Conception of an Encyclopedia
Edited By Jürgen G. Backhaus
Property, Social Order, And Public Finance Richard E. Wagner
Abstract This paper probes an alternative approach to the theory of public finance, where the state is treated as an order and not as an organization. Hobbes-like formulations of the generation of order are replaced by Aristotelian-like formulations where property and state are coeval and grounded in human nature. The theory of public finance is correspondingly construed as a facet of social theoriz- ing and not as a facet of systems design, and with the domain of welfare economics conceptualized in terms of a theory of fiscal sociology and not in Paretian fashion. Property, State, And Tectonic Political Economy This paper is concerned with the object we denote as state and its relationship to those other objects we denote as economy and society, or, alternatively, market. In short, state is conceptualized as an order and not an organization, and the activities of state are treated as latent in human nature and emerging out of interaction among people1. State and market are conceptualized as coeval, in contrast to the Hobbes- like formulations where individuals subsequently form states. Property is never wholly private or wholly collective, but rather always resides in some mixed status that invariably entails margins of contestability that generates a tectonic political economy of varying degrees of turbulence. Hobbesian Agonistics It is a common analytical device to treat the formation of states or other politi- cal entities as resultants of people’s prior rights of private property. Within this Hobbes-like orientation, what is a puny and insecure form of private...
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