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A collection of Jasay’s articles written for Liberty Fund’s website, the Library of Economics and Liberty (Econlib), between 20.They have been organized into the following categories: Property Rights, the common sense of non-economics, France and Russia, capitalism, unemployment, the future of Europe, and economics true and false.Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data De Jasay, Anthony, 1925- Political economy, concisely: essays on policy that does not work and markets that do / Anthony de Jasay; edited and with an introduction by Hartmut Kliemt. He displays an affinity for British classical liberalism, particularly for David Hume, but keeps his distance from the Utilitarians.A longtime resident of France, Jasay shares Bastiat’s encounters with the perversities of the centralized state.Using the first concept, it is incongruous to think of property in the context of distributive justice; using the second, however, such an understanding comes naturally.Many of Jasay’s criticisms are based on this fundamental insight.
But, whereas in the Hayekian case the state is seen as an enforcer of order, Jasay conceives of the state as a source of distortions of social order.
Rights and their matching obligations evolve either from voluntary agreements (contracts) or “from above”—the rights being conferred and the obligations imposed by authority.
Drawing a distinction between freedom and rights leads directly to Jasay’s theory of property.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc. Anthony de Jasay may be seen in the role of a Frédéric Bastiat of our times.
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Introduction and index © 2009 by Liberty Fund, Inc. Frontispiece by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies, reproduced by permission. Like Bastiat, whom he admires (and credits with the discovery of opportunity cost, a cornerstone of economics), Jasay himself is a philosopher-economist with hard-won, practical experience.
He holds with Hume that property originates in finding, is transferred by consent, and is antecedent to society or the state; it is a freedom.