Journal of Libertarian Studies

Note on Anarchy, State, and Utopia

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Robert Nozick’s widely hailed Anarchy, State, and Utopia has been analyzed primarily in terms of the arguments he engages in with his fellow “public philosopher”, John Rawls. Yet perhaps the most unusual line of thinking introduced by Nozick is his “invisible hand” explanation for the origin of the state (pp. 78 ff.). This is not meant to be a genuinely historical account. It is clear that no state ever emerged in the way described by Professor Nozick. Yet he finds this satisfying because it attempts to explain the single most important step in the political evolution of mankind in terms largely divorced from the political realm. He feels that he has been able to demonstrate that it is possible for the state to emerge from the Lockean state of nature without violating anyone’s rights and without anyone having planned to create a state (p. 113).

Volume 1, Number 4 (1977)


Davidson, James D. “Note on Anarchy, State, and Utopia.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 1, No.4 (1977): 341-348.

What is the Mises Institute?

The Mises Institute is a non-profit organization that exists to promote teaching and research in the Austrian School of economics, individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard. 

Non-political, non-partisan, and non-PC, we advocate a radical shift in the intellectual climate, away from statism and toward a private property order. We believe that our foundational ideas are of permanent value, and oppose all efforts at compromise, sellout, and amalgamation of these ideas with fashionable political, cultural, and social doctrines inimical to their spirit.

Become a Member
Mises Institute