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     The Calculus of Consent Revisited

by Professor Walter Block


Economics and Finance Department

University of Central Arkansas

Conway, AR 72035

501 450 5355

[email protected]

and Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Professor of Economics

Sllinger School of Business and Management

Loyola College in Maryland

Baltimore MD 21210-2699

[email protected]


The Calculus of Consent Revisited

Buchanan and Tullock (1962, hence BT) have a reputation as radical defenders of

private property, markets, free enterprise, limited government and libertarianism. While this

account is to some degree correct1, the present paper shall argue that it is exaggerated. It will

show that their supposed adherence to these doctrines and philosophies is at best a moderate, not

a radical, one, because of numerous errors with respect to their theories of democracy, ruling

class, constitutionalism, contract, voting, methodological individualism, and the relation between

government and private enterprise.


Let us consider BT's2 unfortunate misuse of language. The most basic distinction in all of

political economy is surely the one between actions that are coerced upon unwilling victims, and

those that are undertaken on a voluntary basis. The latter BT categorize as "private," reasonably

enough. But the former they characterize as "collective," surely a misnomer. For the word

"collective" implies that a group of people join together, on a voluntary basis, and do something

en masse. Clearly, a better choice of words to highlight this differentiation would have been

"private" for voluntary contracts between two consenting parties, and "coercive" for those

arrangement where some people act under the duress imposed by others.

As for "collective," this, too, is a legitimate word in the english language, and must

therefore have some use or other. The most meaningful referent would be to the actions of three

or more people which cannot be analyzed into several two-way pairings; e.g., a golf party or

dinner and a movie arrangements. The distinction between collective and private would refer

merely to the number of people involved in a decision. This is not a world shaking difference;

rather it is one barely worth making. In any case, the two distinctions yield a two by two matrix:

Private Collective

Voluntary A B

Coercive C D

Here, A stands for private voluntary actions, such as the purchase of a newspaper for

$.50. There are only two participants, hence the private characterization, and since there is no

force or the threat of force, it is categorized as voluntary. B is also voluntary, but here there are

three or more participants which are not based on numerous pair wise agreements. An example

would be where a large group of people start up a golf club, or decide where to go for dinner and a

movie. The case of the ordinary firm would be an example of A; even though there are large

numbers of people involved, each of them, the employees, has a contract with only one person,


the owner of the business.

In C, the interaction is coercive and private. An example would be Crusoe enslaving

Friday, or one holdup man robbing a single victim. D is equally coercive, but here there are three

or more people who participate. Examples include tyranny of the majority, where a larger group

forces its will on a smaller group.

The important comparison is between the two rows. Whether an act takes place on a

voluntary basis, or where one party, no matter its size, physically threatens another, no matter its

size, is a matter of supreme importance. In contrast, the separation between the two columns,

however important for some purposes, is of far less account, at least philosophically speaking.

Whether force is threatened is crucial; how many people are involved, is not.

According to BT,

"Collective action is viewed as the action of individuals when they choose to accomplish

purposes collectively rather than individually, and the government is seen as nothing more than

the set of processes, the machine, which allows such collective action to take place" (p. 13).

But this is disingenuous. It glosses over the vital distinctions made above between force

and agreement. Collective action, when accomplished through the intermediation of the state, is

no longer merely collective. Due to the police power of the government, it becomes turned into

coercive collective action.

States Hoppe (1993, pp. 18, 19):

"What has commonly been overlooked, though, -- especially by those who try to make a

virtue of the fact that a democracy gives equal voting power to everyone, whereas consumer

sovereignty allows for unequal 'votes' -- is the most important deficiency of all: Under a system of

consumer sovereignty people might cast unequal votes but, in any case, they exercise control

exclusively over things that they acquired through original appropriation or contract and hence

are forced to act morally. Under a democracy of production everyone is assumed to have

something to say regarding things one did not so acquire, and hence one is permanently invited

thereby not only to create legal instability with all its negative effects on the process of capital

formation, but, moreover, to act immorally."


BT ask, "How shall the dividing line between collective action and private action be

drawn?" (p. 5). This would seem to indicate either that they do not take cognizance of the more

complex two by two matrix discussed above, or that their concern is with what we have called the

unimportant issue.


The proof of this is their continual interpretation of collective decision making in terms of

political or democratic elections. The point is, this belongs in the coercive, not the voluntary

sector. Why? How can it be claimed that democratic voting is coercive? The obvious answer is

that the minority is compelled to accept the wishes of the majority.

But the other side of this debate is not without its reply. It claims that all participants in

the democratic process have agreed to be bound by its decision.3 Therefore, there is no coercion

involved. Indeed, there cannot be. It is just as if a person purchased a newspaper for $.50, and

then, after being given the paper, refused to pay the agreed upon amount of money. To force him

to disgorge the coins would not violate his rights. On the contrary, to allow him to keep these

funds would be a theft from the vendor. In like manner, if a person agrees to be bound by

majority vote, and then balks when he loses the election, to compel him to honor his agreement is

not to violate his rights. On the contrary, to allow him to do so would be coercive to the


Now let us consider the critique. On the one hand, Spooner (1966) is definitive in his

claim that, as a matter of fact, the minority did not agree to be bound by majority decision

making. All evidence seeming to the contrary (willingness to vote, to pay taxes, etc.) can be

interpreted not as agreement, but as a defensive measure attempting to make the best of a bad

(coercive) situation.

Second is Schumpeter (1942), who remarks on the type of democratic views espoused by

BT as follows:

"The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or the purchase of the

service, of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social sciences is from

scientific habits of mind" (p. 198).

In the view of Hoppe (1993, p. 13):

"The most prominent modern champions of Orwellian double talk are J. Buchanan and G.

Tullock. They claim that government is founded by a 'constitutional contract' in which everyone

'conceptually agrees' to submit to the coercive powers of government with the understanding that

everyone else is subject to it too. Hence government is only seemingly coercive but really

voluntary. There are several evident objections to this curious argument. First, there is no

empirical evidence whatsoever for the contention that any constitution has ever been voluntarily

accepted by everyone concerned. Worse, the very idea of all people voluntarily coercing

themselves is simply inconceivable, much in the same way as it is inconceivable to deny the law of

contradiction. For if the voluntarily accepted coercion is voluntary, then it would have to be

possible to revoke one's subjection to the constitution, and the state would be no more than a

voluntarily joined club. If, however, one does not have the 'right to ignore the state' - and that

one does not have this right is, of course, the characteristic mark of a state as compared to a club

-- then it would be logically inadmissible to claim that one's acceptance of state coercion is


voluntary. Furthermore, even if all this were possible, the constitutional contract could still not

claim to bind anyone except the original signers of the constitution.

"How can Buchanan and Tullock come up with such absurd ideas? By a semantic trick.

What was 'inconceivable' and 'no agreement' in pre-Orwellian talk is for them 'conceptually

possible' and a 'conceptual agreement.' For a most instructive short exercise in this sort of

reasoning in leaps and bounds, see Buchanan (1977). Here we learn (p. 17) that even the

acceptance of the 55 mph speed limit is possibly voluntary (Buchanan is not quite sure) since it

ultimately rests on all of us conceptually agreeing on the constitution, and that Buchanan is not

really a statist, but in truth an anarchist (p. 11.)"

It is even possible to go further in this criticism. For suppose that BT were correct and

Spooner, Schumpeter and Hoppe are mistaken concerning their views of the original contract.

That is, people did at one time unanimously get together and sign a constitution, obligating all of

them to be bound, thereafter, by majority rule (or what ever other voting requirements were

stipulated); and that this was not done, defensively, as it were under duress, a la Spooner. It still

does not follow that this "contract" is binding upon anyone, even the signatories, let alone their

descendants. In order for this constitution to pass muster, it would have to overcome one further

hurdle, that set by Rothbard (1973, 1982) for contracts. In his view, consideration is absolutely

imperative if an erstwhile "agreement" is to qualify for the honorific of "contract." Without at

least some sort of consideration passing hands from one party to another, what we have is merely

a "promise," not a contract4. And, while it would be moral for a man who promises a woman he

will marry her to carry through on his promise, this is not legally binding. Nor would the

establishment of a government be legally binding, based on mere promises, even if it were at one

time unanimous.

Ruling Class

State BT in this regard:

"We shall also reject any theory or conception of the collectivity which embodies the

exploitation of a ruled by a ruling class. This includes the Marxist vision, which incorporates the

polity as one means through which the economically dominant group imposes its will on the

downtrodden. Other theories of class domination are equally foreign to our purposes. Any

conception of State activity that divides the social group into the ruling class and the oppressed

class, and that regards the political process as simply a means through which this class dominance

is established and then preserved, must be rejected as irrelevant for the discussion which follows"

(p. 12).

Now this is more than just passing curious. Had BT given reasons for their rejection of

class analysis, commentators could have agreed or disagreed with them, and, in so doing, made a

rational choice as to whether to support this theory or not. But nowhere in BT are such

considerations to be found. Instead, they content themselves with the mere announcement that

they have ruled such theories out of court. Is this due to a "revelation" (see BT, p. 4) of some


sort, not vouchsafed to the rest of us?

Just because BT will not consider this sort of analytic framework is no reason for us to

refrain from it. On the contrary, we do well in this context to consider the class analysis of John

J. Calhoun, no Marxist, he, who bases his analytic framework on the tax-subsidy system. In his

view, society can be divided into those who, on net balance, pay more to the state than they

receive from it, and those who pay less to the state than they receive from it. The former are net

tax payers, or the exploited; the latter are net tax receivers, or the exploiters (Lence, 1992). It

would be one thing if BT were to criticize this perspective; it is quite another to reject it out of

hand, without being able to point to any counter evidence, or lapse from logic in the case.

The puzzle is that BT have also expressed themselves as if they were themselves Marxists,

or at the very least libertarian Calhounians, when they refer to "preventing the undue

exploitation of one group by another through the political process" (p. 22). But if there are no

classes, how can one group organize with the purpose of exploiting another?

State and Market

In the view of many commentators, the government is the only entity in society with a

legal monopoly of force. The Mafia, the Blood, the Crips, and the Hell's Angels may all use

coercion as part and parcel of their everyday activities, but the law does not legitimize such

occurrences. The state, too, uses force, but it alone has the legitimacy which only the law can


In sharp contradistinction, it is illegal for ordinary business firms to "take the law into

their own hands." If faced with a customer who cannot pay his bills, it is impermissible for a

corporation to send out "enforcers" or "leg breakers" to ensure that this does not occur too often.

Instead, the aggrieved business must petition the state for redress, given the latter's monopoly

over the use of coercion.

But this is not at all the perspective of BT. Instead, they are firm believers in the view of

the state as part of the market. They maintain that:

"The market and the State are both devices through which co-operation is organized and

made possible... The individual enters into an exchange relationship in which he furthers his own

interest by providing some product or service that is of direct benefit to the individual on the

other side of the transaction. At base, political or collective action under the individualistic view

of the State is much the same. Two or more individuals find it mutually advantageous to join

forces to accomplish certain common purposes. In a very real sense, they 'exchange' inputs in the

securing of the commonly shared output" (p. 19).

Say if you will that government is just another business firm. But realize that it is rather a

special type of business firm, one which enjoys the police power. Under these assumptions, there


are two kinds of firms: one which features the legitimate power to initiate violence against non

aggressors, and the others, which do not. But this is rather awkward. Much simpler is the

ordinary english language usage, eschewed by BT, according to which entities with the police

power are called governments, and those without it are called corporations.

Public Service

BT are on record with the quite reasonable view that when people enter government, they

do not suddenly sprout angel's wings; that on the contrary, they maintain the same self

interestedness they display as participants in the market sector. For example, they state: "... the

average individual acts on the basis of the same over-all value scale when he participates in

market activity and political activity." And they specifically criticise political theorists whose

views "have been grounded on the implicit assumption that the representative individual seeks

not to maximize his own utility, but to find the 'public interest' or 'common good.'" (p. 20).

All well and good. However, then, how can this sentiment be reconciled with the


"... both men (Robinson Crusoe, Friday) will recognize the advantages to be secured from

constructing a fortress. Yet one fortress is sufficient for the protection of both. Hence they will

find it mutually advantageous to enter into a political 'exchange' and devote resources to the

construction of the common good" (p. 19).

Will neither Crusoe nor Friday engage in "opportunistic" behavior? Will neither attempt

to get the other to contribute the lion's share to the common good, while he contributes as little

as possible, and instead benefits as a free rider? BT's depiction, as quoted above, sounds as if both

men did sprout angel's wings.

Political Markets

BT are very serious about the analogy between markets and politics. They go so far as to

talk of the latter in terms of "political markets." But they go even further than this, likening

Adam Smith's invisible hand to coercive collectivism:

"Adam Smith and those associated with the movement he represented were partially

successful in convincing the public at large that, within the limits of certain general rules of

action, the self-seeking activities of the merchant and the moneylender tend to further the

general interests of everyone in the community. An acceptable theory of collective choice can

perhaps do something similar in pointing the way toward those rules for collective choice-making,

the constitution, under which the activities of political tradesmen can be similarly reconciled

with the interests of all members of the social group" (p. 23).

Another analogy between political and economic market is that both are forms of


exchange, and in each case the presumption is that these exchanges are mutually beneficial.

Here is the BT claim:

"The economic approach, which assumes man to be a utility-maximizer in both his market

and his political activity, does not require that one individual increase his own utility at the

expense of other individuals. This approach (the Public Choice perspective of BT, that is)

incorporates political activity as a particular form of exchange; and, as in the market relation,

mutual gains to all parties are ideally expected to result from the collective relation" (p. 23;

material in brackets supplied by present authors).

This is why BT claim that "the political process ... may be interpreted as a positive sum

game" (p. 24). This is perhaps their most basic core fallacy. The very idea that politics, like

economics, would be a mutually beneficial endeavor! A brief look at what goes on in

Washington, D.C.5 should disabuse even the most superficial scholar of politics of that particular

notion. To be sure, there are beneficiaries. As it happens, most of the richest counties in the

U.S. are located within a few mile radius of the nation's capital. But a large part of the "business"

of the denizens of this city consists of transferring vast amount of funds from some (the exploited)

to others (the exploiters), with a significant percentage of the proceeds finding its way into the

pockets of the "transferrers" (Hill and Anderson, 19xx; Osterfeld, 1988).

There is little doubt that what goes on in markets is indeed mutually beneficial. Trade is

always beneficial in the ex ante sense, and usually so even in the ex post sense. That is because

the commercial arrangements are at all times agreed upon by both parties to the exchange. The

political "market," in sharp contrast, cannot boast of such mutuality. On the contrary, it is

earmarked with predation, where one party (the net tax beneficiary) gains at the expense of the

other (the net tax payer).

Charles Beard

Happily, BT do not rest content with mere assertion. They instead consider a theory

contrary to their own, that of Charles Beard. In their criticism, they charge him with "the failure

to distinguish two quite different approaches to political activity, both of which may be called, in

some sense, economic" (p. 25). The first is their own.

"The second approach assumes that the individual is motivated by his position or class

status in the production process. The social class in which the individual finds himself is prior to,

and determines, the interest of the individual in political activity. In one sense, the second

approach is the opposite of the first since it requires that, on many occasions, the individual must

act contrary to his own economic interest in order to further the interest of the social class or

group to which he belongs.

"Beard attempted to base his interpretation of the formation of the American

Constitution on the second, essentially the Marxist, approach, and to explain the activities of the


Founding Fathers in terms of class interest. As Brown has shown, Beard's argument has little

factual support, in spite of its widespread acceptance by American social scientists" (p. 26).

But this critique is not without flaws of its own. First of all, an economic critique of U.S.

Constitutionalism need not rely on the view that social class, rather than self interest, would be

the primary motivating force. One can borrow a leaf from the Calhounian notebook, and

interpret self centered activity in the political realm not in support of group interests, but in terms

of individual ones. Second, social class can be seen as a proxy for self interest. That is, one may

support one's own group not out of love for it per se, but out of the belief that this is the most

efficient means toward self aggrandizement. Third, there is an internal contradiction in this

analysis. The BT view of men not sprouting angel's wings when they enter public service is

compatible with what BT have to say about Beard. So why are they criticizing him, given that he

does no more than BT do themselves? According to the logic of BT's critique of Beard, their own

theory, too, is "Marxist."

Let us put this into other words: BT claim that their theory utilizes "the individualisteconomic,

or the utility-maximizing assumption about behavior in the political process" (p. 27).

Well, so, too, does Beard's, if we interpret him sympathetically. If we do not, we may still rely on

the Calhounian class analysis to make essentially the Beardian point, that the "fix" was in, with

regard to the creation of the U.S. constitution; e.g., that this process was a product of utility

maximization applied to the political process. This is what BT's theory is all about. Why do they

so strenuously object to the very same theorizing when it appears in the work of Beard, or of


Methodological Individualism

BT announce themselves as methodological individualists. By this they mean to reject the

"organic conception of the collective unit." They see methodological pluralism as "essentially

opposed to the Western philosophical tradition in which the human individual is the primary

philosophical entity." Moreover,

"since we propose to construct a theory of collective choice that has relevance to modern

Western democracy, we shall reject at the outset any organic interpretation of collective activity"

(p. 11).

This is all well and good, not only because it is consonant with Western traditions. There

is also the obvious point that there is no such thing as a "group will" or a "group mind." If the

social sciences are to study group behavior, they will perforce have to do it by analyzing

individuals, as they interact with one another6.

What, then, are we to make of BT when they refer to "the objectives of the group as a

whole." They do so in the following context:


"Insofar as possible, institutions and legal constraints should be developed which will

order the pursuit of private gain in such a way as to make it consistent with, rather than contrary

to, the attainment of the objectives of the group as a whole" (p. 27).

The obvious rejoinder is to cite the BT of p. 11 against the BT of p. 27. The point is,

there are no objectives of the "group as a whole." Only individuals can have objectives. The

group as such cannot. Or, to put this in another way, any objectives that the group as a whole is

supposed to have can either be reduced to the objectives in the minds of the individuals that

comprise it, or are nonexistent and nonsensical.

The reference of BT to "the objectives of the group as a whole" is rendered even the more

puzzling by a passage that occurs a few pages later. Here, they state,

"Are we to consider the collectivity as the decision-making unit, and therefore, are we to

scale or order collective choices against some postulated social goal or set of goals? Or, by

contrast, are we to consider the individual participant in collective choice as the only real

decision-maker and, as a result, discuss rational behavior only in terms of the individual's own

goal achievement? It is evident from what has been said before that we shall adopt the second of

these approaches" (p. 31).

How, then, to explain BT's "the objectives of the group as a whole?"


BT defend the neoclassical position on this issue:

"To judge whether or not individual behavior is 'rational' or 'irrational,' the economist

must try first of all to place some general minimal restrictions on the shapes of utility functions. If

he is successful in this effort, he may then test the implications of his hypotheses against observed


"Specifically, the modern economist assumes as working hypotheses that the average

individual is able to rank or to order all alternative combinations of goods and services that may

be placed before him and that this ranking is transitive. Behavior of the individual is said to be

'rational' when the individual chooses 'more' rather than 'less' and when he is consistent in his

choices" (p. 33).

This may well be the traditional stance in this regard, but it is highly problematic. First of

all, how will the economist know if he is successful in his effort to "place some general minimal

restrictions on the shapes of utility functions?" Is there an independent criterion, over and above

"testing the implications of his hypotheses against observed behavior"? (p. 33). Secondly, why the

transitivity requirement? Why can't a person prefer a}b, b}c, and then c}a? If these are truly

independent events there is no logical reason to suppose that this cannot occur. It takes place,


continually, in every day life: on day one a person prefers apples to oranges; on day two he

chooses organges over bananas; and on day three he picks bananas instead of apples. Thirdly,

"consistency in choices" implies a denial of the fact that these pair-wise comparisons are truly

independent. The implication, here, is that there are not three separate events: choosing

between a and b, b and c, and then c and a. Transitivity implies that they all occur at the same

point. But it is impossible to make more than one choice at any given time. Fourth, BT must

implicitly assume that the individual who does the ranking cannot change his mind. And why

not? Solely, it would appear, so that we can "test" the theory. But this is only a logical positivist

fetish (Rothbard, 1962; Mises, 1963; Hoppe, 1988, 1991, 1992; Blanschard, 19xx). Why should

be allow the strictures of this philosophy to deny that which we full well know is true, namely that

people do indeed change their minds?

Trade, Economies of Scale

According to Buchanan and Tullock (1971):

"...when individual interests are assumed to be identical, the main body of economic

theory vanishes. If all men were equal in interest and endowment, natural or artificial, there

would be no organized economic activity to explain. Each man would be a Crusoe. Economic

theory thus explains why men co-operate through trade: they do so because they are different" (p.


This appears as if it should be true, but it is not. Even under the conditions posited by BT,

exchange would still occur. This is because of economies of scale, and the benefits of

specialization. Two people might have the same potential to be a concert pianist or a brain

surgeon. If they each do both, they will achieve an indifferent level of success. In contrast, if the

first spends all of his time on the one, and the second on the other, they will each become far

more skilled. But if they specialize in this manner, they will have to trade, even though they also

have the same tastes, provided only that they wish to consume both services.

Political Truth

In like manner, their analysis of "political theorists" (p. 4) sounds like a truism, but is no

such thing. In the view of BT: "Political theorists, by contrast, do not seem to have considered

fully the implications of individual differences for a theory of political decisions. Normally, the

choice-making process has been conceived of as the means of arriving at some version of 'truth,'

some rationalist absolute which remains to be discovered through reason or revelation, and

which, once discovered, will attract all men to its support."

There are several problems here. First, it is unclear what an explanation for trade has to

do with "truth" in politics. Certainly the one does not logically imply the other. That is, one may

take BT's mistaken explanation of trade in terms of differences, and combine it with their view of

"truth," or the very opposite. In neither case would there be a self contradiction. Second,


revelation on the one hand, and either rationalism or reason on the other, do seem to be at least

somewhat incompatible. One wonders at the juxtaposition of these two very different

epistemological categories, unless of course revelation is merely being wielded to cast doubt and

aspersions on the possibility of achieving "truth" in the political realm. Third, we hereby confess

to having a soft spot for this very doctrine. It is our belief, perhaps naive, that one day all those

calling themselves rational will subscribe to the free enterprise philosophy. If BT dismiss this as

blind faith, so be it.


BT fail utterly to distinguish between collectivism and coercion, one of the most

important distinctions in all of political economy. They think, in effect, that when we wish to do

something collectively, that is, with many participants, we must of necessity initiate aggression

against non aggressors. This leads them into a series of errors concerning anarchism, ruling class,

the analogy between economics and politics, democracy, contracts, public service,

methodological individualism and rationality7.



Blanschard, Brand, 19xx

Block, Walter, Another look at the Calculus of Consent, forthcoming A

Block, Walter, Constitutional Economics and the Calculus of Consent, forthcoming B

Block, Walter, "On Robert Nozick's 'On Austrian Methodology'," Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 4, Fall

1980, pp. 397-444

Bolick, Clint, Grassroots Tyranny: The Limits of Federalism, Washington D.C.: Cato, 1993

Buchanan, James M., and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of

Constitutional Democracy, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1962, 1971

Buchanan, James M., "A Contracterian Perspective on Anarchy," Freedom in Constitutional

Contract, College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1977

DiLorenzo, Thomas J., and Block, Walter, "Is Voluntary Government Possible? A Critique of

Constitutional Economics," forthcoming

Hill, P.J., and Anderson, Terry, The Birth of the Transfer Society, 19xx

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, Praxeology and Economic Science, Auburn, Al.: Mises Institute,

Auburn University, 1988


1. Compared to many writers, of course, they are this, and more.

2. All otherwise unidentified page citations refer to this book.

3. According to BT, "Our theory of constitutional choice has normative implications only insofar

as the underlying basis of individual consent is accepted" (p. 7)

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, "Austrian Rationalism in the Age of the Decline of Positivism," Ebeling,

R., ed., Austrian Economics: Perspectives on the Past and Prospects for the Future, Hillsdale,

MI.: Hillsdale College Press, 1991

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, "On Praxeology and the Praxeological Foundation of Epistemology and

Ethics," Herbener, J., ed., The Meaning of Ludwig von Mises, Boston: Dordrecht, 1992

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political

Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer, 1993

Lence, Ross M., ed., Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun,

Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992

Mises, Ludwig von, Human action, Chicago: Regnery, 1963.

Nozick, Robert, "On Austrian methodology," Synthese 36 (1977) pp. 353-392

Osterfeld, David, "'Social Utility' and Government Transfers of Wealth: An Austrian

Perspective," Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 2, 1988, pp. 79-95

Rothbard, Murray N., Man, Economy and State, Los Angeles, Nash, 1962.

Rothbard, Murray N., For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York, 1973.

Rothbard, Murray N., The Ethics of Liberty, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1982.

Rothbard, Murray N., "Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent," in Logic of Action II,

Cheltanham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1997

Schumpeter, Joseph A., Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, New York: Harper, 1942

Spooner, Lysander, No Treason, Larkspur, Colorado, (1870) 1966.



4. I am grateful to Stephen Kinsella for pointing out the necessity of combining the Rothbardian

contractual analysis with the theory of the origin of the state.

5. Or in any of the state capitols, or, indeed, in the councils of most cities, towns and villages

(Bolick, 1993).

6. For a criticism of Nozick (1977) on this point, see Block (1980).

7. See also DiLorenzo and Block, forthcoming; Block, forthcoming A; Block, forthcoming B;

Rothbard, 1997