Comment on “Is Government Necessary?” Papers

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Does Law Require Violence?

I’ve gotten a few requests, so I’ll post the version of my comments on the papers on “Is Government Necessary” that I had prepared prior to the Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Reykjavik. The papers on which I commented were by Professor David Friedman of Santa Clara University (available here) and by Professor Birgir Thor Runolfsson of the University of Iceland (he was ill and could not deliver the paper in person, but the one I received just prior to the conference was substantially similar to his essay on “Institutional Evolution in the Icelandic Commonwealth,” which was published in Constitutional Political Economy.)

The remarks I gave orally included some additional remarks on the paper by Professor Boudewijn Bouckaert of the University of Ghent, but I had only gotten the paper the day before. I may revise the comments later by inserting my pencilled in remarks on Professor Bouckaert’s (quite good) paper. But until then, some of my thoughts on the question “Is Government Necessary?”