In my previous post I linked to Mencius Moldbug’s argument that a sufficiently strong utterly rapacious state may be desirable to live in. The less explicitly unpleasant version of “Fnargocracy” is sometimes referred to as a “Vertically Integrated Proprietary Community”, and I’ve linked to Peter Leeson’s argument against Ed Stringham on their desirability a number of times before, along with Eric Crampton on the socialist calculation problem making non-benevolent autocrats more bearable. We don’t have to leave it at that though. Recently via the Sociological Imagination I came across Leeson & Stringham’s survey on the economics of anarchy. In it they referred to Mancur Olson’s argument on behalf of the “stationary bandit”, as well as a critique of it by some folks I had never heard of before, Boaz Moselle and Benjamin Polak. Their paper is A Model of a Predatory State, which points out that maximizing tax revenue is quite different from maximizing the welfare of subjects, and so a primitive society may be worse off in transitioning from organized banditry to statehood. The authors mention that in their working paper from 1999 they give similar results over the long-run with a dynamic learning model, but I haven’t been able to find that online. UPDATE: I think this might be it, though it is dated to 1997 (apparently developed from a 1994 paper with a different title).

On a slightly related note, I’ve gone around asking people what they think if Nick Szabo’s criticism of anarcho-capitalist usage of the Coase Theorem. His primary target, David Friedman, has not responded but Johnnie Lin did with a paper of his own.

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