Why don’t we hear about private security guard brutality at Disneyland and on cruise ships?
Where does law come from? How do people cooperate enough to get law started in the first place?
Did the birth of the modern economy arise from a collapse of Dutch government and the rise of private governance?
How do rules govern civil society in the absence of government? We asked a scholar and a gentleman. Economist Edward Peter Stringham is the author of Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life and more than 60 journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies, and he asks:
“What can’t private governance do?”
Edward Stringham shows that most of our cherished legal conventions arose with no support from any state. Commercial law, merchant law, tort law, and complex financial transactions evolved amid polycentric legal dynamics that guided commercial activity for centuries before they were later monopolized by state governments.
In fact, private governance continues to create order all around us, especially at sea.
Consider that one quarter of the world economy operates as a stateless black market, and nearly half the earth’s surface operates where no state makes a claim, yet 90% of our goods comes from the ocean economy.
How does it all work?
Ed shows us that what’s most miraculous about social order is what’s going on right in front of our eyes. If you subscribe to podcasts on iTunes, you can find this podcast and all of our other podcasts on our iTunes page.