Emily Skarbek, lecturer in political economy, Kings College London, Tweets a plug for her new course:
“Smithian solutions to Hobbesian problems? Fall 2015 Constitutional Political Economy begins now!”
Very interesting, I’m sure. But these “Smithian solutions”, assuming they exist, would be quite superfluous.
From Jasay’s “Prisoners’ dilemma and the Theory of the State”:
In two key passages of Leviathan the Foole tells himself that, as “there is no such thing as Justice” and “every man’s conservation, and contentment (is) committed to his own care,” … “there is no reason why every man might not … keep or not keep Covenants.” He then finds to his dismay that if justice does not demand the keeping of covenants, expediency does: for if he breaches his covenant, he “cannot be received into any Society” […] “but for the errour of them that receive him.” It takes a Foole to rely on “errour” and collective foolishness to let him get away with it. Foolishness is surely an inadequate source from which to draw the imperative need for an enforcer of covenants.
Yet such are the workings of the “sociology of knowledge” that public consciousness does not retain the Foole, but does retain the bowdlerised War of All Against All.
pp42-42 Justice and its Surroundings
The “bowdlerised War of All Against All” refers, roughly, to this: In Hobbes, “war” has a special meaning. A state of “war” exists whenever there is no guarantee of peace. For Hobbes only Leviathan can guarantee peace. (Leviathan, Chapter 13, Paragraph 8.) That is, it follows from his definitions that Hobbes is right; and if we don’t pay attention to his peculiar definitions, we will feel that he must be right.