Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Law Did Not Predate Commerce

Best quote I've seen today:

Law and commerce were indelibly linked in the thought of David Hume, who argued that it is commerce itself that gives rise to notions of justice between people and peoples. Although commerce is today typically seen as something which is proactively enabled by law, it is much more accurate historically to see law as something which emerges because of its vital importance in commerce – and particularly commerce involving foreigners. Within the Roman Empire, it was the ius gentium, the “law of nations,” derived from custom rather than legislation, and applying specifically to noncitizens, that governed most types of commercial transactions.

The modern notion that law is inseparable from the will of a ruler or ruling body, antithetical to the idea of a universal natural law or a ius gentium, has, in parts of the world and during epochs where it has actually been applied, been devastating to economic development.

--Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds, Money Markets, and Sovereignty

Hat tip: Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek

No comments: