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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7164/privatizing-the-adjudication-of-disputes/

Privatizing the Adjudication of Disputes

September 17, 2007 by

Bryan Caplan and Edward Stringham working paper here.


Mike September 17, 2007 at 5:57 pm

I lost all respect for Dr. Caplan when the devastating review of his book by Dr. Block illustrated his willful deception, misrepresentation, dishonesty, and ignorance.

As Dr. Block writes:

“As can be seen by this admission [the abstract from a previous Caplan/Stringham paper on the political economy of Ludwig von Mises and Frédéric Bastiat], Caplan’s book, and the entire research program of this author on the drawbacks of democracy, owes a great self-confessed debt to that ‘market fundamentalist,’ Ludwig von Mises. How, then, does he come to bite the (intellectual) hand that feeds him? Truly, amazing.”

The complete review is well worth reading:


Anthony September 17, 2007 at 7:12 pm

I’m not fond of Caplan. I think he is a good economist (yes, even if he is not an Austrian) and it is good that he is a market anarchist, but I take great exception to his smarmy personality.

Fundamentalist September 17, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for the review. I visit the web site which Caplan co-hosts with Arnold Kling, but I avoid posts by Caplan while reading every word that Kling writes. Kling is clearly the intellectual heavy weight on the team. Caplan strikes me as being very shallow and usually just down right silly.

I avoided his book because he he has written much of it on the web site, the main points anyway. My chief disagreement with him is on the definition of rational. In conventional thinking, a person is rational if they use reason to arrive at a decision. That describes all people but a handful with brain disorders. Caplan’s definition of irrational is anyone who disagrees with him.

If all people are rational, then why do they arrive at such divergent conclusions? Because they start with different assumptions and place different weights on evidence. Caplan just dismisses everyone who doesn’t think like him as being nuts.

On his web site, Caplan argues against democracy, claiming we would be better ruled by a group chosen randomly from the members of the American Economic Association, people like Paul Krugman, whom Caplan admires. What Caplan refuses to see is that the writers of the US Constitution did not intend to implement the optimal form of government. I doubt that any of them would have agreed on what that might be. They intended a form of government that protected the nation from the damage that bad people in positions of power can cause. Caplan doesn’t think that elite economists can ever cause any damage at all.

Every time I read something Caplan wrote, I’m reminded of something Hayek wrote in “Fatal Conceit.” To paraphrase, Hayek wrote that intelligent people place far too much importance on intelligence. Humility goes a long ways toward causing a person to be truly wise.

Niccolò September 17, 2007 at 8:29 pm

I lost respect for Caplan a long time ago.

He’s that type of arrogant jack ass that makes people cringe when they start hearing free-market economics. He’s an elitist, no doubt, and he often criticizes LvM on the one hand while secretly masturbating to Hayek, Mises, and Lachmann on the other.

He refuses to call himself an Austrian just so he can call himself, “not an Austrian.”

Parker September 17, 2007 at 8:53 pm

It is odd that even after his remarks about Mises and Rothbard in his book, Caplan still references them in this latest working paper.

Dr. Caplan, why would one take their words seriously now when you have dismissed them in the past so completely?

Did Dr. Stringham write the whole paper and Caplan only sign off on it?

Or does he write one thing in order to win a Templeton prize and another to reach a wider audience and attempt to gain some modicum of respect from more mainstream economists?

It is not working, you are only making a fool of yourself in both realms.

And, will Ed Stringham beat out Dr. Boettke for the world record in references to their own papers?

Fundamentalist September 18, 2007 at 8:00 am

I think Caplan is mainly concerned with being popular with the mainstream economists.

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