Anthony de Jasay is an influential independent philosopher and economist who has become one of the world’s foremost exponents of classical liberalism. Anthony de Jasay is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute. He also is an independent scholar and author who was educated at Szekesfehervar and. Anthony de Jasay, a regular columnist for Econlib, is one of the most original and independent thinkers on the relationship between the individual and the state.
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De Jasay offers the most compelling account of what anthojy wrong and dangerous about the state. The State is an idiosyncratic and brilliant analysis of modern political arrangements that views the state as acting in its own interest contrary to the interests of individuals and even of an entire society. As Nobel laureate James Buchanan has observed, Jasay subjects the state to a “solid, foundational analysis, grounded in an understanding of economic theory, informed by political philosophy hasay a deep sense of history.
Or, “Is the rational next step [for the state] a totalitarian enhancement of its power? There are echoes here anrhony. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less. Add both to Cart Add both to List. Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon.
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The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State. The Calculus of Consent: Collected Papers hasay Anthony de Jasay Paperback: November 16, Language: Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 2 reviews.
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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Anthoyn don’t speak lightly when I say that Anthony de Jasay’s “The State,” deserves consideration alongside some of the great works of contemporary political thought.
That it is not already may possibly stem from its pessimistic conclusions on two points: Ajthony last comes to last, Jasay is probably best seen as something of an anarcho-capitalist who believes that the best solution may be to leave us to govern ourselves and offers interesting reasons, stemming from game theory, why we may be able to do this. So, why see the state as its own entity with its own concerns rather than as an instrument of the people?
Well, first, there is the basic reason enumerated by other public choice theorists that the state – as any organizatoin – jasaj a collection of individuals who have their own interests, and while they may be “public servants,” they are also their own people.
Second, any state that is worth a salt even a minimal government must be concerned with having enough power to retain power, even if this is only a well-intentioned interest in staying around to maintain order. That, in itself, means that it has at least one self-serving concern that is outside of its housekeeping duties. It is here that Jasay jaasy the problems with social contract theory: First, why would jazay do this? If they are the types of selfish sorts who make life “nasty, brutish and short,” why would they muster enough altruistic sentiment to sign a contract giving up power for the common good?
Online Library of Liberty
If they are the altruistic type who would give up personal power for the common good, then a contract would be unnecessary because good will would already abound.
Moreover, a social contract is circular in that it is a contract made to ensure that contracts can be made safely. Jasay then talks about why a minimal state simply can’t survive at its present size which is why he is not a minarchist.
A minimal state is one that allows freedom of contract and interferes only when there are disputes over contracts and to ensure enforcement of contract law. But in order to have enough power to successfully do this, and to stay in power doing it, it needs more power than is likely to come from a minimal state.
By way of example, the then-new United States found immediate faulty with its ‘weak’ government under the Articles of Confederation, and even when writing its ‘minimal government’ constitution, saw fit to include a clause essentially allowing the government to do anything above and beyond the constitution that IT judged to be ‘necessary and proper.
But what about democracy – the concept where government can only be government based on the consent of the governed? Jasay sees reasons why democracies and any government that rests on consent is sure to grow: In order to get votes and keep votes jassy one’s competitors, one must please a majority of those who will vote by “serving” them tarrifs, redistribution, actualizing their favorite programs, etc and, since those cost money that the government does not itself generate, it must coerce money from other citizens.
But this can’t simply happen in one shot: People must be pleased and as old favors become habit, new favors must be promised. Quite soon, we have a scheme where government has quite a bit of power, for as long as you have the power to give to some with the wealth from others, you have the power to pick winners and losers, generally rather arbitrarily by imposing a favorite view of fairness onto everyone.
Some might object that in a democracy, the government simply adapts the policies of the majority and their notion of fairness and that may be true. But as Jasay writes, she who can decide who’s view of fairness will win the day is essentially deciding which view of fairness she thinks is best even if ‘best’ only means ‘most advantageous to my situation’. One more thing must be mentioned: The problem is that there is simply not “objective” way to compare interpersonal benefit.
Will Jones be less worse off if we take his money than Smith, the recipient, will be better off? WE have no way of knowing because a anhtony can’t know all the consequences of that act, b we can’t really know anrhony they each would do with the money, and c we can’t, in any reliable way, tell whether Smith’s enjoyment of the money does or doesn’t outweigh Antbony enjoyment of the money except with subjective intuition.
Yes, we can argue about marginal utility, but Jasay tears that to smithereens. I go on so long because I want to give you a flavor albeit a vastly oversimplified one of what Jasay’s book argues.
His influences are eclectic, drawing heavily on public choice economics, game theory, political theory, etc.
Anthony de Jasay – Online Library of Liberty
And he is quite good at all of them. Even if one is tempted to disagree with some his conclusions, his analysis is very astute and absolutely well-reasoned.
This book is one that anyone concerned with government and its relation to individuals simply should not ignore!
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A Conversation with Anthony de Jasay
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