly-centrism is still compatible with the existence of states. The term helps people to think of law in ways other than just "it's the command of a superior with the power to enforce obedience." Tom Bell adopted the term for his approach some time ago and he did so for very good reasons.
Steven Horwitz - 7/10/2005
What Sheldon said. And one can recognize that legal orders ARE polycentric and SHOULD BE polycentric, without necessarily being an anarchist. Tom explicitly says he's not an anarcho-capitalist.
Sheldon Richman - 7/10/2005
The term "polycentric legal order" seems highly appropriate in the context of Tom's lecture on law. Simply to use "anarchy" would communicate poorly. Many people have meant many different things by that term. "Anarcho-capitalism sounds specifically economic, which does not seem to be Tom's focus.
- Shipwreck Found Under World Trade Center Traced Back To Colonial Era Philadelphia
- Bob Dallek in the NYT gives a rave review of John Dean's history of Watergate cover-up
- Ex-President George W. Bush Authors Book About His Father
- Tears, and Anger, as Militants Destroy Iraq City’s Relics
- Europe notes 100th anniversary of World War I
- Why Benny Morris is both right and wrong
- Professor Ilan Pappé: Israel Has Chosen to be a 'Racist Apartheid State'
- History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools
- Robert Drew, Cinema Verite Documentarian, Dies at 90
- Rick Perlstein: “Ronald Reagan absolved America almost in a priestly role not to have to contend with sin. The consequences are all around us today”