The evolution of private governance: Neither anarchism nor Statism


I read E. P. Stringham’s book on private governance against the background of Morris Hoffman’s account of the evolution of legal punishment. This allows us to see how the evolution of private governance moves through three levels of punishment: the first-party punishment of conscience and guilt, the second-party punishment of retaliation and revenge, and the third-party punishment of retribution. This suggests that neither pure anarchism nor pure statism is possible, because every social order shows some form of governance, and no authoritarian state can ever hold an absolute monopoly on governance to the exclusion of private governance. One can also see that liberal states leave lots of room for private governance, which allows for adaptive flexibility in solving public problems in ways that promote peace and prosperity.

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Correspondence to Larry Arnhart.

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Arnhart, L. The evolution of private governance: Neither anarchism nor Statism. Rev Austrian Econ 31, 257–264 (2018).

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  • Anarchism
  • Evolution
  • F. A. Hayek
  • Law
  • Governance
  • Edward Peter Stringham

JEL classification

  • B53
  • D02
  • D71
  • H1
  • P16