Journal of Libertarian Studies

Two Irreconcilable Theories of Justice: Social Engineering vs. Ethics of Property

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

If economics is understood as being the science of the implications of voluntary and monetary exchanges among different people (Mises, 1985), the terminology “economics of crime” is a contradiction in terms. Indeed the economic exchange consists in voluntary and peaceful cooperation, whereas crime refers to concepts of violence and coercion (Mises, 1983). The contrast is then more marked between the notion of economics that refers to a process of collaboration and cooperation, and that of criminal activity, which is associated with the invasion of property (Rothbard, 1991 [1970]). In this sense, we have to deal with a logical impossibility and consequently the economics of crime becomes meaningless. More fruitful is the idea of applying the tools of the economist to understanding the behavior of individuals in the allocation of their resources to obey or to violate the law and to protect themselves against violence.

Volume 22, Number 1 (2011)


Carnis, Laurent. "Two Irreconcilable Theories of Justice: Social Engineering vs. Ethics of Property." Journal of Libertarian Studies 22, No. 1 (2011): 399–436.

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