Providing another key contribution to the immensely popular field of law and economics, this book, written by the doyen of the history of economic thought in the US, explores the dynamic relationship between economics, law and polity. Combining a selection of old and new essays by Warren J. Samuels that chart a number of key themes, it provides an important commentary on the development of an academic field and demonstrates how policy is structured and manipulated by human social construction. The (...) areas covered include: the role of manufactured belief power the nature and sources of rights the construction of markets by firms and governments and the problem of continuity and change in the form of the question of the selectively defined status quo and its status the absolutist character of government, rights, markets and legal principles and the accepted ideational structure of law. The Legal-Economic Nexus is an essential read both economists and legal professionals as well as those researching the history of economic thought and the social construction of law. (shrink)
Abstract Murray Rothbard's Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought demonstrates his mastery of the literature. But his interpretation of the development of economics reflects, and is therefore severely limited by, his Austrian?libertarian perspective. Indeed, Rothbard appropriates the history of economic thought principally to advance his perspective, as seen in his neglect of social control, his identification of his desired economic system with the natural order of things, and especially in his denigratory treatment of Adam Smith?at bottom for (...) not being an Austrian economist and a true libertarian. A partly informed, partly myopic and sometimes useful interpretation, this is the work of an ideologue. (shrink)
Exposition and defense of postmodernism in regards to epistemology and language in economics. Centers on truth versus tools and truth versus story while emphasizing social constructivism, methodological pluralism, and multiplicity of truth. Affirms quest for confident knowledge but emphasizes limitations with regard to results understood as truth. Defends and puts into perspective the charge of ?anything goes?. Adopts self-reflexive view of postmodernism itself.
Robert Higgs misunderstands me as suggesting that there is, in all societies, a mathematically constant level of coercion. My argument is that society and economy are fundamentally structures of coercion and governance, with selective perception being employed to choose which interests government will coercively protect. As a result coercion is ubiquitous?ideological preconceptions and material preferences to the contrary notwithstanding. Libertarianism consists of attractive sentiments but sentiments nonetheless. Higgs is participating in the process of determining the uses of government, not in (...) its minimization; a valuable process but not the latter one. (shrink)
Analyzes means and results of reduction of variables from evident multiplicity to a manageable few, the latter driven by conceptions of science and disciplinary paradigm and problem formulation. Attention is given to the use of such concepts as ?natural?, ?distortion?, ?anomalies?, and assumptions as to rights. To the inevitability of the selective reduction of multiplicity and complexity is juxtaposed the necessity of taking account thereof and of the limits thereby imposed on analysis.
Robert Higgs's Crisis and Leviathan argues that there is a ratchet effect both after major wars and other serious crises, such as depressions: attitudinal or ideological changes lead not only to greater government spending but greater intrusion of government into economic command and control. Higgs's explanation of the growth of government, however, is embedded in and driven by a particular ideological view of the legal?economic world, one that misapprehends certain legal?economic fundamentals, including the scope of economic command and control, and (...) that fails to deal with certain interpretive complexities, including alternative explanations. (shrink)