Jeg har selv tidligere skrevet lidt om statsfejl versus markedsfejl–og det samme har Elinor Strom, der modtog Nobelprisen i økonomi 2009, og som vi ved den lejlighed diskuterede lidt, og som jeg netop i disse dage er ved at færdigskrive en artikel om. Så her kommer lidt om dét, Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes m.v. fra hendes 1997-takketale for Seidman Prisen:
“One of Adam Smith’s major contributions was the development of a theory of order that demonstrated the possibility of beneficial outcomes emerging from the independent contributions of many individuals pursuing their own interests within a set of agreed upon rules. Smith’s work provided the foundation for modern micro-economics that has formalized the theory of competitive markets. Individuals organize themselves into enterprises that seek out opportunities for gain through production and exchange. Competition among buyers and sellers exchanging purely private goods in an open market within a legal framework that defines and enforces property rights and contractual agreements, generates incentives that lead toward optimal results.
While each participant tries to maximize his or her own welfare, competition among producers and consumers of pure private goods leads to an increase in the benefits for all while driving individual advantage over others to a minimum. Public policies consistent with this view of order encourage the development of markets as a stimulus to increase “the wealth of nations.”
Smith’s theory of order stands in marked contrast to that of Thomas Hobbes, who argued that self-organization and competition leads to warfare and necessitates a single center of power dominating all social relationships and imposing peace and order on others. For Hobbes, order came from having a single decision maker rather than relying on the decisions made by many self-organized and independent decision makers. While modern scholars frequently deny their reliance on Hobbesian intellectual roots, the modern theory of “The State” is a direct descendant of Leviathan. The State is defined as an organization with a monopoly over the authority to make law and the legitimate use of coercion.