Are Government Police, Courts, and Law Really Ideal?: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
May 21, 2007

Are Government Police, Courts, and Law Really Ideal?
New Book Examines Privatized Law Enforcement and the History of Non–State Legal Systems

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

OAKLAND, Calif., May 21, 2007—Should markets and contracts provide law, and can the rule of law itself be understood as a private institution? Are the state and its police powers benign societal forces, or are they a system of conquest, authoritarianism, waste, incompetence, and abuse? In Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice (March 2007 / The Independent Institute / $89.95), economist Edward P. Stringham brings together for the first time in one volume the most important classic and contemporary studies exploring and debating “non–state” legal and political systems in which security, conflict resolution, and law enforcement are privatized.

Whereas liberals and conservatives argue in favor of political constraints, Anarchy and the Law examines whether to check against abuse, government power must be replaced by a social order of self–government based on contracts. From the early works of Edmund Burke and Voltairine de Cleyre, to the contemporary thinking of Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, Anarchy and the Law examines the efficacy of individual choice and markets versus the shortfalls of coercive government power and bureaucracy.

“If someone argued that because food is so important it must be supplied by government, most would respond that government provision of food would be a disaster. Private–property ‘anarchism’ applies the same logic to law, and argues that because protecting property rights is so important, it is the last thing that should be left to the state,” says Dr. Stringham. "Anarchy and the Law helps explain events and trends we are facing today, from concerns about eminent domain abuses, to the growth of private security–guard forces and the so–called ‘rent a judge’ business. Security would be provided privately, as it is at college, shopping malls, hotels, and casinos, and courts would be provided privately, as they are with arbitration and mediation today.”

Praise for Anarchy and the Law

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

"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

"Anarchy and the Law is an important and very powerful book, and for the open-minded, will do a great deal to persuade them that non-state political systems based on voluntary association and private contracts deserve to be taken very seriously indeed."
Jan Narveson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, Canada

Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice
Edited by Edward P. Stringham
Published by Transaction Publishers in cooperation with The Independent Institute
March 2007 | Hardcover | 720 pages | $89.95 | ISBN 10-7658-0330-5

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