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Anarchy Unbound
Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think


Part of Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society

  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107025806

£ 57.00

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About the Authors
  • In Anarchy Unbound, Peter T. Leeson uses rational choice theory to explore the benefits of self-governance. Relying on experience from the past and present, Professor Leeson provides evidence of anarchy 'working' where it is least expected to do so and explains how this is possible. Provocatively, Leeson argues that in some cases anarchy may even outperform government as a system of social organization, and demonstrates where this may occur. Anarchy Unbound challenges the conventional self-governance wisdom. It showcases the incredible ingenuity of private individuals to secure social cooperation without government and how their surprising means of doing so can be superior to reliance on the state.

    • Challenges conventional thinking about anarchy, offering new and provocative theories for self-governance
    • Nontechnical, accessible, and of interest to academics from across the social sciences and law, as well as laypersons
    • The inaugural book in Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society, a new interdisciplinary series of theoretical and empirical research focusing on individual choice, institutions, and social outcomes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In the best tradition of Coase, Peter Leeson shows how, in the most surprising times and places, individuals managed to organize their lives and affairs cooperatively without any help from government. The history in this book is fascinating; the economics is powerful; and the writing is beautiful.' Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'With compelling arguments and examples from many different times and societies, Leeson shows how bottom-up institutions of governance work and why their results are often better than what governments achieve. The book is fascinating reading for all economists, and will be an eye-opener to many.' Avinash Dixit, Princeton University, author of Lawlessness and Economics

    'A lively, insightful, and masterly work. In taking aim at Thomas Hobbes' view that governments are invariably essential, Leeson invokes historical examples such as the institution of Caribbean pirates and sociological concepts such as social distance. It is rare for an economist to offer riches to social scientists of every stripe.' Robert C. Ellickson, Meyer Professor of Property Law, Yale Law School

    'Persuasive arguments for a state of anarchy.' Morning Star

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107025806
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Anarchy unbound
    Part I. Self-Governance and the Problem of Social Diversity:
    2. Social distance and self-enforcing exchange
    3. The laws of lawlessness
    Part II. Self-Governance and the Problem of Violence:
    4. Trading with bandits
    5. Efficient plunder
    Part III. Social-Governance and the Problem of 'Bad Apples':
    6. Pirates' private order
    7. Criminal constitutions
    Part IV. Self-Governance as Superior to the State:
    8. Efficient anarchy
    9. Better off stateless
    10. An argument for anarchy in LDCs
    11. A future for thinking about self-governance.

  • Author

    Peter T. Leeson, George Mason University, Virginia
    Peter T. Leeson is a Professor of Economics and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University, Virginia. He is also the North American editor of Public Choice. Previously, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, the F. A. Hayek Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Visiting Fellow in Political Economy at Harvard University, Massachusetts. Professor Leeson is the author of The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates (2009) and a recipient of the Fund for the Study of Spontaneous Order's Hayek Prize, which he received for his research on self-governance.

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