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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Had a great time with my man, Hartmut Kliemt.  A plenary Friday July 26 at the SABE/IAREP meetings, on the legacy of James Buchanan.  Conference LinkProgram Link.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Locke and Euvoluntary Exchange

Giving a talk today at Australian National University, Philosophy Department.  It's in the Benjamin Library at 11 am. 

Subject is "Euvoluntary Exchange, with Applications to Locke's Venditio,"  Then a lunch with some folks from the Federal Treasury here in the capital of Oz.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Published: Too Big to Fail?

My article with Richard Salsman, "Is 'Too Big to Fail' Too Big?" was published, in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy

Happy to send a PDF if you email me.

Heading for Oz

Heading out for Australia.  Flying to Sydney, then taking the bus (I am ALL about the mass transit) three hours to lovely Canberra.

Going to visit H. Geoffrey Brennan, at ANU.  Will hang at his house, and have him teach me SOMETHING about wine.  (I don't know much, but he knows a lot).  And maybe some restaurants.  I expect we'll have some fair dinkum tucker.

Wow.  It's actually quite cool in Canberra, down to 0 at night and hanging around 12 during the day.  I'll need to pack a couple of jumpers, I guess.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Liberty Matters

Robert Leroux posted "Bastiat and Political Economy" on July 1.  Several of us respond.  People comment.  And everybody has a great time! 

Here it is.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Euvoluntariness and Locke's Venditio

Just published (with Ricardo Guzman) a paper in Public Choice, link here for (gated) download.  Happy to send the PDF if you email me!  mcmunger at gmail dot com.

Abstract:  It is a maxim of Public Choice that voluntary exchanges should not be interfered with by the state. But what makes a voluntary market exchange truly voluntary? We suggest, contra much of the economics literature, that voluntary exchange requires consent uncoerced by threats of harm, but that this is not sufficient. In particular, a person pressured to exchange by the dire consequences of failing to exchange—e.g., dying of thirst or hunger—is still coerced, and coerced exchange cannot be voluntary. The weaker party’s desperation gives the other party unconscionable bargaining power. We argue for a distinction, based on a neologism: in the case of coercion by circumstance but not by threat, exchange is still voluntary in the conventional sense, but it is not euvoluntary (i.e., truly voluntary). We will argue that all euvoluntary exchanges are just, while non-euvoluntary exchanges may or may not be unjust; that in competitive markets all exchanges are just, even those that are not euvoluntary, while in bilateral monopolies some exchanges are neither euvoluntary nor just. We will propose a mental device, the “fictitious negotiation”, to determine the just price in non-euvoluntary market exchanges. A primitive version of these ideas can be found in a little known monograph by John Locke, which we will analyze in detail.


From EconTalk:

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of formal rules and informal rules in sports. Many sports restrain violence and retaliation through formal rules while in others, protective equipment is used to reduce injury. In all sports, codes of conduct emerge to deal with violence and unobserved violations of formal rules. Munger explores the interaction of these forces across different sports and how they relate to insights of Coase and Hayek. 
Listen up!