The Economic Functions of the State

  • Lord Robbins


We can, perhaps, best approach this task by examining the truth of certain prevalent opinions. I do not think that it is any exaggeration to suggest that to-day, apart from a handful of specialists, the great body of the educated public tends to regard the Classical conception of the functions of the state as sufficiently characterized by Carlyle’s phrase, “Anarchy plus the constable”, or by Lassalle’s simile of the night watchman. It is this view that I propose to examine.


Economic Policy Economic Freedom Public Utility Classical Economist Economic Function 
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  1. 1.
    J. S. Mill’s Political Economy: Edinburgh Review October 1848, vol. clxxviii, p. 294 seq.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mercier de La Rivière, L’Ordre naturel et essentiel des sociétés politiques, collection des économistes (1910), p. 30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lord Robbins 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lord Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.The London School of EconomicsUK

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