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      Social Contract, Free Ride


      This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., a foundation established to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.


      The cuneiform inscription that serves as our logo and as a design element in Liberty Fund books is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom” (amagi), or “liberty.” It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 B.C. in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

      © 1989 by Liberty Fund, Inc. Originally published in 1989 by Oxford University Press. Published in 2008 by Liberty Fund, Inc.

      This eBook edition published in 2012.

      eBook ISBN: E-PUB 978-1-61487-218-4



       3. State-of-Nature Co-ordination

       Co-ordination, Pure and Non-pure

       Approaching Strangers

       Pure Co-ordination by Contract

       Inequality of Character

       Not Rocking the Boat

       The Hardest Case

       State-of-Nature Public Goods: The Standard Approach

       Reliance on Enforcement

       4. Social Contract

       Institutional Darwinism


       Restricted Domain: The Hobbesian Asymmetry

       Restricted Domain: The Minimal State

       5. Social Choice

       Unrestricted Domain

       Enforcement of Domain-Restriction


       Predisposed Rules

       Agility and Sluggishness

       Equiprobability I

       Accepting Command where Contract Fails

       Appendix: Redistribution


       6. The Foundations of Voluntariness


       Free Riders or Suckers All

       Stacked, Interlocking, and Straddle Rankings

       No Free Riders, No Suckers

       The Straddle Ranking: A Necessary Condition

       The Straddle Ranking: A Sufficient Condition

       Equiprobability II

       7. Constructive Risk

       All or None


       A Spontaneous Solution through Risk

       All Cretans Are Not Liars

       Inconsistent Expectations

       Appendix: Straddle or Chicken

       8. An Ethics Turnpike

       Homo Oeconomicus

       Three Grades of Rationality

       Public-Goods Forks

       9. The Unfairness of Anarchy

       Abuse, Outrage, Envy

       The End of Anarchy

       10. The Return of the Free Rider

       Reverse Contribution


       The Game of “Ask”

       The Game of “Deficit”

       Free Riding on Fairness

       Works Cited


       Social Contract, Free Ride

      “You get what you pay for.” As often as not, however, you do not. If you did, the world would be a simpler place. It would be wholly ruled by exchange relations. All would bear the full consequences of their actions and nobody would suffer or profit from “spillovers” he1 did not cause. Politics would be a redundant activity, and as a subject of study it would be swallowed up by economics. All social co-operation would be regulated by contracts, none by commands. Individuals would be sovereign, each deciding all matters for himself.

      Yet it is of the essence of social coexistence that a person can get more than he pays for, and also that he can be made to pay for more than he gets. When this is the case, the advantage of mutually agreeable

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