Coordination in the Market and Public Squares

Update: We had a few technical difficulties, but I think we still got a lot of good ideas on tape. My pre-podcast notes are below — KDR


This post serves as my rough notes for the podcast we plan on recording tonight with Dr. Troy Camplin and Keith Parsons (and perhaps one or two other surprise guests).

We will extend our conversation from the last podcast, “Getting to the Hayekian Network” in which Camplin and I talked about how he came to study social networks from a Hayekian point of view. Camplin’s paper by the same name describes different kinds of social networks, that are broadly categorized into two kinds: hierarchical, planned organizations, and unplanned spontaneous orders.

Particularly, we’ll take a look at theoretical framework presented by Richard Wagner in his book Fiscal Sociology and a review of this book by Adam Martin.

Martin’s rendering of Wagner’s framework, which I think would be amenable to a lot of the structural characterization that Troy has in his “Getting to the Hayekian Network” paper. Three quotes:

“state” — a network of hierarchically organized enterprises that dominates the legal stewardship of the commons. By dominion I mean neither that the state controls all of the commons, nor that such control is absolute… freedom of entry into legal adjudication within the commons is effectively curtailed

In a society with a state, private adjudication may exist for contractual relations without nullifying our common sense notion that the state has a monopoly on coercion. The key is the exercise of legal dominion within the commons, where contractual relations are absent but individuals still interact.

Wagner depicts social order as an ecology of interconnected plans that originate from the market square and the public square alike. Private enterprises engage in production and exchange while public enterprises also take in and disperse tax revenue.  Out of this ecology of intersecting plans — some complementary, some rivalrous — emerge fiscal patterns of taxation and expenditure.

Adam Martin asks questions that I think will be productive starting points for our conversation about our own views of these spheres (forums) that we live inside of:

The classical liberal question: Where should the boundary be drawn between the commons and the sphere of individual autonomy?

The libertarian question: What are the dangers of a nexus of hierachically organized governmental enterprises dominating the commons?

The anarchist question: Should such a nexus exist at all?

The anarcho-capitalist question: Can the feedback generated by market processes improve legal stewardship of the commons?

Published by

the editor

KDR is a writer, editor, and economist.