Advertisement

Voluntary Cooperation and Unlimited Democracy

  • Lorenzo InfantinoEmail author
Chapter
  • 5 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter re-examines the link between the gnoseological premise of ignorance and liberty, formal legal equality, the “government of law”, individual freedom of choice and voluntary cooperation.

This chapter also returns to the critique, hinted to in the opening chapter, towards homo oeconomicus, which is also often imported in political science and sociology. Such figure is tightly connected to the utilitarian tradition, but is in conflict with that cultural orientation that is typical of the “Darwinians before Darwin,” namely the likes of Mandeville, Montesquieu and exponents of the Scottish Enlightenment. Homo oeconomicus is an actor who has all the “relevant data” available. And his permanent task is to “maximize” results. This is a consequence which is consistent with the endowment of knowledge attributed to the actor. The basic question, which is that of the ignorance and fallibility of each individual, is thus completely avoided. And this erases the fact that competitive allocation of resources is, “like experimentation in science, first and foremost a discovery procedure [… and] cannot be said of competition any more than of any other sort of experimentation that it leads to a maximization of any measurable results. It merely leads, under favorable conditions, to the use of more skill and knowledge than any other procedure” (Hayek). This means that we compete because we do not have the knowledge we need. And, under these circumstances, we cannot maximize any advantage. We can try to achieve our priority goal, which is to cooperate with one another, in order to alleviate our condition of scarcity.

If competition has such a meaning, we can understand that, in a social system that sees competition present, everywhere minimizes the power of one individual over another. If merits do not explain the social positions occupied by subjects, it means that cooptation from conformity has prevailed over the competitive process. By revealing which of us performs best, competition attributes varying levels of personal freedom. But lack of competition, by preventing or distorting such “discovery procedure,” produces arbitrary power.

References

  1. Aguirre J.A. de (1985) El poder de emitir dinero, Madrid: Unión Editorial.Google Scholar
  2. Aguirre J.A. de (2009) El capitalismo y la riqueza de las naciones, Madrid: Unión Editorial.Google Scholar
  3. Aguirre J.A., Infantino L. (2013) “La teoria del denaro di Carl Menger”, in C. Menger, Il denaro, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  4. Arrow K.J. (1963), Social Choice and Individual Values, New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Bastiat F. (2007) That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen, Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute.Google Scholar
  6. Bentley A.F. (1935) The Process of Government, Bloomington: Principia Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brennan G., Buchanan J.M. (2000a) The Power to Tax, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  8. Brennan G., Buchanan J.M. (2000b) The Reason of Rules, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  9. Buchanan J.M. (1979) What should Economists do?, Indianapolis: Liberty Press.Google Scholar
  10. Buchanan J.M., G. Tullock (1999) The Calculus of Consent, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  11. Buchanan J.M., R.E. Wagner (2000) Democracy in Deficit, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  12. Cardini A. (1985) Antonio De Viti de Marco, Roma-Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  13. Constant B. (1988) “Principles of Politics”, in Constant (1988c).Google Scholar
  14. Dalle Molle A. (ed., 1962) Il maestro dell’economia di domani, Verona: L’economista.Google Scholar
  15. Demsetz A. (1982) Economic, Legal, and Political Dimensions of Competition, Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  16. De Viti de Marco A. (1888) Il carattere teorico dell’economia finanziaria, Roma: Pasqualucci.Google Scholar
  17. De Viti de Marco A. (1939) Principii di economia finanziaria, Torino: Einuadi.Google Scholar
  18. De Viti de Marco A. (1994) Un trentennio di lotte politiche: 1894–1922, Napoli: Giannini.Google Scholar
  19. Einaudi L. (1939) “Avvertenza” to A.C. Pigou, Capitalismo e socialismo, Torino: Einaudi.Google Scholar
  20. Fallocco S. (2012) “Il soggetto dell’azione nella spiegazione individualistica”, in S. Maffettone, A. Orsini (eds.), Studi in onore di Luciano Pellicani, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  21. Fasiani M. (1968) Prefazione to A.C. Pigou, Economia del benessere, Torino: Utet.Google Scholar
  22. Ferrara F. (1934) Lezioni di economia politica, Bologna: Zanichelli.Google Scholar
  23. Hayek F.A. (1935) Prices and Production, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  24. Hayek F.A. (1939) Profits, Interest and Investment, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  25. Hayek F.A. (1941) The Pure Theory of Capital, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  26. Hayek F.A. (1949) Individualism and Economic Order, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  27. Hayek F.A. (1960), The Constitution of Liberty, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  28. Hayek F.A. (1967) Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hayek F.A. (1972) The Road to Serfdom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hayek F.A. (1978) New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hayek F.A. (1982) Law, Legislation and Liberty, London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  32. Hayek F.A. (2011) “James Buchanan and Friedrich A von Hayek. Interview: Pattern, Prediction and Scientism”, in F.A. von Hayek, Autobiografia, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  33. Hobhouse L.T. (1946) Liberalism, Oxford: Oxford U.P.Google Scholar
  34. Infantino L. (2008) Individualismo, mercato e storia delle idee, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  35. Infantino L. (2010) “Hayek and the Evolutionary Tradition Against the Homo Oeconomicus”, in Advances in Austrian Economics, vol. 13, pp. 159–77.Google Scholar
  36. Knapp G.F. (1924) Staatliche Theorie des Geldes, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Keynes J.M. (1920) The Economic Consequences of the Peace, New York, Harcourt: Brace and Howe.Google Scholar
  38. Keynes J.M. (1924) A Tract on Monetary Reform, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  39. Keynes J.M. (1936) The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. Leoni B. (1991) Freedom and the Law, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  41. Leoni B. (2004) Lezioni di dottrina dello Stato, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  42. Mandeville B. de (1924) The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  43. Marshall A. (1907) Principles of Economics, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  44. Masala A. (2003) Il liberalismo di Bruno Leoni, Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.Google Scholar
  45. Mill J.S. (1888) Principles of Political Economy, New York: Appleton.Google Scholar
  46. Mill J.S. (1892) A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Mill J.S. (1976) Utilitarianism, On Liberty, and Considerations on Representative Government, London: Dent.Google Scholar
  48. Mill J.S. (2007) Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, Charleston: Bibliobazar.Google Scholar
  49. Mises L. (1966) Human Action, Contemporary Books: Chicago.Google Scholar
  50. Mises L. (1977) A Critique of Interventionism, New Rochelle: Arlington House.Google Scholar
  51. Mises L. (1981a) Socialism, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  52. Mises L. (1981b) The Theory of Money and Credit, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  53. Pigou A.C. (1920) The Economics of Welfare, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  54. Pigou A.C. (1954) “Some Aspects of the Welfare State”, in Diogenes, vol. 7, pp. 1–11Google Scholar
  55. Puviani A. (1973) Teoria dell’illusione finanziaria, Milano: Isedi.Google Scholar
  56. Robbins L. (1965) The Theory of Economic Policy in the English Classical Political Economy, London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  57. Röpke W. (1964) Welfare, Freedom and Inflation, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  58. Rostovtzev M.I. (1928) History of the Ancient World, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  59. Rothbard M.N. (1970) Man, Economy and the State, Los Angeles: Nash Publishing.Google Scholar
  60. Rothbard M.N. (1990) What Has Government Done to Our Money, Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute.Google Scholar
  61. Sartori G. (1962) Democratic Theory, Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  62. Selgin G.A. (1988) The Theory of Free Banking: Maney Supply under Competitive Note Issue, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  63. Simmel G. (1978) The Philosophy of Money, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Smith A. (1976) “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, in Smith (1976e).Google Scholar
  65. Stiglitz J.E. (1985) “Information and Economic Analysis: A Perspective”, in Economic Journal, vol. 95, pp. 21–41.Google Scholar
  66. Tocqueville A. de (1848), “Sur le droit au travail”, in Le Moniteur Universal, Journal officiel de la République Française, no. 257, 13 September 1848, pp. 2416–9.Google Scholar
  67. Tocqueville A. de (1983) The Old Regime and the French Revolution, New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  68. Tocqueville A. de (1994) Democracy in America, London: Everyman’s Library.Google Scholar
  69. Vanberg V.J. (1981) Liberaler Evolutionismus oder wertragstheoretischer Konstitucionalismus, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  70. Vitale A. (2009), “Parassitismo politico e Stato moderno”, in Nuova Storia Contemporanea, vol. 12, pp. 5–32.Google Scholar
  71. Voltaire (1778) Letters concerning the English Nation, London: Tonson.Google Scholar
  72. Voltaire (1876) Dictionnaire philosophique, in Oeuvres completes, vol. 18, Paris: Hachette.Google Scholar
  73. Whately R. (1831) Introductory Lectures on Political Economy, London: Fellowes.Google Scholar
  74. Wicksell K. (1967) “A New Principle of Just Taxation”, in R.A. Musgrave, A.T. Peacock (eds.), Classics in the Theory of Public Finance, New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  75. Wieser F. von (1926) Das Gesetz der Macht, Wien: Springer.Google Scholar
  76. Wootton B. (1953) “The Labour Party and the Social Services”, in Political Quarterly, vol. 24, pp. 55–67.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guido Carli Free International UniversityRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations