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Reciprocal Exchange as the Basis for Recognition Of Law: Examples from American History

  • The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Tags Free MarketsLegal SystemU.S. HistoryPolitical Theory

07/30/2014Bruce L. Benson

The literature of American legal history is primarily a history of federal and state governments, creating the false impression that these governments have produced and enforced all relevant law. Indeed, there seems to be a widely held belief that law and order could not exist in a society without the organized authoritarian institutions of the state. But while law can be imposed from above by some powerful authority, like a king, a legislature, or a supreme court, law can also develop "from the ground", as a result of a recognition of mutual benefits, through exchanged agreements (explicit or implicit contracts) to obey and participate in the enforcement of such law.

Volume 10, Number 1 (1991)

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Contact Bruce L. Benson

Benson is DeVoe L. Moore Professor and Distinguished Research Professor in Florida State University's Department of Economics.

Cite This Article

Benson, Bruce L. "Reciprocal Exchange as the Basis for Recognition Of Law: Examples from American History." Journal of Libertarian Studies 10, No. 1 (1991): 53–82.

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