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Join the conversation! There are now 11 comments on this chapter's page 23. Law Is Good. What are your thoughts?
  1. Fenring says

    Does that say “whores” beneath “peasants” in the third minister column from the left?

  2. WJS says

    And I was under the impression that monopolies were a bad thing. If the government has a monopoly on use of force, then the people only have the governments word that they will treat them fairly. I don’t trust politicians that much.

    • If microeconomics applies here, then giving the government a monopoly on the use of violence should lead to the government charging a higher price for violence and providing less violence than is socially optimal. Wikipedia|Monopoly|Monopoly_and_efficiency
      You could argue that it doesn’t make sense to consider violence a service for which there is a positive socially optimal quantity in each market at each moment in time. However, the existence of mercenaries and assassins proves that someone is willing to pay for violence. Thus violence must be a service with positive economic value in some cases.

      • It certainly has value to some, but violence also, more-or-less by definition, involves negative externalities, most obviously on the targets of said violence. In the absence of corresponding positive externalities, or cause for the purveyors to internalize the full costs, that would imply that the true socially optimal level of violence is somewhere below the equilibrium level.

        So, yes, a government monopoly on violence makes it more expensive and less common, relative to what the free market would provide. That’s the whole point.

    • In theory though, the benefit of having only one source of violence is it’s easier to hold it accountable for using it, as opposed to random mobs of angry villagers who come knocking in the night.

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