Few dare to ask the most penetrating question in political economy: why do we need a state? Mostly the answer is taken for granted, on grounds presented by Thomas Hobbes, namely that we need it to establish order. The authors of the essays in this wonderful edited volume take issue with the presumption in favor of the existence of the state.
The book has a rather ingenious genesis. It was crafted as the first-ever response to an hugely important 1972 book entitled Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy. Its contributors were the leading minds of the Public Choice school. This school of thought concluded that the state was necessary and essential and one strict economic grounds.
Though Public Choice has entered the mainstream, this books, and the dominant line of thought in it, has never been fully addressed by scholars of the Austro-libertarian tradition.
For this reason, Ed Stringham’s volume is seminal. (You can see him talking about this book here.)
Its contributors include some of the most active scholars in the younger generation of Austrians: Christopher Coyne, Edward Stringham, Jason Osborne, Benjamin Powell, Peter Boettke, among many others.
They are colleagues and friends of the members of the school they are arguing against, and these writers too have essays in this volume: James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Laurence Moss, Warren Samuels, among others.
The result is a display of extraordinary intellectual fireworks over the core issue of political economy. The results can’t but strengthen the case for the fully free society, as Public Choice rationales are improved where they are right and rejected when they are wrong.
A note about the price of this volume: Mises.org would not normally carry a book that costs this much, but we are talking about a volume from an academic publisher that thinks nothing of charging hundreds of dollars for its books.
It is a scandal but such is the way the world works. Just because the book is so important, we made a special arrangement for only a few copies of these, and we are pleased to offer them to specialists or anyone who understands the importance of the ideas herein.
Our stock is very limited, so if you would like a copy, now is the time.